Chateau Fontaine: Getting its French title from proprietor Lucie Matthies’ middle name and paying homage to the French immigrants who settled in the area, Chateau Fontaine was a deserted potato farm and cow pasture when Dan Matthies discovered the property in the 1970’s. He was attracted to the favorable south-facing slopes, which are better suited for growing grapes. Today, the cow pasture is one of three vineyards totaling 30 acres of grapes with plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Merlot, among others. Today Dan and Lucie’s son Doug is the wine maker and the family hosts many tourists and Michiganders at the estate. Chateau Fontaine is located in the heart of the Leelanau Peninsula just south of Leland and Lake Leelanau. Beginning with the 2012 vintage, Chateau Fontaine was the first Michigan wine that we sold here at Fine Wine Source. They have won many awards: Chateau Fontaine Picked up Gold at the 2013 Great Lakes Wine Tasting Competition for their Woodland White and Woodland Red. At the Michigan State Wine Tasting Competition Fontaine won Gold on their semi-sweet white Riesling and Best of Class for their 2012 Pinot Blanc. All told, Chateau Fontaine has won over two dozen gold medals at various wine competitions from here in the Mitten to the Finger Lakes region of New York.
About:The Chardonnay is made in a White Burgundy style and undergoes malolactic fermentation. It is aged for one month in neutral French oak. The wine has a full body, creamy texture, and a bright crisp taste of light citrus, apples, and grapefruit. The grapes are grown on our estate property on thirty year old vines; some of the oldest in all of Northern Michigan. The wine is ready to consume now; however with proper storage, it will age gracefully for many years.
Varietals: 100% Chardonnay .
Tasting Notes: Straw yellow with glints of golden hues in the glass with a nose of Michigan apples and light citrus. Lemon and apples play on the tongue with a creamy texture and bright crisp finish that is as refreshing as a dip in Lake Michigan.
Food Pairings: Think fresh catch out of any Great Lake: Salmon, Whitefish, Lake trout, Perch or Walleye grilled, fried, or in a beurre blanc. Fruits and cheeses on the deck at the lake house or watching the sunset over Lake Michigan!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Crisp and light with a long finish. Flavors of apple and pear, best served with chicken, fish, or duck.
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Cave des Vignerons de Saumur: A cooperative of winemakers in the Saumur appellation of the Loire Valley set up their operations on the top of the hill in Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg in 1957. The cooperative has 272 members, including 156 growers over 1750 hectares and employs 52 people. The group that created the Les Pouches Rouge includes Yvon, Genevieve and is headed up by Robert and Marcel; two strong willed vintners whose family history is literally as deeply rooted as the ten kilometers of underground “galleries” that were originally quarried for the soft limestone “Tuffeau.” This rock was used to build the magnificent castles and chateaus in the region and the tunnels that remain have been converted into perfect wine cellars. Saumur is a picturesque city dominated by one of the most famous castles in France that is built from the “Tuffeau” limestone. The Loire Valley region in the heart of France is famous for its natural beauty, magnificent architecture, castles, and great wine. The region is rich in history and culture: The Renaissance writer Rabelais was born here, Joan of Arc led her French troops to victory in the Hundred Year’s War in the Loire, and the region is known as the cradle of the French Language, with the purest French spoken here. The Valley contains several distinct wine regions, each with its own characteristic varietals, appellations, and styles. As a testament to all the contributions to French and Global Culture the region has to offer, The Loire Valley was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
About:The Les Pouches Rouge is 100% Cabernet Franc and grown in the Cabernet d’Anjou appellation which is planted to 75 hectares (185 acres). The annual production is only about 5,000 hectaliters (132,086 gallons) with yields of about 60hl/ha. The grapes are hand harvested and completely destemmed for 15-20 days, depending on the time of the harvest. The juice is extracted manually and fermented in temperature controlled vats. After fermentation the wine is bottled early and stored in the underground cellars, dug out of the limestone “Tuffeau,” where it ages without exposure to light and at a controlled temperature. The wine is best served at fifty-seven degrees Fahrenheit and can be kept with a slight chill throughout serving.
Varietals: 100% Cabernet Franc .
Alcohol: 12.5%…Drink now through next year.
Tasting Notes: Crisp A beautiful deep ruby red color and a bouquet of red fruit with black currant and raspberry make it attractive as soon as it hits the glass. A fruity flavor and spice greets the palate with characteristic soft tannins and an elegant finish.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Cabernet Franc at its best!! Soil and earth driven spicy red with a long lingering finish, best served with pepper steak or spicy pork dishes!!!
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Tenuta Scilio: The Scilio Family is in their fifth generation of producing wines on their estate in Linguaglossa. Their winemaking is a family tradition that has been safeguarded and passed on to the present and future generations. The Scilio Family philosophy is based on the careful cultivation of the vineyards to yield the best possible grape production for wines that persevere and reflect the characteristics of the Etna Terrior. Surrounded by turn-of-the century cottages, the vineyard lies on the north eastern slopes of Mount Etna, an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily. Valle Galfina is 2,300 feet above sea level and is at the center of the Etna DOC region. This vine growing area dates back to the ancient times and the fine art of viticulture had been handed down from generation to generation. The Valle Galafina with its volcanic soils, particular microclimate, and low yields produces very high quality wines. The wines of Tenuta Scilio are made from the vineyards of the family estate, cultured organically and cared for laboriously; subsequently, combining Sicilian traditions of winemaking with the most modern techniques of vinification.
About:The Etna Rosso from Tenuta Scilio is produced as an uncertified organic wine. This means the producer states that they do not use artificial fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. They validity of this is not proven; however, with the production methods and vineyard maintenance techniques there is no reason to believe that this is not the case. The soil is rich in volcanic minerals; the climate has significant temperature fluctuations from day and night since the vineyards sit at 2300 feet above sea level. The yields are low, averaging 2.68 tons per acre with an average vine age of 20+ years. The Rosso is vinified from a long maceration of the must with temperature regulated fermentation, aged in large new wood casks, and then six months in the bottle. Total production is around 2,500 cases.
Varietals: 100% Nerello Mascalese .
Tasting Notes: Crisp tannins give this wine a dark purple color with a hint of wood on the nose. Deep rich plum and dark berry fruit notes treat the tongue to a tantalizing taste of old world Sicilian vino!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich with opulent spices; a red wine that shows a lot of intensity. Best served with rich and spicy dishes.
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Julia James Wines: Julia James is part of a portfolio from Opici Wines, a predominantly imported wine house based out of New Jersey. The Opici story began in 1899 when Battista Opici travelled from Italy to help build the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark, New Jersey. After his work was complete he returned to Italy and moved back with his family in 1907. His son and wife began working for the wholesale beverage industry in Patterson New Jersey in 1913. Over the decades the business flourished and the Opici’s expanded operations to the West Coast and in NJ. In 2010 Opici Wines began a major transformation by adding brands from South America, Spain, and France. They also launched several proprietary brands, such as Julia James. The company strengthened its position in 2014 by creating Market Street Spirits, which produces and imports hand-crafted spirits and beers. From its inception, Opici has been family-owned and –operated. Although the fourth-generation is now at the helm, “American Wine Legend” Hubert Opici remains actively involved, and they won “Importer of the Year” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2014.
About:All of the vineyards used to source fruit for Julia James are sustainably farmed and maintained without use of any chemicals or pesticides. They work alongside small farmers in the Russian River Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands, Carneros, San Joaquin Valley, and Monterey County to find the highest quality grapes. The vineyards have an average vine age of 20 years and sit atop mineral rich soils of loam, sand, silt, and shale. Julia James is crafted by winemaker David Eliot, whose 30 year career was fueled by a passion for travel and learning about other cultures; giving him a truly global perspective of winemaking. Julia James Chardonnay is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with natural Burgundian yeasts. 10% of the wine is racked in large French oak barrels, while the remaining portion undergoes malolactic fermentation, adding texture and finesse. After a brief rest on lees, blending and bottling occurs before the product is shipped for maximum freshness.
Varietals: 100% Chardonnay .
Tasting Notes: Ripe lemon color reflects golden highlights in the glass offering a mix of fresh pear, apple, melon and citrus on the nose. A bright juicy almost racy personality goes with exotic flavors of tropical fruits, vanilla, nectarine, & a hint of oak; creamy on the mid-palate with a crisp finish.
Food Pairings: Enjoy Julia James Chardonnay for any occasion; especially with salads, seafood, roasted chicken and lightly sauced pasta dishes.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich with layers of complexity and the finish lasts for 15 minutes on the palate; best to serve with poultry or seafood.
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Cantine Lenotti: According to an enological map dated 1906, the name Lenotti was already known historically for the production of the classic Bardolino wine; at that time, the farm sold wines exclusively in butts (130gallons) or demijohns (8-10gallons). In the following years, until 1968, the farm consistently increased its production of high quality wines. Since 1968, the farm has been bottling and selling wines directly with the main goal of supplying high quality products at competitive prices. From 1971 to 2004 the farm and its facilities have undergone several expansions; the most important of those being implemented in 2004-05, with the Vinifying Unit, the Ageing Unit, and the Bottling Line being modernized. At present, the farm is being managed by the Lenotti Family. All of its members are involved in the business: Parents-Giancarlo (Oenologist, Production Manager, and Facilities Supervisor), Marina (Sales Manager), and their son Claudio (Export Manager). The farm is situated in Bardolino, a town in the north of Italy (25km from Verona), on the banks of Lake Garda; famous for its mild climate, natural beauty, and being Italy’s largest lake. The beneficial effect that the lake exerts on the climate and the geomorphological features of the surrounding hills favor the development of a flourishing agriculture based almost exclusively on grape vine and olive growing. The farm is situated in Bardolino harmoniously with the lake landscape, characterized with lush vineyards and olive groves.
About: The 2016 “Colle die Tigli” is translated as “Ancient Hill of Lime Trees.” The hill in Veneto is 300 meters high and situated in the rolling moraines of Lake Garda’s shore. The soil is gravely of morainic origin, formed glacially through geomorphic processes. Soft pressing of the grapes, short maceration with the skins, immediate separation of the must, fermentation at controlled temperature (59-60degrees), preservation in thermo-conditioned Inox tanks (hermetically sealed), and sterile cold bottling. Designed to be drunk fresh and young!
Varietals: 50% Cortese and 50% Garganega…Guyot Cane-Pruned & Espalier Frame Fixed Vines.
Tasting NotesLight straw yellow in color with green hues. Fruity intense aroma with hints of peach and apple tied together with a bouquet of flowers, leads to a full bodied, dry, and harmonious finish.
Food Pairings: Perfect with hors d’oeuvres, light first courses of fruit, cheese, and salad, fish & poultry.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Jumps out of the glass with a bouquet of summer flowers; lively and fresh with zippy acidity, best served with fish or chicken.
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Hybrid by Peltier Station: It all began with the Shatz Family in the early 1950’s, whose passion for farming has been passed along to each generation with the love for the land and vineyards. As third generation grape growers, Rodney and Gayla Schatz carry on the same traditions today as their parents and great-grandparents did many years ago, growing superior grapes that are sold to numerous wineries throughout the country. They purchased their first vineyard in 1985 and built a winery in 2002 as a custom crush facility producing premium wines. From a drive to create their own label to share from the vineyards that have captured their hearts, comes the desire to make outstanding wines with a commitment to quality and excellence; essentially, creating individuality in each bottle. Their flagship Peltier Station Petite Sirah launched the beginning of many vintages and varietals. The Hybrid Label is a revolutionary product that combines highly advanced technology with environmentally sustainable principles. It is the inspiration of the need for first-rate wines at a fair and affordable price. So wines were crafted with taste to back them up and their final product is unpretentious with high quality. Hybrid is about taking away unnecessary elements to produce a great wine that anyone can enjoy.
About: : Lodi California is located directly east of San Francisco at the edge of the Sacramento River Delta, and noted for its classic Mediterranean climate with warm days and cool nights. The soil varies in the AVA (approved in 1986), though in most places it is a deep loam primarily covered with large rocks, similar to Chateauneuf du Pape. All of the grapes are estate-grown, harvested at 25.6 Brix, de-stemmed, and crushed. Fermentation was 24hr cold soak, Pasture Red Yeast on primary and Vinaflora Oenos direct inoculation on secondary, limited hand pump-overs, pressed at 7 days. 5000 cases produced.
Varietals: 80% Petite Sirah, 15% Sirah, 5% Viognier.
Tasting Notes: Loaded with berry flavors and aromas, an earthy middle body with a rich silky finish. The “touch” of Viognier has been added to round out this “Monster” wine!.
Food Pairings: Dry strong Cheeses, BBQ or grilled Hamburgers and Beef Steaks, Lamb anyway you want to cook it, or a Beef/Pork Tenderloin-roasted, grilled, BBQ’d with a creamy sauce as a nice bridge! .
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: A big pop of strawberry licorice on the nose and the palate. Loaded with flavors of hickory and smoke, served best with barbequed or grilled meats!.