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Kathleens Wine Picks of the Week

Kathleens Wine Picks of the Week

French region Alsace has a truly exceptional setting for making wine. Protected by the Vosges Mountains, this picturesque region is singularly blessed with enviable conditions: ancient soils, noble grapes and an extraordinary climate - one of the driest in France. Thirteen distinct terroirs make Alsace a mosaic unlike anywhere else. Here, minerality and freshness aren't just concepts, they are the story of the wines.

We're tasting two of our favorites, along with two special reds from the West Coast, and it just wouldn't be a tasting without something delicious from Italy. If there's a red wine that you don't know but should, it's Tuscany's noblest bottle of them all, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Not to be confused with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (made from the Montepulciano grape), this Sangiovese-based red is just as noteworthy as its celebrated Tuscan neighbors, Chianti and Brunello. Though it often falls in the shadows of neighboring Chiantis, Brunello, or Super Tuscans, Nobile was the first DOCG wine to appear on the Italian market. A favorite amongst influential Italian Kings, Popes, and Presidents, the wine has been celebrated throughout history as the wine of the nobles (hence its name). Even our own third President and fine wines expert, Thomas Jefferson, fell under the spell of Vino Nobile, stating, "For the present I confine myself to the physical want of some good Montepulciano...this being a very favorite wine and habit, having rendered the light and high flavored wines a necessary of life with me. It was most superlatively good."

As much as I lament the passing of the seasons and the fading away of summer, I do look forward to the pleasures of red wines and the cuisine of the cooler weather. And West Coast Cabs are a perennial favorite, as the leaves turn from spring green to autumn gold.  We are very pleased to share one of our favorites, from a small, artisanal Napa winery on the Siverado trail, Robert Sinskey Vineyards.  Known both for their incredibly hedonistic wines, as well as their brillant American cuisine, chef Maria Sinskey just visited us here at Savour to taste her wines - and this is the winner!  Each of these luscious wines has a special place in our hearts, so join us for a great tasting experience.

Katrina and Kathleen    

Lucien Albrecht, Brut Rose, Cremant d'Alsace, France ~ $19.99

The Lucien Albrecht Rosé Crémant d'Alsace is simply outstanding and will satisfy the most finicky of wine lovers, and its beauty will enlist those new to the joys of wine. The grapes are hand picked. The whole cluster Pinot Noir grapes are directly pressed in a pneumatic press with a long and soft pressing, hence the pale coral-pink salmon color. Cremant Rosé is made by the Champagne Methode. The second fermentation takes place in the bottle. Afterwards it stays on its lees for 9 months follow by the remuage and disgorging.Pair with appetizers, especially sashimi. So, give this wine a try and discover how perfect pink can be! Light to medium salmon in color, delicate and refined mousse; perfumed aroma of delicate strawberries and flowers; medium bodied and light on its feet in the palate; dry, fine acidity, crisp palate; delicious and serious wild strawberry flavors, a whispering note of flowers; medium finish, perky, fresh aftertaste. This is one of the best values in the world of sparkling wine!


2011 Sipp Mack, Grand Cru Rosacker, Reisling, Hunawihr, Alsace ~ $29.99

Since 1698, nine generations of the Sipp family have made wine in Hunawihr. Like so many wineries in Alsace, Sipp-Mack was formed by the marriage of two local winemaking families. Today, the domaine consists of 54 acres of vineyards in the villages of Hunawihr, Ribeauvillé and Bergheim, and has been certified organic since the 2012 vintage.The 5.2 acre Rosacker Grand Cru vineyard in Hunawihr is known for producing racy Rieslings that show a peppery personality when young, and take on an elegant mineral aspect as they age. Typically, Rosacker Rieslings can age for a minimum of 15 years.

Sipp-Mack's 2011 Riesling Grand Cru Rosacker displays ripe orchard fruits such as yellow apples with a bright herbal quality reminiscent of fennel. The grapes have a high concentration of natural sugar, reflecting the fruit's ripeness, and fresh acidity, as is typical for the Rosacker. The wine was aged in stainless steel tanks and four months on the fine lees. This is a textured, steely, mouthwatering and very mineral wine that also has rich, honeyed stone fruits giving the wine weight and density. Baked apple, fennel and smoky notes, along with a racy acidity, lend freshness and spice. It should age very well.


2013 Avignonese, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Italy ~ $32.99

The Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a selection of Sangiovese from all of our vineyards in Montepulciano, creating a multifaceted wine that is a true expression of the terroir.  The Tuscan grape requires a long growing season and a sunny September. This vintage offered both, with it being a warm vintage  in Montepulciano, favoring the development of ripe, fruity  notes  and producing wines which are delicious to drink young, while maintaining a good balance between tannins and acidity, which will allow them to age well in the bottle. Past vintages may have seen smaller percentages of Merlot, but this vintage paints a pretty picture of Sangiovese in a classic vintage. Brick red in color, the bouquet bursts open to wild fruit aromas, dried violets and hints of savory spice.  Medium bodied and balanced with luscious acidity and tart cherry flavors, and complemented by a long lush finish. Roasted lamb would fit the bill, or roasted wild mushrooms over polenta with this wine would make me swoon...


2014 Gravel Bar, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, WA ~ $19.99

For more than twenty centuries, torrential floodwaters from melting ice-age glaciers sculpted eastern Washington's Columbia Valley, leaving in their wake deep deposits of sandy, rocky, alluvial soils. Today, framing the Columbia River, broad plains of ancient sediment constitute one of the world's finest wine grape growing regions. Encompassing more than a third of the state, the Columbia Valley is by far Washington's largest growing region at nearly 11 million acres. The appellation is located in central, south-central, and south-eastern Washington with part of the appellation spilling across the border into Oregon, and is home to over 99% of all of Washington's vinifera acreage, with Cabernet Sauvignon the most planted grape.  This wine is predominantly Cab, with 5% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot. Delicious with flavors of black cherry, mocha, currant, mushroom, and plum, the finish is subtle and elegant, complex and concentrated. This wine would be a gorgeous pair with Moroccan-style lamb shanks with couscous, and a few good adventure stories!


2012 Robert Sinskey, POV, Napa, CA ~ $42.99

POV is a term found in photography, meaning "point of view."  Dr. Sinskey was a photographer and several of his exquisite black and white images grace the labels of the wine. The POV is a Bordeaux blend in which the varietal percentages change every year. Located against the hills on the eastern side of Silverado Trail, one will find the 200 acres of vineyards they own and manage, all certified organic, and as of 2008, farmed biodynamically. Biodynamic farming involves three things; building the health of the soil naturally using special natural compost, philosophically farming (prune and harvest based on phases of the moon and planets), and control pests and diseases without chemicals (cover crops, use plants that attract beneficial insects). The winery also uses solar cells to power the majority of the winery operations and even brews their own bio-diesel (from used restaurant oil) for use in their trucks and tractors. This is a vibrant proprietary cuvee of the classic Bordeaux varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, full of red berry notes backed by dried violet and fennel, with aromas of subtle baking spiciness. It is an elegantly rich wine with just a suggestion of dark chocolate, with a long finish on the palate, that is certainly drinkable now but could also be held for a few years.   

Their motto is "fine wines from organic vines". I would certainly agree that every wine I have had from Sinskey Vineyards has been, indeed, very fine, and this is still one of my favorites.  Maria also left us a few of her favorite recipes, so check with us, and we might share a few, including a glorious roast chicken with spring onion and wild mushroom stuffing - perfect for Fall!

 


 

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