Acumen Wine Gallery – A Classy and Must Experience Tasting in Downtown Napa – James Melendez

There is a new wave of wine tasting experiences at a tasting rooms sans vineyards.   There has always been a tasting room minus wineries in California.  But what is new is that there are many more to come.

There is simple calculus as to why.  First, there is a wine tasting customer who wants to taste more and travel less.  Yountville, Napa, Sonoma and Healdsburg have had tasting rooms and are getting more.  Hartford Family opened near the plaza in Healdsburg while maintaining their tasting room at their winery.  Secondly, if you are in either Napa or Sonoma and there for a short time–it is north of impossible to get to more than three wineries–four is pushing it per day.  I have lost track as to how many winery visits I have had to call and say I was running behind schedule (I am hardly the only one who has done that)… most times I have called have been tepid at best–only once I was told “no worries–drive safely and arrive when you can.”

Off vineyard tasting rooms add to tasting possibilities and don’t detract from on vineyard tasting rooms.    I think the number for increased tasting rooms (especially Napa and Healdsburg) is going to happen even with those that have a tasting room at their winery.  Another reason is that permitting at vineyard/winery has extreme limits in terms of permitting and often higher cost to initiate on-site at winery/vineyard.

 

 

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Now, this brings me to Acumen Wine Gallery in downtown Napa at 1315 First Street and centrally located and near the Andaz and Archer Hotels and down the street from Oxbow Market.  Acumen houses a modern and comfortable tasting room with a substantial gallery space of rotating exhibitions.

Acumen was founded in 2012 by Eric Yuan where he established vines in Atlas Peak.  This year ground has been broken for a 33,000 square foot winery cave on estate in this pristine and rugged part of Napa.

Acumen’s wine focus is Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc and a small production of Malbec and Tempranillo.  There are two lines: Acumen and Acumen PEAK (prestige label).

Acumen Mountainside Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – $30

Nose: Kiwi, citrus zest, gooseberry, fresh slice Heirloom apples

Palate: quince, green citrus, white tea and flowers.

****

Acumen Mountainside Napa Valley Red Wine 2014 – $45

This wine is 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Malbec, 19% Merlot
14% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot.

Nose of Tayberry, cassis, sweet cedar and moist red earth.

Palate of blackberry confit, Tayberry, white pepper, Tarragon and bay leaf.

****

Acumen Mountainside Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – $60

This wine is 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 4% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot.

Nose of Blackberry, dried herbs, suede and underbrush.

Palate of Loch Ness Blackberry, black cherry, sweet pepper, rose petal, and freshly ground cardamom.

****

Acumen PEAK Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc  2014 – $75

Scent of Lemon verbena, yellow peach, and fresh Thyme.

Palate of Buddha hand citrus, Calamansi lime, and moist stones.

****

Acumen Attelas Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014  – $150

This is a composition of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Malbec;

Nose: red/black cherry, black bramble, moisten red earth, and wood pile.

Palate of blackberry confit, rose petal, Thyme and hint of lavender.

****

Acumen Edcora Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – $150

This wine is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, and 1%Cabernet Franc

Nose of Cassis and black bramble, aged hard wood, suede and autumnal forest.

Palate of Heirloom blackberry, pepper, and dried crushed herbs and hint of Ethiopian coffee bean.

****

Acumen Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – $150

This wine is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc,1% Malbec,  and 1% Petit Verdot.

This wine exhibits black/blue fruit notes, dense forest, moist autumnal earth, and spice rack on nose and on the palate is a mixture of heirloom blackberries, rose petal, pepper and Thyme.

Acumen Mountainside Napa Valley Tempranillo 2013 – $60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bright red cherry note on nose along with baking spices and light red floral notes; palate is expressive of tart red cherry, white pepper, red tea and ground spices.

 

 

 

 

****

Acumen Mountainside Napa Valley Malbec 2013 – $60

Boysenberry, red tea, and violets; palate of Tayberry, Boysenberry, espresso, Cardamom and lavender.

****

A great experience if you are in Napa and want a high end and delightful wine tasting, superb and knowledgeable host.  And an appreciable and sophisticated art gallery: when I was there Kadir Lopez contemporary works were exhibiting.  Make a reservation and get ready to enjoy exceptional wines. from Atlas Peak.

****

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

© 2019 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 Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo | Leave a comment

My Wine Review Wish List 2019 – James Melende

Each year, I start out with nearly a blank slate but I do have some wines left over on my tasting table from the previous year.  But I do attempt EVERY single year to taste wines from all wine regions large, small and the lesser known.

This year I have had a head start in wines from France – Vive la France!

In 2018, I was much more forward in asking importers, distributors, producers, regional wine organizations for samples.  I know I am not in the easy seat of Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast and I know I have to marketed myself as much as possible for wine reviews.  Each year there is a region or regions that I am always lacking from getting wines from last year and all previous were no exception.

I know that getting wines say from Colorado, New York, Texas, Virginia and other wine US states will be a Herculean effort.  North American wines in general are harder to get than wines from very far flung regions around the planet.  Canada–BC in particular is one where I had just visited a few years ago and even in the same time zone but have no prospects of tasting.  So close and yet another world away–it is disappointing but it shows the US and Canada need to be much more open with trading wine with each other.  Wine is hardly a top export for either country and hence should allow wine to pass even for reviewers.  Canada is much second largest audience on my wine channel on YouTube

My wine ‘racetrack” motto is to taste wines from all regions and varieties (except Petite Sirah or wines with even a small dash Petite Sirah) each year.

Here is my list:

Oregon

  • Willamette Valley – All sub-AVAs of course
  • Rogue Valley
  • Columbia Valley
  • Umpqua
  • Applegate Valley

Washington

  • Puget Sound
  • Columbia Gorge
  • Columbia Valley
  • Horse Heaven Hills
  • Lake Chelan
  • Red Mountain
  • Snipes Mountain
  • Red Mountain
  • Walhluke Slope
  • Walla Walla Valley
  • Yakima Valley

Idaho

  • Snake River AVA – i

Colorado

  • Grand Valley – I have tried getting samples and I am not optimistic to taste this year

Arizona 

  • Sonoita AVA – producers are much more active in getting their wines out in wider distribution.  A great template for Colorado and New Mexico to follow.

California

  • Santa Cruz Mountains
  • Mendocino
  • Napa Valley
  • Sonoma 
  • Paso Robles
  • Santa Barbara
  • Ramona Valley –
  • Sierra Foothills – All AVAs
  • Central Coast – All AVAs
  • Malibu Coast
  • Marin County
  • Livermore Valley
  • Lake County

Texas

  • All wine AVAs –

North Carolina

  • I have tasted a Cabernet From NC from Biltmore;  I hope to taste at least a Petit Manseng this year from NC; last year was the first time I had ever tasted two wines from the state

Virginia

  • All AVAs

New York

  • All AVAs

New Jersey

  • All AVAs

Michigan

  • All AVAs

Maryland and New Jersey

I have tasted wines from Maryland; never tasted any wines from New Jersey

Canada

  • Wine Country Ontario:
  • Quebec and the Maritime
  • British Columbia – Okanagan Valley –
  • Vancouver IslandSimilkameen, and Fraser Valley

Mexico

  • Guadalupe Valley – so difficult to find in California

South America

  • Bolivia
  • Uruguay
  • Brazil
  • Peru

Not a specific call out is Argentina and Chile–I usually get an over assortment yearly and I’ll get plenty to taste this year over year.

Africa

  • South Africa – each year is a hit or miss year; I want to taste consistently from South Africa
  • Morocco

Asia

  • China – have never tasted any wine from China
  • India – I have tasted but only two producers ever

Middle East

  • Lebanon
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Syria
  • Turkey
  • Cyprus

Europe

I want to taste from all European wine nation states.  I am very interested in tasting wines from places I have not tasted from before like Belgium, Luxembourg, Andorra, The Netherlands, and all very northerly countries producing wine.

I, of course, always want to be tasting wines from (and all appellations):

  • France – so far off to a good start; still many regions to taste from yearly
  • Italy – All wine regions are always welcome
  • Spain – While a big producer; very few samples to taste especially last year
  • Portugal
  • UK – Rarely ever get to taste English sparkling wine; in fact only once
  • Switzerland – tasted only one time in my life; even on restaurant wine lists in Switzerland they are not terribly common
  • Austria
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Croatia
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Greece
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Serbia
  • Montenegro
  • Georgia
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria
  • Slovakia
  • Macedonia
  • Armenia
  • Netherlands
  • Luxembourg

Australia

  • All appellations – every year such a laggard; I taste so few wines from Australia–it seems Australian producers are not terribly interested in the US

New Zealand

  • All appellations

Now boarding – if you are producer or importer please contact me – james@jamesthewineguy.com

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

© 2019 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 Uncategorized, Wine Review, Wine Sampling Policy | Leave a comment

For the Love of Cookbooks – James Melendez


I love cookbooks—yes, the paper kind.

My mother taught me a love for books — she loves paper books and so do I.

When I was in graduate and undergraduate school….well textbooks were exhausting: bricks on my back.  And because of that I honestly rebelled against the physical book and dove into the electronic version when the Kindle and iPad came out.   I wanted portability which I still have a nice library on a device–because when I travel I don’t have the ability to carry any or at least too many books.  But at home I revert to the paper kind.

Today, I prefer to use a physical copy of a cookbook.  You can find a recipe for anything online today but I have had many failures.  I depend on the true tested cooks, chefs and recipe writers.  And somehow I feel more centred when I find a cookbook because they are usually theme based–cohesive–well thought out.  Today if you wanted to find a recipe for anything you can find it online.  But does it work?  How does it work with the rest of your menu?

Cookbooks for me inspire a menu that is intact and thoughtful.  When I have a physical cookbook.  I peruse–dream a bit.  And then I get to business.  I start to use page tabs and I get back to it later.  I then jot down on paper a menu of the week.  I know exactly where to go and what recipe I am going to try.

Food is sacred to me–it is nourishment and yet so much more.  When I read something that was written by a person or several people I appreciate their devotion and vocation.  I glean so that I might approach a special meal and that I can translate what was written for me into a completed dish.

I both want to enjoy a recipe exactly as written on a page — and yet I will also experiment on that recipe on another occasion.  There are many approaches and in some recipes an exactitude is required.  It was my trek of being online for recipes that sent me right back to the physical book.

****

I have been to Portland many times and each and every time I must visit Powell’s and the cookbook and wine book section (the orange section on Powell’s floor plan)…. and what a coincidence it is my favourite colour.

You never know what you will find there.  I purchased on my visits the following cookbooks:  Amana Colony Recipes, Shaker Cook Book and New Mexican Prized Recipes to name a few.  What I do know if you like something or find something unique–get it–it will not be there when you return another time.  Who has an Amana Colony cookbook?  I want to rediscover and enjoy something from the past: I find that exciting.  My love came from many pivotal points in past.  I remember I went to a bake sale for a university health sciences center where I worked and someone baked Amish apple bread–I felt connected one slice at a time on a culture so remote from my experiences.  I was attracted to things like Piki bread–from the Hopi tribe in Arizona and New Mexico Puebloans – I got this listed in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste.  It is a blue corn bread baked (cooked) on a flat heated stone – so delightful and a feathery light corn flat bread.

****

I worked at Williams-Sonoma Inc. corporate offices just down the hall from founder and Vice Chairman Chuck Williams.  I would bring in things that I made for him to taste and I also sought his critique.  He was completely gracious and was so encouraging.  I worked at Williams-Sonoma for a few years and I got a signed cookbook on my birthday which was his as well (October 2).  My friend K. was instrumental for making it happen and to her I am grateful as well.   I was so fortunate to have known him and to see him almost daily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am very touched by people who have given me a cookbook.  I got from one of the dearest people to me Robert H. gave me cookbooks from Mexican food chef Diana Kennedy.  She unlocks so many great things and I love read what she has written and her commitment to Mexican cuisine is legendary.  Robert has given me so many wonderful books from seafood to one about one ingredient only ‘pepper’ and others on Texas’s cuisine (modern and traditional).

My chef friend and businessman Alex D. who gave me a great book called Hering’s Dictionary of Classical and Modern Cookery–what I appreciate the most is I said–“how can I be a good if not a great cook.”  It is more like the title suggests–it is aa dictionary but what I like is that it has made me think of ingredient then it made me locate recipe from another source.  Alex was so thoughtful and he honed in on an abstract request that I made to him into that made me more curious.   The book lists all dishes containing say “Sole,” “Chicken” or “Lobster.”  I start to look up a dish and I am away looking for the recipe from my collection.  It is enjoyable and satisfying.

I met Jamie Oliver and he signed my cookbook Jamie’s Kitchen.  I loved that he was engaged with every person.  I said “I love your cookbook.”  And he said “what did you like?”  And I said “the Moorish Crunch Salad… love it… simply love it.”

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I have learned so much and yet so much more to learn.  I love the inspiration and the passion of so many cookbook writers… I love the passion and I love their love for making food.

I have been asked if I am working on a cookbook and I am but I am not going to get it out anytime soon.  I need more time to test them out more and I know I will get it done some day.

Do you love cookbooks?  If so hardcopy or electronic?

My love for cookbooks is a lifelong quest and one that I don’t want to make a dish just for myself but for other people as well.

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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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.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

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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.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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La Ciccia

291 30th St.

San Francisco, CA 94131

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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.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

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