Fine Wine Source Wine Club
Celler el Masroig: Celler el Masroig is situated in the southern part of Montsant, bordering on Priorat. Montsant, which became a DO in 2001, extends from the banks of the Siurana River to the Montsant hilltops. The soil is mainly chalky, with some areas of clay and schist, all with high mineral content and low yields. It is located on the border of the Mediterranean, the summers and winters are dry while the springs and falls are moist. Celler el Masroig was founded in 1917 as the “Cooperativa of El Masroig.” It is an association of grape and olive oil producers with approximately 300 members who are associated owners of the company. In the early years of the “Cooperativa,” the focus was on producing quantities of wine rather than quality wine. They produced wines with high alcohol content and very deep color that were sold to the domestic market and often used to “improve” other wines. Then followed a period in which the major products were “mistelas” or cordials made from red wine and grape spirit. Today, the “Cooperativa’s” members are proprietors of almost 500 hectares of vineyards. They take their grapes to the Cooperative, where the wine is elaborated for them. Despite its 80 years heritage, the “Cooperativa el Masroig” today, strives to continually improve methods of production and the quality of the wines, while maintaining and enhancing their traditional identity.
About: The winemaker Carles Escolar, is young and dynamic and strongly believes in the potential of the Montsant appellation; consequently, his aim is to produce top wines from Montsant and raise the quality benchmark for the area. Vi Novell means “New Wine” in Catalan. This wine is traditionally released on November 11 to celebrate ‘San Marti’ or Saint Martin. In the 4th Century, San Marti was a soldier and on a snowy and cold night he gave half of his cloak to a beggar to save him from the cold. The following night he had a vision of Christ wearing the half of the cloak he had given away to the beggar. Christ then told the angels who accompanied him that it was “Saint Martin the non baptized soldier who clothed him.” After this vision San Marti became a Christian and created the first monastery in Western Europe (Loire region of France) and became a monk. Vi Novell is a blend of Grenache and Carignan with 15% Syrah produced with carbonic and traditional fermentation over five days and pressed. It is made using indigenous yeast. The alcoholic fermentation was finished off without the skins in underground tanks.
It is vinified and bottled almost immediately to be released on the 11th of November every year.
Varietal: Grenache and Carignan blended with 15% Syrah from 16-26 year old vines.
Tasting Notes: Light ruby in color leads to a nose of fresh strawberries and raspberries with notes of violets and bananas; earthy with typical Mediterranean aromas. Fresh and fruity on the palate with hints of cacao and bold tannins, finishes light and well balance with good fruit and acidity.
Food Pairings: St. Martin’s Day in Spain is marked by the slaughter of fattened pigs, so think pork! Grilled meats, bacon wrapped chicken (bacon wrapped anything really), or dishes with “the other white meat.”
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Long and deep on the palate with a lingering finish; great with oily fish or chicken!
Fine Wine Source Wine Club
Vina Robles Winery: Proprietor Hans Nef and managing partner Hans-Rudolf Michel bring their Swiss heritage to California’s Central Coast with an aim to unite the best of both worlds. They first discovered Paso Robles back in the early 1980’s and became enamored with the emerging wine country. In the mid 1990’s they planted the first estate vineyards and established Vina Robles as a family winery specializing in varieties that excel in the region’s diverse terroir Their vision for Vina Robles is summed up by their motto: European Inspiration-California Character. Under the guidance of winemaker Kevin Willenborg, the wines are made in a style that combines rich California fruit with a sense of balance that is more commonly found in the great wines of Europe; striving for wines that are both powerful and harmonious. Kevin explains: “Each wine has its own life. That life begins with the planting and development of the vines. It is then transferred from the earth through the vine as the grapes are harvested, crushed, fermented into wine and eventually bottled. The role of the winemaker is to respectfully steward this life with care and attention to detail.”
About: The Power of 4-This Paso blend is more delicious than the sum of its parts. It combines grape varieties mainly from the prestigious Huerhero Vineyard, located in the rolling hills of Paso Robles. Warm afternoons and cool evening breezes influence the grapes to perfect ripeness. The grapes were picked at cooler morning temps and cold soaked for two days prior to fermentation. Variable pump-over techniques were implemented during progressive stages of fermentation to enhance fruit extraction and balance out tannin structure. The wine was then aged in both small & large format French, European, and American oak barrels (medium to light toast) for 16 months in order to add complexity while enhancing a soft, velvety finish. This Red4 blend showcases the spice and cherry qualities of Syrah, the structure of Petite Sirah, the forward fruit of Grenache, and the rustic character of Mourvedre.
Varietals: 50%Petite Sirah (23%Huerhuero/17%Jardine/10%Creston Valley Vineyards), 20%Syrah, 20%Grenache, 10%Mourvedre (All Huerhuero Vineyards)
Tasting Notes: Ruby and Garnet in color lead into a nose that encompasses dark fruit and pomegranate with undertones of savory spice. Medium body with rich cherry fruit, sweet chalky tannins, and hints of cocoa on the finish.
Food Pairings: From everyday pizza to pastas and grilled meats, this intriguing, youthful wine is your perfect dinner companion!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich and flavorful; loaded with layered flavor of currant and black smoky fruit. Great with pork or steak from the barbeque!!!
Fine Wine Source Wine Club
Tenuta Villa Tavernago: Tenuta Villa Tavernago’s goal is to produce genuine and high quality products while preserving the environment. Environmental protection is a cornerstone of the Pirovano Family also in the methods of green building. The Emilia-Romagna estate was purchased in 1978 by the Pirovano Family and converted to organic farming in 2002, obtaining certification from ICEA and NOP (USDA Organic). Growing, winemaking, and maturation of Tenuta Villa Tavernago wines, meet rigorous specifications required by the “Natural Valley” Consortium that selects its products according to territorial, business, and procedural requirements. Tenuta Villa Tavernago stretches over a 400-hectare area in Frassineto and the surroundings. Here one can find not only vineyards and wine, but also large beech and chestnut woods, barley and wheat fields, and large meadows. The area is also a hunting reserve. The vineyards (at present about 20-hectare) and winery are located in the municipality of Pianello Val Tidone, in a small valley protected by surrounding hills and enjoying a climate that is ideal for wine-growing.
About: Emilio-Romagna is a region of Northern Italy extending from the Apennine Mountains to the Po River in the North. It is known for its refined cities and rich gastronomy with a history of viticulture dating back to 2000 BC. The stunning Villa Tavernago, a gorgeous gem of Neo-classic architecture from the Napoleonic era, is not a property living in its glorious past, today it’s at the forefront of Italian viticulture. The Pirovano family makes wines that fuse aristocratic heritage, indigenous varieties, and traditional style with excellence, offering a range of estate grown, organic certified wines that exemplify the wisdom of centuries of Italian obsession with the vine, cuisine, and culture. Wines of classic proportions, rendered flawlessly.
Varietal: Pinot Grigio-100% Organic Colli Piacentini (Hills of Piacenza)
Tasting Notes: Straw yellow in color, tending to grey, with aromas of green apple and pear. On the palate it is generous and crisp with flavor of apple, pear, and honeydew melon. It tastes like “I’ll have another glass!”
Food Pairings: Tasty seafood starters, risottos with fish and seafood sauce, roasted or grilled fish.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Lively and bright with many floral notes, crisp and refreshing loaded with melon and pear. Best served with fish and chicken!
Fine Wine Source Wine Club
Peachy Canyon Winery: Founded in 1988 by Doug and Nancy Beckett, Peachy Canyon Winery is a family owned and operated winery in beautiful Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast; near Hog Castle and Big Sur. What began as a 500 case venture has blossomed into an operation that distributes to 48 states, Europe, The Pacific Rim, and Canada. The Beckett’s run the daily operations along with their sons and partners, Jake and Josh. The biggest news for Peachy Canyon has been the recent addition of accomplished winemaker Robert Henson-previously of Tooth & Nail. After working with critically acclaimed veteran winemaker Michael Michaud (Chalone Vineyards), Henson served as winemaker for a small Santa Cruz Mountains winery where he amassed many accolades before turning his attentions to the Central Coast appellation. Henson plans on applying his passions for balance, varietal, and terroir driven winemaking to Peachy Canyon’s existing award winning winemaking program. This addition comes at an exciting time for Peachy Canyon, which was just named one of the Top 101 Wineries in America by The Daily Meal for a second consecutive year.
About: The Fruit for the 2014 Incredible Red was harvested over a period of several weeks to attain ideal ripeness, picked in the early hours of the morning, and destemmed into fermenters. During fermentation the juice was pumped over twice a day and gently pressed after two weeks then aged for ten months in 100% new oak barrels prior to bottling. The 2014 Peachy Canyon Incredible Red scored 94 points and won gold at the New World International Wine Competition.
Varietals: 98% Zinfandel and 2% Petite Sirah
Tasting Notes: A rich and fruity nose opens with black cherry, blackberry, nutmeg, and vanilla. A smoky and mysterious aroma takes over, leading into toffee, cigar, and Cherrywood. On the palate the wine is round and sumptuous, with notes of cherry, clove, and orange oil. “One of our most sophisticated and well-balanced vintages in recent years, the Incredible Red meets and exceeds the promise in its name.”
Food Pairings: Zinfandel wine is happiest when paired with items from the butcher block or smoke house: Charcuterie, Barbequed pork ribs, leg of lamb, or grilled meats…think less fatty meats and spicy (not sweet) sauces; such as Mexican, Italian, or Cajun.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich & Robust, Black and red fruit flavor, powerful and long finish. Served best with BBQ meats of any kind.
Grifalco della Lucania: Owned by the Piccin Family, Grifalco is an excellent producer of Aglianico del Vulture. Originally wine producers in Tuscany, Fabrizio Piccin and Cecilia Naldoni decided Southern Italy, Basilicata in particular, was more promising. The Lucania vineyards consist of great soils to grow Aglianico. The soils are rich in volcanic minerals and the 18 hectare estate is divided into 4 vineyards with vines varying in age from 15 to 40 years in age. Fabrizio Piccin has done an excellent job of taming the tannins without making the wines glossy or “International.” Vulture is indisputably one of the best appellations in southern Italy. “We decided to come to the South, in a land that I had known and loved, having realized that in Tuscany wine is no longer made as we know, we do not share the direction [they] took. We have a way to see things completely different. Before I decide to give up our share of the company Salcheto, in Montepulciano, I enjoyed doing a little ‘training’ with the Aglianico of Vulture. I have not arrived here totally unprepared. I had done a bit of vinification and aging tests, to see how it differs from sangiovese, and I found that in some respects they are not so different but for others rather sharp. This land and these vineyards we already knew, I went without fail.”
About: Aglianico is the best known ‘big red’ grape in southern Italy, and there are two places where it grows particularly well, Taurasi in Campania and Monte Vulture in Basilicata. The areas are less than two hours apart, both are volcanic in geology, and both produce magnificent red wines, amongst the most age-worthy in Italy (or anywhere else, for that matter). Grifalco “Gricos” Aglianico is harvested from the 4 vineyards on the estate (100% cultivated with certified organic farming), aged in large Slavonian barrels for 12 months, and has a production of around 2500 cases annually.
Varietal: 100% Aglianico from 15year old vines
Tasting Notes: Deep garnet red in color, the nose recalls crushed red fruits, myrtle, cocoa bean with distinctive balance. A fresh start in the mouth with soft and silky texture, featuring powerful tannins giving it a wide margin for aging.
Food Pairings: Drink with beef, lamb, substantial pasta dishes, wild game dishes, and aged cheeses.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich Deep and Loaded with Flavors of Pork tones and Tobacco!! Best Served with Grilled Lamb Chops Or Steaks
Fine Wine Source Wine Club (more…)
Imported Wine: 2013 Domaine des Terres Dorees L’Ancien Beaujolais Vielles Vignes
Domaine de Terres Dorees: Jean-Paul Brun makes his home in Charnay, a village in the Southern Beaujolais just north of Lyons, in a beautiful area known as the “Region of the Golden Stones.” He is the owner and winemaker at this 40-acre family estate and has attracted the attention of French and American press for the fruity and delicate wines he produces. Jean-Paul made his first wines in 1977 and produces almost 400,000 bottles annually with over 50% sold to importers. His view is that Beaujolais drinks best at lower alcohol levels and makes his “old-style” with indigenous yeast and minimal sugars added. Brun is also one of the few producers in the region to plant Pinot Noir back in 1989 and releases wines under the Bourgogne Appellation; since, Beaujolais is legally within Burgundy. Robert Parker has rated Brun a 4-Star producer, with the only other Beaujolais producer’s obtaining that rating being in the Crus.
About: At a time when carbonic maceration was becoming popular in Beaujolais, Jean-Paul Brun preferred to adopt the techniques of his Northern Burgundian neighbors and de-stem his grapes. The grapes were hand-harvested late (producing a higher natural sugar level), placed in small crates, and then de-stemmed before maceration on skins for a short time. Fermentation is done using only indigenous yeast and minimal, if any, chaptalization (adding sugars). Only a small amount of CO2 is used at bottling to keep the wine fresh and “headache-free” and filtration is also minimal so the wine keeps its original fruit and aroma. The emphasis is not on weight, but on fruit; Beaujolais as it once was and as it should be.
Varietal: 100% Gamay from 40-50 year-old vines
Tasting Notes: A crisp blueberry and dark cherry bouquet with just a hint of fresh fig. Supple on the entry, it displays great acidity and body.
Food Pairings: Perfect pairing with French Charcuterie, Pates, Brie, Camembert, and with Roast Chicken, Turkey, or Duck. Vegetarian dishes of Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, or Chinese also.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Burgundian in style with flavors of dried cherries and blueberries. Best with fish or chicken and other white meats…Cheers!
Domestic Wine: 2013 Cass Vineyard & Winery-Flying Nymph Blanc, White Rhone Blend
Cass Family Vineyard & Winery: Cass Vineyard & Winery is located in the rolling oak-studded hills between Paso Robles and Creston on California’s beautiful Central Coast. This area that the vineyard calls home offers quiet serenity for the visitor and an ideal growing environment for wine grapes. Sited due east of the “Templeton Gap,” the vineyards receive the evening’s cooling breezes that the west side of Paso Robles is noted for. They also rest far enough from the coast to generate the heat needed to optimally ripen the Rhone varieties grown on their 160 acre estate vineyard. 100% of the wines crafted at Cass Winery are estate grown. Cass Vineyard was planted in 2000, and wine production began in 2005. Founders Steve Cass and Ted Plemons live on the property. In 2010 Michigan natives Doug and Beverly Cass became partners, handling the distribution in the Midwest, East, and Southern states, and have been guests at The Fine Wine Source on several occasions. Doug has been in consumer sales over thirty years and is also co-founder of the Michigan based business Kahootz Toys, whose brands include Play Doh, Lite Brite, and Spiro Graph (that turns 50 this year).
About: White Rhone blends consist of two or more white grapes originally from its namesake region. They mainly include Viognier, Rousanne, Marsanne, and Grenache Blanc. Blends outside of the Rhone are mostly found in California and Australia and can include all four primary varieties together. Aiming to preserve the intense fruit and aromatics of these varieties, this blend was fermented and aged in 100% stainless steel. Hand-picked in the early morning, the cold grapes were pressed within moments after coming off the vine. Following juice settling, a long, cold fermentation commenced using a unique South African yeast strain. Malolactic fermentation was inhibited to preserve acidity, keeping it crisp and fresh.
Varietals: 65% Rousanne & 35%Marsanne
Tasting Notes: Aromas of lemon zest, kumquat, lemongrass, and ruby red grapefruit. Although it displays some restraint at first, it soon opens up to notes of honeydew melon, white rose and fresh herbs. The palate is light on its feet, with lean, zippy acid holding together a core of flavors that span honey mandarin, lemon curd, and green apple. The finish stays tight and clean, with a kiss of agave nectar and wet stone.
Food Pairings: Squash, smoked fish, Asian cuisine, curry dishes, roast duck, and lobster.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: A truly delightful wine! A perfect patio sipper, that is great with Antipasti and other light dishes.
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
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.
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).
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.