May Featured Wines – Castellani Vermentino & Castellani Chianti Classico Reserva, Italy

We are back to Italian wines in May. The Castellani Family has a history of winemaking for over 150 years. They continue to perfect the varietals that flourish in Tuscany. The Castellani Vermentino vineyards are close to the Mediterrean Coast where the grape is perfectly acclimated to the sea breezes and sunlight. 2022 Castellani Vermentino is our selection. There are few white grapes that do well in this part of Tuscany. The red is 2017 Castellani Chianti Classico Reserva from the Chianti region of inland Tuscany. To be considered a Chianti, wines produced in this region have to meet certain conditions which are mandated by law. All Chiantis must have at least 70% Sangiovese. To be a Chianti Classico the wine must have 80% Sangiovese. Reserva means it has been aged for 24 months.

2022 Castellani Vermentino, Tuscany, Italy $16

In color this wine is straw yellow with light golden hues. The bouquet is complex with floral notes, white flowers, with stone and Mediterranean spices, sage, rosemary and mint. It is a full bodied and well-balanced wine. An easy white to pair with seafood and poultry. Alcohol: 12.5%

2017 Castellani Chianti Classico Reserva, Italy $16

This is a clear, medium ruby wine. There are notes of tart red cherry, raspberry, and red currant along with savory dried thyme, and earth. There are also notes of baking spices, and perhaps some cedar.This is a good wine with medium complexity of aromas and flavors.Of course, perfect of Italian food. Alcohol: 13%

March Featured Wines -2021 Blazon Chardonnay & 2021 Brazon Merlot, Lodi, California

The March Oak Ridge Winery selections come from the multigenerational Maggio family of winemakers. The family tradition continues at Oak Ridge with a twist. Its operation is overseen by three great grandaughters of the partiarch, Angelo. Their Maggio label has been a wine club selection with Maggio Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. We also offered Maggio Estates Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon at a great price as a holiday duo. (We still have some of these special bottles on hand.)

This month’s wines are under the Blazon label. What makes Blazon wines different from some of the other Oak Ridge Winery labels is the relationship of wine and oak. Both wines 2021 Blazon Chardonnay and 2021 Blazon Merlot are aged 10 months in oak, the Chardonnay primarly in French Oak and the Merlot in Hungarian Oak. Both of these wines will offer a chance to better understand how oak affects fermentation and taste values. Once again, for those who “think” they do not like Merlot, the Blazon may change your mind.

2021 Blazon Chardonnay, Lodi, California $11

This Chardonnay has a rich, creamy texture and medium-bodied; tropical notes with aromas of pineapple, mango and ripe peach. Toasted coconut with a slight hint of vanilla contribute to a lingering finish. It is 95% Chardonnay topped with 5% Pinot Grigio. A nice well-balanced and full bodied wine. Alcohol: 14.5%

2021 Brazon Merlot, Lodi, California $11

One review calls this a “fantastic wine! Easy to drink, soft tannins, fresh fruit flavors of raspberry and strawberry. Really enjoyed this!” This is a perfect way to get past Merlot’s reputation This is in fact 84% Merlot, 10% Petite Sirah 6% Petit Verdot so there is a nice soft mouth and light tannins. Alcohol: 14%

Featured Wines for February – 2019 Kila Cava Brut & 2022 Breca El Nacido, Catalonia, Spain

This month I am offering a sparkling wine which I do not do very often. After getting through the holidays with people asking for sparkling wine suggestions, I decided it was time to have our wine club members enjoy a Spanish Cava if they have not discovered this lovely sparkler. The word “Cava” means cave or cellar where the Spanish aged the wines. Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo are the varietals mostly used in Cava Bianco. Cava Rosado uses Garnacha tinta, Monastrell, Trepat, and Pinot Noir varietals. Our February selection Kila Cava Brut Bianco will be great for a Valentine’s Day toast! If you like Cava, we have several others to try.

2019 Kila Cava Brut, Catalonia, Spain $15

This Spanish Cava boasts impressive balance between its flavors of pear, white flowers, and zesty citrus and its firm, crisp finish.This is Cava has subtle flavora and a firm finish. A pleasant toast or a nice pairing with a festive dessert and you could think it is Champagne!

2022 Breca El Nacido, Catalonia, Spain $15

This Garnacha is a young, primary fruit expression of the oldest clones of Garnacha in the world, The altitudes of Catalonia produce a wine of tremendous character and concentration, balanced by fresh acidity that provides balance, and drinkability, and elegant minerality.

Featured Wines for November – EA Branco & EA Tinto, Alentejo, Portugal

This month we return to one of my favorite wine countries, Portugal, specifically the Alentejo wine region. This region is located in Portugal’s south central and eastern part of the country, bordering Spain, and covering more than 30% of the country. The area was initially known for cork production before the European Union in the 1980’s provided funding to Alentejo wine cooperatives to produce high-quality wines. This financial boost has now created the largest wine producing region in Portugal. There are 8 subregions. This month’s wines are from Evora, a lovely UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been shaped by 20 centuries of history of occupation by the Celts, Romans and Moors. Having withstood a 1755 eathquake that destroyed many towns in Portugal, today Alentejo is an architectural gem with many architectural elements of those who controlled the region through a long history – particularly religious history. The November wines are produced by Cartuxa Winery. The family behind this winery has an amaging history and mission. To read about of the family and the Eugenio de Almeida Foundation, the owner of the winery, go to their website. This is a remarkable story.

Now the wines – 2022 EA Branco and 2020 EA Tinto. As with most Portugese wines, both are blends of indigenious varietals only produced in Portugal. The white varietals are Antão Vaz + Arinto + Roupeiro. The red varietals are Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Syrah which we have tasted in previouslly offered Portugese wines. With both wines priced at $15, you will find them easy to drink and drinkable now. And, of course, the bottles are corked!

2022 EA Branco, Alentejo, Portugal $15

This blend is clear, brilliant straw to golden yellow color. Mid-intense aromas of white and yellow fruits and flowers, notes of melon, pear, green apple, minerals. Medium-bodied with nice, fresh acidity and alcohol. The finish is lively, smooth, a bit dry and persistent. Perfect pairing: pasta filled with Brie cheese Alcohol: 13.5%

2020 EA Tinto, Alentejo, Portugal $15

This wine has floral fragrances such as nutmeg, cherry, plum and rose. The palate brings a silky mouthfeel with ripe fruit and spice flavors such as cherry, plum, red raspberry, white pepper and baking spices. Vibrant acidity adds a brightness to the fruit. Medium-bodied makes it very food friendly. A great pairing with poultry or lean pork. Alcohol: 14%

Featured Wines for October – 2022 Maggio Sauvignon Blanc & 2021 Maggio Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi, California

For five generations the Maggio family has been growing wine grapes in Lodi, California, providing winemakers with superb fruit to make their wines. In 2002, the family started making their own wine using the same estate grown fruit they sold for so many years. They now produce wines under the family name, Maggio Family Vineyards by the Oak Ridge Winery.

October’s white selection 2022 Maggio Sauvignon Blanc will bring a California Sauvignon Blanc to our shelves. The red selection is 2021 Maggio Cabernet Sauvignon. Both are sustainably grown in the Maggio vineyards. At $11 these wines come from their most affordable Maggio line. Their expensive labels are Maggio Estates, but for the price, this month’s wines are versatile and enjoyable, not $35-$40. If you attended any performances at the Freeman Stage this year and purchased wine, you were drinking Maggio Family Vineyards. Tastings will be against another California Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa.

2021 Maggio Sauvignon Blanc, Lodi, California $11

This unoaked wine has a smooth and refreshing mouthfeel and exhibits an array of citrus aromas. With white stone fruit accents and its softer lingering finish this wine offers a lighter alternative to white wines such as Chardonnay.This wine is perfect with light appetizers, grilled poultry, pizza, pork chops. Alcohol: 12%

2021 Maggio Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi California $11

This Lodi Cabernet has rich berry fruit with oak and vanilla notes. With hints of baking spices, it reminds one of a mouthwatering berry pie, tasty crust and all. It has a medium body and gentle tannins making for very pleasurable wine drinking. This is a go-to wine for food pairing flexibility with grilled or roasted meats. Alcohol: 13.5%

September Opening & Wine Tasting

Stop by Friday September 1 from 5 until 8 to see the work of Meg Walsh and Nancy West. Other paintings by Lynne Lockhart, Kirk McBride, Linda Perry and Keith Whitelock are being shown.  tastingMeg Meg Walsh

September Featured Wines -Terres Des Treize Vents, Picpoul de Pinet, Languedouc, France & Terres Des Treize Vents Pays d’Oc Rouge, France

The white selection is 2020 Terres Des Treize Vents, Picpoul de Pinet. Picpoul de Pinet is an AOC appellation within southern France’s Languedoc region. It specializes in crisp, well-textured citrus-scented white wines exclusively from Picpoul grapes. In March we featured a California Picpoul by Bonny Doon. You may remember this as a crisp, green wine with minerality due to a dry climate. For this wine those characteristics come from the Mediterranean Sea climate.

The red is 2020 Terre Des Treize, Pays d’Oc Rouge. This blend carries the IGP classification consistent with the varietals used in the region. It is a blend of 50% Petit-Verdot & 50% Syrah. After a great deal of searching I have found little information on this wine, so I am just going with my sales reps recommendation! This is how we explore wines of the world! I am taking a bottle home to taste tonight. My review is below!

2020 Terres Des Treize Vents, Picpoul de Pinet, Languedouc, France $13

This wine is very dry, crisp and fresh; You catch apple and citrus flavors with a clean nice clean finish. Picpoul de Pinet can often be overly plain & simple, but this has a lovely, subtly fruity quality. Drink the youngest vintage available – it’s best when it’s freshest. Great with fresh seafood…Alcohol: 13%

2020 Terres Des Treize Vents Pays d’Oc Rouge, France $11

It is a nice 50/50 blend – medium body without a lot of tannins expected with Petit-Verdot. The lighter Syrah tannins balance the heavy Petit-Verdot tannins. This is a good pairing for charcuterie or spicy meat dishes. Very drinkable – especially for the price. Alcohol: 12.5%

Featured Wines for August – Mary Taylor Gaillac Perle (Nathalie Larroque) & Mary Taylor Buzet (Christophe Avi), Southwest France

We have featured many Mary Taylor White Label Wines but there a few more on our list. August wines are from 2 small appellations in the Garonne subregion in Southwwest, France – Gaillac and Buzet. Gaillac, believed to be the oldest vineyards in France, is northwest of Toulouse. Buzet is northwest from Gaillac on the left south bank of the Garonne River. If you follow Mary Taylor Wine, you know she searches for producers who grow and process indigenous grapes. Both of these appellations are only now becoming better known in the wine world.

2020 Mary Taylor Gaillac Perle (Nathalie Larroque), Southwest France, $16

This wine is rich and slightly honeyed with a nose of extreme minerals and earth and a balance of raciness and richness on the palate. The word “Perlé” indicates a slight prickle of nearly imperceptible bubbles in the wine. Enjoy on its own as an aperitif. Pair with rich and spicy foods; Indian Vindaloo, Korean spicy pork, mapo tofu, or Thai curries.Alcohol: 13%

This bold and structured wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. It displays rich red berry fruit, coffee beans, and tobacco. The unoaked palate is silky and graceful.The wine has ripe tannins and a generous texture that offers a good mix of black fruits and acidity. This a a wine to pair with summer grilled meats. Alcohol: 13.5%

2019 Mary Taylor Buzet (Christophe Avi), Southwest France $17

This bold and structured wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. It displays rich red berry fruit, coffee beans, and tobacco. The unoaked palate is silky and graceful. The wine has ripe tannins and a generous texture that offers a good mix of black fruits and acidity. This a a wine to pair with summer grilled meats. Alcohol: 13.5%

Featured Wines for July – 2018 Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco & 2021 El Coto Estate-Grown Rosado, Rioja, Spain

Each year I like to introduce a rose wine when I think such a change will be enjoyed. Summer is a perfect time although the French drink roses all year since they are such good “food” wines. I also attempt to find roses made in different regions and from different varietals.This month’s wines are produced by El Coto Winery in Rioja, Spain.

2018 Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco, Rioja, Spain $18

This is a light to medium wine with defined body and fine balance. It has a zesty freshness of pineapple and lemon but a softening with creamy structure and a light nutty finish. This vintage has received high marks and is considered a great pairing for hors d’euvres and charcuterie as well as fish and chicken. Alcohol: 12.5%

2021 El Coto Estate-Grown Rosado, Rioja, Spain $11

This salmon colored rose has aromas of tangerine, raspberry and sage. It has a pleasant feel in the mouth with flavors of lemon curd, strawberry, vanilla and lavender. There is light floral finish. This favorably rated rose is a perfect compliment to salads, chicken and fresh from the dock seafood. Alcohol: 13.5%

June Featured Wines – Cline Family Cellars Chardonnay & Cline Family Cellars Pinot Noir, California

Cline Family Cellars was started in 1982 by Fred and Nancy Cline in Oakley, California, Fred was one of the original Rhone Rangers and began planting vineyards dedicated to Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne. Some of his first vintages were from original plantings of Mourvèdre, Zinfandel, and Carignane, dating back to the 1880s. Since those first plantings, the family has continued to plant vineyards throughout Sonoma County, expanding to include more classic varieties like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This is still a family operation which has brought in some of the best winemakers from other parts of the wine world. It is a certified sustainable winery.

2021 Cline Family Cellars Chardonnay, California $16

This is a bright wine with plentiful tropical and stone fruit flavors balanced with oak and vanilla complexity that leads to a long and luscious finish. It is delicious wine mixture of oak and stainless fermentation with just the right amount of secondary fermentation. It has flavors of stone fruits and melon adding wonderful accents of fresh-baked bread Alcohol: 14.5%

2020 Cline Family Cellars Pinot Noir, California $20

Cline Pinot Noir has sumptuous flavors of raspberry, lilacs and dark chocolate, with subtle hints of vanilla and toasted oak. Bright red fruit characteristics emerge along with deep, color, lush body, touches of vanilla and spearmint followed by delicate strawberry flavor. Red fruit greet you on the nose and on the palate richness making this a superb drinking experience . Alcohol: 14.0%