Fine Wine Source Wine

July 2018

Ray’s Station Winery:

John Ray, former Army Captain and Bear Flag Republic Leader (1846), was an early founder in what is now Northern California’s Wine Country. After establishing successful vineyards throughout the region, Ray made his way up the northern stretch of the Russian River, planting some of the very first vineyards in Mendocino County, a county noted for its distinctive Pacific Ocean coastline, Redwood forests, and now under the canopy of those Redwoods, cannabis crops. Little did he know that one day Mendocino County would be known as “America’s Greenest Wine Region” – in more ways than one. Ray’s Station celebrates John Ray’s search for exceptional terroir and his need for discovery. An extended growing season, long hot days and cool maritime-influenced nights combine to make Mendocino a world-class winegrowing region. The benchland vineyards, from which the fruit is sourced, offer soils with exceptional drainage and vines whose roots grow deeper than typical valley floor vines, adding complexity to the fruit. Sustainable farming practices ensure that these small-production wines are intense, bold and full of character, much like the region itself.


Down the road from the Russian River in the southern hills of Mendocino County, our expert winemaker crafts powerful yet approachable wines all at our estate winery. Overseeing fruit sourcing and winemaking is the renowned winemaker Michael Westrick. Michael has been crafting top tier, Bordeaux inspired wines for more than 20 years and has directed winemaking for such well-known wineries as Sterling Vineyards in Napa and Stonestreet Winery in Sonoma. With a hands-on approach and well-honed craft, Michael is excited to now create exceptional Cabernet and Merlot from Mendocino County, from handpicked fruit and small-lot fruit, his winemaking captures the full-flavored, terroir-specific expression of this region.


80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, & 10% Malbec



Tasting Notes:

Aromatic and complex: this vibrant wine fills your nose with scents of briar and sweet wild berries characteristic of Mendocino fruit. The palate follows the fruit trail with flavors of boysenberry, blackberry, black raspberry, and wild cherry. French Oak ageing adds hints of espresso and vanilla framing the fruit seductively while full, rich, silky soft tannins carry these sensations long into the powerful finish. Enjoy today or cellar for future reference over the next ten years.

Food Pairings:

Pair with tomato pastas, juicy bacon cheeseburgers from the grill, BBQ ribs, Steak, or some grilled Portabella mushrooms.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

Rich & complex cab that is loaded with black fruit that leads to a lush mouthfeel and a long, lingering finish; best served with grilled meats on the BBQ or rich and flavorful cheeses.

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.


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.


100% Malbec



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!

February Imported Wine: 2010 Bodega Catena Zapata ‘La Consulta’ Malbec, Mendoza, ARGENTINA

The Catena wines are a blend of single varietal lots from the Catena family’s vineyards. Each vineyard is divided into lots that are harvested separately, and specially prepared to be part of the final blend of each Catena wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay. By blending components from different terroirs and altitudes, they aim to create the most balanced and expressive wine.  Although they have found that most of the Catena wines are consumed shortly after release, they have been pleased to see that they age beautifully for ten to twenty years.

The Birth of the Catena Zapata Malbecs: In 2001 Nicolas’ daughter Laura took over the Research & Development program at Bodega Catena Zapata. An Emergency Room physician with degrees from Harvard and Stanford, Laura brought a very strong science background to the family winery’s R&D project. She immediately set about working with the high altitude Malbec that her father had planted. Laura was sure that this Argentine varietal, planted in these extreme microclimates, would yield something truly special.

Laura’s determination to produce a world class Malbec led her and the viticultural team to conduct an actual plant by plant selection of the top Malbec lots in their high altitude vineyards. These Zapata plants were managed and harvested separately to isolate their incredible potential.

In 2004 this program produced such extraordinary fruit that the winemakeing team decided to ferment the fruit directly in new oak barrels. The results were three spectacular new Malbecs which showed the incredible quality of the family’s high altitude Malbec vineyards: Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec, Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard, and Catena Zapata Malbec Argentina.

In 2009, Catena Malbec Appellation La Consulta was introduced. It is composed of 100% Malbec blended from vineyards of La Consulta district in San Carlos.  The result is a wine with a pure expression of a unique terroir. 35-year-old vines gives red and black fresh fruits flavors, sweet texture and character. Cold nights lend bright, crisp acidity and the intense sunshine gives explosive floral aromatics and concentrated structure.

Varietal: 100% Malbec

Alcohol: 13.5% by volume

Tasting Notes: The Catena Malbec Appellation La Consulta shows a dark violet color with deep purple tones. The nose offers aromas like red fruit and ripe, concentrated dark berries with fresh herbs and floral notes like lavender and violets, some traces of vanilla and tobacco. The mouthfeel is rich, with raspberries and blueberries, spices notes and a touch of mocha. The finish presents soft and well-structured tannins with bright, crisp acidity that gives the wine exceptional length.

Food Pairings: Pair this this wine with beef tenderloin and other hearty dishes.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Made by the iconic Malbec producer Catena. Rich and spicy, with a power pack of layers and complexity. It is loaded with flavors of cedar, smoke and pork tones. A great wine for grilled meats. I hope you enjoy as much as I do!”-JL

February Imported Wine: 2011 Pascual Toso Malbec, Mendoza, ARGENTINA

In the mid-1880s, Pascual Toso set out towards Argentina from his hometown, Canale D’Alba, in Piedmont, Italy. He never could have imagined that he would become the founder of a winery, which is today one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in Argentina.

When he arrived in Argentina, he settled in Mendoza. As he had been closely involved in the development of his family wine business in Piedmont, he promptly saw the promising future for winemaking in the region and decided to use his expertise. In 1890, Pascual Toso established his first winery in San José, Guaymallén.

Pascual Toso wines are the expression of their passion, their commitment to quality and the great terroir of Las Barrancas. They specially select their grapes for each of our ranges in order to achieve the best quality for delightful and unique wines. Grapes for their estate range come from vineyards that are 15 to 25 years of age, in high trellis. Plants are watered by drip irrigation system, which allows them to manage water flow and achieve the best results.

History of Malbec and its Relation to Pascaul Toso: Malbec (pronounced: [mal.bɛk]) is a purple grape variety used in making red wine. The grapes tend to have an inky dark color and robust tannins, and are known as one of the five grapes allowed in the blend of red Bordeaux wine. The French plantations of Malbec are now found primarily in Cahors in South West France. It is increasingly celebrated as an Argentine varietal wine (i.e. Pascual Toso) and is being grown around the world.

Called Auxerrois or Côt Noir in Cahors, called Malbec in Bordeaux, and Pressac in other places, the grape became less popular in Bordeaux after 1956 when frost killed off 75% of the crop. Despite Cahors being hit by the same frost, which devastated the vineyards, Malbec was replanted and continued to be popular in that area where it was mixed with Merlot and Tannat to make dark, full-bodied wines, and more recently has been made into 100% Malbec varietal wines.

Varietals: 100% Malbec

Alcohol: 14.0% by volume

Tasting Notes: Fairly round and inviting. Slightly firm and fruity at the time. Complex and well-balanced wine, it presents lingering and gentle tannins.

Food Pairings: Ideal for red meats, lamb, pasta and fine fermented cheese.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Old world and new world meet. The classic old world style of Bordeaux, with the new world fruit of Argentina. Paul Hobbs is a guiding force, as the consulting winemaker, bringing another dimension to the wine.”-JL