Vin du Jour or "Wine of the Day" is a blog focusing on wine and all things it encompasses written in a prose that's intended to be fun, informative and thought provoking. Salut! (Like to contribute to the blog...then, contact us.)

Review of Peju’s 2007 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

Wine: Peju 2007 Cabernet Franc

 

Appellation: Napa Valley
Alc: 14.1%
Price: $45
Haydn gives it: 90pts

Much like the Carignane grape, the Cabernet Franc can be easily overshadowed by some bigger name varietals. Yet it’s importance and character is crucial in some of the best Bordeaux (blends) around. And while at times it can easily take a supporting role, the wine by itself is easily able to hold it’s own.

Such is the case (no pun intended) with Peju’s 2007 Cabernet Franc from the Napa Valley, grown at the estate’s Persephone Ranch Vineyard located in Pope Valley. The ’07 spent 16 months in barrel and then was given a chance to take a nap for a year. The wine was just released this month (July).

The wine displays lovely notes of tobacco, a bit of smoke, perhaps off of a wooded plank, as well as a bit of black currant. It’s dark, deep, and a tad mysterious due to it’s large tannin structure. Peju is suggesting the tannins will mellow out in a year. If so, the wine will start to roar right around Christmas time. I imagine that once the tannins settle, this wine will truly sparkle. It has a great potential to do so and can turn out to be one stellar Cabernet Franc. Cellar and drink within about 4-6 years.

Cheers,
Haydn

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Haydn Adams is the author of the book, Wineries Beyond Napa Valley: Dry Creek and Alexander Valley, an insider’s tasting guide to the hidden gems region. He also contributes to the Beyond Napa Valley Wine Blog, writes for vinvillage.com, and can be found roaming the hills of Sonoma County looking for the next hidden gems. You can contact him at haydn@beyondnapavalley.com

 

 

The Wines at Crush Barrel Wine Market

There was something for everyone at July’s Crush Barrel Wine Market, from bubbly bruts to earthy Bordeaux blends. The event was set at Fort Mason, in San Francisco, where wine enthusiasts could try and buy, directly from the winery. Here are the top picks of the market:

Best of Show – Stein Family

A new discovery and overall best of show winner was Stein Family Winery. Josh Stein was on hand to personally pour his two wines— a 2009 Los Carneros Semi-Dry Gewürztraminer and his Just Joshin 2007 Tempranillo, from the Sierra Foothills. The Gewürztraminer was beautiful with honeysuckle and rose pedals on the mid-palate with a big of orange and lemon to round it out. A touch of residual sugar adds to this wine, kicking up the acidity a bit and making it a desirable wine for my next outing to a thai restaurant.

The tempranillo further illustrated that, to me, the grape is Cabernet’s baby sister. It ripe and ready to drink now, though you might want to wait a few years for the soft tannins to further settle. There’s a bit of blueberries and red berries mixed with a mocha aspect, further added by a dusting of dirt (terrior). Tempranillos have a higher bit of acidity, making it perfect for your next lamb shank dish.

Here are a few other noteworthy wines of the Crush Barrel Wine Market:

Aver Family Vineyard 2007 Homage (Syrah) – The wine is tasting beautifully right now. The tannins have somewhat resided and what you are left with is a medium spice coupled with a bit of vanilla and dark berries. It’s ready to drink now, though you could lay this down for another few years.

Ricardus Corculum 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon – Using a mixture of new French Oak as well and neutral, Ricardus Corculum has crafted a beautiful Cab. Blackberries can be found both on the mid-palate, along with a cedar plank spice and a bit of mocha. The wine is clean, with good, strong tannins. This is a wine that you’ll want to lay down for 10+ years.

R&B Cellars Fortissimo “Port” Desert Wine – A beautiful wine to finish off the wine tasting. I coupled this with a few chocolates from different tables to really get this port to shine. Tobacco, leather and plum can easily be found in this wine. It’s thick and leathery; simply beautiful.

Cheers,
Haydn

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Haydn Adams is the author of the book, Wineries Beyond Napa Valley: Dry Creek and Alexander Valley, an insider’s tasting guide to the hidden gems region. He also contributes to the Beyond Napa Valley Wine Blog, writes for vinvillage.com, and can be found roaming the hills of Sonoma County (and at times, Napa Valley) looking for the next hidden gems. You can contact him at haydn@beyondnapavalley.com.

 

 

What does a 100 pt wine taste like?

In February, Robert Parker bestowed the highest honor a wine can receive to the 2007 Le Joie, by Vérité. In the past, he has graced the winery's Bordeaux blends with scores all the way up to 99, but for the first time in the history of winemaking in Sonoma, a wine has been given a 100 point rating.

So what does this wine taste like? Did it live up to it's expectations? Discover the answer to the question, "What does a 100 point wine taste like?"

Enjoy!
Haydn

Review of the Route 128 2006 PeLu Rouge, Opatz Family Vineyard

 

Route 128 2006 PeLu Rouge, Opatz Family Vineyard
Appellation: Nestled in a mountain pass between Alexander Valley and Anderson Valley
Alc: 14.8%
Price: $34
Haydn gives it: 90pts
Total production: 1 barrel
You can buy this wine at: route128winery.com

PeLue Rouge’s name simply comes from the names of the two owners— Lorna (Lulu is her nickname) and Pete. The husband and wife tag team opened up Route 128 a few years back in the Alexander Valley on the main street of Geyserville. A delicious wine, it is silky smooth with hardly a touch of tannins to speak of. There is a bit of blackberry mixed with a bit of black pepper, but it was as if the pepper’s strength had been turned way down to be a little bit more than a garnish rather than a main course. At a total production of 1 barrel, I don’t expect this wine to be around for too long. At that small production, and the beauty of the wine, it’s going to go fast.
 
Read More

 

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Haydn Adams is the author of the book, Wineries Beyond Napa Valley: Dry Creek and Alexander Valley, an insider’s tasting guide to the hidden gems region. He also contributes to the Beyond Napa Valley Wine Blog, writes for vinvillage.com, and can be found roaming the hills of Sonoma County (and at times, Napa Valley) looking for the next hidden gems. You can contact him at haydn@beyondnapavalley.com.

Flights! A Showcase of Zinfandels and a Healthy Discussion, by ZAP

 While I had read on ZAP’s website what flights! was about, I truly was unaware of just how euphoric the event turned out to be. I use that term because being able to taste five different winemakers’ wine, all the while hearing about the process with which each one went through to make it, is not something you get to hear every day.

Read more.

Trione rocks!

Check out my blog for reviews of the wines we've tasted on the air and at home. TasteWine

The Trione family has been growing grapes in Sonoma County for seemingly forever.  They developed Geyser Peak and today they have created a winery under their own name.

Scot Covington is making the wine and doing a bang up job of it.  Salut!

 

 

Review of the Cougar 2009 Chardonnay from Temecula Valley

 

 

Wine: Cougar 2009 Chardonnay
Appellation: Temecula Valley
Alc.: 11.5%
Haydn gives this wine: 88pts
Price: $20
You can buy this wine: at cougarvineyards.com

The California landscape is dotted with more Chardonnays than CHP cars. It seems that one can toss a dart onto a wine map and inevitably find a Chardonnay-producing winery. The flavor notes are as scattered on the wine wheel as the grapes are in any particular AVA (wine region). Stainless steel, new French oak, used French oak, Hungarian oak (ok, for the record I’ve yet to see a Chardonnay touch Hungarian Oak, but I just never know), a mixture of oak and steel, and on and on the list continues. There’s the ABC club, or anything but Chardonnay, and the Le Crema fan club (one of the more oakey Chards).

Then we have the 2009 Cougar Chardonnay from Temecula. With colors that resemble a Savignon Blanc and an alcohol percentage that is unheard of in California (11.5%) in the Chardonnay world, this wine is way off the charted characteristics of what and how a Chardonnay should behave and act.

With this Chardonnay, you’re going to get hints of tropical fruits, going all the way into the guava and coconut arena. If by now you’re saying that’s madness, well, you’re partially right. Thankfully the wine rebounds with additions of Chardonnay characteristics with a little bit of acidity mixed in with a few bartlett pears. The secret to the notes of this Chardonnay is in the way it is produced—the wine never touched an oak barrel, new or used, at all.

The 2009 Cougar Chardonnay is a great wine pre-dinner. The low alcohol is a pleasant welcome to the Chardonnay arena, which means you can enjoy a glass or two and still follow your dinner recipe if need be. The lightness of alcohol makes this wine rub elbows with the Riesling world, in terms of an un-heavy wine when it hits the mid-palate.

For food, the lighter the better. Being a distant 5th cousin to Riesling, the Chardonnay here could possibly be paired with a non-spicy Thai dish (it’s not potent enough to remove the spice from your mouth) or maybe crab cakes.

For a new take on an old California standard, have a look, and a taste of the Cougar 2009 Chardonnay from Temecula Valley. At $20, it’s well look a few looks, um, tastes.

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Haydn Adams is the author of the book, Wineries Beyond Napa Valley: Dry Creek and Alexander Valley, an insider’s tasting guide to the hidden gems region. He also contributes to the Beyond Napa Valley Wine Blog, writes for vinvillage.com, and can be found roaming the hills of Sonoma County looking for the next hidden gems. You can contact him at haydn@beyondnapavalley.com

 

 

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

There were loads of great wines across a variety of categories. I'll be profiling some of the winners on my blog over the next month. Today we tasted 5 of the Judges' Choice Winners and here is a link to the first four: Judges' Choice Winners

 

Haydn's Top 10 Wines of 2009

 

With the end of the year drawing ever so closer with every tick of the second hand, I felt it was appropriate to list my personal list of the top 10 wines of the year. These wines did not always score the highest, and I am sure Robert Parker’s list would look considerably different than mine. However, they each wine has a reason for being on the list.

Happy New Year, and enjoy,
Haydn Adams

 

Wine #10: m2 Zinfandel
$35 | m2wines.com

It has been rated as one of the top 12 Lodi wines of 2009, and I have to agree. Lodi is a strong player in the Zinfandel world, and while Lodi zins cannot can’t compare to those of the Zin capital of the world, Dry Creek, m2 Zinfandel is a very close runner-up and one of the best to come out of Lodi.

 

Wine #9: Meeker 2007 Carignane (Alexander Valley)
$26 | meekerwine.com

A beautiful, and often overlooked varietal.

 

Wine #8: Montemaggiore Syrah (Paolo’s Vineyard, Dry Creek)
$35 | montemaggiore.com

A gorgeous (non-Zinfandel) wine to come out of Dry Creek. Biodynamically farmed, this Syrah has a little hint of pepper and plum, and an overall balanced finish.

 

Wine #7: J Cuvée 20
$20 | jwine.com/

Can sparkling wine really age well? If you would have asked me that last December, I would have scoffed off the answer, period. But the J Cuvée has changed my thinking. This base sparkling of J’s has grown up over the past year and has become a formidable contender in the sparkling wine arena. A great price for a great sparkling.

 

Wine #6: Quivira Grenache (Dry Creek Valley)
$26 | quivirawine.com/

Ahh the Grenache. It’s one of my favorite varietals. Quivira makes a beautiful 100% Grenache, which is no easy feat since this grape is one of the subtlest around.

 

Wine #5: Rippon Vineyards Pinot Noir (New Zealand)
Price N/A | www.rippon.co.nz/

The southern region of New Zealand is the new hot spot for Pinots and Rippon Vineyards is leading the charge. This Pinot is a textbook example of the excellent Pinots currently being produced in the Central Otago region. Unfortunately, I have recently been having a hard time tracking down where I can get this one, which is why it didn’t rank higher on the list.

 

Wine #4: Tandem Pinot Noir (Sangiacomo Vineyards)
Price N/A | tandemwinery.com/

This is one of my favorite Russian River Pinot Noirs. It is a bit spicy (standard for a Russian River Pinot), but in a near-perfect amount. Beautiful.

 

Wine #3: 2008 Cakebread Chardonnay (Napa Valley, Rutherford)
$37 | cakebread.com

Another fantastic showing from Cakebread. The secret to this wine? Nearly 70% of the wine is aged in neutral oak so the butterball effect is gone leaving behind beautiful notes of pear, and a bit of cantaloupe / honeydew.

 

Wine #2: William Harrison Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley, Rutherford)
$45 | whwines.com

William Harrison, an excellent winery located near Rutherford in the Napa Valley, has delivered a near spotless Cabernet Franc.  This wine is simply gorgeous and well worth a try.

 

Wine #1: Archipel (by Vérité) (Alexander Valley)
$45 | archipelwines.com

Archipel has been and remains my favorite wine. I find the “California Bordeaux” to be a near perfect pair with my particular preferences for this style of Bordeaux.

 
Cheers,
Haydn
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Haydn Adams is the author of the book, Wineries Beyond Napa Valley: Dry Creek and Alexander Valley, an insider’s tasting guide to the hidden gems region. He also contributes to the Beyond Napa Valley Wine Blog, writes for vinvillage.com, and can be found roaming the hills of Sonoma County looking for the next hidden gems. You can contact him at haydn@beyondnapavalley.com

 

An Alsatian Institution

Gewurztraminer from the better producers in Alsace can give you an experience of the grape that is round and complex. This particular bottle from 2006 is currently available and delivers on the classic style point. Follow this link Trimbach Gewurz to read the original post and make sure to visit Alsace the next time you're in France. It's an amazing place, historic and replete with storks - yes, not just a character in stories told to children.