Fine Wine Source Wine


November 2019

Les Vignobles Foncalieu: The origins of the Vignerons du Pays d’Ensérune date back to the beginning of organized winegrowing with the construction of the first cooperative winery in France in the village of Maraussan in 1901. Upholding the tradition launched by the Vignerons Libres de Maraussan, our cooperative winegrowers have preserved their ancestors’ knowledge over the years, and their same remarkable capacity for innovation. With each era they have shown courage and ambition with the creation of new economic models, while at the same time preserving and developing a powerful work ethic of mutual support. Our vineyards cover more than 3,000 hectares, from the Mediterranean coast to the foothills of Mount Caroux. Due to this enormous expanse, our vineyards offer an incredibly rich variety of terroirs. We benefit from the plains of the lower Aude valley, with large areas of wetlands that are home to remarkable biodiversity, the pale soil of Capestang and Montady that lies on ancient marine deposits, the red soil of Maraussan and Cazouls, due to iron concretions, and finally the limestone slopes of the St Chinian appellation in the communes of Cazedarnes and Puisserguier. This diversity of terroirs enables the expression of wide range of exceptional aromas and flavors. But what really sets us apart is the introduction of varieties that are not usually grown in the region, such as Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, and the rehabilitation of old varieties like Piquepoul Noir, which require unusual vinification methods for the Languedoc, resulting in interesting wines.

2016 Ensedune Petit Verdot: At the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, the Oppidum Romain d’Ensérune dominates the terroir of the Ensédune wines. It is characterized by one of the warmest and dryest climates of France located at the west of Béziers. Proud of a 1000 year tradition, the Ensérune winegrowers were keen to develop their vineyards by acclimatizing grape varieties from various horizons. Created by teamwork, the Ensédune range is the product of generations of collaboration by winegrowers and presents unusual grape varieties for mono-varietal wines. 100 % Petit Verdot. A Bordeaux grape variety recommended in the Gironde region for its resistance to powdery mildew, it is the last to be harvested (late-harvesting with a very long growth cycle, hence its name “petit vert”, meaning “little green”). It needs water and heat, and is not very drought-resistant. The grapes are harvested towards the end of the morning and taken to traditional tanks in the winery for seeding with selected yeasts. Extraction is carried out by alternating pneumatic crushing, pumping over and gravity rack-and-return operations. When the required level of bouquet and concentration is reached, the wine is left to macerate in the tank for three to four weeks to obtain the optimal concentration of the extract before pressing and malolactic fermentation.

Varietal: 100% Petit Verdot

Alcohol: 12.5%

Tasting Notes: Very colourful, peppery, spicy and fragrant, a connoisseur’s wine. Fruity (raspberry, wild strawberry, citrus fruits) and floral (licorice, peony, juniper berry) notes.

Food Pairings: Best served with grilled red meats or with a cheeseboard. Serve between 18°C and 20°C

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Big rich layers of spice and intensity. Best served with lamb or beef.

Wine Club Member HOT Deal: 2015 Chateau de Jacques Fleurie Grand Cru Gamay…A perfect expression or Terrior and indigenous Bourgogne fruit. These won’t last, so grab one fast to experience the best of Beaujolais! Wine Club Member Price $29.99

Fine Wine Source Wine


September 2019

Chateau de Costis: Château de Costis, which belongs to the group of Laurent Mazeau’s vineyards, is located in the heart of Entre-deux-Mers, near the village of Targon and facing the medieval Château de Benauge. Half of the vineyard was part of the original family estate and the second half was purchased in 1972. The original family estate was bought in 1928, by Charles Mallet, the great grandfather of Laurent Mazeau. In 1949, Michelle Coullon, the granddaughter of Charles Mallet, married René Mazeau and she inherited the family estate in 1950. From 1950 until his retirement in 1985, René Mazeau ran the vineyard with the help of his wife Michelle. During this period the vineyard evolved and grew successfully to become a technical and commercial model. In 1985 René Mazeau retired and they donated the estate to their four sons. The four brothers decided to administer their heritage separately. Consequently the Vignobles Laurent Mazeau-Bergström was born.
Vignobles Mazeau started with 48 hectares of vines under the names of Château de Costis and Château Rougi. In 1986 a new and modern wine cellar, combining modern techniques and the respect of traditional wine producing, was inaugurated. From 1985 until today new plantings have allowed the estate to become a vineyard of over 100 hectares.

2016 Chateau de Costis Rouge: The Vineyards consist of 66 hectares of red vines planted on 60% southern hills, 10 northern hills, and 30% plateau. The soil is 60% clay/limestone, 30%clay/silicium, and 10% gravel. Vinified in the cellar at Targon, the grapes are brought into the cellar in airtight containers, protected with CO2 gas, and sent into the tanks for fermentation. The temperature is automatically controlled between 26° C and 29° C depending on the grape variety and the expected final result and filtered lightly to preserve character.

Varietal: 40% Merlot, 35% Cab Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon

Alcohol: 12.5%

Tasting Notes: Château de Costis has an extraordinary deep, shiny, red color. The aroma is powerful with a lot of fruit. The taste is soft with a good amount of tannin for a Bordeaux wine. It is a very well balanced wine.

Food Pairings: A great charcuterie wine, think cold roast beef, cheddar, goat cheese, mild brie, and camembert. Simple grilled meat or sausage, roast duck, or a good October Mac-N-Cheese!

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich, ripe and opulent with layers of complexity. Long and dry lingering finish makes this best for beef. Pork, or lamb dishes.

Wine Club Member HOT Deal: 2016 Agricola Punica Montessu Isola dei Nuraghi from Sardinia, Italy. This very old-world blend of Carignan, Cab, Cab Franc, Merlot, & Syrah is so elegant and stunning it is breathtaking! Wine Club Member Price $39.99!!!

Fine Wine Source Wine


July 2019

Chateau Bel-Air Laclotte: Nestled in the Gironde, Saint Gervais is 22km from the city center of Bordeaux. Owner, Earl Vignobles Stephan Motut was born on the property and inherited 32H of the vineyard, the chateau, and the outlying fields in 2004.The vineyards are planted in clay-limestone soils that are perfect for the Merlot and Cabernet Franc in this vintage’s offering. Mindful cultivation of the vineyards has helped to produce a Vin de Bordeaux wine that is well balanced and exemplary of the classic, supple and harmonious wines of North Eastern Bordeaux.

The Côtes de Bourg: Côtes de Bourg is an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) for Bordeaux wine situated around the small town of Bourg-sur-Gironde near Bordeaux, France. The first vineyards in the area were founded by the Romans. In the Middle Ages, Bourg was a major port for wine and the vineyards developed at the same tempo as the estuary traffic. At the time, the inhabitants of Bourg were fishermen, sailors, or winemakers; the latter benefited from the perfect combination of a commercially minded town and a soil made for the vine. Historians date the first vineyards from the 2nd century AD, when the Roman occupants planted the first “Vitis Biturica”. They understood that the combination of rich soil, climate and exposition of the east bank were ideal for cultivating the grape. Until the 9th century, the wine trade operated alongside the tin trade which in turn complemented quarrying. Currently, the area has many abandoned limestone quarries that provided stone for building the city of Bordeaux. All of this makes up the history of the growth of winemaking in the area since the appellation has a range of gravel, alluvium, clay and limestone soils. The Atlantic Ocean plays an important role in the temperate climate of le Bourgeais and this accentuates the expression of terroir, aided by the regulation of temperatures by the effects of the Gironde estuary. According to scientists, the Côtes de Bourg benefits from 10% additional sunlight, 1° to 2° less extreme temperatures and a 10% to 25% lower rainfall depending on the year, in comparison with other regions of Bordeaux.

Varietal: 70% Merlot & 30% Cabernet Franc

Alcohol: 13.5%

Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Raspberry, and Red Plum are fleshed out on the palate.

Food Pairings: This wine is lovely with a piece of beef, or a leg of lamb; it is Ideal with grilled veal or beef tenderloin.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich and loaded with complexity and layers of flavor; including, earthy terroir and a hints of tobacco and leather. Best served with lamb, beef, or pork heartily seared on the grill!

Wine Club Member HOT Deal: The 2015 Blason d’Issan is the 2nd label offering from 3rd Growth Producer Chateau d’Issan in Margaux. Utilize your Wine Club Member discount to sample this Cabernet dominant Bordeaux from the Left Bank. Wine Club Member Price $44.99.

Fine Wine Source Wine


June 2019

Les Maitres Vignerons de la Vidaubanaise: Translated to English means, “The Master Winemakers of the Vidaubanaise.” Is a cooperative located in Provence, France. Established in the town of Vidauban in 1922, the Maîtres Vignerons de la Vidaubanaise today controls 600 hectares of vines in the heart of the Appellation Côtes de Provence. The vineyards are located on the limestone foothills of the Maures massif in the southern Var, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps. The terroir benefits from the Mediterranean climate and allows for traditional southern varietals such as Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Carignan and Rolle to flourish to their full potential. The various vineyard parcels are vinified separately, allowing for more character and complexity. Wines from the Maîtres Vignerons annually win numerous awards at competitions such as the Mondial du Rosé and the Concours General Agricole, as well as receiving regular references in the French wine press such as the Guide Hachette. Le Provençal is our selection from the highest quality cuvées produced by the Maîtres Vignerons.

About Le Provencal 2018 Rose: The grapes are grown in vineyards under sustainable farming practices with light, sandy soils on ancient limestone terraces. The vines are from 10 to 30 years of age covering 600 hectares in the Var of the Cotes de Provence appellation and yield around 40hl/hectare. After harvest, a portion of the grapes undergo a cold maceration at various temperatures and lengths of time according to the grape variety, in order to extract a broader array of aromas. The remaining grapes are vinified by a direct pressing; the traditional method of vinifying rosé in Provence. The wines are blended, the cuvées selected, and élevage is in stainless steel tanks until early February, when the young rosé is bottled for maximum freshness.

Varietal: Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan, Syrah & Mourvèdre

Alcohol: 12%

Tasting Notes: Inviting bouquet of red currants, strawberries and melon. At once it is delicate yet flavorful on the palate with a long, refreshing finish. Perfect for a warm summer’s day!

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: It wants to be white; light and fragrant with zippy acidity, lively and fresh. Best served with cold seafood or pate.

Wine Club Member HOT Deal: Yet another stunning vintage of Lorenzo’s Podere Ciona Rose is waiting for you to help it find a home! Made from Podere Ciona’s estate vineyards in Gaiole in Chianti, the 2017 Rose is 100% Sangiovese and is a perfect foil for this month’s classic Provence Rose! Wine Club Member Price $14.99, Salute!

Fine Wine Source Wine


March 2019

Les Jamelles: Catherine and Laurent Delaunay are the heart and soul of Les Jamelles. In the early 1990’s, these two winemakers, both from Burgundian families rooted in the world of wine for several generations, were won over by the diversity of the Languedoc’s terroirs and the grape varieties. Catherine likes to say “the terroirs are there for the grapes.” In the mid-1990’s, the Languedoc region was not known for producing high quality wines; however, it’s reorganization had gotten underway and the pair sensed that it was a land full of promise, with the freedom and ability to grow fifty or so different varietals. In regards to the personal hallmark Catherine and Laurent have made in the region, Catherine has this to say: “In a region where the wines were considered to be very powerful, we wanted to add a touch of Burgundy to our cuvees-to make them fresh, elegant, and complex. Over the years we have discovered many shared features between Burgundy and the Languedoc. It is said that Burgundy is a ‘mosaic of terroirs.’ I would say that the same is true in Languedoc, but to the power of 10!” To ensure its success, Les Jamelles has remained faithful to its original philosophy of listening to consumers (in over 45 countries) and offering them delectable, expressive and accessible varietal wines whose roundness, rich aromas and flavors evoke a certain art of living in the South of France.

Les Jamelles Grenache: Grenache is a grape variety which performs best when it grows in arid regions. The red Grenache “Les Jamelles” is smooth and fruit-forward. It is an easy-drinking wine, perfect for informal gatherings and picnics. This Grenache was cultivated in the Pays d’Oc region in the South of France, between Béziers and Perpignan near the Mediterranean coast. The 10-20 year-old sloping vineyards are located on clay-silty soils coming from the old Aude River, and from the clay-limestone soils of the Minervois. The Pruning method is “Cordon de Royat” ( a spur trained trellis system that is widely used in the Champagne region of France to grow Pinot Noir). and the yield is approximately 50 hectoliters per hectare. The grapes are totally destemmed and undergo a long temperature-controlled maceration with regular pumping over. Malolactic fermentation is completed. 5 to 10% is aged in oak barrel for 7 to 9 months.

Varietal: 100% Grenache

Alcohol: 12.5%

Tasting Notes: Deep purple in color with vivid highlights, it is a rich, rounded, and fruit forward wine (raspberry) with spicy undertones (pepper, cinnamon, tapenade).

Food Pairings: It can be easily served with Terrines (Pate) or with Mediterranean cuisine, as well as grilled meats (lamb and meat stew) or sauced meats. Serve at 62-65 degrees.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Loaded with spicy flavors of Paprika and fresh Red Pepper; the wine has an explosion of flavor on the palate. This Grenache is best served with Chicken, Pan Seared, or Smoked Salmon.

Wine Club Member’s Great Buy: Utilize your Wine Club Member Discount to enjoy the 2015 Chateau Saint-Roch Kerbuccio from the recently classified AOC of France’s Maury Sec. This 94 Point blend of Grenache & Carignan is an outstanding value! Wine Club Member Price $19.99

Fine Wine Source Wine


September 2018

Domaine Lafage:

Domaine Lafage is a leading estate in the Roussillon region in France. Winemaker Jean-Marc Lafage is one of Europe’s most highly regarded winemakers and has worked as a consultant in multiple countries. The domaine makes dry wines of all hues under the Côtes du Roussillon AOC along with sweet Maury, Rivesaltes, and Muscat de Rivesaltes wines. In recent years, various wines in the portfolio have received strong marks from Robert Parker in the Wine Advocate. Prices are very modest for the level of acclaim and therefore the wines have become highly sought-after. In fact, Parker called the 2011 Kerbuccio, a Syrah/Grenache/ Mourvèdre blend “one of the top wine values I have ever tasted”. Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage farm 160 hectares of vines located just south of the capital of French Catalonia, Perpignan. Some of their vineyards are situated very close to the Mediterranean, while others can be found in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Benefiting from a warm, dry climate, the estate is farmed organically. They grow primarily Grenache (Blanc, Gris & Noir), Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay with a significant proportion of the vines well over 50 years old. The soil is weathered, alluvial gravel, while in the higher elevation sites it is predominantly schist. They harvest by hand and the winemaking approach is minimalist, with stainless steel, concrete, and small amounts of French oak, and demi-muids. The Lafage cellars are located just outside Perpignan, though it has also has vineyards at Les Aspres and Agly. Domaine Lafage has around 160 hectares (400 acres) of vineyards with vines that are as much as 100 years old. For well over a decade Eric Solomon has worked with Jean-Marc Lafage at his estate in the Roussillon, and across the border in Spain where he consults on several projects.

About:

The Bastide Miraflors is a custom cuvée for Eric Solomon’s European Cellars and a joint project with Jean-Marc Lafage. Bastide Miraflors is a cuvée created from Grenache grown on rocky, alluvial clay soils resembling those of the Rhône Valley combined with Syrah grown on schist in the village of Maury. After a long maceration of six weeks the wine ages for 12 months in concrete (Grenache) and 600L French oak demi-muids (Syrah).

Varietal:

70% Syrah & 30% Vielles Vignes (Old Vine) Grenache.

Alcohol:

14.5%

Tasting Notes (from Robert Parker):

“This wine is almost too good to be true. A blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was brought up in concrete tanks (Grenache) and demi-muids (Syrah), the 2015 Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes reminded me of a mini Syrah from California’s Manfred Krankl (yes I just compared a $14 Syrah to Sine Qua Non). It’s a ripe, sexy, heady beauty that exhibits a deep, purple color as well as killer notes of smoked meats, chocolate, blackberry and black raspberries. Deep, unctuous, open knit and layered, it continues to change in the glass, has a seamless and silky profile, and not a hard edge to be found. It’s a sensational value that needs to be tasted to be believed. Drink it anytime over the coming 2-4 years.”

Food Pairings:

Think early fall comfort foods: Savory sage meatloaf, lasagna, Rosemary herbed potatoes, BBQ/smoked pork loin, country style spare ribs.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

The best Syrah based wine you can buy for the money! Rich, yet elegant, on the palate with a silky and satisfying finish…WOW, what a wine!!!

Fine Wine Source Wine


May 2018

Les Jamelles:

Catherine and Laurent Delaunay are the heart and soul of Les Jamelles. In the early 1990’s, these two winemakers, both from Burgundian families rooted in the world of wine for several generations, were won over by the diversity of the Languedoc’s terroirs and the grape varieties. Catherine likes to say “the terroirs are there for the grapes.” In the mid-1990’s, the Languedoc region was not known for producing high quality wines; however, it’s reorganization had gotten underway and the pair sensed that it was a land full of promise, with the freedom and ability to grow fifty or so different varietals. In regards to the personal hallmark Catherine and Laurent have made in the region, Catherine has this to say: “In a region where the wines were considered to be very powerful, we wanted to add a touch of Burgundy to our cuvees-to make them fresh, elegant, and complex. Over the years we have discovered many shared features between Burgundy and the Languedoc. It is said that Burgundy is a ‘mosaic of terroirs.’ I would say that the same is true in Languedoc, but to the power of 10!” To ensure its success, Les Jamelles has remained faithful to its original philosophy of listening to consumers (in over 45 countries) and offering them delectable, expressive and accessible varietal wines whose roundness, rich aromas and flavors evoke a certain art of living in the South of France.

About:

Catherine created the “Cepage Rare” collection in 2010. It allows wine lovers to discover a selection of grape varieties that have particular history in the Languedoc: Whether they are old, forgotten, little known, or rarely grown in the region, they are part of the viticultural heritage of the South of France. Malbec is said to have originated in France’s Quercy Region and the vineyards of Cahors. It was then introduced into the Gironde and Touraine regions around 1810. It resulted from a cross between Magdeline Noire des Charentes and Prunelard. This early ripening grape varietal yields very fruity, aromatic, deeply coloured wines that are rich in tannins and well suited to ageing. Malbec is rare in the Languedoc region; however, Laurent has discovered two very different vineyards whose 30-year old vines produce low yields of high quality fruit. The Languedoc vineyard has a warm terrior strewn with galets (round stones). These grapes give depth and colour to the wine. In the western part of the Aude department the cool deep soils of La Malepere produce fruit with tangy red berry flavor that lends finesse and freshness. The grapes were hand harvested and vinified in stainless steel tanks under monitored temperatures. Traditional maceration lasts 15 days and 10% of the wine is aged in oak barrels for added complexity.

Cepage:

100% Malbec

Alcohol:

13%

Tasting Notes:

This elegant, ruby coloured wine tinged with red boasts a spicy nose with hints of liquorice and notes of red and black fruit. It is soft and well-structured on the palate with solid fruity flavours and fine tannins that give this wine its elegant length.

Food Pairings:

This Malbec is the ideal match for Mediterranean cuisine (ratatouille), pizza, couscous and tagines, as well as assorted deli meats, cheeses and grilled red meats. It is also delicious with chocolate. Serve at 16°C /61°F.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

A power pack loaded with rich complex flavors. It has a great pop of flavor up front and finish with a long rich linger of fruit. Best served with a steak or any meat on the BBQ!

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.