James the Wine Guy Interview Series: Josè Rallo, Donnafugata Wines

Gabriella "Gabri" Rallo and Josè Rallo

Gabriella “Gabri” Rallo and Josè Rallo

Josè Rallo heads up communication at Donnafugata and also is a member of the Rallo family that owns and operates Donnafugata.  Donnafugata is emblematic for me in terms of gorgeous labels that convey Sicilia, an homage to the book by Prince Giuseppe Tommasi di Lampedusa entitled Il Gattopardo and in the English The Leopard and is a tale of Sicilian wine in the bottle.  Label art is important and it is the cover to the book of wine–the art work which are designed by Stefano Vitale: a very successful translation of the very essence of Sicily in terms of visual presentation.

This graphic highlights Donnafugata sites in Western Sicily – Marsala, Contessa Entellina & Pantelleria; and Eastern Sicily in Vittoria and Etna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josè is bright and energetic and passionate about her families labels, vineyard sites and production facilities.  Josè has a spirit that is contagious when she speaks about her family’s wine history and the many wines they are producing.  She is full of amazing ideas that has made Donnafugata a place to visit and to experience their wines.  The family’s historic cantina in Marsala and their summer event series at the site in Contessa Entellina are fantastic ways of experiencing Donnafugata with foot on ground and wine in the glass.  Also the historic site on the island of Pantelleria is where they produce their elixir of goodness–Ben Ryé wine which is a Passito di Pantelleria and is a creation of what the island is known on this windswept volcanic island.  Ben Ryé is a gift to us all and a wine that I recommend for your desserts–a silken wine that imparts sweetness and a full spectrum of fruit, nutty, and spice characterization.  

And as I mentioned above–she has also has instituted an event series at the Contessa Entellina site in the summer called Calici di Stelle (Goblets of Stars)–enjoy the stars with music, food and, of course, wine.  This event is in it’s twenty second season and is every August – the beginning of the harvest which last in total 100 days (for all Donnafugata sites) for their grapes to be picked for the years current harvest.

 

 

 

 

 

Donnafugata produces 22 of wines from Etna, Contessa Entellina, Vittoria and Pantelleria and produces wines from indigenous varieties, international varieties and a combination of international and indigenous varieties.  The expression for all of the wines is picking up on the rhythm of what is the heartbeat of Sicilian wines–a gift to palate and the sensory experience.  All of their wines (which I am a fan of them all) are well produced with a great sensitivity to the environment as well as styles that give the fullness of Sicily.  All of the wines are approachable not just with Sicilian and Italian cuisine but all cuisines.  The styles are thrilling and can be found widely in the US and around the planet–the wines are completely reasonable on the pocket book.

 

 

 

 

I was very fortunate and thrilled to have Josè Rallo participate in my interview series.  I hope you enjoy the interview as well.  She is vibrant and talented–she is also a singer and encompasses her love for Sicily and passes it on with passion and commitment.  I love her singing the sensory perception of her families wine (video is listed below).

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JTWG Q1: What does Sicily mean to you?

JR: Sicily is my homeland. I adore the sun and the sea as well as all the colours and scents of this land.

JTWG Q2: Sicilian wines are on the world stage – how did this happen?

JR: It’s a story of men and women. Great people like my father Giacomo and my mother Gabriella, but also members of other wine families that in little less than 30 years managed to innovate the perception of Sicilian wine. Strongly engaged in the vineyard to reach ever higher quality goals, in the cellar through refrigeration technologies to safeguard the aromas, on the market with an always modern and innovative marketing approach.

JTWG Q3. Just a generation and a half ago–I rarely saw Sicilian wines; now I see so many more on wine lists and in stores; and yet I do think there is a lot of opportunity especially in the US. Do you share that view?

JR: Absolutely. The U.S. are a huge market, the largest in the world for wine consumption. Today, we drink and eat always more conscious when it comes to quality and this is crucial for Sicilian and Italian wines in general, which are meant for food pairing and for moments of conviviality. I do not see problems from the consumer’s point of view, but from the point of view of the distribution system. A complex and expensive system that often makes it difficult to meet the wine lover and the wine brands known through marketing.

JTWG Q4: Sicilian is producing gorgeous international varieties? I would love to see more of them in the US. Is there an opportunity to present this wines?

JR: The international grape varieties grow very well in Sicily: e.g. we have splendid Chardonnays with a marked freshness, which I like to call “Mediterranean” for their flavor; then we have splendid Cabernet Sauvignons that distinguish themselves for elegance and balsamic notes. All grapes that have been grown for decades in Sicily, one of the reasons why we are able to produce great expressions of those.

JTWG Q5. I love tasting the 1996, 2005 and 2014 Chiarandà Chardonnay. The 1996 was lyrical and I will always remember this wine. I would have never expected to have ever tasted an aged Chardonnay from Sicily. And I think this is proof positive of your family’s wines great capability of aging. What are some of the oldest bottles in your library?

JR: We have done vertical tastings of Mille e una Notte with Ian D’Agata starting from the 1995 vintage… and with Monica Larner of Ben Ryé starting from 1989 tasting 22 vintages. Both were stunned by the ageing potential and results of those wines and grape varieties.

Ian stated on this occasion that “It’s a great tasting not just for Donnafugata but for Sicily and Nero d’Avola.” Monica Larner instead said: “I confess to be supremely smitten by Sicily. Donnafugata’s Ben Ryé is one of the thousand reasons why I fell in love with this paradise in the middle of the Mediterranean […] Passito di Pantelleria is explosive in its intensity and unhinged in its sweet abundance.”

We believe this is not only an exciting result for us, but also a great proof of Sicily’s viticultural and enological potential despite the fact that still some people may have a different idea of our region.

JTWG Q6. It was because of your label that I read Il Gattopardo / The Leopard in both English and Italian. What does the book represent to you?

JR: Il Gattopardo recounts a Sicily of bright colors, a Western Sicily where we as a winemaking company were born. A land of passion and overwhelming feelings, a place that has experienced strong social changes and that today represents a vanguard in the style of production and communication in the world of Italian wine.

JTWG Q7. Your label and the gorgeous artwork are iconic. It is not just beautiful art work but beautiful art in the bottle. How did the brand vision begin and how do you sustain it?

JR: Wine is an art and that’s why my mother Gabriella thought of dressing our bottles like that. The desire to attract the consumer with a “talking” packaging, a series of labels whose colors tell about Sicily and the wine inside the bottles, but also about the many faces and shades of the fleeing woman (Donnafugata) who dreams, marvels and transmits emotions.

JTWG Q8. What is your favourite wine memory?

JR: My best memories are those of my childhood. I grew up in the vineyards and with wine. I remember my first harvests alongside my grandparents. I remember my first sips of wine always from my grandfather’s glass during Sunday lunches. I believe a perfect way of approaching wine is during a family lunch.

JTWG Q9. Donnafugata now has a Etna Rosso and an Etna Rosato wine — is there an Etna Bianco planned?

JR: Etna Bianco has already been produced, but the production is very limited so far, so we could not distribute it in all markets. In the USA we will arrive soon with this wine, hopefully by the end of 2019.

JTWG 10. Ben Ryé is a gift to the palate and I enjoy with cheese–but I do need to expand my horizons. What is an ideal Sicilian dessert(s) to pair with this wine?

JR: Dry biscuits with sesame or almond cakes. Delicious also with the famous Cassata Siciliana especially when prepared with little sugar.

JTWG Q11. What are the oldest bottles of Ben Ryé in your cellar?

JR: 1989, not for sale obviously!

JTWG Q12. What is your most treasured travel moment?

JR: The Donnafugata Music&Wine performance at the Blue Note in New York which was an idea of ​​mine and my husband Vincenzo, both very fond of jazz and Brazilian music.  As producer and lead vocalist, I propose a multisensory experience that pairs each wine with a musical piece whose rhythm follows the tasting sensations.

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Two resources below 1) wine list of all Donnafugata wines (a majority are imported into the US) and 2) my video review of some of Donnafugata wines.  Many of these wines are available in the US–ask your wine merchant to bring the bottles in and also your favourite restaurant to bring some in as well.  The wines can be enjoyed with ANY cuisine and of course can be enjoyed on their own.

List of all wines from Donnafugata:

  • Donnafugata Brut – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
  • Donnafugata Brut Rose – Pinot Noir
  • Donnafugata Anthìlia Sicilia DOC – Lucido Catarratto
  • Donnafugata Prio Sicilia DOC – Lucido Catarratto
  • Donnafugata SurSur Sicilia DOC – Grillo
  • Donnafugata Lighea Sicilia DOC – Dry Zibibbo
  • Donnafugata Sul Vulcano Etna Bianco DOC – Carricante
  • Donnafugata La Fuga Chardonnay Contessa Entellina DOC
  • Donnafugata Vigna di Gabri Sicilia DOC – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier
  • Donnafugata Chiarandà Contessa Entellina DOC* – Chardonnay
  • Donnafugata Sul Vulcano Etna Rosso DOC* – Nerello Mascalese
  • Donnafugata Etna Rosso DOC – Contrada Montelaguardia* – Nerello Mascalese
  • Donnafugata Bell’Assai Vittoria DOC – Frappato
  • Donnafugata Floramundi Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG* – Frappato, Nero d’Avola
  • Donnafugata Sherazade Sicilia DOC – Nero d’Avola
  • Donnafugata Sedàra Sicilia DOC – Nero d’Avola dominate wine with
    Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah
  • Donnafugata Angheli DOC Sicilia – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Donnafugata Tancredi IGT Terre Siciliane* – Cabernet Sauvignon, Nero d’Avola, Tannat and other grapes
  • Donnafugata Mille e Una Notte Sicilia DOC* – Nero d’Avola, Petit Verdot
    Syrah and other grapes
  • Donnafugata Kabir Moscato di Pantelleria DOC – Zibibbo
  • Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria DOC* – Zibibbo
  • Donnafugata Ben Ryé Limited Edition  Passito di Pantelleria DOC* – Zibibbo

* Enjoy all the wines now but also get some bottles to place in your cellar to age.  Splendid now and have great aging potential

Donnafugata Website

My video reviews of Donnafugata wines on my YouTube channel

Salute,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Product in this review are courtesy of publisher.

© 2019 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.

Graphic map of Donnafugata Sicilia is courtesy of Donnafugata.

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Posted in Carricante, Catarratto, DOC Etna, James the Wine Guy Interview Series, Nerello Mascalese, Nero d'Avola, Sicilia, Sicily, YouTube, Zibibbo (Muscat of Alexandria) | Leave a comment

James the Wine Guy Interview Series: Wine journalist and Writer Christian G.E. Schiller

(Photo: me and Christian G.E. Schiller – Schiller-Wine journalist and writer)

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This is my first interview and what a wonderful person to interview.  Through the goodness of social media we met online and also in person at Pinot Days 2011 in San Francisco.  I admire Christian’s very well written blog; his attention and focus to detail and yet he also captures the essence of wine enjoyment.  His travels, wine and winery discoveries are well cataloged with a myriad of stories and great photos often picturing wondrous morsels of food paired with wine.  Christian’s enthusiasm is both evident and contagious.  I look forward to reading many more of his adventures and to once again toast a glass of wine in person with Christian.

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JTWG: What is the story of wine?

Christian G.E. Schiller: My wine story is as follows: I grew up without wine. This changed radically, when I moved to Mainz, with San Francisco and Bordeaux, one of the “wine capitals” of the world. Since then, the days without wine have been rare. As a result of my job at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), I have shuttled back and forth between old and new world wine countries during my professional life and I believe I therefore have a pretty good overview of the wines of the world. My passion, however remains bone-dry Riesling from Germany.

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JTWG: What brought you to wine / how did wine call to you?

Christian G.E. Schiller: I grew up in Frankfurt am Main, a city of apple wine (hard cider), but whilst studying in Mainz, I discovered and fell in love with the wine tavern culture, the wineries surrounding Mainz, and wine itself. My wife and I quickly became involved with wine. We are founding members of the wine brotherhood of Hochheim in the Rheingau. Another founding member is the late Franz Kuenstler of Weingut Franz Kuenstler.

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JTWG: How / when did you become a wine journalist?

Christian G.E. Schiller: I started to write about wine on my wine blog schiller-wine 2 years ago, when I retired. I am a Ph.D. economist, who spent all his professional life with the IMF.

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 JTWG: What has been the best thing about social media and wine?

Christian G.E. Schiller: Social media has allowed me to do what I do now: write about wine.

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JTWG: Why do you think wine has become more popular over time in the United States?

Christian G.E. Schiller: I give a lot of credit to a personal hero of mine, Robert Mondavi.

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 JTWG: What are the undiscovered wine regions in the world today?

Christian G.E. Schiller: I believe Eastern and Central European Countries, such as Hungary, which have a long history of wine making, but were cut off from the world by the iron curtain, are experiencing a renaissance. In addition, China and other Asian countries are developing strongly.

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JTWG: What are you favorite varietals?

Christian G.E. Schiller: Riesling is my favorite varietal, in particular bone-dry Rieslings from Germany.

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JTWG: Your favourite wine moment?

Christian G.E. Schiller: Several moments: A long luncheon with California Pinot Noir Pioneer Walter Schug in Sonoma; an afternoon with Riesling guru Wilhelm Weil at his winery in Kiedrich, Germany and an elaborate tasting with Bourgogne-style wine maker Anthony Hamilton Russell in South Africa.

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JTWG: What is your favorite cuisine and what do you like to pair with your favourite dish?

Christian G.E. Schiller: I like classic French cuisine. Only few people know this, but one of the best places to eat a la Francaise at very reasonable prices is Antananarivo in Madagascar. It is amazing what kind of sophistication you get there for a few dollars. And in Madagascar I only drink Malagasy wine – very good table wine, but not more.

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JTWG: What would you suggest for someone who is beginning to write about wine and what to seek or educate themselves?

Christian G.E. Schiller: Or even techniques or approaches to writing about wine? I went to a community college in the Rheingau region in Germany, where I learnt the basics for 6 semesters (3 years). I think you need some formal training to fully appreciate wine.

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JTWG: Do you have any prized wines in your collection that you have never tasted from that producer before?

Christian G.E. Schiller: I have about 1000 bottles in my two cellars in Frankfurt am Main and Washington DC, but very few expensive wines. I started to buy wines for my cellar in the 1970s, when I was a student. Then I worked as an international civil servant and brought up 4 children. All my life I did not really have the money to buy expensive wines. Thus, I have quite a number of wines from older vintages, but not from expensive producers.

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JTWG: Any particularly favorite wine country(ies) that you visit routinely; if so which ones and why?

Christian G.E. Schiller: When I am in Washington DC, I like to go to the Virginia wine country during weekends. A lot has been happening there in the past 30 years. In Frankfurt am Main, the Rheingau and Rheinhessen regions are 30 minutes away by car and I go there almost every evening ( if I do not go to an apple wine tavern in Frankfurt am Main, which I also love to do) .

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JTWG: What is the most enjoyable thing about wine writing?

Christian G.E. Schiller: I published throughout my professional career (though about economics and not about wine) and I always enjoyed it. I also noticed that I have become more and more interested in the pictures of the postings on schiller-wine.

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JTWG: What wine varietals do you find yourself drinking often currently?

Christian G.E. Schiller: I like to drink local. Also, I drink more white wines in the summer and more red wines in the winter. When I am in Frankfurt am Main, I exclusively drink European wine – German, Austrian and French. When I am in Washington DC, I drink American wines, but also other new world as well as old word wines. The choice in Washington DC is just amazing.

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JTWG: Your blog has a diversity of wine content on nearly every wine subject; you have written a large number articles on German wines.  And what would you recommend someone who wants to learn about German wines—where should they start?

Christian G.E. Schiller: I would like to make 2 recommendations: (1) join the German Wine Society and attend their tastings and (2) follow my facebook page “Drinking German Wine in America” where I repost articles about German wine that I come across and find useful. Many of my postings on schiller-wine are also educational.

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Take a look for yourself to see the plethora of high quality wine content.  Here is Christian’s blog site:  Schiller-Wine: http://schiller-wine.blogspot.com/

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James the Wine Guy Interview Series – Michel Friou, Winemaker of Almaviva

In case you didn’t see this previous interview

James the Wine Guy

It was a pleasure to interview Michel Friou, winemaker of Almaviva in San Francisco on his visit in June 2016.  He has a rich experience beginning with completion of education at Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique de Montpellier in France.  He has spent time honing in on his winemaking skills the Loire Valley, Languedoc, and Bordeaux at Chateau Margaux.  Michel has been Almaviva since 2007 making beautiful Bordeaux blends.  I had the privilege of tasting the 2012 vintage which is Cabernet Sauvignon: 65%, Carménère: 24%
Cabernet Franc: 8%, ,Petit Verdot: 2% and Merlot: 1%.  I loved this Bordeaux blend as the Carménère, a Bordeaux variety, is showing the complexity this variety adds to the blend as well as the fine fruit coming from Puente Alto in Maipo. I don’t often get to do in person interviews and I very much enjoyed meeting Michel

Almaviva is a partnership of Concha y Toro and Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

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Book Review: The Perfect Wine Cellar: The Ultimate Guide for Great Wine Collectors by Chiara Giannotti – 98 Points

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Perfect Wine Cellar: The Ultimate Guide for Great Wine Collectors by Chiara Giannotti

Hardcover: 10 ¼ x 13 ¼ 224 pages / $100 USD, ISB 978-8-89-181804-1 – 5.4 lbs – Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications

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I love books.  I love wine.  I love wine books.  

The art of the wine book is something that I think I might tire and yet I keep finding great views and ways of thinking about wine from thoughtful writers. For me writing is a necessity and reading is a luxury.  So reading about wine and is a rare moment and each time I get the rare chance to read I am glad I take that moment.

Chiara Giannoti’s book is a luxuriant view of some of the world’s most iconic labels.  There are many well known and beloved labels that one could highlight and I personally would be struggling with which wines to keep in this book and what to take out.  Giannoti selects logical choices and it is easy to concur with the wines she highlights.

Chiara’s book expresses a full sense of confidence in highlighted producers. There are no pitfalls in terms of using language that is hyperbolic but there is a framing for each producer that is fitting and with a sense of freshness and relevance and excitement.

Giannoti sketches the awe inspiring qualities of producers like SalonChampagne Salon Cuvée ‘S’ Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs where only 50,000 bottles are released annually of their wine.  50,000 bottles available annually is an amazing fact and yet this producer who is nearing it’s 100th birthday.  Salon has not been around hundreds of years but innovation of Eugène Aimé Salon who was a leather merchant who visioned to create vintage chardonnay-only wines with considerable finesse, elegance and beauty.  Champagne is a sparkling wine region that is a region of continuous improvement and Salon along with other producers demonstrate how unique this region is not just amongst sparkling wine regions but all wine regions.

Battista Rinaldi who in 1890 launched his last namesake wine is a venerable label today of Barolo Riserva DOCG wine and the most sought after is Brunate.  The vinification is a long maceration and equally important are the large barrels of Slavonia oak.  Rinaldi wines are expensive with an extensive following and much anticipated the northern Italian beauty of Nebbiolo.  When I do get a Rinaldi wine bottle or two I plan to either buy an older vintage or buy a newer vintage and let’s it do it’s magic in my cellar.

So not all producers are mentioned in this book and I like that Chiara Giannoti does give a sketch of a wine nations like Italy talking about regions north and south and in between to give a thoughtful comments in terms of history, grapes and specific regions.

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Wine books are needed now more than ever.  The quips of just solely online articles doesn’t fill the gap on the book shelf even if that book shelf is on your phone.  Wine books offer focus and highlight, and an opportunity of beauty in image as well as words. The Perfect Wine Cellar: The Ultimate Guide for Great Wine Collectors by Chiara Giannotti is a beautiful book of stunning photography backed up by equally beautiful writing.  The focus here in this book is looking at historic and well known wines…. I sometimes take for granted that great wines will always be there.  While great wines are a given for some–I take great and good things with cautious and a healthy dose of reverence.  I just need to say that phrase “Notre-Dame.”  I was guilty of this–this treasure is something that would always be there and in agonizing hours of 15-April so much was destroyed.  Hence a renewed and ever quest of consciousness towards great things like wine is for me to not take it for granted.

I do take good things seriously–great wine, great writing and so many other things as well.  I had to re-examine my wine cellar and I was once again re-assured why I have a cellar.  I want to taste nicely aged wines in my cellar and yes take the chance they will over time age well.  I also was inspired by this book that I will add these wines to my cellar–also wine collecting just doesn’t happen by snapping one’s fingers–but buying one bottle at a time. 

There is no such thing as a coffee table book that is not meant to be viewed–this is one to be on a coffee table but opened by anyone in front of it–and maybe… just maybe…this smart book will impart some wine knowledge even if it is quickly scanned.  The weight and beauty of this book inspires me and this presents itself as a present for someone even if that someone is you.

This book deserves to be read! 

And you like me will be inspired to get these wines into your cellar–most are approachable on some level and just a few stratospheric in terms of price.  I do think it is important to cellar and equally important to drink what you lay down.  

Wine is important and certainly wine books are important and so is this book: The Perfect Wine Cellar: The Ultimate Guide for Great Wine Collectors. 

Salute and Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Product in this review are courtesy of publisher.

© 2019 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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Sicilia En Primuer 2019 Latest Releases (100+ Wines) – James Melendez

 

 

 

 

 

This is a list of wines I tasted as an alpha list by producer at Sicilia en Primeur 2019 – 16th Edition.  I did keep producers together by primary name and additional names listed below primary name.

My intention is to taste everyone wine at every single event I attend.  I feel it not just an honourable thing to do but a great gauge if possible to taste a majority of wines and see how the latest releases are tasting.

But it is nearly impossible to taste every wine and within context if I would have “speed” tasted the wines I would have missed the opportunity to meet producers.  And to also take the time to experience the wines thoughtfully.

If you see wine producers “missing” in this listing of wines it is not because they were not worthy to taste–it was simply that I ran out of time.  And I do hope that with some producers I’ll have the opportunity to taste still this year of all current releases.

I like to publish lists like this and I always put a caution–the highest score doesn’t mean the best overall wine.  This list is not a competition but a showing of wines in the details points should be viewed in context:

  • region
  • vintage
  • variety
  • some cases even vineyard designation
  • style of wine

Also the number order is just a numbering order and doesn’t imply the first entry is the best wine–it is alphabetical ranking.  If you wanted to compare wines take a look at DOC or DOCG and look at specific varieties keeping in mind vintage.

My enotour was of Etna Nord.  A spectacular region with gorgeous vines.  Many vines are pre-phylloxera which is amazing; many of these vines are really really old vines of 150 years old.  It is rare to not just taste wines like this in Sicilia but anywhere in the world.  Nerello Mascalese is the dominant red and Nerello Cappuccio is the supporting red wine.  Carricante is the white wine grape of Etna.

Sicilia en Primeur is a great show case of all the regions of Sicilia which highlights it’s indigenous varieties–the island does a fantastic job of international varieties like Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.  There is a reason to drink these international varieties–they are not just good for Sicilia but on a world stage of wines can stand hand-in-hand with international wines of any other region on the planet.

Seek out Sicilian wines not to just enjoy for a special meal but take your most often prepared meals and pair with a wine from Sicily.  A marriage of palate to plate.

Here are some wines to consider and most are available in US and around the world:

  • Alessandro di Camporeale Benedè Catarratto Comune e Lucido 2018 DOC Sicilia – 94 Points
  • Alessandro di Camporeale Grillo Vigna di Mandranova 2018 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Alessandro di Camporeale Kaid Sauvignon DOC Sicilia 2018 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Alessandro di Camporeale Cattarrato Lucidio Vigna di Mandranova 2017 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Alessandro di Camporeale Donnatà Nero d’Avola DOC Sicilia 2017 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Alessandro di Camporeale Kaid Syrah 2016 DOC Sicilia – 94 Points
  • Alessandro di Camporeale Vendemmia Tardiva 2017 DOC Sicilia – 94 Points
  • Cantine Settesoli Mandarossa Chenin Blanc Brut 2018 IGT Terre Siciliane – 92 Points
  • Cantine Settesoli Mandarossa Bertolino Soprano 2017 DOC Sicilia  – 93 Points
  • Cantine Settesoli Mandarossa Urra di Mare 2018 DOC Sicilia – 92 Points
  • Cantine Settesoli Mandarossa Costadune Perricone Rosé IGT Terre Siciliane 2018 – 92 Points
  • Cantine Settesoli Mandarossa Terre del Sommacco 2016 DOC Sicilia – 92 Points
  • Cantine Settesoli Mandarossa Timperosa Petit Verdot 2017 IGT Terre Siciliane – 92 Points
  • Cantine Settesoli Mandarossa Cartagho Nero d’Avola 2016  DOC Sicilia – 92 Points
  • Cusamano 700 Brut Metodo Classico  2015 – 94 Points – 55% Pinot Nero and 45% Chardonnay
  • Cusamano Angimbè 2018 DOC Sicilia – 92 Points – 70% Insolia and 30% Chardonnay
  • Cusamano Shamaris Grillo 2018 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Cusamano Cubia Insolia 2015 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Cusumano Jalè Chardonnay 2017 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Cusamano Ramusa Pinot Nero 2018 IGT Terre Siciliane – 2018 – 93 Points
  • Cusamano Disueri Nero d’Avola 2018 DOC Sicilia  – 92 Points
  • Cusamano Benuara 2017 DOC Sicilia – 92 Points – 70% Nero d’Avola and 30% Syrah
  • Cusamano Sagana Nero D’Avola 2016 DOC Sicilia – 92 Points   
  • Cusamano Noà 2015 DOC Siciila – 92 Points – 40% Nero d’Avola, 30% Merlot, and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2018 DOC Etna Bianco – 93 Points
  • Alta Mora Etna Rosato 2018 DOC Etna – 93 Points
  • Alta Mora Etna Rosso 2017 DOC Etna – 93 Points
  • Alta Mora Guardiolo 2015 DOC Etna – 94 Points
  • Alta Mora Feudo di Mezzo Etna DOC 2015 – 94 Points
  • Terre di Giurfo Suliccenta Grillo 2018 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Terre di Giurfo Plan della Signora Frappato 2018 IGT Siciliane – 93 Points
  • Terre di Giurfo Kudyah Nero d’Avola 2017 DOC Sicilia – 92 Points
  • Terre di Giurfo Maskaria 2015 DOCG Cerasuolo di Vittoria 94 Points
  • Terre di Giurfo Belsito Frappato DOC Vittoria 2017 – 94 Points
  • Terre di Giurfo Ronna Syrah 2016 DOC – 93 Points
  • Terre di Giurfo Kuntari Nero d’Avola 2016 DOC Sicilia – 94 Points
  • Duca di Salaparuta Brut NV – 93 Points – Grecanico and Chardonnay
  • Duca di Salaparuta Bianca di Valguarnera 2015 IGT Siclia – 92 Points
  • Duca di Salaparuta Kados Grillo 2018 IGT Siciliane – 93 Points
  • Duca di Salaparuta Star Grillo & Muller Thurgau 2018 IGT Terre Siciliane – 92 Points
  • Duca di Salaparuta Duca Enrico Nero d’Avola 2014 IGT Siliciane – 93 Points
  • Duca di Salaparuta Duca Enrico Nero d’Avola 1997 IGT Siliciane – 94 Points
  • Duca di Salaparuta Sciaranèra Pinot Nero 2017 IGT Terre Siciliane – 93 Points
  • Duca di Salaparuta Làvico Nerello Mascallese 2015 IGT Terre Siciliane – 93 Points
  • Duca di Salaparuta Nawàri Pinot Nero 2017 IGT Terre Siciliane – 93 Points
  • Duca di Salaparuta Passo delle Mule Nero d’Avola 2017 IGT Terre Siciliane – 93 Points
  • Duca di Salaparuta Triskelè 2015 IGT Terre Siciliane – 93 Points – Nero d’Avola, Merlot
  • Florio Morsi di Luce Zibibbo NV 93 Points
  • Florio Franca Grillo NV DOC Marsala 93 Points
  • Florio Baglio Florio 2002 DOC Marsala 93 Points
  • Florio Passito di Pantalleria 2015 DOC Passito di Pantalleria 94 Points
  • Florio Aegusa 1964 DOC Marsala 94 Points
  • Feudo Arancio Dalia 2017 DOC Sicilia Riserva 93 Points – 80% Grillo and 20% Viognier
  • Feudo Arancio Grillo 2018 DOC Sicilia 93 Points
  • Feudo Arancio Inzolia 2018  DOC Sicilia – 94 Points
  • Feudo Arancio Hedonis Nero d’Avola 2015 DOC Sicilia Riserva – 94 Points
  • Feudo Arancio Nero D’Avola 2017 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Feudo Arancio Contodoro 2016 DOC Sicilia Riserva 92 Ponts – 80% Nero d’Avola and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Feudo Disisa Grillo 2018 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Feudo Disisa Lu Bancu Catarrato 2018 DOC Monreale 93 Points
  • Feudo Disisa Grecu di Livanti Rosato di Nero d’Avola 2018 DOC Sicilia 2018 93 Points
  • Feudo Disisa Chara 2018 DOC Terre Siciliane 93 Points  – 50% Catarrato and 50% Inzolia
  • Feudo Disisa Granmassenti Perricone 2017 DOC Monreale 94 Points
  • Feudo Disisa Vuaraia Nero d’Avola 2013 DOC Monreale 94 Points
  • Feudo Disisa Tornamira 2014 IGT Terre Siciliane 93 Points – 50% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot
  • Feudo Disisa Roano Syrah 2016 DOC Monreale 93 Points
  • Feudo Principi Di Butera Neroluce NV DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Feudo Principi Di Butera Nero d’Avola 2016 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Feudo Principi Di Butera Syrah 2017 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Feudo Principi Di Butera Symposio 2015 IGT Terre Siciliane 93 Points – 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot
  • Feudo Principi Di Butera Deliella Nero d’Avola 2015 DOC Sicilia – 94 Points
  • Fina Kikè 2018 IGT Terre Siciliane 93 Points – 90% Traminer Aromatico, and 10% Sauvignon Blanc
  • Fina Caro Maestro 2015 IGT Terre Siciliane – 93 Points – 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 5 Petit Verdot
  • Firriato L’Ecrù IGT Passito Sicilia 2016 93 points – Zibibbo
  • Firriato Cavanera Ripa di Scorciavacca 2013 DOC Etna 93Points 70% Carricante and 30% Catarratto
  • Firriato Ribeca Periccone 2014 93 Points
  • Firriato Harmonium Nero d’Avola 2013 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Firriato Favinia La Muciara 2017 IGT Terre Sicilia 92 Points – 33% Grillo, 33% Catarratto and 33% Zibibbo
  • Firriato Gaudenius Blanc de Blanc NV IGT Terre Sicliane – 93 Points – 50% Carricante and 50% Chardonnay
  • Firriato Etna Rosso Prephollexera 2014 DOC Etna 94 Points
  • Gulfi Cajcanti Carricante 2016 IGT Terre Siciliane – 92 Points
  • Gulfi Resca 2014 DOC Etna 93 Points
  • Gulfi Pinò Pinot Nero 2014 IGT Terre Siciliane 93 Points
  • Gulfi Neromaccarj Nero d’Avola 2015 IGT Terre Siciliane 94 Points
  • Gulfi Nerobaronj Nero d’Avola 2015 IGT Terre Siciliane 93 Points
  • Gulfi Nerobufaleffj Nero d’Avola 2015 IGT Terre Siciliane 93 Points
  • Gulfi NeroSanlorè Nero d’Avola 2015 IGT Terre Siciliane 93 Points
  • Horus Sole e Terra 2017 DOC Sicilia – 92 Points – Grillo andInsolia  
  • Horus Pittore Contadino 2015 DOCG Cerasuolo di Vittorio Classico 93 Points
  • Horus Corda Pazza 2017 DOC Sicilia 93 Points – Syrah, Frappato, and Nero d’Avola
  • Horus Sole e Terra Nero d’Avola 2017 DOC Vittoria – 93 Points
  • Horus Sole e Terra Frappato 2017 DOC Vittoria – 93 Points
  • Palmento Costanzo Rosato Mofete 2018 DOC Etna Rosato – 93 Points
  • Palmento Costanzo Bianco Mofete 2016 DOC Etna Bianco – 93 Points
  • Palmento Costanzo Bianco d’Assi Supierore 2018 DOC Etna Bianco – 94 Points
  • Palmento Costanzo Bianco 2017 DOC Etna Bianco – 93 Points
  • Palmento Costanzo Bianco 2018 DOC Etna Rosato – 93 Points
  • Palmento Costanzo Rosso di Sei 2015 DOC Etna Rosso – 94 Points
  • Palmento Costanzo Contrada Santo Spirito 2015 DOC Etna Rosso 2015 94 Points
  • Peter Vinding Montecarrubo Il Carrubo Syrah 2017 IGT Terre Siciliane 94 Points
  • Peter Vinding Montecarrubo Cuvee Suzanne Syrah 2017IGT Terre Siciliane 95 Points
  • Pietro Caciorgna Ciauria 2017 DOC Etna Rosso – 93 Points
  • Pietro Caciorgna 2016 DOC Etna Rosso – 93 Points
  • Pietro Caciorgna N*Anticchia 2015 DOC Etna Rosso  – 94 Points
  • Planeta Nocera 2017 DOC Sicilia – 94 Points
  • Planeta Mamertino 2016 DOC Mamertino – 93 Points – 60% Nero d’Avola nd 40% Nocera
  • Planeta Plumbago Nero d’Avola 2017 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Planeta Didacus Chardonnay 2016 DOC Menfi – 94 Points
  • Planeta Rosé 2018 DOC Sicilia – 92 Points – 50% Nero d’Avola and 50% Syrah
  • Planeta Allemanda Moscato Bianco 2018 DOC Noto – 92 Points
  • Planeta Cometa Fiano DOC Menfi 2018 – 94 Points
  • Planeta Alastro 2018 DOC Menfi – 92 Points – 80% Grecanico and 20% Sauvignon Blanc
  • Planeta Dorilli 2016 DOCG Cerasuolo di Vittorio Classico – 93 points
  • Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittorio 2017 DOCG Cerasuolo di Vittorio – 93 Points
  • Planeta Santa Cecilia Nero d’Avola 2016 DOC Noto – 94 Points
  • Planeta Metodo Classico Brut Carricante NV – 93 Points
  • Planeta Etna Bianco 2017 DOC Etna Bianco – 93 Points
  • Planeta Etna Bianco 2015 DOC Etna Bianco- 94 Points
  • Planeta Etna Eruzione Carricante 2016 DOC Etna Bianco – 93 Points
  • Planeta Etna Eruzione 1614 2015 DOC Etna Rosso 93 Points
  • Planeta Carricante IGT Sicilia 2011 92 Points
  • Planeta 1614 Eruzione Riesling DOC Sicilia 2017 -93 Points
  • Planeta Etna Rosso 2017 DOC Etna Rosso – 91 Points
  • Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante – 2017 DOC Sicilia – 93 Points
  • Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante – 2016 DOC Sicilia -93 Points
  • Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante – 2014 DOC Sicilia – 94 Points
  • Planeta Eruzione 1614  Pinot Nero IGT Terre Sicliane 2016 – 93 Points  
  • Tenuta Bosco 2018 DOC Etna Bianco – 93 Points
  • Tenuta Bosco 2016 DOC Etna Bianco – 93 Points
  • Tenuta Bosco 2018 DOC Etna Rosso -93 Points
  • Tenuta Bosco Rosso Prephylloxera 2015 DOC Etna Rosso – 94 Points
  • Torre Mora Scalunera Etna Bianco 2018 – 93 Points
  • Torre Mora Cairu 2014 Etna Rosso – 93 Points
  • Torre Mora Scalunera 2018 DOC Etna Rosato – 93 Points
  • Torre Mora Scalunera 2017 DOC Etna Bianco – 93 Points
  • Torre Mora Scalunera 2018 DOC Etna Bianco – 93 Points
  • Torre Mora Scalunera 2015 DOC Etna Rosso – 94 Points
  • Torre Mora Anteprima 2016 DOC Etna Rosso- 94 Points
  • Zisola Azisa 2018 DOC Sicilia 93 Points – 50% Grillo and 50% Catarratto
  • Zisola Nero d’Avola 2017 DOC Sicilia Noto – 93 Points
  • Zisola Effe Emme Petit Verdot 2016 IGT Sicilia 94 Points
  • Zisola Achilles Syrah 2016 IGT Terre Sicilia 2016 93 Points

****

And I will also be producing a multi part series to talk about my complete experience in Sicilia.

Salute

James

James the Wine Guy

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

All products in this review are courtesy of producer.

© 2019 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 Carricante, Catarratto, DOC Etna, DOC Marmentino, DOC Menfi, DOC Monreale, DOCG Vittoria, Frappato, IGT Terre Siliciane, Nerello Cappuccio, Nero d'Avola, Nocera, Perricone, Sicilia, Sicilia en Primeur, Sicily | Leave a comment

May 2019 Wine Reviews – James Melendez

Here are May 2019 wine reviews:

Claiborne & Churchill Edna Valley Dry Riesling 2017 – $22 SRP

 

 

 

 

An aptly dry Riesling (I have included the back label to show the IRF scale) and to highlight this is a SIP Certified wine.

Nose of green apples, moist chalk, pear and almond.  Palate of Quince, heirloom apple, beeswax and moist stones.

****

Pasqua 11 Minutes Rosé Trevenezie IGT 2018

 

 

 

 

 

This wine is a rosé of Corvina Corvina 50%, Trebbiano 25%, Syrah 15% and
Carménère 10%.  11 minutes of skin contact hence the name of the bottling.  12.5% ABV.  The bottle is very interesting–squarish–reminds me a bottle from the 19th century.

Nose of fresh field strawberry, moist stone, beeswax and flowers.  Palate of mountain strawberry, raspberry, crushed seashells and hint of fennel.

****

Castello di Amorosa Cresta di Oro Vineyard Green Valley of the Russian River Valley Rosato 2018

 

 

 

 

 

This wine is a rosato of Pinot Noir and coming in at 13.7% ABV.  Beautiful packaging and love the wax seal–so elegant.

Nose of honeysuckle, raspberry, hint of wild fennel, and moist rocks

Palate of mountain strawberry, sweet fennel, and beeswax.

****

Villa San-Juliette Paso Robles Chorum Red Wine 2016 – $30

 

 

 

 

 

This is a Rhone-Bordeaux red wine blend.  I could not locate the current tech sheet for 2016 but did find the 2014 tech sheet.   So I can only guess the blend may change in terms of varietal contribution most like this is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel, and Merlot.  What do get on the nose is considerable notation of Petite Sirah both on the nose and the palate.  This is a SIP Certified wine.

Nose of blackberry-boysenberry, moist red earth, sanded cedar and violets.

Palate: blueberry-boysenberry, pepper, Thyme and violets.

****

Breaking Bread Redwood Valley Grenache 2018 – $24.00

 

 

 

 

 

Nose of red cherry, cedar, suede, and red flowers.  Palate of bright notes of red cherry, fennel, pepper, and Thyme.

****

Monte Velho Alentejano White Wine 2017

 

 

 

 

 

This wine is composed of Antão Vaz 40%, Roupeiro 40% and Perrum 20%.

This wine presents with a nose of fresh Meyer lemon, white stone fruit and flowers and palate of green and yellow citrus citrus, yellow peach and honeycomb.

****

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

All products in this review are courtesy of producer.

© 2019 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.

Berryessa Gap photo courtesy of producer and is owned by producer.

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Posted in Albariño, Alentejano, Arizona, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Chianti Classico, Cochise County, Corvina, Grenache, Malvasia Bianca, Paso Robles, Picpoul Blanc, Portugal, Red Blend, Red Wine Blend, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah / Shiraz, Tannat, Trebbiano | Leave a comment

Taste of Mount Veeder Wines Scores – Thursday 18-April-2019

Rarely do I ever get to taste almost all wines from an event but this one I did (I missed tasting only two).  Yes, it was a small event but that didn’t make it less important.  I was delighted to taste the best of Mount Veeder and to taste an array of wines from Chardonnay, Sangiovese, Mondeuse and Cabernet Sauvignon and more.

Mount Veeder is Napa fruit but a higher elevation.  It is one of the last of the sub-AVAs to harvest on a yearly basis and is volcanic soil.  While this AVA is in the same county as all Napa AVAs it is producing wines that are not valley floor fruit.  The wines are consistently and noticeably enticing with a variation of both red and white wines.  Wines of great finesse and elegance.

This list like all of my lists are in alphabetical order and the first doesn’t not represent the best wine merely to the be the first in this list.  The scores reflect the excellence in the wines presented at this event.  I appreciated the variation not just in variety but also vintage.  A lovely tasting.

  1. Anthem Mount Veeder Merlot 2015 – 93 Points – $75/bottle
  2. Anthem Mount Veeder Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – 94 Points – $110/Bottle
  3. Brandlin Mount Veeder Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – 93 Points – $75/Bottle
  4. Brandlin Mount Veeder Brandline Estate Henry’s Keep Proprietary Red Wine 2015 – 94 Points – $110/bottle
  5. Fontanella Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – 93 Points – $62/bottle
  6. Fontanella Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – 93 Points – $68/bottle
  7. Hess Collection Mount Veeder Small Block Series Estate Chardonnay – 2017 – 94 Points – $55/bottle
  8. Hess Collection Mount Veeder 19 Block Mountain Cuvée 2015 – 93 Points – $60/bottle
  9. Hess Collection Mount Veeder Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – 93 Points – $75/bottle
  10. Kukeri Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – 94 Points – $105/bottle
  11. Lagier Meredith Mount Veeder Tribidrag 2014 – 93 Points – $45/bottle
  12. Lagier Meredith Mount Veeder Mondeause 2015 – 93 Points – $45/bottle
  13. Lagier Meredith Mount Veeder Syrah 2015 – 94 Points – $48/bottle
  14. Lampyridae Vineyards Mount Veeder Grenache 2017 – 93 Points – $50/bottle
  15. Lampyridae Vineyards Mount Veeder Communication Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – 94 Points $85/bottle
  16. Marketta Mount Veeder Reserve Chardonnay 2012 – 93 Points – $52/bottle
  17. Marketta Mount Veeder  Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 93 Points – $78/bottle
  18. Marketta Mount Veeder Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – 94 Points – $125/bottle
  19. Mayacamas Mount Veeder Chardonnay 2017 93 Points – $50/bottle
  20. Mithra Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 94 Points – $190/bottle
  21. Mount Veeder Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – 93 Points
  22. Mount Veeder Mount Veeder Reserve Red Blend 2015 – 93 Points – $100/bottle
  23. Mount Veeder Mount Veeder Rosenquist Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – 94 Points $100/bottle
  24. Random Ridge Mount Veeder Fortunata Sangiovese 2016 – 93 Points – $50/bottle
  25. Random Ridge Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – 93 Points – $60/bottle
  26. Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – 94 Points – $90/bottle
  27. Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – 94 Points – $105/bottle
  28. Sky Vineyards Mount Veeder Rosé 2018 – 91 Points $25/bottle
  29. Sky Vineyards Mount Veeder Syrah 2014 – 93 Points $30/bottle
  30. Sky Vineyards Mount Veeder Zinfandel 2014 – 92 Points$42/bottle
  31. VGS Chateau Potelle Mount Veeder VGS Chardonnay 2017 – 94 Points – $60/bottle
  32. VGS Chateau Potelle Mount Veeder VGS Zinfandel 2016 – 92 Points – $75/bottle
  33. VGS Chateau Potelle Mount Veeder VGS Syrah 2016 – 93 Points – $100/bottle
  34. VGS Chateau Potelle Mount Veeder VGS Cabernet Sauvignon – 94 Points – $125/bottle
  35. Vinoce Mount Veeder Cabernet Franc 2013 – 93 Points – $80/bottle
  36. Vinoce Mount Veeder Cabernet Franc 2014 – 93 Points – $75/bottle
  37. Vinoce Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – 93 Points – $100/bottle
  38. Vinoce Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – 94 Points – $100/bottle

More information about the Mount Veeder appellation can be found here.

James

James the Wine Guy

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

All products in this review are courtesy of producer.

© 2019 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.

Berryessa Gap photo courtesy of producer and is owned by producer.

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Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Mondeuse, Mt. Veeder, Syrah / Shiraz | Leave a comment