Stein 'Rosé Secco' Mosel 2016
Dr. Ulrich Stein’s (aka “Ulli”) wines are still developing a fan base here in the US, but in Europe there is almost a cult-like following. Ulli strongly believes in the traditional steep, slate vineyard sites of the Mosel and traditional winemaking techniques. His rosé secco is made from predominantly Spätburgunder along with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot producing a refreshing, dry style of rosé sparkling with great palate weight and a funky edge to it. The flavors here include fresh strawberries, cherry, watermelon, and most importantly, bursting slate minerality. This is a wine-drinker’s style of sparkling.
Pairing Ideas: Shellfish, ceviche, roasted octopus, a hot day out on the beach or on a pier with good friends.
Aging Potential: up to 3 years
Weiser-Künstler Riesling Mosel 2016
Konstantin Weiser and Alexandra Künstler farm a total of only around 4 hectares in and around the town of Traben-Trarbach in the middle Mosel. They work vineyards that look more like cliffs that still have the traditional terraces to support their work and the very old, ungrafted vines. The 2016 Estate Riesling, is pure and pristine. The wine slightly off-dry (considered a feinherb style though it is not labeled as such) and is from organic fruit mostly coming from holdings in Steffensberg.
Pairing Ideas: Thai food, curries, szechuan, roasted pork leg, roast turkey.
Aging Potential: up to 8 years
Julian Haart Riesling “1000L” Mosel 2016
Julian’s first vintage under his own label was in 2010 and he garnered immediate attention from German wine lovers and the local industry. His experience led him to study under both Egon Müller and Klaus Peter Keller, two icons of German winemaking. He works with top-notch terroirs in the middle Mosel: Ohligsberg, just downstream from the Goldtröpfchen, as well as Goldtröpfchen itself and some 100 year old vines on Schubertslay, one of the smallest crus in the Mosel. This particular cuvee, named “1000L,” is wine made from the barrels of these top sites that Julian decides not to use in the final bottlings, thus this is a blend off all of those sites, adding up to about one Fuder (the traditional 1,000 liter barrel of the Mosel) - hence the name “1000L.” This is laser sharp Riesling with both power and delineated focus. Pure elegance and incredible slate minerality all across the nose and palate. This is very fine Riesling.
Pairing Ideas: Flaky white fish, scallops, caviar, carnitas tacos, pork belly, summer vegetables.
Aging Potential: up to 10 years
Enderle & Moll Pinot Noir 'Liaison' Baden 2015
Stephen Bitterolf of Vom Boden describes this property perfectly, “The estate known as Enderle and Moll is really just two guys, a tiny cellar, a basket press, a few hectares of old vines and a hell of a lot of buzz.” Many people believe that Enderle & Moll may be the very best producer of Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) in Germany. Sven and Florian work with old vines, they farm their vineyards organically and biodynamically, and everything at this property is done by hand. They never fine or filter their wines and in addition to their incredible vineyard holdings, their barrels (all used) come from one of Burgundy’s best estates, Domaine Dujac. This is serious German Spätburgunder. The ‘Liaison’ is a blend of some younger vines in their “Grand Cru” wines of Muschelkalk & Buntsandstein. Despite these being the younger vines, the vine age here still exceeds 45 years (which would be considered old just about anywhere else in the world). This is perfumed, exotic, delicate, and refined Pinot Noir, and some of the absolute finest we have tasted in Germany.
Pairing Ideas: Roasted chicken, duck, butternut squash, morel mushrooms, quail.
Aging Potential: up to 15 years
Los Bermejos, Malvasia Seco, Lanzarote, Canary Islands 2016
Winemaker Ignacio Valdera is meticulous both in his vineyard and his winery. Yields are kept very low to ensure top quality fruit comes from these vines that struggle in this harsh environment. The grape here, Malvasia Volcanica, is indigenous to the island of Lanzarote. It is a cross of Marmajuelo and Malvasia Aromatica. It is fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel to retain freshness. It is a wine that is bursting with floral, honey, and stone fruit flavors with a weighty texture but with the acid to back it up.
Pairing Ideas: Crudo, langoustine, summer vegetables, beach days.
Aging Potential: up to 5 years
Mas Candi, Xarel-lo, ‘QX,’ Penedes 2015
Mas Candi was founded in 2006 by a group of 4 friends from enology school. After spending time working in Burgundy, they returned to their native Spain to the town of Avinyonet del Penedes, about 30 miles just outside of Barcelona. Here they naturally farm grapes that are local to their region like Mando, Roigenc, and this grape, Xarel-lo. The ‘QX’ stands for quatro Xarel-lo as the wine comes from 4 top parcels on the property. The grapes are hand harvested, fermented in tank and then aged in a mix of French, American, Acacia, and Chesnut barrels. The result is a lively and aromatic wine with incredible texture and minerality.
Pairing Ideas: Buttered lobster, corn, roasted chicken, grilled branzino.
Aging Potential: up to 10 years
Guimaro, Mencia, Ribeira Sacra 2015
Pedro Rodriguez and his Guimaro adega was one of the first wineries to join the Ribeira Sacra DO in 1996. They are, to this day, one of the very top producers of this incredible region. Located in the subregion of Amandi, with steep south facing slate soils, they produce, in my eyes, the most quintessential Mencia wines. Their farming is organic, they employ natural yeast fermentations using whole-clusters, and age their wines in neutral wood with minimal sulfur. This classic Tinto is a totally unoaked version from 40 year old vines, showcasing the fresh, delicate, aromatic side of the spicy Mencia grape.
Pairing Ideas: Chorizo tacos, Indian food, spicy dishes, game birds, pepperoni pizza.
Aging Potential: up to 8 years
Goyo Garcia Viadero, Graciano, ‘Finca Cascorrales,’ Ribera del Duero 2014
Goyo works 3 small plots near the town of Roa in the Ribera del Duero. Even though he has only been making wine since 2003, he is now one of the most respected producers in the region. He farms no less than 5 different grape varieties, both red and white, interplanted on various soils such as slate, chalk, limestone, clay, and sand. His approach is both traditional and very natural at the same time and prefers to focus on vineyard rather than grape variety as his point of view. Grapes are hand harvested, naturally fermented, and little to no sulfur is added to the wines along the way. The Finca Cascorrales is a very limited run of 100% Graciano from 35 year old vines. This wine is not labeled as Ribera del Duero because 100% Graciano wines are not covered under the DO law. This is dense, juicy, richly textured wine with bursting plum-like acidity.
Pairing Ideas: Grilled red meats, burgers, venison, lamb, mushrooms.
Aging Potential: up to 30 years
Silkman Semillon, Hunter Valley, New South Wales 2015
Husband & wife team Shaun & Liz Silkman launched their own winery in 2013 after several years working at other top estates in NSW. The Hunter Valley is well-known for its dry, mineral-laden Semillon, which thrives on the sandier white and grey soils and old river beds on the lower vineyards of the town of Pokolbin. The Semillon grape variety has excelled in this unique area because it is an early ripener and reaches great flavor development with low brix levels. The wine ferments naturally dry and is bottled early, without any any exposure to oak. This crisp, high-acid style “Sem” has waxy, chamomile aromas and flavors that you can expect from the grape, and the lean, dry profile on the palate makes this a very refreshing wine.
Pairing ideas - Clean and raw seafood rocks with this wine. Think crudo, ceviche, sushi and shellfish.
Seville Estate Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Victoria 2014
Yarra Valley is a diverse wine state in the southeast corner of Australia. It’s the oldest wine region in Victoria, with the first vineyards planted in 1860. Dr. Peter McMahon planted the first vines at Seville Estate in the Upper Yarra in 1972 and his son Dylan now runs the property. With access to original plantings, Dylan lends a minimal, old world style touch to cool climate Chardonnay that races across the palate as if it’s Puligny-Montrachet with great mineral flavors. The fruit for this Chardonnay is whole bunch pressed, settled overnight, and then gravity fed to a range of French oak hogsheads and foudres (30% new) where natural fermentation takes place. The wine is then matured for 10 months.
Pairing Ideas - Pour a big glass of this with some roast chicken, crispy skin and spring vegetables to really watch it shine. Pork chops will also do the trick.
Ochota Barrels ‘Texture Like Sun,’ Adelaide Hills, South Australia 2016
The Ochota Barrels’ story goes back to late 2000, when Taras and Amber Ochota were finishing up a world-wide surf trip along Mexico’s western coast. During their last few days riding waves on the Pacific, the couple dreamed up the idea of making delicious, sustainable wines back in their native South Australia home. Taras’ oenology background and experience making wine in various cellars across the globe made the pair perfectly equipped to give life to their project on nearly ten breathtaking acres in the Basket Range of the Adelaide Hills. ‘Texture Like Sun’ is a funky, fresh, and downright enjoyable blend of Grenache, Gamay, Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer.
Pairing Ideas - Make this your go-to red wine to drink out in the sun; pair it up with your favorite burger or some carnitas tacos for the win.
Jamsheed Syrah ‘Illaj,’ Yarra Valley 2015
Gary Mills is the visionary, brain and hands behind Jamsheed. From Western Australia, Gary studied literature and worked as an English teacher in Japan before a brief stint as a Japanese speaking tour guide in Queensland then led him to work in the vineyards of Margaret River. Gary’s passion for wine took him to the US for what turned into a 2 year position at Ridge Vineyards in Santa Cruz under the tutelage of legendary winemaker Paul Draper, before eventually returning to Oz. Gary views terroir as the sole focus of his wines and the expression is the goal.The ‘Illaj’ is a brand new bottling. If you like whole-cluster, salty, olive-y, herbal Syrah, this wine is right up your alley.
Pairing ideas - This hearty, savory Syrah needs big flavors to back it up; game meats, duck, or meat lover’s pizza are all good ideas here.
Wenzlau Vineyard, Chardonnay, 'The Drawing Board,' Santa Rita Hills 2013
The Wenzlau family are some of the nicest and most welcoming people we've met, and they have a prime hillside vineyard in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills. Their vineyard is one contiguous, organically farmed hillside with Chardonnay planted on the bottom half, and Pinot Noir on the top. Justin Willett makes the wines here, and he has a special touch with Chardonnay & Pinot. This particular Chardonnay was whole- cluster pressed, naturally fermented to 13.5% abv, and aged in Burgundy barrels of which 10% are new. As with all of the Wenzlau Estate wine, there is no acidification, chaptalization, fining or filtering. This is a classy Chardonnay; taught & mineral-laden with balance, great finesse, energy and mineral snap.
Pairing Ideas - Pairs with rich textured flavors like roasted chicken, pork chop, creamy pasta or lobster.
Presqu’ile, Pinot Noir Rosé, Santa Maria Valley 2016
Presqu'ile is a beautiful property in the northern AVA of Santa Maria Valley. The Murphy family are the owners, and they are kind, generous people who care deeply about their land and their community. The elegant, terroir-focused style of their wines, fantastic vineyard holdings and top talent make them a winery to watch. We believe they are destined for greatness and we are very proud to be supporting them. This rosé of Pinot Noir comes from estate fruit on the Presqu’ile vineyard. It’s a direct to press, stainless steel fermented and aged rosé that is built to be delicate, aromatic, and refreshing. Clocking in at only 12.8% abv, this wine is all about strawberries, flowers and punctuated acid. Take it with you anywhere and everywhere.
Pairing Ideas - Compliments light, citrus-y flavors like fresh ceviche or crudo, shellfish and fish tacos.
The Ojai Vineyard, Syrah, ‘John Sebastiano,’ Santa Barbara County 2013
The Ojai Vineyard seeks to combine European balance and finesse with the bold fruit of coastal Southern California. This winery's style has evolved over the years and we are super excited about what they are doing here right now. Located in the warmer, dryer part of the Santa Ynez valley, winemaker Adam Tolmach's approach places importance on restraint, without sacrificing the ability to capture the true characteristics of this grape and the land. This is a Santa Barbara wine for Rhône junkies with its lower alcohol content, bright acid and peppery, tapenade, smoked bacon-like flavors. Yum. Town. There's a good chance you'll mix this up with benchmark northern Rhône wine.
Pairing Ideas - Drink with Mediterranean flavors and braised meats, duck, roast chicken or game.
Star Lane, Cabernet Sauvignon, Happy Canyon 2013
With its picturesque views and incredibly varied landscape, one cannot help but be happy driving through Happy Canyon. Star Lane is arguably the most important producer in the canyon, and they’ve proven that Cabernet Sauvignon can thrive in Santa Barbara. This vineyard differentiates itself from other parts of the county by its ability to sustain warmth. Located in the far eastern edge of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA, Happy Canyon’s inland position, high slopes and varied soils ensure complete maturation for Bordeaux varieties like this Cabernet Sauvignon. This is not highoctane, full-throttle style Cab. This wine is dry, structured, firm, and reminiscent of old-school Napa Cabernets like they were made back in the 80's. James Bond in liquid form.
Pairing Ideas - Goes well with bold flavors and fatty meats; try it with a burger, BBQ or a steak.