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Domaine les Aphillanthes: This is an old estate that is comprised of 37 hectares spread throughout Travaillan, Cairanne, and Serignan. The domaine is located in Travaillan, which is just north-west of Gigondas. Daniel Boulle has run the estate since 1987. All of the production was sold to the local cooperative until the 1999 vintages. Today, all of the production is vinified at the estate and about one third is sold in bulk. There were new cellars built in 2000 and in 2007 the estate was certified as biodynamic (Biodivin) and organic (Ecovert). The vineyards are clay-limestone mixed with gallets (round rocks). The wines are transported by gravity feed and fermented in concrete vats with no filtration. Grower and winemaker Daniel Boulle’s terroir driven southern Rhone wines are exemplary models of perfect fruit from low yields. His approach is to focus on the quality of the fruits in the vineyard together with minimal intervention at the winery. His oenologist is Phiippe Cambie and their aim is true sense of terroir and quality over quantity.
About: The 2014 Trois Cepages comes from low yielding vineyards that produce about 30hL/ha. All the grapes are harvested at the same time and then co-fermented in concrete tanks. This technique makes the Grenache and Syrah super ripe since the Mourvedre ripens later in the growing cycle. The wine sees no oak at all, being both fermented and aged in concrete. As this cuvee is quite difficult to achieve by Philippe and Daniel’s standards, it is very near and dear to them; subsequently, we hope you will find it endearing to your palate.
Varietals: Virtually equal parts Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre (The Holy Trinity of Rhone Varietals)
Tasting Notes: Provencal, elegant, beautifully pure with great notes of crushed flowers, violets, black raspberries and red raspberries, not too heavy on the palate; however it will shine for its purity and drinkability now and over the next 6-8 years.
Food Pairings: Burgers with a nice smoked Gouda dripping from under the bun, steaks with crisscrossed grill marks and herbed butter, or a charcuterie tray on the back deck.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich and concentrated with flavor of cedar and earthy flavor, best served with pork, beef, or lamb. Cheers!!!
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Celler de Capcanes: Capçanes (pronounced Cap-sar-ness) is in DO Montsant, which surrounds the more famous DOQ Priorat. The village is in the south-eastern corner of the Comarca Priorat. Capçanes is (and isn’t) a co-op winery. Capçanes is both the name of a small Montsant village, south-east of the region’s main town, Falset, and also the name of its wine co-op. 190 hectares (pre-phylloxera there were 1,000 ha under vine) are controlled by 75 growers and represents about 10% of the DO’s total production. About half is organic, with more vineyards converted to such each year. Yields are as little as 12 hl/ha on the centenary Garnacha vines. But this is no mere co-op winery, at least not as they are commonly conceived! Historically, Montsant in general and Capçanes in particular, were known for producing bulk wine; however, by the 1990s, it was reduced to being a mere grower of fruit which was sold off in bulk to producers elsewhere. Worried that their future was not secure, the growers banded together to create their own brand. Run since 1997 by a visionary German, Jürgen Wagner, Capçanes makes estate-style wine from within a co-op system. Ironically, in this deeply Catholic region, the first Capçanes wine was a kosher wine, Peraj Ha´abib, or Flor de Primavera. The first of these was produced for the Rabbi of Barcelona in 1995, and achieved big scores from Parker and Jose Peñin (behind only Pingus and L’Ermita as the top wine of the year). The success, including the price, of this wine helped get the growers across the line and committed to a quality-driven path. Nowadays, Capçanes produces a significant range of estate-style wines.
About: This wine is a custom cuvee made by Montsant’s trend-setting co-operative for American importer Eric Solomon. It’s a bit like a Côtes du Rhône, but with more color, dark fruit and body. And it displays some of the region’s patented terroir, meaning it has that graphite-schist quality along with peppery notes.
Varietals: 85% Grenache & 15% Syrah
Tasting Notes: Medium ruby with violet shades; very nice glycerin mouth feeling and texture; wild red and black berry flavors, cherry, spices and herbs; well integrated elegant smooth vanilla oaky toasty notes; ripe mouthful and complex on the palate: loads of sweet vibrant fruit; medium to full-bodied with soft and velvet tannins and nicely refreshing finish.
Food Pairings: Roasted lamb chops, goat, beef, duck, game (partridge, quail, rabbit); stews, casseroles, grilled vegetable, cheeses, sirloin, and oxtail.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Big & concentrated with big cedar and tobacco flavor and a long deep finish; best served with anything from the BBQ!
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Cartlidge & Browne: In the late 1970’s, Tony Cartlidge sat in the cab of a cement mixer on a nuclear plant construction site reading about great California winemakers; shortly thereafter, he got into his 1960 Nash Rambler and headed to Napa. He checked into a Motel 6 and used the Yellow Pages hanging from a payphone in the lobby to cold call wineries looking for employment. He talked his way into a job as a tour guide for a winery and there also began to dabble in winemaking. Tony and his partner, Glen Browne, decided to break all the rules and embark on a winemaking enterprise with no experience, vineyards, or winery. In 1980 they settled into a facility in Napa that was little more than a garage. While Glen Browne handled the business end, Tony Cartlidge scoured the appellations of the North Coast in his Rambler. He brought the harvest of his labors back to the garage and it wasn’t soon after that critics began to talk about the balanced, varietally correct, complex wines; a style previously thought achievable only with estate-grown and bottled fruit. As Tony puts it “They were Hollywood, we were Independent Films.” The family-owned, Sonoma-based wine company Vintage Wine Estates, acquired Cartlidge & Browne in 2011, and set about to restore the iconic brand with a new package and aesthetic to bring the origin story to life. Today, the garage may be gone, but the spirit and vision lives on. Tony Cartlidge continues as spokesman and ambassador for the wines, which remain true to their original style.
About: California’s North Coast AVA is vast, covering more than 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) of land to the north of San Francisco. “We get to pick and choose the best vineyards across California — some with lively acid, others that will lend a plush texture on the palate. From there, we ferment the grapes under strict temperature controls, age the wine, blend to taste, and age the wine some more until it’s integrated, aromatic and delightful on the palate. Ah Chardonnay…”
Varietals: 100% Chardonnay-10 months, medium toast French oak
Tasting Notes: Gold in the glass and roaring with aromatic passion fruit, guava and tangerine on the nose. Medium bodied with lively hints of cinnamon spice, and flavors of stone fruit (like warm, freshly baked peach cobbler) cruise into a lemon curd packed finish.
Food Pairings: Chardonnay is a “comfortable cruiser” when it comes to pairing with food — it will play nicely with a variety of foods. Enjoy it on its own or take it for a test drive with sautéed fish with lemon-butter sauce, roast chicken, or your go-to creamy pasta recipe.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich & opulent with a silky long finish. Best served with rich fish or poultry dishes.
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Peirano Estate Vineyard: In 1879, with only $50 in his pocket, Giacomo Peirano (a former grape farmer in Genoa, Italy) immigrated to San Francisco with hopes of fulfilling the American Dream by striking it rich in the Gold Rush. Things in that arena didn’t “pan out” for Giacomo, so he took what was left of his money and settled in Lodi. At the time, Lodi was full of miners and their camps, but there was a shortage of merchants in the region. Giacomo sensed an opportunity and opened a mercantile store where miners could get their supplies and daily necessities; subsequently, this is where he would realize his fortune. He would soon return to Italy to fetch his betrothed and beloved Maria, and cuttings of Italian Zinfandel to plant on his recently acquired 300 acres of Lodi property. The Peirano Family had much to be thankful for until the turn of the century when tragedy would strike; two of their five sons died, one from a horse kick to the head and the other from blood poisoning. To keep their minds off their grief, Maria devoted her energies to the business and Giacomo to the vineyards. During Prohibition, the vineyards would survive as they were considered “table grapes.” The Depression would hit the Peirano’s equally as hard as most, but they persevered with a strong focus on family. Starting in 1992 through present, the vineyard and winemaking are handled by a fourth generation Peirano Family member, Lance Randolph. Peirano Estate Vineyards have won many awards for producing top of the line wine using many of the old techniques of Giacomo Peirano and staying focused on the family, their heritage, the land, and the fruit.
About: The 2014 vintage was an excellent but small lot and the Lodi Appellation is ideal for Malbec. Similar to Argentina’s Mendoza region, Lodi’s long warm days are moderated by cool temperatures influenced by cool winds from the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The fruit was hand harvested and sorted into small bins and immediately inoculated with yeast, helping to retain the varietal’s natural character while extracting a fair amount of tannin during fermentation. A combination of short and closely monitored rotary fermentation and static (tank) fermentation is used to get different characteristics. After completion of malolactic fermentation, the wine is racked and then aged in both French and American oak with 15% new.
Varietals: 100% Estate Malbec
Alcohol: 13.8%…enjoy it now or cellar through 2025.
Tasting Notes: The color is vibrant and deep purple/garnet. The aromas fill the senses with big ripe strawberries, flora, and tea. On the palate it is explosive with seductive fruit forward flavors of strawberries, blackberries, and rhubarb. The finish leads to a rich, round, soft mouthfeel from the moderate tannins with lingering spice and toast.
Pairings: Malbec’s softer tannins make it an ideal pairing for leaner meats; flank steak, skirt steak, and sirloin. It also pairs well with lamb, pork, or think chicken or steak fajitas!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: A big POP of ripe red and black fruit. Great barbeque wine that drinks great with anything from the grill!
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Bodegas Ramon Roqueta: The first documents certifying the wine activity of the Roqueta family are from 1199. In 1898 the Roqueta Family set up shop in the northeastern Bages Region of Spain in the town of Manresa, just northwest of Barcelona; however, today the winery and the vineyards are located further to the west in Fonollosa. The estate has 54 hectares of vines and their wines are produced under the ‘Denominació d’Origen’ Catalunya. Today, Bodegas Ramón Roqueta is a great example of a company renovating and adapting to the new times while maintaining the tradition and expertise garnered over the centuries. Their range of wines is split between whites, a rose, a few mono-varietals, and a couple of red blends with Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo.
About: The 2015 Garnacha has great pedigree as well as great taste steeped. It has won awards at several of Europe’s most prestigious competitions; taking a Gold Medal at Concours Mondial Bruxelles 2016, Gold Medal at 2016 Berlin Wine Trophy, Gold Medal at Mundus Vini-The Grand International Wine Awards, and Gold Medal at 2016 Portugal Wine Trophy. The Garnacha is fermented in stainless steel tanks ranging from1,000 Liters to 36,000 Liters and “treated with the utmost respect.” The wine is then aged in the barrel room until bottling, the final phase of the ageing process.
Varietals: 100% Estate Grown Garnacha
Tasting Notes: Cherry red color with aromas of red berries over a bed of florals, pleasantly fresh in the mouth with balanced acidity and red berry fruit.
Food Pairings: Garnacha wines of Spain are quite unique in the fact that they easily take on the characteristics of the terroir. The aromas will range from sweet, fresh, and fruity to intensely mineral. The debate has been ongoing for the origin of Garnacha, with some saying Spain and others saying the Italian island of Sardinia; however, it is the primary varietal for this region. Pair this wine with BBQ salmon (cedar plank) or pork, lamb, or grilled red meats…think savory!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Great minerality with layers of complexity and loaded with deep dark fruits. Best served with lamb or beef, think fatty meats…Cheers!!!
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Pash Wines: Debuting in Michigan in the summer of 2014, Pash Cabernet Sauvignon is produced by Pash Wines of Napa and distributed by US Wines Imports of Ann Arbor. Pash is an Australian slang term for tongue kiss; similarly, the wine is succulent and indulgent like a passionate kiss. They specialize in in Cabernet Sauvignon, carefully sourced and blended from progressive growers across California, but predominantly sourced from Paso Robles and Sonoma County. Unfortunately that is about all we know about this enigmatic producer.
About: Since we don’t have much to tell you about this Cabernet and its producer, let it suffice to say that we still found it amazingly delicious enough to present to you. In lieu of the description for the wine we have opted to share a list of perfect pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon :
• Beef, especially grilled, roasted or stewed
• Braised dishes like braised lamb or venison
• Cheese, especially aromatic ones like Roquefort, Blue and Camembert varietals
• Filet mignon
• Foie gras and truffles
• Roasted eggplant
• Game and game birds
• Lamb, especially roasted or rack of lamb
• Osso Bucco
• Black pepper
• Korean-style beef
• Many dishes featuring the flavors of onions and mushrooms
• Pasta dishes, especially with cream sauces
• Short ribs
Varietals: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting Notes: Succulent, luscious, indulgent, bold and deep are good descriptors for this Cabernet Sauvignon, kind of like a deep kiss…
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich and opulent with flavors of cherry and blackberries. Best served with grilled meats!