Domaine-Forca

February 2016

Imported Wine: 2013 Domaine Forca Real, Mas de la Garrigue

Domaine Força Réal: The origin of the Domaine dates back to 1258 under the reign of the king of Aragon and Majorque with the signing of the military treaty of Corbeil, which stipulated the border between France and Catalonia. Força Réal, translated “Royal Castle,” lost its strategic significance a few years later and was ultimately destroyed in 1693. Returned to nature, the property is now attuned to the growing cycles of vines and olive trees. In 1989 Jean-Paul Henriquès bought the property near the village of Millas with an unbeatable view (from the plain of Perpignan, with the sea stretching to the horizon to the peak of Canigou) and replanted a majority of the property with Syrah & Mourvedre.  Among the existing vines he retained only the Malvoisie, a variety for which he has great affection, as well as the old Grenache & Carignan vines. He optimizes the 40 hectares in production by elaborating three cuvées corresponding to the general soil types; Clay, Limestone, and Schist. In 1998, his son Cyril took up the torch to continue producing great wines of The Côtes du Roussillon-Villages.

About:  Domaine Força Réal Mas de la Garrigue comes from manually harvested grapes grown in clay and limestone soils at an altitude of 100 meters. They are placed in small crates to avoid destruction and oxidation of berries and then sorted both before and after destemming. Traditional vinification methods lead into extended cold maceration where the temperature is kept below 62 degrees. Maturation occurs in steel tanks for eight months with malolactic fermentation.

Varietal: 60% Old Vine Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Old Vine Carignan

Alcohol: 14%

Tasting Notes: Aromas of sage, marjoram, and white pepper with red berry fruits. Blackberry and melted chocolate are underlined by silky tannins with a touch of sea salt and a puff of tobacco smoke.

Food Pairings: Think pork, smoked pork with rosemary potatoes, fennel sausage, BBQ meats, or chili con carne or Tuscan style bean dishes.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:  Herbaceous & rustic, yet rich and succulent; Bravo to the winemaker! Best served with chicken or roasted pork.

Shield

February 2016

Domestic Wine: 2012 Hedges Family Estate C.M.S., Columbia Valley, Washington

Hedges Family Estate:  The history of Hedges Family Estate begins in June of 1976, with the marriage of Tom Hedges & Anne-Marie Liégeois 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, Christophe & Sarah. Each has a special set of skills for understanding the terroir. 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, Christophe, Sarah, & the entire Hedges company believe place of origin is the keystone of authenticity. Their goal is to treat the wines with reverence & let the Red Mountain terroir speak for itself.

About:  2012 was another excellent & more normal vintage in Washington State. The “fading” La Nina current brought warmer & even spring and summer temperatures & an extended warm, dry autumn with perfect 80-85 degree afternoon highs and 40-50 degree lows without rain. The result was great set that yielded ripe, disease free fruit with good natural acidity. The resulting wines reflect the excellent qualities of the fruit and are a pleasure to drink; probably one of the top 5 vintages in Washington State’s history.

Varietals:  50%Cabernet Sauvignon, 44%Merlot, 6% Syrah (60%French Oak & 40% American Oak).

Alcohol:  13.5%

Tasting Notes:  Dark, deep ruby color leads into a nose of black cherry, blackberry, plum fruit & sweet toasted oak, dried herbs, & vanilla with hints of cocoa powder. Good body on the palate with lively acidity, dark berry fruits, cocoa, sweetness, & a well integrated tannic structure linger on the finish.

Food Pairings:  The balance of acid & tannin make this a great wine for roasted red meats, steaks, venison, or lamb. Use C.M.S. to sauté some onions & mushrooms to accompany a juicy ribeye!

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:  Rich & flavorful, loaded with black & red fruits and a long, lingering finish. Best served with any red meats.

January '16 Imported Wine: San Felice Toscana Contrada di San Felice

January 2016
Imported Wine: San Felice Toscana Contrada di San Felice
Agricola San Felice: San Felice takes its name from a church on the property that is found in records dating back as far as 714 and was named for a local saint. The Grisaldi Del Taja Family began producing wine here and owned the land for several centuries; they were among the founding members of the Chianti Classico Consortium. The now late Enzo Morganti acquired the estate in the late 1960’s and expanded its reach in 1984 by purchasing the critically acclaimed Campogiovanni Vineyard in Montalcino, where they still produce excellent Brunello.
About: Enzo Morganti, like the great Sergio Manetti of Montevertine, was a pure Sangiovesist and was responsible for much of the Sangiovese we drink today. After spending two decades experimenting with clones of Sangiovese at Tenuta di Lilliano, this Tuscan wine pioneer took control of the famous Agricola San Felice Chianti Classico estate in 1967 and helped turn it into a national treasure that now includes a 750-hectare resort village, 180 hectares of vineyards, and a site dedicated to experimental viticulture and genetic improvement of Sangiovese. The perfection of Sangiovese continues here today in the capable hands of Leonardo Bellaccini, who keeps the Morganti spirit burning. The San Felice vineyards lie in the gently rolling hills of the Castelnuovo Berardenga area of Chianti Classico, where the vines benefit from two distinct soils: calcareous clay, which produces long-aging reds with excellent structure, and a combination of sand and lime that gives younger wines, both red and white. The Contrada di San Felice Toscana Rosso is a delicious blend of 50% Merlot, 40% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Its vinification and ageing process includes nine days fermentation on the skins followed by malolactic fermentation and a brief maturation in stainless steel vats.
Varietal: 50% Merlot, 40% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 12.5%
Food Pairings: Veal Osso Bucco, Veal Parmigiana, Lamb Shank, Stone Baked Pizza, Roasted Mushrooms, or an after dinner Crème Brule.
Tasting Notes: This is a gorgeous, modern take on a Tuscan wine with a ruby red color, aromas of ripe cherries and violets, structured with plush tannins and balanced acidity.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich, loaded with flavor, and a great mouthfeel; producing a long lingering finish. Serve with tomato sauced dishes, pork, or lamb.

January '16 Wine Club Domestic: 2013 Cartlidge & Browne Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast, California

January 2016

Domestic Wine: 2013 Cartlidge & Browne, Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast, California
Cartlidge & Browne: Sometime 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. After meeting Glen Browne, a man of great business sense with some money to invest, the pair set out to build a wine company from scratch. They decided that there was no need to buy an estate, and there was not enough money, so in 1980 they settled into an undistinguished garage in Napa Valley. While Glen Browne handled the business end, Tony Cartlidge scoured the appellations of the North Coast in his ’60 Rambler. From Napa to Sonoma to Mendocino and to Lake he searched for grapes farmed with care and concern for the land. He brought the harvest of his labors back to the garage and began to make wine that quickly garnered rave reviews from critics and wine lovers alike.
About: The garage may be gone, but Cartlidge & Browne have continued the spirit and vision that began their original garage winery; wine made to express the character of the grapes and a North Coast sense of place. The northernmost counties in California’s wine country are Mendocino and Lake; Mendocino has many micro-climates and a high amount of organic vintners & vines, where Lake is smaller and less climatically diverse, but they both produce complex and sumptuous red grape varietals. This 2013 offering is Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Arvine (an indigenous Swiss varietal typically used in white wines). This wine is ready to drink now, but should open up after a few years of cellaring.
Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Arvine
Alcohol: 13.5%
Food Pairings: Enjoy this wine with a beef roast or steak fajitas, aged cheddar, or a nice juicy home cooked steak or bacon cheeseburger. Try with dark chocolate covered berries…yum!
Tasting Notes: Cardinal red in color, it starts out with delicious red fruits on the nose that open into ripe blackberry, watermelon, candied plums, & crème brulee. Soft yet fine tannins have notes of coffee, rose petals, and wet slate.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: A great cabernet with great depth on the palate; yet, very harmonious. Great pairing with virtually all meals…especially from the grill!

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

May Imported Wine: 2013 Cantina del Pino Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont, ITALY

The Story: “My father is the youngest son of Natale and Teresa Vacca. Our family has lived in this region for generations. Like many families in the Langhe, we speak Piemontese as our first language and Italian second. Some of the grapevines we manage today were planted 70 years ago by my great grandfather.-Renato Vacca winemaker & owner Cantina del Pino

Domizio Cavazza was the director of the Royal Enological School in Alba from 1888 – 1913. When he arrived he surprised everyone by purchasing land and making his home in Barbaresco. The noble families expected he would reside near the more famous estates in Barolo.

He purchased the Ovello cascina (farmhouse and land) and he began making wine. For the first time the wine made from the nebbiolo vineyards surrounding the village was called Barbaresco. For the people of this area it was a huge compliment. Cavazza was very charismatic and an outspoken supporter of the farmers in the Langhe.

Cavazza celebrated the birth of his first son by planting what became a well-known landmark in the region, a large Mediterranean pine tree. The estate began to be known as the ‘cascina del pino’ or winery of the pine. Renato Vacca’s great grandfather purchased the vineyards after Sig. Cavazza prematurely died and his family moved to Torino. The Vacca family has been here ever since.

Location: Cantina del Pino is located in a part of the Piedmont Region called the Langhe where some of Italy’s most famous wines are produced.

Barbaresco sits high above the Tanaro river where wine grapes grow alongside truffles, hazelnuts and chestnuts and some of the most famous cheeses can be found. This area boasts nine Michelin starred restaurants and countless family run trattorias and nearby accommodations range from the luxurious to apartment based farm houses called agritourismos.

Cantina del Pino is just one hour from Torino and situated in a unique area an equal distance to the Mediterranean and the part of the Alps that separate Italy and France.The mountains provide not just majestic views but also a protection from severe weather throughout the year.

Vineyard: Known since the 14th century, the grape variety Piquepoul has always been synonymous with quality. The production is limited to 1200 hectares in the appellation and makes the PicPoul de Pinet a rare region.

Varietal(s): 100% Dolcetto

Alcohol: 12.5% by volume

Food Pairings: Try this great wine with several different foods including chicken enchiladas, steak tartare, grilled veggies and veal! Enjoy!

Tasting Notes: The Cantina del Pino Dolcetto has splendid perfume with ruby and garnet colors with finesse and an intense and interesting nose…with jammy flavor and a hint of black pepper and soft background of mineral.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Rich, creamy, intense layers of flavors and dried cherries. With a long lingering harmonious finish, this wine is a stunner! This Dolcetto is incredible! Best served with meats on the grill! I know you will enjoy!”-JL

April Domestic Wine: 2013 Lone Birch Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, WASHINGTON

Vintage: The 2013 vintage was the warmest since 2003. Harvest began in late August, which was the earliest that they had ever experienced at Airfield. Temperatures cooled off by mid-September, causing the ripening process to slow in the vineyard. Eventually, the vines adjusted to the cool temperatures and picking proceeded steadily at normal pace. The overall result was ripe fruit without excessively high alcohols or overripe flavors. This vintage provided solid crop yields with no fruit shortages. Every block met its estimate.

Vineyard Source: All of the Lone Birch wines are sourced from fruit from our 950 acre estate vineyard located in the Yakima Valley. Their vineyard site offers a long 190 day growing season, which allows for slow, steady fruit maturation. The warm days and the cool nights provided by the high desert environment allow the vines to produce exceptional balance with ripe fruit flavors and plenty of natural acidity.

Style: This wine is handcrafted in a balanced, approachable style that showcased the quality of fruit from Washington State.

Vinification & Maturation: The Lone Birch winemaking began by hand-sorting fruit to ensure only ideal clusters were vinified. After the destemming process, the must was transferred to stainless steel fermentation vessels. Gentle pump-overs, rack & returns, and punch-downs were used to extract tannin and color from the skin. After the wine finished fermenting, it was pressed and settled before going to barrel. The wine went through malolactic fermentation while in barrel and was racked every 3 months. After nearly 1 year of oak maturation, the wine was bottled.

Varietal(s): Cabernet Sauvignon

Alchohol: 13.9% by volume

Food Pairings: Serve with grilled lamb and vegetables. Yummy!

Tasting Notes: The Cabernet Sauvignon has a red garnet color, with a bouquet of dark cherry and spice. On the palate, it is approachable with good acidity and lingering tannins. Drink now through 2020.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Lush, ripe and rich with layers of complexity. This is a wine that is in complete harmony. A great value in my opinion, and drinks well right off the cork. Pairs great with anything on the grill! Enjoy!”-JL

April Imported Wine: 2014 Domaine Haut Bridau PicPoul Blanc, PicPoul de Pinet, FRANCE

Located in the heart of the massif of Castelnaux, in the terroirs of Picpoul de Pinet appellation, this family estate spreads over 11 hectares.

The Story: Domaine Haut Bridau is located in Castelnaux, Fance, in the terroirs of the PicPoul de Pinet appellation. The Domaine is run by the Pages family since the beginning of the last century. Today, grandson Christian is in charge of the property.

Vineyard: Known since the 14th century, the grape variety Piquepoul has always been synonymous with quality. The production is limited to 1200 hectares in the appellation and makes the PicPoul de Pinet a rare region.

Varietal(s): 100% Piquepoul Blanc

Alcohol: 12.0% by volume

Food Pairings: The round and well balanced fruit will ideally accompany shellfish and grilled fish. Try with paella as well! Serve well chilled.

Tasting Notes: Lovely pale yellow color, bright and clear. Fruity and floral nose with hawthorne and lime tree fragrances. Lively and fresh mouth with harmonious acidity and roundness.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Wow! What a wine! Loaded with flavors of lemon and minerality, with zippy, clean acidity and liveliness! Pairs great with oysters, chicken or seafood. Cheers!”-JL

March Domestic Wine: 2011 Stack House Merlot, Sonoma County, California

We recently used another fabulous Stack House wine for wine club a few months back. And when we tasted this, we decided we had to use the same producer again! We hope you enjoy this incredible red. Read on to learn more!

The idea for creating the Stack House label came from Anna and Mario Monticelli’s weekly poker parties with their friends. As it typically happens in Napa Valley, all the players were somehow involved in the wine industry so it became Texas Hold Em poker and wine tasting.

This was the inspiration for creating a Stack House wine, a fun beverage to be enjoyed amongst friends. We have a full house of thirsty players and the deck is stacked so you always win at our house.

Vineyards: The vineyards used for this Stack House blend are found throughout Sonoma County. Most of the fruit is found in Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Mountain and Alexander Valley.

Varietals: 88% Merlot, 4% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Syrah

100% French Oak (40% new) and aged for 21 months

Alcohol: 14.3% by volume

Tasting Notes: The 2011 Stack House Sonoma County Merlot is laced with raspberry, cherry and blackberry aromas. This elegant and attractive wine shows great balance and finesse on the palate. Layers of fruit, oak and caramel linger on the finish. 720 cases produced.
Food Pairings: Pair with blue cheese and parma ham flat bread, toasted nuts and mini duck burgers! Enjoy!