December 2018 Wine Reviews – James Melendez

What an amazingly quick year–so many wines and the last monthly addition.  I also published this month my yearly top 100 wines of 2018 in addition.

I hope you had an amazingly great wine year and a great year in general!

Susan Balbo Signature Mendoza Brioso White Blend 2017 – 91 Points

45% Semillon, 30% Torrontés and 25% Sauvignon Blanc; 12.9% ABV; $24 SRP

Nose of gooseberry, lemon curd, and Kiwi; palate of green yellow-citrus, oyster shell and beeswax.

****

Susan Balbo Signature Mendoza Rosé 2018 89 Points

60% Malbec and 40% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV; $20 SRP

I have never tasted a wine blending Malbec and Pinot Noir Rosé or not. Mountain strawberry, lime, moist stones and flowers; palate of mountain strawberry, fennel, white tea and hint of red floral.

****

Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem Côtes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France

 

 

 

 

 

Syrah 50%, Grenache 30%, and Carignan 20%; $30 SRP

Nose of Loch Ness blackberry, dried wood pile, spice box..

Palate of cassis, blackberry, dried herbs, cardamom and violets.

****

Ferraton Côtes du Rhône Blanc Samorëns Blanc 2017

35% Roussanne, 30% Viognier, 25% Grenache Blanc, 5% Clairette, 5% Marsanne

Wine presents with essence of Lemon curd, apricot, beeswax, flower bunch and fennel

Palate of Nectarine, lime, white pepper and sesame paste.

****

 

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, graphs, photographs, logo, brand name, rating, rating, taxonomy, graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Posted in #WorldWineDay, Alto Adige, France, Italian Wine, Mendoza, Washington State Wines, West Bank, Wine Review | Leave a comment

Top 100 Wines of 2018 – James Melendez

The great race to name the top 100 wines is like Christmas/winter holiday retailers putting out their assortments earlier year over year.  So too is James Suckling on November 5, 2018 and Wine Spectator November 19, 2018.  Next year I predict that each will start releasing in October, then September…

I like to wait and, of course, I have to work much harder than both to get samples.  I do put out my wish tasting wish each start of the year and I get some samples and I then start to ask importers and US producers directly for samples.  I, of course, don’t get all that I want.  My chief aim of each year is to taste wines from all wine regions on the planet.

I do pound the pavement to look for opportunities to taste if I don’t get a sample.  I write up and record my tasting throughout the year and take plenty of pictures.  I also exercise patience to publish this list.  I want to publish in December and not before–I want to wait for most of the year to be behind me and be as genuine in my top 100 list.

My list is different.  It is in alphabetical order.  Number one is because of alphabetical ranking and not on an unrealistic ranking of some paramount number one.  It is not realistic to name one wine is the highest ranking wine of the year.  I do not know of a method to out rank all other wines but again I don’t believe in 100 point awards because I do not know what perfect looks like.  Simply because perfection doesn’t exist.

What does exist are fine wines, wines of great imagination and that are set apart from wines of the same region or the same varieties in other regions.  I do believe in the scale I use but have sworn off of using 100 points and perhaps someday I will taste a 100 point wine but I am not convinced that will happen at this point.

I want this top 100 to be more accessible and not pin each producer to a certain number but to revel being in the same company.  I also don’t believe in listing just the latest releases of each respective region but old vintages –not just because they are old but because it is because in 2018 they are remarkable.  There is a 1929, 1976, 1977, 1990, 1995, 1997, and 1999 are the older vintages of the particular wine listed.

 

 

Distribution of wines from the following countries:

US 25
France 23
Italy 19
Portugal 12
Spain 6
Argentina 3
Germany 3
Australia 2
Chile 1
New Zealand 1
South Africa 1
Luxembourg 1
United Kingdom 1
West Bank 1
Hungary 1

And the wines are composed in the following manner:

  • Red 41
  • White 29
  • Dessert 18
  • Sparkling 11
  • Rose 1

Here is the list of 2018 top 100 wines (below this list I will add the videos to those that I created a video review)

1 Acústic Braó Montsant 2007 94 Points
2 Addendum Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 95 Points
3 Albert Bichot Domaine du Clos Frantin Gevrey Chambertin 2014 94 Points
4 António Maçanita Arinto dos Açores 2015 94 Points
5 Askos Masseria La Veli Salento iGT Susumaniello 2015 93 Points
6 Bainbridge Vineyards Puget Sound Siegerrebe 2017 92 Points
7 Barbeito Malvasia Madeira 2004 94 Points
8 Barth René Alsace Pinot Blanc 2014 93 Points
9 Benjamin Silver Saviezza Santa Barbara County Sangiovese 2010 94 Points
10 Boveri Derthona Timorasso 2015 94 Points
11 Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2015 94 Points
12 Ca’Viola Sottocastello di Novello Barolo 2012 94 Points
13 Cairdeas Yakima Valley Marsanne 2017 93 Points
14 Cantina Orsogna Civitas Terri di Chieti Pecorino 2016 93 Points
15 Catena Alta Historic Rows Malbec 2013 94 Points
16 Cellers Capafons-Ossó Auseta Montsant 2016 93 Points
17 Cellers Sant Rafael Montsant Solpost 2003 94 Points
18 Champagne André Jacquart Rosé de Saignée – NV 93 Points
19 Champagne Barrat-Masson Les Margannes Brut Nature 94 Points
20 Champagne Bollinger Rosé 2016 94 Points
21 Champagne Bruno Paillard Rosé MV 95 Points
22 Champagne Collet Brut Rosé NV 94 Points
23 Champagne Dom Perignon 2006 96 Points
24 Champagne Jeaunaux Robin Extra Brut NV 93 Points
25 Champagne Phillioponnat Clos de Goisses Brut 2007 94 Points
26 Château Dauphiné-Rondillon Loupiac 2011 95 Points
27 Château du Cros Loupiac 2014 – 94 Points
28 Château Filhot Sauternes 2015 94 Points
29 Château Gaudiet Loupiac 2016 94 Points
30 Château La Dominque Grand Cru Classe 2013 94 Points
31 Château La Reme Sainte-Croix-du-Mont 2015 95 Points
32 Château Lapinesse Sauternes 2016 94 Points
33 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 94 Points
34 Château Rauzan-Ségla Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux 2015 94 Points
35 Christian Moreau Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru 2016 95 Points
36 Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – 95 Points
37 Cornerstone Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 94 Points
38 Corte Sant’Alda Valmezzane Amarone della Valpolicella 2012 95 Points
39 Cremisan Star of Bethlehem West Bank White Wine NV 92 Points
40 D’Oliveras Boal Madeira 1977 95 Points
41 D’Oliveras Malvazia Madeira 1990 95 Points
42 D’Oliveras Tina Negra Madeira 1929 96 Points
43 Domaine Carneros Le Rêve 2011 93 Points
44 Domaine de Papolle Côtes de Gascogne Gros Manseng 2017 93 Points
45 Domaine Denis Race Premier Crus Chablis 2015 94 Points
46 Domaine Vinsmoselle Crémant de Luxembourg Brut NV 93 Points
47 Donnafugata Floramundi Cerasuolo di Vittoria Episode #2624 2016 94 Point
48 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese 1997 94 Points
49 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Beerenauslese Goldkappel 1995 96 Points
50 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Beerenauslese Sonnenuhr 1976 97 Points
51 Drouhin-Vaudon Premier Cru Chablis 2014 94 Points
52 Duncan Savage West Cape White Wine 2016 93 Points
53 Elvio Cogno Anas-Cëtta Langhe Nascetta 2016 93 Points
54 Far Niente Oakville Chardonnay 2006 94 Points
55 Framingham F-Series Old Vine Marlborough Riesling 2017 93 Points
56 Goosecross Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 93 Points
57 Gramercy Cellars L’idiot du Village Columbia Valley Mourvèdre 2015 93 Points
58 Hall Kathryn Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 96 Points
59 Hartford Stone Côte Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2015 93 Points
60 Hawk & Horse Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 94 Points
61 Henriques & Henriques Madeira 20 year Malvasia 94 Points
62 Henriques & Henriques Madeira 15 Year Verdelho 94 Points
63 Henriques & Henriques Maderia Saveiro Tinta Negra 95 Points
64 Jack Winery Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 94 Points
65 Joseph Phelps Vin du Mistral Napa Valley Syrah 1986 94 Points
66 Káli-Kövek Rezeda Balaton­felvidék Olaszrizing 2017 94 Points
67 Lancaster Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 94 Points
68 Leeuwin Estate Margaret River Chardonnay 2016 93 Ponits
69 Lüscher-Ballard Vineyard Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 95 Points
70 Manz Dona Fatima Lisboa Jampal 2015 94 Points
71 Mas de l’Abundància Montsant 2013 94 Points
72 Olho de Mocho Alentejo Reserva White Wine 2014 93 Points
73 Pavillion Blanc du Chateaux Marguaux 2015 94 Points
74 Planeta Menfi Chardonnay 2017 94 Points
75 Planeta Noto Santa Cecilia 2005 94 Points
76 Planeta Noto Santa Cecilia 2007 94 Points
77 Presqu’ile Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay 2016 94 Points
78 Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Savannah Verdelho Special Blend 94 Points
79 Renato Ratti Marcenasco Barolo 2005 95 Points
80 Ridgeville Fitzrovia Rose NV 93 Points
81 Ronchi di Cialla Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso 2000 94 Points
82 Ronchi di Cialla Schioppettino di Cialla 1983 96 Points
83 Ronchi di Cialla Schioppettino di Cialla 2000 95 Points
84 Salentein El Tomillo Vineyard Mendoza Malbec 2015 94 Points
85 Salentein Los Basaltos Vineyard Mendoza Malbec 2015 94 Points
86 Sella & Mosca Marchese di Villamarina Alghero 2013 94 Points
87 Smith Madrone Spring Mountain District Riesling 2015 94 Points
88 Smith-Madrone Cooks Flat Spring Mountain District Red Wine 2013 94 Points
89 Soalheiro Melgaço Alvarinho 2015 94 Points
90 Spring Mountain Spring Mountain District Elivette Red Wine 2014 94 Points
91 St Paul Alto Adige Südtirol Lagrein ’17 93 Points
92 Tablas Creek Adelaida District Paso Robles Vermentino 2017 93 Points
93 Troon Kubli Bench Applegate Valley Sangiovese 2016 93 Points
94 Trujillo Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 93 Points
95 Tyrells Hunter Valley Semillion 2017 93 Points
96 Umani Ronchi Vellodoro Terre di Chieti Pecorino 2016 93 Points
97 Vinyes Domenech Rita Montsant 2014 94 Points
98 Vinyes Domenech Teixar Montsant 2014 94 Points
99 Wente Nth Degree Livermore Valley Chardonnay 2016 94 Points
100 Zorzettig Colli Orientali del Friuli Tocai Friulano 2006 94 Points

Wishing you the best of the holiday season!  I hope you can taste some of these wines!

Cheers and Santé,

James

Top 100 Wines of 2017 – James Melendez

Top 100 Wines for 2016 – James Melendez

Top 100 Wines for 2015 – James Melendez

****

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Posted in Argentina, Australia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Top 100 Wines, UK, US | 1 Comment

Tasting of Zorzettig Wines – Vini Friuliani – Wondrous Wines – James Melendez

Image result for Zorzettig Colli Friuli Orientale Friulano 2014

A tasting of Friuili Orientali Colli wines is a welcome journey to this northeastern Italian region.  Zorzettig is east of Udine and close to Slovenia.

I was invited to taste some of their wines at Inovino in Cole Valley.  Inovino is a lovely Italian wine bar in my once and former neighbourhood of Cole Valley in San Francisco.  A small space packing superb food such as salumi, cheese, pizzette, pasta and insalate and, of course, a nice Italian wine selection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gubana – A Pastry/Dessert from the Friuli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this region, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, you will find traditional, international and native grapes of Italy.  Zorzettig produces a nice array of wines:

  • Ribolla Gialla
  • Friulano
  • Sauvignon
  • Riesling
  • Traminer Aromatico
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Bianco
  • Verduzzo
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Nero
  • Refosco
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Schioppettino
  • Franconia (Blaufränkisch)
  • Cabernet Franc

Zorzettig has several label programmes:

  • Zorzettig
  • Myo
  • Segno di Terra
  • Limited Edition

Zorzettig also produces olive oil, Grappa and spumante.  And if that wasn’t enough Zorzettig has an agriturismo to spend time on site.

Here are the wines I was fortunate to taste. Notice the very creative label programme: a wave of white and red wine flowing vertically if you will and each bottling is different and yet thematically a harmonious theme.

Zorzettig Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An emblematic variety of the region.  This variety was once called Tocai Fruilano but had to change it’s name and the last vintage of Zorzettig marked as Tocai Fruilano is 2008.  No need to worry as while there is a name modification—there is no modification in variety.   Notes of crisp green apple, Bosc pear, and moist stones; palate of pear, Granny Smith apple, oyster shell and white roses.

Zorzettig Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano 2012

Notes of golden citrus zest/pulp, Quince, and moist stones; palate of Heirloom apple, pear and Tarragon.

****

Zorzettig Myò Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nose of Meyer lemon zest, crisp apple and Quince; palate of Quince, white fig, and oyster shell.

Zorzettig Colli Orientali del Friuli Tocai Friulano 2008

Pear and white fig, fresh fennel, and moist stones; palate of Comice pear, beeswax, and toasted almond.

Zorzettig Colli Orientali del Friuli Tocai Friulano 2006

Pear, Heirloom apple, quince and roasted pine nut; palate of Comice pear, green apple, hazelnut; beautiful aged finish.

I love this region for it’s definitive wines–it’s a cross roads of northeast Italy and a gate way to Eastern Europe.  Zorzettig is true to the regions wine grape varieties and certainly to a commitment to producing beautiful wines.  I do hope to taste more wines from this producer in the future and I do recommend tasting this producers wines.  As I always recommend as your wine merchant to bring in these wines.

Zorzettig website

Salute,

James/James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

I do not own the Zorzettig logo.

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Posted in Friuli, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italian Wine, Italy | Leave a comment

Sella & Mosca – A Perfect Pairing of Great Sardinian Food and Wine – James Melendez

Logo

It is a great pairing of having Sella & Mosca wines at San Francisco’s only Sardinian restaurant-La Ciccia in Noe Valley.  Giovanni Pinna, Sella & Mosca winemakers talked about each wine he has made, Sardinian wines and the legacy that Sella & Mosca has contributed to the winemaking tradition of Sardinia.  Sella & Mosca also has a very important nursery of grape vines such as Torbato.  I am intrigued about this and hope to see and photograph it in the future.

Sella & Mosca winemaker Giovanni Pinna talks about each wine presented

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the lovely wines I tasted:

Sella & Mosca Spumante Alchero Torbato 2017

 

 

 

 

 

One of the few bottle at the time of this writing of sparkling Torbato. As I understand it will land in the US next year (2019).  My first time to taste Torbato; I have yet to taste the dry version of Torbato.  A wine with nice straw coloured hue; lemon confit, beeswax, and white flowers.  Palate of yellow-green citrus zest, almond and honeycomb.  This is a dry sparkling wine.

****

Sella & Mosca Le Arenarie Alghero 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes of dried of lemon peel, green apple, and anise; palate of Meyer lemon, hint of almond and tea.

****

Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wine that exhibits bright cherry notes, pomegranate, earthen notes and pepper.  Palate of cherry confit, mushroom, white pepper and dried herbs.

****

Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

This wine of mountain strawberry, fennel, and mushroom; palate of mountain strawberry, white pepper, tea and Cardamom.

****

Sella & Mosca Tanca Farra Alghere 2014

50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Native Grapes; cassis, black plum, anise, cedar and red floral notes. Palate of red cherry, mountain strawberry, pepper, Tarragon and Cardamom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

****

Sella & Mosca Marchese di Villamarina Alghero 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100% Cabernet Sauvignon; a great capture of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Mediterranean.  Black cherry, blackberry, forest notes, and suede; Palate of red-black cherry, white pepper, anise, Bay leaf and sage.  This wine on looking at pricing is the $50+ range.  For a 94 Point wine I think this is an exceptional wine and at a very nice price point.

****

Lamb Tomato dish

Shrimp-squid salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the Sella & Mosca wines are distributed in the United States–fantastic price points for high quality, memorable and imaginative Sardinian wines.  Ask your wine merchant to bring in some bottles if they do not carry these wines.   I would start with the Sauvignon Blanc (Sella & Mosca Le Arenarie Alghero 2017) and the Cannonau wines as well for a special meal the Sella & Mosca Marchese di Villamarina Alghero are a very nice line up to share with your family and friends.

****

La Ciccia

291 30th St.

San Francisco, CA 94131

****

Salute,

James/James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

I do not own the Sella & Mosca logo.

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Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Italy, Sauvignon Blanc | Leave a comment

Salentein Wine Tasting – James Melendez

I get a ton of Mendoza Malbec offers to taste constantly-in fact there is no other region–no other variety that I get as many offers.

Though much less common to taste high quality, well-made Malbec wines from Argentina.  And I was able to taste three different vineyard designate wines: another rarity for me.   I was on this tasting (this Fall) with a group of wine writers based here in the SF Bay Area.  Pepe Galante, Bodegas Salentein winemaker, lead the tasting.  This tasting was nicely done to pair the Bodegas fine wines with the food from Per Diem in San Francisco’s financial district.  A very nice charcuterie plate and the short ribs were the perfect foods for the Bodegas Salentein collection of rich and nicely developed red wines–the flagship varieties are Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salentein Chardonnay 2016

Notes of Granny Smith apple, white flowers, and almonds and palate of green apple, dried Turkish fig, almond and beeswax.

****

Salentein La Pampa Vineyard Mendoza Malbec 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concentrated fruit, rich Malbec; nose of blackberry confit, pepper, Thyme and violets/lavender and palate of Blue-black fruit, ground mace-Cardamom, and white pepper.

Salentein El Tomillo Vineyard Mendoza Malbec 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyrical and focused fruit; nose of wild blackberry, dried wood pile, suede and freshly crushed spices.  Palate of Loch Ness blackberry/blueberry confit, Thyme and pepper.

****

Salentein Los Basaltos Vineyard Mendoza Malbec 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nose of warmed blackberries, cassis, evergreen forest, and dried lavender

Palate of heirloom blackberries, white pepper, Tarragon and cocoa powder.

****

Salentein Numina Gran Corte Mendoza 2015

This wine is a composition of 68% Malbec, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.  Notes of cassis confit, worn suede, cedar wood pile and dried Thyme; palate of Marionberry, white pepper, lavender and crushed Bay leaf.

****

Salentein Primum Mendoza Malbec 2014

Notes of Boysenberry, ground pepper, violets-roses; palate of red-black bramble berries, white pepper, and dried rose petals.

Salentein Primum Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

100% Cabernet Sauvignon; I rarely ever taste a pure form of Cabernet from Mendoza, Argentina.  Notes of fleshy black cherry, freshly cut wood, forest floor and herb garden.  Palate of red-black cherry, pepper, fresh Bay leaf and Tarragon.

****

Salentein Gran Vu Mendoza Red WineBlend 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the flagship wine of Salentein and is a blend of 62% Malbec and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Notes of Marionberry-cherry, violet garden, pepper, and leather; palate of Cassis-blackberry, lavender, Thyme and hint of sage.

****

A final and very nice touch was a dessert of chocolate mouse to enjoy with sips of Salentein.

****

A very nice set of wines to enjoy with beef and rich foods.   These wines are a nice match for a special dinner; I like to enjoy these wines for autumnal and winter dinners.

To enjoy these wines ask your wine merchant to bring some in.

Bodegas Salentein

Per Diem

43 Sutter Street

San Francisco, CA

****

¡Salud!

Salute,

James/James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

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Posted in Argentina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Food, Food and Wine, Malbec | Leave a comment

Planeta Nero d’Avola Wines: A Visit to Sicilian Wine Regions in Your Glass – James Melendez

I always anticipate and enjoy all of the wines I get to taste from Planeta.

I was invited along with other wine writers in the Bay Area to pair stellar food from A16 in Oakland and Planeta’s Nero D’Avola’s from their Noto, Menfi, Vittoria and Capo Milazzo sites.  This was a very important tasting simply because Nero D’Avola is not given it’s credit the way it should be given.  Nerello Mascalese from Etna DOC steals the show–yes handsome wines no doubt but Nero D’Avola is a gorgeous wine that deserves considerable praise and attention.  I am not suggesting that Nero D’Avola is no longer a favourite variety but I would love to hear people talk more about this variety and more importantly drink them.  I distinctly remember the first Nero D’Avola I tasted (just in the 2000s) and it was a moment that lasted long after my first taste: it was haunting and something I still think about today.

And I think over time Nero D’Avola will be top of mind once again–it is a hauntingly beautiful wine that has the capacity to linger pleasantly so.  This tasting was so nice to taste of different styles and sites and to taste older vintages (I never get to experience this ever).

There are two A16 restaurants one in San Francisco and the other in Rockridge (Oakland)–I always hope to not cross a bridge to get a restaurant but A16 Rockridge is such a nice setting–nicely appointed and comfortable restaurant (San Francisco is a mainly a left-right restaurant town–meaning there is a left side and there is a right side to the restaurant’s floor plan).  The Rockridge restaurant is not a typical San Francisco left/right restaurant… I digress.  It was a perfecting setting for this experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Alessio Planeta and Shelley Lindgren, A16 Wine Director

Alessio Planeta gave the MasterGlass (great name to talk about the wines and the specific Nero d’Avola glasses) and it was nice to see him again and hear talk about his families vineyards and wines.

Riedel Nero d’Avola wine glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specifications of the Riedel Nero d’Avola Glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

****

Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2015 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This wine is 60% Nero d’Avola, 40% Frappato; 13% ABV

Nose of cherry, rose petal, leather and cardamom; palate of sour cherry/mountain strawberry, and Cardamom.

****

Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria Dorilli 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This wine is 70% Nero d’Avola, 30% Frappato; 13% ABV

Nose: cherry, crushed dried roses, cedar and anise.

Palate: red cherry, pomegranate, anise, cinnamon/spice finish.

****

Planeta Mamertino 2015

This is such a beauty with a composition of 60% Nero d’Avola, 40% Nocera; 13% ABV – Nocera, a rare variety and adds such a loveliness to this wine.

Nose of red roses, fleshy red-black cherry, deciduous forrest and spice box.

Palate of pomegranate, first of season red cherry, pepper and allspice.

****

Planeta Noto Santa Cecilia 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100% Nero d’Avola; 13.5% ABV

Nose: red cherry, pomegranate, leather and underbrush

Palate: early season cherry, mountain strawberry, allspice, and hint of clove.

****

Planeta Noto Santa Cecilia 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100% Nero d’Avola; 14% ABV

Nose: Rose petal, sour cherry, plum, and freshly ground spices.

Palate of mountain strawberry, violets, pepper and Bay leaf.

****

Planeta Noto Santa Cecilia 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100% Nero d’Avola; 14% ABV

Yes, Nero d’Avola ages remarkably, beautifully.  I love so many aged wines–and I wonder what older Nero d’Avolas might taste like.  In 2005, I began my journey to being an off-premise wine marketing manager at a larger US wine retailer–so wonderful to pair parts of one’s life with a wine.

Nose on this wine is of Italian black cherry, suede, red pepper, and allspice.

Palate is sour cherry, dried red rose petals, Bay leaf and Hoisin.

****

A16 produces stellar food and this special lunch truly honed in on Sicilian fare.  Such a spectacular lunch–rarely do I ever have a nice lunch like this in the US (certainly do in Europe).

Glorious pizza with clams and tomatoes

Quentessential Sicilian dish – Polpette

Potato Salad

 

 

 

 

 

Squid Ink pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penne Pasta

Cannoli – the best this side of Sicily

Pignoli Cookie and other Sicilian sweets (I have not been able to replicate baking the Pignoli cookies but I keep trying)

I have calendared Nero d’Avola so that I taste this remarkable wine more often.  I love this remarkable grape and the dazzling wines with such a wonderful variation.

I recommend this wine to add to your wine tasting plans and seek out Planeta Nero d’Avola’s–ask your wine merchant to bring some in if you can’t find any right away in your marketplace.  Start your Nero d’Avola memories soon.

Planeta Wines

A-16

5356 College Ave

Oakland, CA 94618

Salute,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, graphs, photographs, logo, brand name, rating, rating, taxonomy, graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Posted in Food, Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Sicilia, Sicily | Leave a comment

Hi-Times Cost Mesa, California – A Very Nice Wine Retailer – James Melendez

I have never written about a specific wine retailer and I should start to do this.

I rarely get to visit wine retailers as much as I use to–time or lack of time is the chief reason.  Also, I felt for so long I had to write about my local retailers first but I felt not a single reason to do so.  I have never really found any store in San Francisco with a deep SKU or category assortments.  I use to review wines and say where I purchased them and gave that up quickly (San Francisco retailers).  I gave up mentioning when I purchased a bottle as the retailer never gave a like, an RT, a thumbs up or a ‘Thank you.’  I do get samples and I do buy wines myself.  I am still a customer and thank yous today are ever more important.

San Francisco’s retail space for wine is small square footage and hence a wide or deep SKU offerings are limited.  But I do look at overall assortments and some retailers in San Francisco just have a funky or non-sensical assortment.  One particular wine retailer I visit which is close to me and has food under one roof and every time I ask for a region or variety–they never have it (and I’m not asking for anything obscure).

I do feel compelled to write a short article about Hi-Time Wine Cellar in Costa Mesa.  Founded in 1957 and has 24,000 square feet of retail space for wine, beer, spirits and allied products.   I love the expansiveness of assortment.  On my last visit I walk into the Champagne-sparkling wine room.   I found plenty of RM (Récoltant Manipulant) wines, larger format and a thoughtful of sparkling wines from around the world.   I am holding a bottle of lovely Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs NV jeroboam — which I wanted to buy immediately.  I need to celebrate something. Large format bottles make me weak in the knees–not because they are too heavy–they are just a remarkable statement of Champagne and the respectivce peroducer about large format bottles.

Selfie: Me and a Jeroboam of Pierre Peters

Hi-Times is candy store for adults–the vastness even from a visual perspective make’s one heart beat a little quicker.  I want local wines and I want wines from far away.  The wine availability was thoughtful and even unexpected as an example I found not one but two different Sinegal wines from Napa Valley–I have never seen that in a store in Northern California.  There was a very nice selection of French and Italian wines–lovely Port and Madeira selections.   I like the diagonal displays of wine – the design is perfect for viewing and a point of difference in terms of visual merchandising.

I found a dedicated wall of Eastern European wines–not just haphazardly stocked but nicely stocked and with nice details of the wines.  I found Cremisan from the West Bank which is nice to see in addition from wines from the region Turkey, Israel and Lebanon.

There are also plenty of coveted beyond the glass wines like Krug, Mouton Rotschild, Petrus and many more.  Of course retailers have Burgundy but may have a small share of Grand Cru.  I found everything all of the Grand Cru that I adore: Grands Échezeaux, Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot and so fourth

****

If you find yourself in Orange County pay a visit to Hi Time Wine Cellar–I always carry a Wine Mummy (padded travel wine sleeve) or other padding for transporting wine back. I did find a bottle of Turkish wines which I could not find here in SF Bay Area.  Finding help is easy as the staff is visiting all sections frequently.  The staff is very knowledgeable not just about the wine in stock but wine in general.   A very nice visit!

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, graphs, photographs, logo, brand name, rating, rating, taxonomy, graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Posted in Off-premise, Wine Retailing | Leave a comment