June Domestic Wine: 2010 Clayhouse 'Adobe Red', Paso Robles, CALIFORNIA

“Our label and brand celebrate a historic home at our estate vineyard near Paso Robles. That 150-year-old adobe structure – the Clayhouse itself – still reminds us of the time when grapes were first planted in this area. The Clayhouse, which we’ve carefully restored, is really the ideal symbol for our vineyard and winery. After all, like the adobe, our wines are created from the earth, cultivated by hand, and nurtured by family traditions.

For the Middleton family, those traditions and deep passion for agricultural businesses go back more than four generations.

Today, Clayhouse Wines extend that proud family legacy with a selection of exceptional wines, all crafted by hand in a refined, elegant style that reflects the unique character of Paso Robles and the depth of flavor that the Central Coast imparts.”-clayhouse.com

About ‘The Clayhouse’:  “The 150-year-old adobe structure — the Clayhouse itself — really is the ideal symbol for our vineyards. After all, like the adobe, our wines are created from the earth, cultivated by hand, and nurtured by family traditions.

For the Middleton family, those traditions and deep passion for agricultural businesses go back more than four generations. Today, Clayhouse extends that proud legacy with its selection of exceptional wines, all hand-crafted in a refined, elegant style that reflects the unique character of Paso Robles.”-clayhouse.com

Vintage Description: Even fairly mild summer for Paso Robles. Yields were average producing a good well rounded vintage with expressive fruit flavors.

Varietal: 33% Zinfandel, 32% Petite Sirah, 20% Syrah, 13% Tempranillo, 2% Tanat

Alcohol: 13.7% by volume

Tasting Notes: Sweet ripe red cherries aromas. Jammy strawberry preserves and spice combine in the mouth in this complex blend of fruit flavors. Tannins are soft and rounded with a rich mouthfeel and warm toasty vanilla laced finish.

Food Pairings: This wine is a reliable Jack of all trades, made for cheeses, meat and red sauce based pastas, bbq, pizza or just sipping with friends.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “A great blend! Tons of concentration and flavor. A wine that will make you stand up and take notice. A wine that is a perfect summertime sipper! Drink with rich cheeses and hardy meats!”-JL

June Imported Wine: 2012 Herdade do Esporão 'Monte Velho' Alentejano Red, Alentejo, PORTUGAL

Esporão, one of Portugal’s top wine and olive oil producers, enjoys an international presence for their comprehensive series of wines and delectable olive oil offerings. A family-owned and family-run corporation, Esporão also happens to be the largest privately held wine company in Portugal. Founded in 1973 by Jose Roquette and currently led by Jose’s son, João Roquette, the youngest of six children and a man with avant-garde vision, Esporão brings a balanced blend of tradition and foresight, convention and innovation to their wine making practices and ultimately to the lofty lineup of Esporão wines.

Esporão’s Alentejo estate is of equal intrigue for both the history buff as well as the full-fledged oenophile. With the estate’s original boundaries dating back to 1267, a medieval tower and chapel from the 15th and 16th centuries respectively and a detailed archaeological dig (with museum) of a pre-historic settlement that existed on the property some 5,000 years ago, it’s no wonder that the land is nationally recognized for its historical importance. Yet, with an eye to the future the estate is also home to a 20 acre research project that cultivates 188 grape varieties to determine best bets for sustainability.

Esporão Wine Regions: With one of the largest holdings in Portugal’s Alentejo wine region, Esporão has invested considerable capital in its almost 4,000 acres of land in Alentejo and close to an additional 400 acres in a relatively new vineyard project in the country’s northwest Douro region (historically well-known for producing the world’s most famous Ports and more recently for gaining ground for the notable red wines coming out of the region). Producing 10 million liters of wine annually, with roughly 75% of their production falling into the red wine category and nearly 25% under the white wine headlines, Esporão has been on a trajectory of growth since the mid-80s. This growth continues with current expansion projects that include winery upgrades, modernization and renovation, as well as restaurant and tasting room developments. Whether the draw is wine, history, archaeology, sheer gastronomy or stellar cellar tours, Herdade do Esporão is one of Alentejo’s most worthwhile stops for wine tourism.

Varietal: Aragonês, Trincadeira, Touriga Nacional, Syrah

Alcohol: 14.0% by volume

Tasting Notes: Clear deep ruby color, with berry fruit aromas and some complex subtle toasty notes. Elegant on the palate with good depth of fruit and a fine tannic structure.

Food Pairings: Great with chorizo or other full-flavored sausage on the grill. Try with BBQ as well! Enjoy!

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Big and bold, and loaded with concentration. Full flavor with lots of cherry and blackberry. Best served with big meats on the grill.”-JL