fine Wine Source Wine

June 2017

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 .
Alcohol: 12%
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.

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

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

April Domestic Wine: 2012 Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, OREGON

“Founded in 1970, in Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley, Ponzi Vineyards is internationally acclaimed for producing some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and White Riesling, as well as Arneis and Dolcetto, two rare Italian varietals.

Ponzi Vineyards continues to set the standard for Oregon’s viticultural innovation while maintaining an unwavering commitment to a tradition of winemaking excellence. For more than two decades, this philosophy has been carried on by the Ponzi Family’s second generation: Winemaker Luisa Ponzi and Director of Sales and Marketing Maria Ponzi.

All 120 acres of family-owned vineyards and the state-of-the-art winery are LIVE Certified Sustainable, the world’s highest standard for sustainable viticulture and enology. Driven by the concept that the variety must match the terroir and climate, Ponzi Vineyards continues to set the bar for Oregon and remains at the forefront of the nation’s top wine producers.”-ponziwines.com

Vineyard  Details: The 2012 Pinot Gris is produced from certified sustainable Ponzi Aurora, Avellana and Estate vineyards, as well as the Linda Vista, Gemini, Dion, Walnut Ridge, Ridge Road, Kraemer and Zenith vineyards.

Vintage Report: On the heels of the late cool 2010 and 2011 vintage; 2012 was a welcome sight! Although the season started with a wet and long spring weather, the summer brought dry and warm conditions. From July through mid-October, there were only trace amounts of precipitation. Days were warm, but nights stayed cool giving us beautiful ripeness and sugar, but maintaining bright acidity. Crops were low, due to the wet spring, causing the intensity of flavor to be increased. 2012 is being hailed as an “epic” vintage in Oregon wine history and the wines are proving that to be true.

 

Varietal: 100% Pinot Gris

Alcohol: 13.2% by volume

Tasting Notes: Island aromas of guava, passion fruit, pineapple and vanilla precede a lively mouth of kumquat, kiwi, candied key lime and hibiscus blossom. The sweet fruit is complemented by a zing of bright acidity with hints of white pepper on the finish. Luisa Ponzi, Winemaker

“Fresh and lively, with a distinct ginger root character weaving through the lime and pear fruit, finishing with snap and expression. Drink now.”-90 Points, Wine Spectator

Food Pairings: Go fresh. Pinot Gris with its zesty and refreshing acidity pairs really well with fresh vegetables, raw fish and lighter meals. Fish and shellfish are classic pairing partners with Pinot Gris.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “The fruit jumps out of the glass. White peaches, citrus, lime and lemon flavor; rounded with pineapple and mango as well. A great wine to welcome Spring. Drink and enjoy with food. It is like sunshine in the glass.”-JL

September Domestic Wine: 2012 Elizabeth Spencer Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino, CALIFORNIA

Elizabeth Spencer’s belief is that wine should be delicious and representative of its appellation of origin. They make wines to drink — inviting wines that we and our friends (and by extension, our customers) truly enjoy. The model for all of the Elizabeth Spencer wines is intensity without excess weight, purity, persistence and length.

History of Sauvignon Blanc and its Relation to Elizabeth Spencer: Sauvignon Blanc is a green-skinned grape variety that originates from the Bordeaux region of France. The grape most likely gets its name from the French words sauvage (“wild”) and blanc (“white”) due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in South West France. It is possibly a descendant of savagnin. Sauvignon Blanc is planted in many of the world’s wine regions (including Mendocino), producing a crisp, and refreshing white varietal wine. The grape is also component of the famous dessert wines from Sauternes and Barsac. Sauvignon Blanc is widely cultivated in France, Chile, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Moldova, and California. Some California Sauvignon Blancs are also called “Fume Blanc”, though this is often perceived to be a different type of wine.

Depending on the climate, the flavor can range from aggressively grassy to sweetly tropical. Wine experts have used the phrase “crisp, elegant, and fresh” as a favorable description of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, New Zealand, and sometimes, California.

Varietals: 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Alcohol: 14.0% by volume

Tasting Notes: “Hay and quince and a touch of Sugar Snap pea on the nose. These fresh qualities are countered by delicate honeysuckle and apple, with a crisp finish of citrus fruit and a smidgen of cut grass. A fresh, crisp Sauvignon Blanc with a vibrant intensity that is well-balanced with good acidity and a lively, refreshing finish.”-Spencer Graham, Winemaker

Food Pairings: This wine pairs well fish, cheese, particulary Chèvre, and salads.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “What a wine! Loaded with apples, pink grapefruit, and a honeyed dry finish. This is a stunner! A very pleasant white wine for this time of year. One of the best domestic Sauvignon Blancs I have ever drank. It is lip smacking good!”-JL

August Domestic Wine: 2012 Birichino Malvasia Bianca, Monterey, CALIFORNIA

Birichino is committed to producing distinctive, harmonious, highly energetic wines which transcend the casual wine drinkers’ typical realm of experience. Founded in Santa Cruz in 2008, and drawing on a combined 35 years making and selling wine in California, France, and Italy, owners and winemakers Alex Krause and John Locke are focused on attaining the perfect balance of perfume, poise, and puckishness with a particular fondness for varieties that provide enormous pleasure and reestablish a direct connection to the sensual world.

History of Malvasia and its Relation to Birichino: Krause and Locke, owners and winemakers at Birichino, first laid eyes on their Malvasia Bianca in the rain shadow of the Santa Lucia Mountains back in 1991. Over the decades, they’ve seen Malvasia with lots of botrytis, with gargantuan acidity; with modest acidity; vines with both under and overripe grapes; Malvasia exhibiting every variation Mother Nature can concoct. They had never seen, however, something close to perfection until 2012.

In 2012, Birichino started sourcing Malvasia from the original block they worked with from 1990-2005, which is a bit closer to the Santa Lucia Highlands and also a bit rockier soil. The soil is more decomposed granite, with less clay. The 2012 vintage is a bit more aromatic, perhaps a bit finer and more precise in the profile, where 2011 is a little broader. These are 25+ year old vines now, and they are excited to have the older block from now on.

Varietals: 100% Malvasia Bianca

Alcohol: 13.0% by volume

Tasting Notes: The name Birichino means mischievous and impish; and this white wine from the Malvasia grape certainly lives up to that. On the nose, its pure tropical fruit, with strong hints of lychee and mango which when on the palate move to flavors of ripe fruit, jasmine and elderflower, with a refreshing finish. A great summertime sipper!

Food Pairings: Because Malvasia has an interesting combination of rich and oily mouth feel, but strong acids…deep-fried foods actually pair very well with it. Try with something salty, sweet, or savory to experience the nuances of the wine!

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Rich and exotic with flavors of melon, tropical fruit, and passion fruit. An intense glass of wine! The wine is hedonistic and exotic. The finish lasts for at least three minutes on your palate. Enjoy!”-JL

June Imported Wine: 2011 Love Over Money ‘Evolúció’ Furmint, Tokaj, HUNGARY

Love Over Money is a collection of wines from different areas and countries that were selected by Boutique Wine Collection for their exceptional quality and value. The brand was developed to offer customers a product they know they can trust for its quality and value. Love Over Money is to display the authenticity of a wine, region and varietal, a true reflection of the origin while being uncomplicated. Boutique Wine Collection works closely with each producer, whom have been selected for their high standard and strong track record to offer wines that are representative of where they come from and are value orientated.

Love Over Money is to experiment with wines that often are perceived as alternative or different, while being assured that what is inside the bottle can be trusted.

History of Furmint and its Relation to Love Over Money: At the end of the 19th century, Hungary like all other European wine growing countries, was singularly affected by the Phylloxera epidemic which brought radical changes in the way viticulture was practiced. The abundant grape varieties found in the traditional vineyards, where multiple varieties would grow together and make up the blends of Eger and Tokaj wines, were replaced with single varietal vineyards, reducing grape selections to a few varietals. Blaufränkisch and Bordeaux varieties were planted in red wine growing areas, Furmint, Muscat and Hárslevelű in the Tokaj region therefore reducing the indigenous grape selection. During the Communist period (late 1940s to 1989) quantity was favored over quality and Zweigelt often replaced Kadarka as it is easier to grow and vinify. Prices were set by the state and quantity was key. Over cropping, pasteurization and industrial production dominated until 1989 with the fall of the U.S.S.R. Political change brought new challenges and Hungary had no other option but to turn its exports to the West, meaning that Hungary had to adjust by offering more sophisticated products to new and emerging markets (i.e. Love Over Money). This is how Hungary changed focus, giving most of its attention to quality improvement and innovation, in order to compete and measure up to other West European wine producing countries.

Varietals: 100% Furmint

Alcohol: 12.5% by volume

Tasting Notes: The wine is a pretty light straw color, with aromas of green apple which lead to a crisp, clean, mineral character. The fruit is mouth-filling with an underlying hint of spice and a broad finish with good acidity.

Food Pairings: The rich acidity combined with the fruitiness of this wine makes that it is easy to pair with rich fish based dishes, creamy chicken or even with slightly spicy recipes. Also a great pairing with cheese!

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Rich, vibrant, layers of complex flavor. The wine has great orange peel flavors but is balanced by acidity…almost electric! Awesome mouth feel. A great summertime sipper!”-JL