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Greetings from the Wine Cellar:

This week is pretty noteworthy in the world of wine. Going in order, this Tuesday, May 24th is the anniversary of the celebrated 1978 “Judgement of Paris” wine tasting in France, in which a handful of the best California Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons were blind-tasted and then rated by a group of French wine critics along with some of the top French wines. It was really just a publicity stunt put on by a British wine merchant, who never expected the California wines to have a prayer against their French counterparts. Except, both the California Chardonnay (by Chateau Montelena) and the Cabernet (from Stags Leap Wine Cellars) wound up as the overall winners. It caused a major ruckus with the French, who simply could not believe the results and basically refused to ever admit it, and it really helped put California wines on the map. You have to admit this was a pretty big deal if people are still talking about it more than 40 years later!

And the following day, Wednesday May 25th is National Wine Day. This one really needs no explanation, it’s simply a day to sit back and raise a glass of your favorite wine to celebrate and reflect on how much better life is with good wine in it and how sad it would be if it wasn’t.

And finally, Thursday, May 26th is International Chardonnay Day. It’s a day to pay homage to the most popular white wine in the USA, and certainly the most versatile. Chardonnay can be made in a wide variety of styles, ranging from the super-dry, crisp and steely wines of Chablis in France to the decadently rich, buttery, toasty-oaky style that California introduced to the world. It has its share of detractors, but it’s still my favorite white wine. So of course we’ll feature a nice Chardonnay on our wine list this week.

And lastly, don’t forget this weekend brings the Memorial Day holiday. You can no longer deny that spring has turned into summer once we get to this point, but some nice wines (and craft beers) will certainly help with the transition. So be sure to take the time to stop by the Wine Cellar this week – hope to see you soon!


Diora 2019 La Splendeur du Soleil Chardonnay (Monterey County) $17.99

Notes of vanilla dominate the nose of this elegant Monterey Chardonnay, while ripe white peach, pear and butterscotch tones mingle on the somewhat restrained palate. The wine achieves a brilliant balance of rich fruit, keen acidity and moderately toasted oak.

Rocca Delle Macie 2018 Chianti Classico (Tuscany, Italy) $16.99

This Classico begins with fresh black cherry aromas, mixed in with hints of leather, earth, plums and violets. The palate is medium-bodied, with supple tannins and good acidity. Classic Chianti flavors of ripe dark cherry and plum are edged with a hint of licorice.

Giguiere Estate 2019 Pillars of Hercules (Dunnigan Hills) $17.99

A chewy, dense, full-bodied blend for those seeking a really big red. This blend of estate-grown Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Teroldego offers juicy, mouthwatering flavors of blackberry, blueberry and sweet oak that mingle with backnotes of earth and pepper-spice, with fine yet quite substantial tannins.

Browne Family Vineyards 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley) $18.99

Browne’s Heritage Cabernet Sauvignon opens with beautiful aromas of blackberry jam, chocolate and toasty vanilla, framed with a hint of baking spices. The palate is rich and savory, with flavors of ripe black fruits and a soft, silky and lingering finish.

Penfolds 2018 Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz (South Australia) $32.99

This multi-region Shiraz was Penfolds’ very first “Bin Number” wine, introduced way back in 1959. The fruit was sourced from Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Padthaway and Langhorne Creek. Thick and velvety blackberry and plum flavors are ripe and rich, edged by hints of pepper and herbs.


Kistler 2019 Chardonnay Les Noisetiers (Sonoma Coast) $59.99

Pouring a rich gold color in the glass, this overflows with a bounty of aromas, led by acacia, citrus peel and roasted hazelnuts. It’s grand and powerful on the palate, with vibrant citrus and stone fruit flavors, a generous body and a lingering finish, well-structured by a cleansing frame of mouthwatering acidity.

Luna Nuda 2019 Red Blend (Sicily, Italy) $15.99

Luna Nuda red blend is a classic southern Italian red, comprised of Nero D’Avola and Nerello Mascalese. The wine is full-bodied and expresses enticing floral aromas and a robust character of black cherries and ripe blackberries, with hints of licorice and white pepper. The finish is elegant, with balanced acidity.

La Fleur Renaissance 2019 Sauternes (Graves, France) $19.99

Sauternes is the aristocrat of dessert wines, and this traditional blend of 70% Semillon / 30% Sauvignon Blanc is a superb example. The nose offers heady aromas of succulent pineapples, flowers and crystallized ginger. In the mouth an exquisite fusion of golden figs, dried apricot, honeycomb and roasted almonds swirls on a rich, luscious palate.


Mike Shelhamer
Old Town Wine Cellar
265 S. Main Street, Suite E
Yuma, Arizona 85364

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