Ron Rubin 2013 Green Valley of Russian River Valley Syrah: A delicious cool-climate wine!

Hello Friends,

Today I’m enjoying a glass of Ron Rubin’s 2013 Syrah from Sonoma County’s Green Valley of Russian River Valley appellation. This is one of the smallest appellations in Sonoma County and one of the coolest within Russian River Valley. The region is defined by its trademark foggy marine layer which produces cooler temperatures that are well-suited for varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. On the other hand, cool-climate Syrah should not be overlooked; especially from this producer. Syrah is an interesting grape. It’s one of the few varieties that performs superbly well in both cool and warm climates. I prefer the latter, but appreciate both depending on my mood and/or food. Syrah from cool climate regions are generally brighter, showcasing more red fruits, and leaner than their warm weather counterparts.  

After many years of success in the beverage industry, including recently celebrating 25 years of owning ...

Wine Sample: Abadia Retuarda Seleccion Especial Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León

The Abadía Retuerta winery launched in 1996 during Spain's Ribera del Duero explosion onto the world market. Although relatively young, the winery inherits a long tradition of winemaking as the winery and vineyards are located on the former site of the 12th century Santa Marie de Retuerta Monastery in Sardón de Duero. Along the banks of the Duero River, "the monks of the order of Saint Norbert were given terras et vineas (land and vines) in Duero Valley and the second abbot brought the first French grape varieties from Burgundy that were planted in this famous Spain wine region. Since then, the land of our estate has been dedicated to the vine, to silence and to devotion."

Abadia Retuerta farms these same vineyard sites which today is located within the heart of the "Golden Mile", a "privileged strip of land it shares with some of the Ribera del Duero's ...

Chilean Wine from Ventisquero & Valdivieso

I recently received review samples of four entry level Chilean wines, two each from Valdivieso and Ventisquero. Valdivieso became Chile and South America's first sparkling wine producer when in 1887, founder Don Alberto Valdivieso, released Champagne Valdivieso. Close to a century later the winery added still wines to their portfolio and today work with close to a dozen grape varieties. The current winemaker is New Zealand native Brett Jackson who has quite the resume working in New Zealand; Napa Valley; Stellenbosch, South Africa; and Narbonne, France before joining Valdivieso in 1999.
  • Valdivieso Valley Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($15) The 100% Sauvignon Blanc is from the Leyda Valley. The cooler valley provides slower and gentler ripening allowing the grapes to retain acidity.  This is an excellent wine, tropical aroma, weighty lemons, and abundant acids.
  • Valdivieso Brut Rose NV ($13) Comprised of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay all sourced from ...

Wine of the Day, Nos. 275 & 276

I don’t typically recommend rosé wines from two vintages ago. I mean the point of rosé is its freshness and immediate appeal, n’est-ce pas? Some rosé wines, however, are made of slightly sterner stuff than the usual ethereal, instantly accessible, quaffable models that so delight us and can age for a year or two beyond the Summer after harvest. Such is the case with the two rosé wines from the South of France that I mention today. I encountered these examples at a trade tasting at which rosés from 2015 and ’16 were offered, and while most of the ’15s were fading, if not falling apart, this pair drank with splendid panache, zeal and deliciousness. North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, Calif.
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Le Caillou Rosé 2015, Côtes du Rhône, is an unusual blend of 85 percent counoise and 15 percent mourvedre grapes, and I CAILLOU_rose_websay “unusual” because counoise, not so easy ...
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Shirvington 2010 Shiraz, McLaren Vale

Shirvington 2010 Shiraz, McLaren Vale

Shirvington 2010 Shiraz, McLaren Vale

First there was Sparky Marquis. He was the “hit winemaker” for years in South Australia. His wines were highly coveted, especially in  the states. His wines  were bigger than life, bold, rich, but beautifully linear and precise as well.  Things started going sideways for him in 2005, culminating with his divorce a few months ago from his wife Sarah, who now owns all their properties, including Mollydooker.  Few people realized she, as much as Sparky, was responsible for that luxury-grade style of Shiraz that Mollydooker epitomized. Why take that much time talking about another winery? Because the steps that Sarah walked, often in the shadow of her famous husband, made way for another female maker, who is rightfully getting rockstar-level love in Australia. Her name is Kim Jackson, and this is one of her wines. Burnt incense, toasted allspice, and chocolate-covered cherries  bobbing in a gigantic vat ...

Wine of the Day, No. 270

minuty
Here’s a splendid classic dry rosé from Côtes de Provence in the South of France. A blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah, M de Minuty Rosé 2016 displays a very (very) pale hue that’s like the faintest coral-pink of a baby’s fingernail; ethereal notes of raspberries and rhubarb, with a hint of peach, are spare and delicate, though the wine’s freshness and elegance are buoyed by a taut spine of acidity and a foundation of chiseled, crystalline limestone. Despite its initial ephemeral impression, this rosé offers surprising heft on the palate, along with the herbal earthiness of dried Mediterranean herbs (“garrigue”); a few minutes in the glass bring in touches of lilac and talc, orange rind and white pepper. 13 percent alcohol. A superior rosé, one of the best I have encountered this year. Excellent. About $19. Imported by Treasury Wine Estates. A sample for review.

An Eclectic Case of Rosés

This survey of 12 rosé wines began as a Weekend Wine Notes post, but here it is, Wednesday, hardy the weekend at all, so I’m keeping the usual Weekend Wine Notes format but dropping that designation. We touch many styles of rosé wine amid this roster as well as many far-flung geographical regions. The grapes involved are also of broad variety, including merlot, pinot noir, tempranillo, grenache, syrah and even cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. While a few of these rosés could tolerate aging beyond this calendar year, all are really intended for immediate appeal and consumption, whether your choice of venue is the porch, the patio, by poolside or on a picnic or just standing around the kitchen while someone prepares a light Spring or Summer meal. Prices range from about $10 to $28, so nothing outlandlish. The point is to enjoy, while consuming in moderation, of course. These ...
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