Gems in My Glass . . . December 2013

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Tasting Notes

Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2011 Chardonnay; Gold Ridge Hills, Sonoma Coast, California:  Here is a charming, well-crafted Burgundian style Chardonnay.  Crisp green apple and subtle toasty notes enchant the nose.  Layers of minerals and savory spice join apple and sauteed pear notes all converging in harmony on the palate.  The structure is regal and elegant, and the creamy texture and bright acidity persist  through the lively finish.  SRP:  $30;

Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2009 Balistreri Vineyard Pinot Noir; Sonoma Coast, California:  Aromas and flavors of violets, black cherries, wild mushrooms and exotic spice notes intoxicate the senses with this impressive, mineral laden Pinot Noir.  Reminiscent of a French Volnay, it is complex and impeccably balanced, finishing with beautiful lift and purity of flavors.  Drink now or cellar; I expect this finely structured wine to age well for several years.   SRP:  $75

Frecciarossa 2011 Gli Orti Oltrepo Pavese, Riesling; Lombardy, Italy:   Riesling is a vibrant, expressive wine made in many regions around the world.  This is the first I have tasted from the Lombardy region and it is captivating.  The fruit and wet stone aromatics draw you into the glass.  Unfolding on the palate are white peach and hints of apple surrounded accents of minerals, lime peel and a touch of herbs.  A refreshingly crisp dry Riesling.   SRP:  ~$22

Copain Wines 2011 Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir; Anderson Valley, California:  The dazzling dark pink jeweled hue and engaging spicy nose pave the way for this delectable, palate pleasing wine.  Earthy notes weave through juicy red cherry, raspberry, savory spice and sweet oak nuances.  This nicely crafted Pinot Noir is smooth, well balanced and deliciously easy to quaff.  SRP:  $28

Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2004 Brut Rose; Reims, France:  Popping the cork on this Champagne IS the celebration, no need to wait for a special occasion.  Revel in the eye catching tiny persistent bead that tickles the nose and palate with verve.  This impressively structured Champagne displays layers of freshly baked bread, quince paste, crisp apples, citrus accents, roasted nuts and minerality that fill the palate expansively.  The quintessential yeasty quality persists from first sip through the lifted, forever finish.  SRP:  ~$125

Marqués de Riscal 2007 Rioja Reserva; Spain:  This delightful wine, made primarily of Tempranillo (with a bit of Graciano and Mazuelo blended in) is harvested from 15 year old vines.  The entry is vivid and juicy, and broadens on the palate with red plums, sweet raspberries and black cherries melding with pretty dried herb notes carrying nicely through the finish.  Aged in American oak, the vanilla and hints of toasted coconut are apparent but not over the top; well integrated.  SRP:  ~$18

David Fulton Winery 2003 Petite Sirah; Napa Valley, California:  Densely packed aromas of black plums and berries wake up the senses with this superbly aged Petite Sirah.  On the palate a plush, concentrated blast of blackberry, plum, fig jam, and pepper spice interweave with a thread of cocoa exploding with brightness and density.  Rich, viscous and powerfully built with firmly structured tannins; lovely now and still has years ahead to be savored.  SRP: ~$40

El Huique Patio Portio; NV Vino Dulce Licoroso, Colchagua Valley, Chile:  I discovered this gem five years ago while visiting vineyards and wine producers throughout the Colchagua Valley.  The Cabernet Franc vineyard from which this velvety dessert wine is crafted is located on the patio of the El Huique property (hence the name Patio Porto).  Alluring aromas draw you in, and the dark, rich black cherry, boysenberry, candied nuts, mocha and sweet oak spice flavors unite on the palate with pure elegance.  Smoothly textured with lovely acidity offsetting the delicious sweetness.    SRP:  ~$45