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Hilliard Bruce Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills 2013 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: STA. RITA HILLS / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- John Hilliard and Christine Bruce left their Texas home in 2002, after purchasing the 101-acre Hilliard Bruce ranch in the Sta. Rita Hills. After surviving two life-threatening illnesses, John was seeking new adventures, while Christine looked to expand her business of breeding Arabian horses. Inspired by their love of wine and their background as gardeners, they planted 21 acres to pinot noir and chardonnay, with assistance from some of the industry’s best viticulturalists. The Santa Rita Hills have become an iconic area for these grapes, where the extreme ocean influence and marine soils allow for precise, focused wines with a distinctive, lightly saline quality. Hilliard Bruce is also a Certified Sustainable vineyard through Sustainable in Practice (SIP). Christine prefers a Burgundian style and method for producing her chardonnays: lightly pressing and barrel-fermenting with Montrachet yeast. Clean and classy, this offers up aromas of honeysuckle, lemon blossom, citrus, and hints of mint. On the palate it is medium- to full-bodied, with lemon peel, pineapple, and grapefruit adding crispness to a smooth, luxurious texture accented by touches of slate, flint, and smoke. Elegant indeed, enjoy this with chicken Dijon or grilled shrimp with pineapple salsa.
Nelms Road Merlot Washington State 2014
Country: USA / Region: WASHINGTON STATE / Appellation: WASHINGTON STATE / Varietal(s): MERLOT+CABERNET SAUVIGNON+SYRAH --- In 1998, Woodward Canyon Winery began producing wines under a second label, Nelms Road. Nelms Road offers merlot and cabernet sauvignon from Walla Walla Valley and Washington State grapes, with the aim of producing tasty, affordable reds from younger vineyards and surplus lots of Woodward Canyon Winery production. The 2014 Nelms Road merlot (85% merlot, with tiny touches of cabernet sauvignon and syrah), is a delicious example of what that approach can offer. Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard is the main vineyard for this merlot, augmented by some absolutely phenomenal press wine from some of the oldest, most renowned vineyards in Washington State. A warm 2014 yielded beautifully ripe fruit that still maintains a good sense of balance with deep black cherry flavors and hints of baking spice and herbs. Complex aromas of roasted meat, black olive, and tobacco add a subtle savory influence, resolving in a generous finish. Quite enjoyable to drink now, this may also be cellared for several years. But if you can't wait that long, try it with smoked brisket or wild mushroom risotto!
Carmelo Patti Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza 2006
Country: ARGENTINA / Region: MENDOZA / Appellation: MENDOZA / Varietal(s): CABERNET SAUVIGNON --- Arriving in Argentina on a small boat from Sicily when he was one year old, Carmelo Patti played a seminal role in the rebirth of fine wine production in Mendoza in the eighties and remains one of the most respected enologists in the country. Carmelo runs every aspect of his operation himself, including holding all wine until he determines it ready for release (an average of 4-5 years after harvest at the earliest for reds.) A legend in his hometown, Carmelo remains a bit under the radar in the US, making his wines "cult" favorites, and also terrific values! All wines are made naturally, with no chemical additives and only native yeast. As he does with his malbec, Carmelo makes his cabernet in a very simple way: he starts with exemplary fruit (in this case from Pedriel in Lujan de Cuyo), before fermenting with native yeast and aging one year in concrete. Finally the wine is racked into high quality used French oak barrels, where it rests for several years until release. More European in style than many other Argentine cabs, this cuvée bursts forth with aromas of tea leaves, paprika, and touches of leather, cured meat, and earth. Far from plush or jammy, an elegant palate of dried dark fruit is supported by a muscular core of tannins, evolving into a classic finish of power and longevity. Enjoy this with slow cooked beef ragù!