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Club Vin du Soleil’s First Shipment

Club Vin du Soleil’s first shipment went out earlier this week.  We hope that all of our new members were happy with the selections made by our Napa Valley restaurant’s Director of Wine, Kris Margerum.  For those of you that missed out on the first shipment, the next one is right around the corner, and just in time for the holidays.  Club Vin du Soleil ships quarterly and the next shipment is scheduled to go out at the beginning of December.

September 2011

Grand Cru Wine Selections

Tasting notes from Wine Director Kris Margerum:

Araujo “Eisele” Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Calistoga-Napa Valley

This historical vineyard site in Calistoga is famous for great wines from Robert Mondavi and Joseph Phelps. Today the wines from the Araujo “Eisele” vineyard well surpass those notable wines. This is the perfect Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It is big and concentrated, but balanced by rich dark fruit and oak notes. It is age-worthy but if you open this bottle today, I am confident you will enjoy every drop from the first sip to the last, but best to wait for a special occasion.

Ovid Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Napa Valley

Ovid is a new producer that has laid the groundwork for great Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. From the vineyard site atop Prichard Hill, to the state-of-the-art “Old School” cement fermentation tanks, to the winemaking team- Ovid has a winning combination. I am very impressed at how quickly these young vines are expressing a sense of place as I pick up the nuance of the red volcanic soils in this wine. This wine drinks well now and I also have no worries about laying it down for a few years.

Gemstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Yountville-Napa Valley

The Gemstone Vineyard is located in the transition zone between cool Napa Valley and warm Napa Valley, which gives this wine a wonderful combination of power and elegance. The Gemstone drinks well now, but like many Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons from the 2006 vintage, it could benefit from a couple of more years in the cellar.

Kathryn Hall “Exzellenz” Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Rutherford-Napa Valley

Just up the hill from Auberge du Soleil, on Auberge Road, you will find the Kathryn Hall Winery and the Sacrashe vineyard. The “Exzellenz” is produced from this single-site and is expressive of the volcanic ash soils. This is a big, powerful, full tannin, full bodied style of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, that also has that  an unexpected lift of acidity that I often get from wines sourced in these white volcanic ash type soils. Exzellenz is the German spelling of Excellency which is how you would correctly address Ambassador Kathryn Hall who was the US Ambassador to Austria.

Jean-Noel Gagnard Chardonnay 2006 Batard-Montrachet Burgundy-France

This producer works with vines from my favorite part of the famous Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru vineyard. It is on the Chassagne-Montrachet side just below the even more famous Le Montrachet Vineyard.  Here we have a great producer using mature vines from a great site, in a great vintage, which combined make what I feel is one of the top expressions of Chardonnay. I like to serve this wine at cellar temperature, from a decanter so that I can best enjoy every nuance.

Blackbird “Illustration” Merlot Blend 2007 Oak Knoll-Napa Valley

The Illustration is the result of the coming together of the right grapes in the right place. The Oak Knoll District has deep rich soils and a little cooler climate. The Merlot grapes planted here lead to a medium-bodied and smooth red wine with layers of fruit and earth. I especially like this wine paired with Napa Valley Rack of Lamb.

Premiere Cru Wine Selections

Tasting notes from Wine Director Kris Margerum:

Revana Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Saint Helena-Napa Valley

This Saint Helena Bench Cabernet Sauvignon has that perfect mix of power and polish. I love the layering and the progression of flavors from the front to the back of the palate. This is a wine I rate with a high BME (Beginning-Middle-End) factor.

Skipstone Viognier 2009, Alexander Valley

I am very picky when it comes to Viognier and often need to try dozens before I find one that I really love. Here is one from the hills overlooking the Alexander Valley that has just what I am looking for in Viognier; honeysuckle and orchard fruit on the nose and a clean non-perfumed palate alive with fresh peach, nectarine and apple notes.

Gargiulo “G Major 7 Study” Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Oakville-Napa Valley

This rarity from Gargiulo is layered with the four distinct notes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot and Merlot, all coming together in harmony. It is a powerful, plush, dark fruited wine that will please now but will hold well for many years.

Arkenstone “Obsidian” Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Howell Mountain-Napa Valley

Arkenstone is a new producer from Howell Mountain and the 2007 Obsidian is the 2 nd vintage from this producer. What I like about this wine is how it truly expresses a sense of place. It has that classic Howell mountain quality of Black and Blue fruits along with firm tannins and little higher acidity.

Dagueneau Blanc de Fumé Pouilly2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Pouilly-Fuissé France

Dagueneau, both father and now son continue to set the benchmark for biodynamic wines. The wines are concentrated and intense with an electric acidity. The wine is super expressive of the limestone soils and rich layering of citrus and tropical fruits. I have tried Dagueneau wines that have been aged over 20 years and they hold up wonderfully. You will never think of Sauvignon Blanc in the same way again.

Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Oakville-Napa Valley

I feel that Paradigm is a winery that more people need to know about. They have a very consistent style of balanced and elegant red wines. This 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is polished and elegant, never overstated this will match beautifully with are variety of foods.

Cru Wine Selections

Tasting notes from Wine Director Kris Margerum:

Siduri “Ewald” Pinot Noir 2008 Russian River Valley

The Ewald is a somewhat darker fruited and more powerful style of Pinot Noir without having a heavy oak influence. This makes it a lovely food pairing wine. Thinking about this wine is making me hungry for grilled chicken.

Outpost Grenache 2009 Howell Mountain

This wine always amazes me. Normally when I think of Howell Mountain wines I think about power and structure and Black and Blue fruits, but this wine is nothing like that. When I taste this Grenache I close my eyes and see Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It’s elegant, delicate, red fruited and a touch spicy. I find it to be a very versatile food pairing wine.

HdV (Hyde de Villaine) Syrah 2006 Carneros

The Carneros district is not just for Pinot Noir. Merlot has done well there and I am especially enjoying the cooler climate Syrah as well. This HdV is drinking well now and has all the game and spice notes that are expressed in cool climate Syrah. Love this wine with Quail and Squab.

Ökonomierat Rebholtz “Vom Muschelkalk” Spätlese-Trocken Riesling 2007 Pfalz-Germany

Often when one thinks about German Rieslings off dry wines come to mind, but the trend in much of Germany is toward dry style (Trocken) wines. Here is a great example from the Pfalz with lively acids along with rich concentrated fruit and chalky mineral notes. This wine will only get more powerful as it ages and has plenty of acidity to keep it fresh for quite some time.

Duckhorn “The Discussion” Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot Blend 2007 Napa Valley

I like this wine because it reminds me to keep striving to do more. Duckhorn wines are already famous and if they did not change a thing they will still sell out every year. To me Duckhorn have taken this wine to an even higher level by asking the winemaking team to work with all the estate vineyards and come up with the best Bordeaux style blend. In 2007 they selected fruit from three of their estate vineyards located in Yountville, Saint Helena and Howell Mountain for a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. This wine shows well now, but I would love to see how it tastes in 5-7 years.

Find more information on Auberge du Soleil and Club Vin du Soleil here:   http://www.aubergedusoleil.com/club-vin-du-soleil

CATEGORIES: General, Wine

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