This week schedule of tastings included an awesome lineup from Bordeaux, some Martinelli hits, and other amazing wines from Sonoma and Napa. Here is a sample of some of our favorites. To get these on your table and in your cellar, all you have to do is ask (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2009 Mithra Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder
Wine Spectrum 97: One hundred percent estate grown fruit on the Mithra vineyard located on Lokoya road within the Mount Veeder AVA. Planted to cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and malbec, the vineyard continues to produce site-specific mountain fruit since Mithra’s inaugural 2006 vintage.
The 2009 vintage is 100% Estate fruit from the Mithra Vineyard on Mount Veeder. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2009 vintage has small percentages of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec blended in the varietal composition. The wine is aged in predominantly new French oak. Just 400 cases produced.
This third vintage of Mithra is an intricately complex Cabernet Sauvignon with intense aromatics. Deep, plush, dark red fruits such as black raspberries, creme de cassis and purple plums expertly integrate with soft, round tannins that coat the palate. Hints of floral notes and spice weave through the mid palate, enhancing an elegant, expressive finish.
Mithra is made by winemaker Julien Fayard, who previously has worked in both Provence and Bordeaux, where he honed his skills at Chateaux such as Lafite-Rothchild and Smith Haut Lafite. Prior to stepping out on his own, he was the Director of Winemaking for Phillipe Melka at Atelier Melka. Julien is truly one of the rising winemaking stars in the Napa Valley.
2010 Chateau Croix de Labrie, Saint Emilion
Wine Spectrum 96: This tiny winery produces on average just 280 cases, from three small vineyards. One is next to the winery in Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes, one is near Pavie, and the third is near Valandraud. All three vineyards total 6.2 acres. The wine is aged 24 months in 100% new oak before bottling. Jean-Luc Thunevin, the proprietor of Valandraud, and Michel Rolland, are the consulting enologists. Chapelle de Labrie is made from younger vines, and is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. 350 cases produced this vintage. Stunning wines for the value!
2011 Martinelli ‘Jackass Hill’ Zinfandel, Russian River Valley
Wine Spectrum 95+, Robert Parker 96: The 2011 Zinfandel Jackass Hill Vineyard is the most potent of these Zins with 16.6% natural alcohol. It offers copious aromas of Asian plum sauce, smoked duck, charcuterie, blackberry and black raspberry fruit, a soft, velvety, full-bodied, unctuously textured personality, and a decade’s worth of aging potential. Sadly, just over two barrels were produced.
This Zinfandel from Jackass Hill Vineyard is made from 106-year-old, head-pruned, dry-farmed vineyards planted on one of the steepest slopes in Sonoma. This rugged section of the ranch is referred to by the Martinelli family as “Jackass Hill”, because only a jackass would farm a hill that steep. Jackass Hill is the steepest non-terraced hillside vineyard in Sonoma County. This Zinfandel is seriously full-bodied, showing notes of creme de cassis and dark berries combined with black peppery spice and anise flavors.
Wine Spectrum 95: Blueberry preserve, baker’s chocolate and spices jump out of the glass to the nose. The entry is soft tannin, currants and dark cherry. The middle and finish are supported by silky smooth integrated oak and fruit tannins. Fine tobacco coffee bean and cassis finish the wine. 500 cases produced. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot.
Wine Spectrum 95: The Studert family has been producing wine since the 16th century, but Sturdert-Prum was created in 1970 with the merger of Stephan Studert and Peter Prum. The Graacher Himmelreich vineyard (Kingdom of Heaven) is located in the northern part of the Mosel, opposite the village of Graach (between Wehlen and Bernkastel). Studert-Prum wines are all 100% Riesling. The 2012 vintage of the Graacher Himmelreich Riesling is the grape showing at its best. Elegant and fresh, this wine is off-dry and crisp, with juicy flavors of stone fruits and minerals. Just 220 cases produced.
2009 Martinelli ‘Moonshine Ranch’ Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Wine Spectrum 95: Moonshine Ranch is located off River Road and close to the Santa Rosa airport. It is rocky old loamy benchland soil… planted to Pommard varieties (3) and the old Windsor Garden Clone (Merry Edwards). The 2009 ‘Moonshine Ranch’ Pinot Noir continues to be ripe and powerful – loaded with the typical flavors of dark berries, sassafrass, root beer, and cola notes. A stunning Pinot Noir that remains full of rich, but elegant, flavors. Tasted June 2015.
2011 Clos 56 Pomerol
Wine Spectrum 95: This .56 Hectare is planted to 100% Merlot. Purchased in 2010 by Alexia and Pierre Bouyer, this tiny plot is located in the southwest corner of Pomerol. The vineyard soil is primarily composed of sand and gravel and the average age of the vines is over 60 years. The wine is aged in 100% new French oak barrels for 12-15 months.
Just 150 cases produced.
Wine Spectrum 94+: Rich gold color in the glass, with aromas of green Anjou pear, guava and white peach blossom, this wine offers an aromatic complexity that can only come from the unique site of Durell Vineyard. The depth of the minerality in the mouthfeel is juxtaposed with a creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Hints of French pastry and spicy oak highlight the long, luscious finish. 130 cases produced.
2012 Walter Hansel ‘Estate’ Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Wine Spectrum 94, Robert Parker 93: The 2012 Chardonnay Estate, from a vineyard planted in 1976 and 1989, was aged in 38% new Francois Freres barrels, and goes through malolactic with lees stirring for about 6-8 weeks. Another terrific value, this 1,000-case beauty exhibits lots of white peach, honeyed citrus, brioche and pineapple notes enhanced by a gentle seasoning of wood spice, a full-bodied mouthfeel and loads of fruit as well as exuberance. There is a heavy underpinning of minerality running through this attractive Chardonnay. Consume it over the next 5-7 years.