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Club Vin du Soleil March Shipment Selections

Tasting Notes from Wine Director, Kris Margerum, for the March wine club shipment.

March 2012 Grand Cru

Scarecrow “M. Etain” Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Rutherford-Napa Valley.  M. Etain (the “Tin Man” following the Wizard of Oz theme) is the 2nd wine from the instant cult classic winery Scarecrow Wines. The wine has the power and structure of its big brother, but sees a less oak and is made by Celia Welch to be more forward in style. It is a tough choice between drinking this wine tonight or laying itdown for a few years, either way you will be rewarded.

Rubicon Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Rutherford-Napa Valley. It would be fun to try this wine next to the M Etain as the Rubicon and M. Etain are next door neighbors. The Rubicon comes from organically grown grapes and truly expresses the qualities of the Rutherford Bench, red and black fruit mix with dusty cocoa powder notes. Francis Ford Coppola has recently been able to acquire the Inglenook name and will be changing the Rubicon label to the estates original name in the near future.     

Corison “Kronos” Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Saint Helena-Napa Valley. Not too far from Rubicon and Scarecrow is Corison Winery located in Saint Helena just north of the Rutherford border. The organically grown grapes of the Kronos vineyard produce wines that have qualities that remind me of both Rutherford and Saint Helena Bench. The flavors of Kronos are mix of the red & black berry notes with a dusty cocoa powder (Rutherford qualities) along with black cherry-berry-plum notes, dark chocolate bar and fresh tilled soil (St. Helena qualities). The 2006 vintage of Kronos has, I believe, a great aging potential  (I’m talking 20 years) due to the structured tannins, concentrated fruit and higher than average acidity of the wine.

Checkerboard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Diamond Mountain-Napa Valley. The 2008 vintage, Checkerboard’s 3rd, is a wonderful expression of mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine comes from four very different sites on Diamond mountain starting from near the valley floor and climbing up to vineyard sites at 600, 900 and 1,200 foot elevations. Each site has a different soil type and aspect, thus the wine has a layering of flavors that will continue improve as it ages.

Frédéric Magnien “Les Cazetiers” Pinot Noir 2009 Gevery-Chambertin Premier Cru Burgundy-France. Frédéric Magnien is one of my a favorite Burgundy producers for the restaurant list because his wines tend to be a little more forward (riper) while still maintaining the expression of the terrior. The grapes from Les Cazetiers vineyard enjoy one of the best views in all of Burgundy as it is the second highest Premier Cru vineyard in the region. Despite its elevation, the grapes ripen well due to its south facing aspect. This 2009 is a mouth filling and sensual Pinot Noir that can age but can also be enjoyed tonight.

Domaines et Terroirs Sud 1937 Maury Roussillon-France. Yes that is correct, 1937 is the vintage on for this VDN (Vin doux Naturel) from Maury. VDN wines are fortified and sweet, similar to Port. The VDN’s from Maury are made primarily with Grenache Noir and are very long lived due to the preserving qualities of tannins, acids and fortification. If you happen to know anyone turning 75 this year, this would be a great bottle to share with them over a chocolate dessert.

March 2012 Grand Cru

Scarecrow “M. Etain” Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Rutherford-Napa Valley.  M. Etain (the “Tin Man” following the Wizard of Oz theme) is the 2nd wine from the instant cult classic winery Scarecrow Wines. The wine has the power and structure of its big brother, but sees a less oak and is made by Celia Welch to be more forward in style. It is a tough choice between drinking this wine tonight or laying itdown for a few years, either way you will be rewarded.

Rubicon Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Rutherford-Napa Valley. It would be fun to try this wine next to the M Etain as the Rubicon and M. Etain are next door neighbors. The Rubicon comes from organically grown grapes and truly expresses the qualities of the Rutherford Bench, red and black fruit mix with dusty cocoa powder notes. Francis Ford Coppola has recently been able to acquire the Inglenook name and will be changing the Rubicon label to the estates original name in the near future.     

Corison “Kronos” Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Saint Helena-Napa Valley. Not too far from Rubicon and Scarecrow is Corison Winery located in Saint Helena just north of the Rutherford border. The organically grown grapes of the Kronos vineyard produce wines that have qualities that remind me of both Rutherford and Saint Helena Bench. The flavors of Kronos are mix of the red & black berry notes with a dusty cocoa powder (Rutherford qualities) along with black cherry-berry-plum notes, dark chocolate bar and fresh tilled soil (St. Helena qualities). The 2006 vintage of Kronos has, I believe, a great aging potential  (I’m talking 20 years) due to the structured tannins, concentrated fruit and higher than average acidity of the wine.

Checkerboard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Diamond Mountain-Napa Valley. The 2008 vintage, Checkerboard’s 3rd, is a wonderful expression of mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine comes from four very different sites on Diamond mountain starting from near the valley floor and climbing up to vineyard sites at 600, 900 and 1,200 foot elevations. Each site has a different soil type and aspect, thus the wine has a layering of flavors that will continue improve as it ages.

Frédéric Magnien “Les Cazetiers” Pinot Noir 2009 Gevery-Chambertin Premier Cru Burgundy-France. Frédéric Magnien is one of my a favorite Burgundy producers for the restaurant list because his wines tend to be a little more forward (riper) while still maintaining the expression of the terrior. The grapes from Les Cazetiers vineyard enjoy one of the best views in all of Burgundy as it is the second highest Premier Cru vineyard in the region. Despite its elevation, the grapes ripen well due to its south facing aspect. This 2009 is a mouth filling and sensual Pinot Noir that can age but can also be enjoyed tonight.

Domaines et Terroirs Sud 1937 Maury Roussillon-France. Yes that is correct, 1937 is the vintage on for this VDN (Vin doux Naturel) from Maury. VDN wines are fortified and sweet, similar to Port. The VDN’s from Maury are made primarily with Grenache Noir and are very long lived due to the preserving qualities of tannins, acids and fortification. If you happen to know anyone turning 75 this year, this would be a great bottle to share with them over a chocolate dessert.

March 2012 Cru

Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Mount Veeder-Napa Valley. One of three Mount Veeder wines in this shipment, each of which shows an evolution of wine growing for this region. The Mt Veeder appellation is sometimes known for massive tannins and under ripe fruit. Now vineyard techniques, patience at harvest and tannin management during fermentation have helped to create more approachable wines while still maintaining that “mountain” style. The Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon comes for the old Chateau Potelle site and offers a smooth mouth-feel and forward fruit notes balanced by a firm tannin structure and a long finish.

Chester’s Anvil “Hattori Hanzo” Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2008 Mount Veeder-Napa Valley This collaboration between two longtime Mt. Veeder vintners is Cabernet Sauvignon based and blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Syrah. To me, the Syrah, even though it is the smallest component, is the key to this wine. It adds plush, ripe, juicy notes that cut through the Cabernet like a Hattori Hanzo sword (see Kill Bill Part One).

Spotted Owl “Lev’s Cuvée” Syrah 2009 Mount Veeder-Napa Valley. Syrah works well in the Mt. Veeder appellation because the grape generally gives you bright plush fruit notes even in cooler vintages. The forward fruit notes in the Spotted Owl are a wonderful counter balance to the powerful mountain style tannins. There is loads of Brambleberry and Black Plum, Chocolate and Sweet Oak spices. This is a mouth filling and a guilty pleasure type of wine.

Stewart Chardonnay 2008 Sonoma Mountain. Winemaker Paul Hobbs has crafted a beautifully balanced and layered Chardonnay from this mountain side vineyard. I find this to be a great food pairing wine because of the higher acids and restrained oak. Only 300 cases produced.

Wesmar “Hellenthal” Pinot Noir 2009 Russian River Valley. The husband and wife team of Kirk and Denise learned all about making Pinot Noir from Denise’s father Ed Selyem (of Williams Selyem). Their winemaking style is to pick Pinot Noir a little bit sooner, which translate into more Red Cherry, Raspberry, Cranberry notes with lively acidity. I love drinking this wine with grilled fish dishes.

Vacharon “Les Romains” Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Sancerre-Loire Valley-France. The 2010 vintage is proving to be a classic for Sancerre. The wines have an electric acidity, with tart citrus and chalky mineral notes. This Biodynamic producer has a style that gives this wine a bit more roundness and body that provide a nice balance to the acidity. There are many ways to enjoy this wine but my favorite is with oysters on the half shell.

CATEGORIES: General, Restaurant, Wine

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