June Domestic Wine: 2012 Poppy Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands, CALIFORNIA

Poppy, located in Monterey Wine Country, was founded by the Silva Family, who in 2003 endeavored to channel their passions into a carefully crafted wine with a focus on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Poppy wines are produced from vineyards located in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco, Monterey and Paso Robles Appellations nestled along California’s Central Coast.

By controlling grapes sourcing and operating a state-of-the-art facility, Poppy combines age-old winemaking traditions with new world techniques that make the California wine industry one of the best.

When deciding on a name, the Silva’s wanted something that spoke to the great state of California where their family had settled so many years ago. One day, while looking at wild poppies growing amongst the vines, the name was born. Celebrating the state of California and its golden blooming flowers, Poppy is a proud symbol for their great state and this great wine.

Their five vineyards are located in the Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco appellations within the world-class Monterey Wine Country, which is home to 175 vineyards and nine American Viticulture Areas (AVAs). Listed below are the Poppy Vineyards used in production.

Poppy Hillside Vineyard-Santa Lucia Highlands

Vineyard established in 1972, 220 acres of Old Estate Select Poppy Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Silva Family Vineyard-Arroyo Seco

Vineyard established in 1997, 50 acres of Pinot Noir

Beeswax Vineyard-Arroyo Seco

Vineyard established in 2000, 24 acres of organically farmed Pinot Noir, Greanche Blanc, Roussanne and Picpoul Blanc

Bella Vita Vineyard- Arroyo Seco

Vineyard established in 2006, 254 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Evelina Marie Estate Vineyard-Santa Lucia Highlands

Vineyard established in 2012, 10 acres of Pinot Noir.

UnknownThe soil, weather and farming are the three major components that make Poppy wines exceptional. The soil at their vineyards is composed of an accumulation of sediment from the Salinas River, which creates a unique variability that is the foundation of the complexity in our wines year after year.

The Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands appellations share similar weather patterns that allow us to grow amazing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Nighttime temperatures tend to stay between 50 and 55 degrees, while daytime temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees. This moderate climate, combined with the coastal fog, contributes to the low pH, bright acidity and red fruit flavors in the county’s Pinot Noirs.

Varietal(s): 100% Chardonnay

Alcohol: 12.5% by volume

Tasting Notes: “Youthful notes of lemon and honeysuckle are layered over ripe melon, nutmeg, and clove. The perception of sweetness is derived from fruit ripeness, aging on regularly stirred yeast lees in the presence of aged French oak.”

Food Pairing: Pair this great poppy Chardonnay with almost anything under the sun! It is great this year with fresh food from the garden, lighter meats, and of course, all seafood. Poppy is refreshing and will leave you wanting another glass!

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Rich layers of butter and tropical fruit with a long lingering finish. Great to serve with antipasti or as a  summertime sipper!”-JL

June Imported Wine: 2008 Heredad Ugarte Crianza, Rioja, SPAIN

Eguren Ugarte, is an international family business. The firm began in the world of wine in 1870. With more than 130 hectares of their own vineyards, they unite tradition and modernity. At Eguren Ugarte, they make wine with the Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja. Accredited in 1926, they obtained the highest category, “Calificada” in 1991.

About: The Ugarte family’s winegrowing history dates to 1870, when Don Amancio Ugarte started producing wines in San Vicente de la Sonsierra. His skill and knowledge have been handed down from generation to generation and the wines have grown in quality and fame. Heredad Ugarte has traditionally selected and harvested 120 hectares of vineyards, in the best spots of Rioja Alavesa – Laguardia and Labastida.  The combination of location, soil and grape variety, now managed by two young female winemakers, is yielding wines appreciated world-wide for their balanced color and acidity and flavor.

Rioja: Rioja [ˈrjoxa] is a wine region, with Denominación de Origen Calificada (D.O.Ca. Qualified designation of origin) named after La Rioja, in Spain. Rioja is made from grapes grown not only in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, but also in parts of Navarre and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. Many wines have traditionally blended fruit from all three regions though there is a slow growth in single-zone wines.

Varietal(s): 92% Tempranillo and 8% Garnacha

Alcohol: 13.5% by volume

Tasting Notes: Aged 15 months in the barrel and 6 months in the bottle. This wine has clean aromas with ripe fruit and hints of toast. Smooth and soft tannins make this an easy drinker with a beautiful lingering finish and aromatic aftertaste.

Food Pairings: This bottle of Rioja is a food lover’s dream. The wine is a perfect match for Spanish or Latin inspired food, such as paella, grilled sausage/chorizo, charcuterie, and so on. The Rioja will pair with rich food and amplify the flavor. Enjoy!

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “A wine filled with layers of concentration and depth. Ugarte is a wine that is full throttle! With flavors of ripe fruits, cassis, cedar and tobacco. Great to serve with barbeque or any other favorite on the grill!”-JL