Author Archives: fine6503

December 2016 Imported Wine: NV Mascaro Cava Reserva Brut Nature “Pure” Catalonia, Spain

fine Wine Source Wine Club

December 2016
Mascaro: Since 1946, the Mascaro Family has been dedicated to producing premium quality brandy, Cava, and white wine. From the beginning their founder Antonio Mascaro has insisted upon complete control from vineyard to bottle. Since 1997 the Mascaro winery has been run by the 3rd generation of the Mascaro family, at the head of which is Antonio’s granddaughter, winemaker and owner, Montserrat Mascaro. The family owns the “Mas Miguel” estate in Aiguamurcia, Alt Camp, a region that belongs to the southern Catalan province of Tarragona. Formerly owned by the community based in Cistercian monastery of Santes Creus , the estate comprises over 170 hectares, of which 35 are vineyards that belong to the Cava and Penedes D.O.’s of Spain.
About: The grapes for the Cava are selected from the private estate named “Mas Miguel” in the foothills of Tarragona that was the former Cistercian Monastery at Santa Creus. Careful hand picking of fruit is placed into small traditional baskets. Gentle pressing follows to produce individual musts that are fermented under carefully controlled temperatures of 18-20 degrees with a perfect blend of the individual varietals. The second fermentation is made in the bottles with no added sugars and followed by a period of ageing in contact with the yeast on lees in underground caves built in 1992, which are connected to the ancient wine cellars. This gives the wine its backbone and roundness as the wine ages to perfection.
Varietal: 80% Parellada and 20% Macabeo
Alcohol: 12% with Zero Dosage
Tasting Notes: Golden color with green hues and hints of peach and apricot coming through to a lively and rounded nose that is very dry yet creamy and stimulating on the palate.
Food Pairings: Ideal with light seafood, shrimp cocktail, bacon wrapped scallops, fresh oysters or cured salmon. Think salt.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Great Bubbly! Dry, crisp and has a long lingering finish. Best served with cheese and smoked salmon.

fine Wine Source Wine Club

December 2016
Scotto Family Cellars: The Scotto Family traces its winemaking history back to the 1880’s when their great, great grandfather Salvatore Scotto was an officer in the Italian Navy on the island of Ischia, off the coast of Italy. Salvatore made wine for his family, friends, and neighbors. In 1903 their great grandfather Dominic Scotto and his family immigrated to New York and settled in a Brooklyn brownstone, not too far from the docks where he worked in the shipyards. He taught his sons to make wine, which they sold in 5 gallon crocks from a horse drawn wagon. In 1909 he opened D. Scotto Wines in downtown Brooklyn, offering fine wines from around the world. Their grandfather’s wine career started in 1934 with the repeal of Prohibition when he began selling gallon jugs of his father’s wine from a pushcart. He and his brother Sal also created the Villa Armando brand, and the bestselling wine ‘Rustico.’ Today it is one of the oldest wine brands in the US. The 4th generation began when their father Anthony Jr. started as a teenager making wine and eventually began a winery owner, exporter, and consultant. Today the brothers and sisters of the Scotto Family still produce Villa Armando and other brands that they sell domestically and overseas.
About: This is the first Napa Valley release from Anthony Scotto. The N.A.P.A. portion of the wine’s name represents the 5th generation of Scotto vintners: Brothers and sisters Natalie, Anthony, Paul, and Anne. Michael’s Red is named for the youngest brother, who recently joined the family business. The grapes were harvested by hand and the wine was aged in new and second year oak barrels for 21 months (48% toasted French oak, 40% American oak, and 12% Hungarian oak).
Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Barbera, Syrah, and Merlot (unspecified amounts)
Alcohol: 13.9%
Tasting Notes: Michael’s Red is a full bodied wine with intense color, concentrated dark fruit flavors, and moderate oak accents & tannins that develop and become more pronounced after a few minutes in the glass.
Food Pairings: From Pizza and Pasta to a nice juicy steak this deep red will pair well with hearty winter comfort foods from stews and roasts to burgers and deli meats.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Big and juicy red! Great wine served with BBQ or a big juicy hamburger!

fine Wine Source Wine Club

November 2016
Massaya: Twenty years ago none of this existed. The rise of Massaya is remarkable by any standards and even more so in the context of the bleak and derelict site that confronted Sami Ghosn when he returned to Tanaïl in the early 1990s. Squatters occupied the land, the house was dilapidated, and the original vines were neglected and overgrown. But Sami had a vision and a determination to reclaim the property where he had grown up with his brother Ramzi. Returning from the US where he had been working as an architect, he realized he urgently had to reassert his family’s rights and most of all, he wanted to transform this ruin into a centre for high quality wine and Arak production.
Lebanon’s civil war forced the Ghosn family to flee the Beqaa and now the brothers were back. Ambition alone would not transform Tanaïl. Sami and Ramzi, who was in charge of marketing and would in time become the wine maker, recognized that they needed to bring in experienced partners. While the old table grape vines were uprooted and replaced, initially with Cabernet Sauvignon, the Ghosn’s found help in France. Two highly respected wine makers were invited to Tanaïl in 1998 and both were impressed by the progress and the potential. The support of Dominique Hebrard from Bordeaux and the Brunier brothers Frederic and Daniel from Chateauneuf du Pape proved to be crucial. Their knowledge of terroir and the techniques of blending wines brought a new level of expertise to Massaya which quickly became a recognized name among Lebanon’s producers. Over the next 12 years the business grew and its reputation spread from the domestic to the international market. The range of wines was expanded and the tall blue bottles of Arak gained iconic status.

About: The varietals were harvested from 40 year old vines (on average) grown on the hillsides of the Beqaa Valley at 900-1,200 Meters above Sea Level in chalky clay soils. The grapes were hand-picked, conveyed in crates, and sorted on tables outside the vat room. They were fully de-stemmed before undergoing traditional fermentation for 20-30 days in stainless steel vats. Aged in stainless steel vats for one year and lightly filtered prior to bottling. Drink while young to fully enjoy the fruit!
Varietals: 35% Cinsault, 35% Grenache Noir, 15% Syrah, 15% Tempranillo Alcohol: 14.5%
Tasting Notes: Fresh and luscious fruit on the nose leads to big refreshing fruit on the palate with hints of spice and pepper.
Food Pairings: Stews and Roasted meats, Squash with Spicy Sausage, or your Thanksgiving meal!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Spicy and rich with layers of complexity; long lingering flavor and spice, leather, and a lot of cranberries and mint. Best served with Lamb or anything from the grill!

fine Wine Source Wine Club

November 2016
Lakegirl Wines: The Lakegirl story begins like many, with fond memories of home and vacations in Minnesota (an area not unlike Michigan), full of lakes; an area where, for over a century, summertime and weekend getaways at cabins and campgrounds have been a tradition for many generations. Life at the lake can be energizing, relaxing, funny, and sentimental. It translates to family picnics on the Fourth of July, water skiing until the gas runs out, fishing at dawn and dusk, singing around a campfire fighting off mosquitoes or roasting marshmallows for S’mores; above all else, life at the lake is comfortable. Lakegirl strives to make wines to share in the creation of lasting moments and memories with family and friends. Lakegirl Wines are the creation of California winemaker and owner of Oakville East, Eliot Stern. Eliot is a third generation wine industry veteran and an educator in the Wine Studies Program offered by the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Napa Valley. He teaches his students about the business of wine and offers consulting services in the wine industry in addition to being the “Chief of Everything” at Oakville East; Elliot still finds time to travel and hit a few golf balls (Hence the name of his parent company, Divot Enterprises).
About: Eliot Stern brings many years of experience, great connections with vineyards in California, a strong team of wine makers, and a vision for well produced, fun, and affordable wines to Lakegirl’s Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2015 vintage for California marked the fourth year of drought, but provided great fruit with to be expected lower yields. This is the third vintage of Lakegirl Cabernet and the first year it has been offered in Michigan. We are pleased to present this to you and are certain that this “Lakegirl” will be accompanying you on many a trip “Up North!”
Varietals: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7.5% Tannat, 10% Malbec, 7.5% Merlot
Alcohol: 13.9%
Tasting Notes: Elegant medium weight with a solid core of dense blackberry and cherry flavors enhanced with light cedar notes. The finish has a nice soft tannic structure that is clean, fresh, and fruity.
Food Pairings: Aged cheeses, red meats, chocolates, and stories of summer days spent “Up North” by the Lake!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Ripe and flavorful; loaded with cocoa, chocolate, and coffee notes. Goes great with Pork or a Burger!

fine Wine Source Wine Club

Chateau La Croix du Doc: Sitting on Bordeaux’s right bank, you will find Chateau La Croix du Duc. It is a 15 hectare (37acre) estate near Lussac St. Emilion, the offices are located in the locality of Perruchon. The vines are situated on clay and gravelly hillsides facing south west and their planting is 80% merlot and 20% cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. The estate has been in the hands of the Chollet family since 1865. Today the estate is part of the famous Jean-Baptiste Audy Bordeaux Negociant House. Work in the vineyards and cellar are managed traditionally and the finished wine is bottles as AOC Bordeaux. The wine is a classic Claret meant to be enjoyed in its youth with hearty bistro style cuisine.
About: The wine has built up a remarkably strong following amongst many Bordeaux fans in the areas where it is available. La Croix du Duc is notable for its fruit forward qualities; subsequently it offers plenty of blackberry and cherry aromas and flavors. The round, lush quality of merlot is fully evident and the soft tannins on the finish make it a great “take home and enjoy it tonight!” bottle of wine. It is mechanically harvested and traditionally produced in stainless steel vats. The 2015 Vintage in Bordeaux has been noted a “modern vintage” with softer tannins and fruit dominant yet balanced acidity. It is a true classic yet modern vintage with much charm and purity of fruit; more elegant and accessible than several past vintages.
Varietals: 80% Merlot/20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (unspecified for each)
Alcohol: 13.5%
Tasting Notes: A fruity, supple, and soft wine with nice red fruit aromas intertwined with light toasted notes and soft tannins.
Food Pairings: Red meats and cheese: Think Charcuterie with steak tartare, a nice rare steak, or cheddar cheese soup.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Loaded with fruit: Strong cranberry with cedar and tobacco flavor. This wine has a strong flavorful finish. Best served with lamb chops, rotisserie chicken, or a pot roast!

fine Wine Source Wine Club

October 2016
Clayhouse Wines: Is owned and operated by the Middleton Family, through their Anderson & Middleton Company. They pride themselves on providing delicious and affordable single-vineyard, estate grown wines from certified-sustainable Red Cedar Vineyards in Paso Robles, California…America’s fastest growing wine region. Clayhouse wines express the pinnacle of Paso Robles style: Ripe fruit character expressed with a consistent sense of elegance and poise. The winery is just south of the city of San Luis Obispo and is named for the 1840’s adobe house located on the site of the Red Cedar Vineyard. All Adobe, Clayhouse, and Clayhouse Estate wines are produced from the grapes grown on Red Cedar Vineyard. Winemaker Blake Kuhnn and vineyard manager Ben Mello work closely together (along with hundreds of owls) to tend, sustainably farm, and select specific varietal blocks. The Rolling benchland (above the Estrella River) and terraced vineyard plantings at Red Cedar range from 500-800 feet above sea level. The vineyard is certified sustainably-farmed by the California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance.
About: 2012 was a warm vintage that produced ripe fruit translating into fruit forward, aromatic wines. Yields were average as were tannin levels producing smooth, rounded wines packed with varietal aromas and flavorful fruit character. Destemed fruit only is transferred direct to stainless tanks for temperature control fermentation. Cold soaked for two days before inoculation with various strains of yeast, depending on variety and desired fermentation temperature. Pressed at dryness and inoculated with malolactic fermentation. The Adobe Red was aged on a combination of primarily 70%new French oak, 20% American oak, and 10% European oak for 12 months. This helped produce a “Jack of all trades” wine with a complex blend of fruit flavors.
Varietals: 34%Zinfandel/39%Petite Sirah/12%Cabernet Sauvignon/10%Syrah/3%Tempranillo/2%Malbec
Alcohol: 13.86%
Tasting Notes: Dark black cherry, ripe blackberry, and cocoa aromas. Soft sweet jammy strawberry and black fruit flavors. Tannins are soft and rounded with a rich mouthfeel and warn toasty vanilla laced finish.
Food Pairings: Made for cheeses, meat and red sauce based pastas, BBQ, pizza of just quaffing with friends!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Vibrant and rich with layers of complexity and a deep colorful bouquet that will be great with anything from the grill!!!

fine Wine Source Wine Club

September 2016
A.A. Badenhorst: A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines are grown, made, and matured on Kalmoesfontein Farm in the Swartland Appellation of South Africa. Swartland is a large wine producing region 40 miles north of Cape Town in the Western Cape Region and specializes in making rich, fruit driven wines from Shiraz, Chenin Blanc, and Pinotage. The Badenhorst family owns close to 70 acres of old bushvines in the Siebritskloof region of the Paardbeberg Mountain’s north face. The Badenhorst property is owned by the self-proclaimed “dynamic and good-looking” cousins Hein & Adi Badenhorst. Adi began making wine at the age of 13 and studied at Elsenburg in the Western Cape. He worked a few harvests in the Northern Rhone of France for Chateau Angelus & Alain Graillot, as well as Wither Hills in New Zealand. Adi also had stints at local cellars Simonsig, Steenberg, Groote Post, and nine years as winemaker at the esteemed Stellenbosch estate of Rustenburg. In 2008 he bought the Kalmoesfontein Farm with cousin Hein and they proudly practice biological farming and traditional winemaking. Today, Adi is an award winning winemaker, member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, founding member of the Swartland Revolution, and a proud father of two.
About: The Curator is a range of dynamic wines that are selected after each year’s vintage. The vineyards are mostly bush vines growing in granite and slate soils, and sourced from traditional farmers. The Chenin Blanc makes up the largest portion of this blend because it is the backbone and structure of this particular wine. The Chardonnay was naturally fermented and took a very long time to complete fermentation, resulting in great texture and wacky aromas of dried peaches, apricots, and ripe citrus. The Viognier completes the Swartland canvas by adding some spice and length on the palate.
Varietals: 60% Chenin Blanc/31% Chardonnay/9% Viognier
Alcohol: 13.72%
Tasting Notes: Broad and slightly rustic nose of dried peaches, apricots, golden raisins and ripe citrus. Good crispness and depth with a fruity citrus and slightly spicy flavor with good length on the palate.
Food Pairings: Shellfish, oysters, and either grilled or roasted seafood pair extraordinarily well with this white blend. Some spicy Thai shrimp, Indian curry chicken, or some Szechuan style dishes provide an interesting combination that will delight your taste buds!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Really concentrated with flavors of Golden Delicious Apples, pineapple, and mango! Great with Lebanese food or fish dishes with a citrus sauce.

fine Wine Source Wine Club

September 2016
Hedges Family Estate: The history of the Hedges Family Estate began in June of 1976 with the marriage of Tom Hedges and Anne-Marie Liegeois in a 12th century church in Champagne, France. The convergence of separate cultural upbringings provides a strong backdrop for creating a modern day, but traditionally inspired wine estate. In 1986, Tom & Anne-Marie created an export company, American Wine Trade, leading to a negociant-inspired wine called ‘Hedges Cellars.’ They quickly learned that the success of this ancient trade would be based on the site of its vineyards; a developing wine region called Red Mountain. At this location, American Wine Trade transformed itself from negociant & wine trader to the classic model of a wine estate. The second generation of the Hedges Family Estate belongs to Tom & Anne-Marie’s children. Sarah is the head winemaker of the estate, doing her best to express the terroir with minimal intervention, while Christophe is working on the completion of the estate using modern biodynamic arts. Tom, Anne-Marie, Sarah, Christophe, and the entire Hedges team believe place of origin is the keystone of authenticity: Their goal is to treat the wines with reverence and let the Red Mountain terroir, fruit, and wines speak for themselves.
About: 2012 was an excellent & more normal vintage in Washington State, probably one of the top 5 vintages over the last 30 years! The fading La Nina current brought warm and more even spring & summer temperatures and an extended warm, dry autumn with perfect 80-85 degree afternoons and 40-50 degree night temperatures without rain. The result was a great set that yielded ripe, disease free fruit with good natural acidity. Fruit for this merlot was sourced from Bacchus Vineyard in the Columbia Valley AVA. The must was pumped over for 8 days and pressed to tank, where it underwent malo-lactic fermentation. The wine was fermented to dryness on 100% American Oak and aged on 100% French Oak, making it ready to drink now; however, with a structure to age for 3-7 more years.
Varietals: 100% Merlot from Bacchus Vineyard
Alcohol: 13.5%
Tasting Notes: Aromas of caramel covered cherries, blackberries, and toast with hints of cocoa dust, vanilla, and tar. This wine has a soft, sweet entry on the palate, evolving into caramel toasty and sweet plums on the full mid-palate. There is good acidity and the long finish has some grip & lingering tannin.
Food Pairings: Tender, milder cuts of beef such as tenderloin or lamb, meaty fish like salmon or tuna, black olives, mushrooms or fresh herb based dishes.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich, deep, and savory!! Layers of complexity best enjoyed with beef or chicken.

Fine Wine Source Wine Club

August
A.A. Badenhorst: A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines are grown, made, and matured on Kalmoesfontein Farm in the Swartland Appellation of South Africa. Swartland is a large wine producing region 40 miles north of Cape Town in the Western Cape Region and specializes in making rich, fruit driven wines from Shiraz, Chenin Blanc, and Pinotage. The Badenhorst family owns close to 70 acres of old bushvines in the Siebritskloof region of the Paardbeberg Mountain’s north face. The Badenhorst property is owned by the self-proclaimed “dynamic and good-looking” cousins Hein & Adi Badenhorst. Adi began making wine at the age of 13 and studied at Elsenburg in the Western Cape. He worked a few harvests in the Northern Rhone of France for Chateau Angelus & Alain Graillot, as well as Wither Hills in New Zealand. Adi also had stints at local cellars Simonsig, Steenberg, Groote Post, and nine years as winemaker at the esteemed Stellenbosch estate of Rustenburg. In 2008 he bought the Kalmoesfontein Farm with cousin Hein and they proudly practice biological farming and traditional winemaking. Today, Adi is an award winning winemaker, member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, founding member of the Swartland Revolution, and a proud father of two.
About: The Curator is a range of dynamic wines that are selected after each year’s vintage. The grapes are grown mainly in granite & slate soils, handpicked, chilled overnight, and de-stemmed into tank fermentation. Extraction is done by pump-over and punch-down, depending on the type of tank-but not that much, leaving the harsher tannins in the skins. “We go easy on them and let the grapes give us what they want without being too forceful.” The Curator Red is mostly done in concrete tanks, old casks and blended early so that the components get some time together to integrate properly before the wine is bottled; 15 months maturation is the norm before they think of bottling.
Varietals: Shiraz/Cinsault/Grenache/Tinta Barocca/Carignan
Alcohol: 14%
Tasting Notes: Broad and slightly rustic fruity nose of plum & raspberry. The palate is medium-bodied with svelte tannins, a slightly grainy texture, with espresso-tinged red berry fruit & a pleasing finish.
Food Pairings: Have some fun with this wine and coneys! Step it up with spice rubbed brisket, grilled lamb, or a lovely grilled London broil—Pip Pip!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Savory and deep fruit loaded with cedar, toabacco, and hickory. Best served with anything on the Barbeque!

Fine Wine Source Wine Club

August 2016
Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery: The Merrill Family’s agricultural heritage and grape growing history dates back at least 8 generations on California’s Central Coast. A former family ranch still is home to a grape arbor planted in the 19th Century. Today, Dana and Marsha Merrill along with son Matthew farm the vineyards while Matthew’s winemaking is complemented by winemaker par excellence, Jim Shumate. After nearly 30 years of growing grapes for many of the finest wineries in California, ranging from ultra premium small producers to the largest international brands, the Merrill’s decided to produce their own wines. All wines produced are exclusively farmed by the Merrill’s who believe that control from planting and pruning through harvest, fermentation and cellaring is critical for success. It also ensures a uniform dedication to sustainability, which led to their recent certification to the SIP program within the Central Coast Vineyard Team. The family believes in community and industry involvement. Dana Merrill was the first San Luis Obispo County Chair of the California Assn. of Winegrape Growers, a charter member of the pioneering Vineyard Sustainability Group, the Central Coast Vineyard Team and is a past two term Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.
About: The 2014 Pomar Junction Roussane took a Silver Medal at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition! Cultivated at the newly acquired Creston Ridge Estate Vineyard, this is their first working with the Rhone Varietal Roussanne. These grapes were originally allocated for the aforementioned white blend, but impressed with its intense and unique quality, Matt Merrill and Jim Shumate decided to showcase it as an exceptional single varietal wine. The wine was made entirely from hand-picked, estate-grown grapes from the hillsides of the Creston Ridge Vineyard with limestone shale rock terroir in the El Pomar District under near perfect growing conditions and fermented in neutral oak for 6 months. The cooling Templeton Gap breezes and moderate summer temperatures combine with the Linne Calado soils for ideal high quality wine grape growing conditions.
Varietals: 100% Roussanne
Alcohol: 13.9%
Tasting Notes: A nose of lush tropical fruit leads into a pleasant and surprising mouth-feel full of the lush tropical fruit experiences on the nose and a contrast of bright spice with a creamy finish.
Food Pairings: This wine pairs well with buttery sauces filled with slow cooked veggies or rich shellfish like scallop, crab, and lobster. IF it lasts that long, it is a good alternative to a Thanksgiving Chardonnay!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Bursting with flavors of dried apricots & white peaches, great balance, and a long lingering finish; best served with fish in a citrus sauce!