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Month August 2012

Wente Louis Mel Livermore Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2010 – 8.9 – James Meléndez

Louis Mel was a French immigrant who took Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon cuttings from the Marquis de Lur Saluce (Chateau d’Yquem). This wine is 13% alcohol content.

This wine exhibits of Meyer lemon zest, sesame, Comice pear, hint of papaya, and white floral notes.

Salud!

***

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

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© 2012 James Meléndez / Jaime Patricio Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Augu

Schott Zwiesel Pure Collection – 9.5 – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

I have 3 out of 33 styles– I utilise the Bordeaux, Burgundy and white wine glass. Great construction and lyrical design. Very happy with use, cleaning, upkeep and general durability. Very pleased with long term performance of this wine glass.

¡Salud!

***

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

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© 2012 James Meléndez / Jaime Patricio Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Gérard Bertrand Crémant de Limoux – 2010 – 9.0 – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

9.0

This wine is 70% Chardonnay 20% Chenin Blanc and 10% Mauzac.

 

¡Salud!

 

http://www.jamesthewineguy.com

 

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

 

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Portland, Oregon—Gateway to a Capital of the Beverage Arts – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

 

Portland is a great gateway for the Pacific Northwest beverage arts culture.  Always a smaller gateway when compared to San Francisco or Seattle—but that does not matter.  And in many ways it is not just a gateway but a center for the beverage arts that cannot be compared to another center; simply because there is nothing as comparable.

Consider Portland as a staging to Willamette Valley and the northerly wine countries of Northern Oregon also has the highest number of breweries than any other city in the world (40).    Portland has the highest per capita consumption of saké in the U.S.   Portland also has a very active distilling communities as well—at least 15 distilleries from Whiskey, Vodka, Grappa, Brandy to Gin and more.

Portland gets some credit for coffee and unfortunately the lion’s share goes to Seattle—Portland’s coffee culture is just as intense as Seattle and the best known is Stumptown—a multi-mini coffee and espresso house.   There are other producers as well and the excellence and obsession on roasting profile, organic, direct purchase from coffee producers is a hallmark in the City of Roses.

The Willamette Valley is very close to Portland—Willamette is a collection of smaller sub-AVAs:

  • Chehelam Mountains
  • Dundee Hills
  • Eola-Amity Hills
  • McMinnvile
  • Ribbon Ridge
  • Yamhill-Carlton

The Willamette Valley in terms of scale is a small region producing Pinot Noir with elegance, grace and a bounty of terroir.  This is a little valley that could and did.  Willamette Valley is a very northerly and westerly region where Pinot Noir has found a great home or a home was found for this very unique signature of Pinot Noir.   Have visited, walked the land and with pruner in hand put the theoretical in to practice.  Willamette Valley has a very small per acre or hectare production level than other wine regions around the world.

While this is a very northerly and westerly wine grape growing region—challenged by temperature—yields might be low but the promise of challenge does promote excellence in bottle to wine glass.  Oregon has worked extremely hard to compete and highlight their wines and Pinot Noir is an especially difficult varietal not only to grow but to serve up to the world of wine drinkers.

Willamette Valley growers are still expanding the current acreage / hectarage but also giving depth and breadth to clonal selection and expression.

The example I point to working hard is the promotion and place for Pinot Noir in Oregon is Oregon Pinot Camp and IPNC International Pinot Noir Celebration.

Oregon wineries are not only growing Pinot Noir but also a wide range of varietals:

Auxerrois, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gamay, Gewürztraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Malbec, Merlot, Müller-Thurgau, Muscat Canelli, Petit Verdot, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo, Tocai Friulano, and Viognier—to name a few.

Portland as a base camp is a great place to start a great food, wine, beer, saké and spirits journey.  The City of Roses has wondrous expressions in both restaurant, food cart / truck culture—no better pairing than it’s own beverage arts culture and outstanding food.

***

¡Salud!

***

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

Read more of my wine reviews:

© 2012 James Meléndez / Jaime Patricio Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Bravium Winemaker Derek Rohlffs Interview – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

Note: interview questions below are a larger more extensive interview to supplement the video interview.

***

1.  What was the moment that you unequivocally decided to become a winemaker?  Was it tasting a specific wine? And / Or Visiting a wine country?

Derek: I was an Environmental Studies major at UCSB whose only experience with wine was watching my parents occasionally drink Mateus, i.e. I had a typically American upbringing that did not include wine at our dinner table or in our lives.  I worked at casinos [a logical place for an Environmental Studies major to land] out of college and was intoduced to wines at VIP and charity events and became fascinated by the many aspects of wine, from geography to history to agriculture to chemistry.  I then did a brief stint in the Wine department at one of the largest wine stores Colorado with distributors pouring wines for us on a daily basis which really ignited my desire to make my own wine someday.  When I moved back home to California in 2000, making wine seemed like the next logical step in my wine life.

2. How do you describe your wine making style?

Derek: I believe that proper vineyard farming practices form the basis for a balanced wine.  I also believe in “Less is more and no is most.”  By that I mean that, the longer I make wine, the more I believe that less oak, less intervention, and no pumping, no fining, and no filtering of wine makes it better reflect its vineyard source and vintage character.

3. How do you describe your brand – Bravium?

Derek: Bravium is Latin for “reward, prize, or gift” and was a name I chose as I thought it would dovetail with my Sip&Give charitable campaign, which is an important part of the winery’s DNA.  Please vote for your favorite charity at sipandgive.com!

4.You have your flagship brand and your artisan brand?  What are the distinguishing characteristics?

Derek: Bravium is my flagship brand and is solely focused on the small lot production of vineyard designated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  My artisan wines represent other varietals and blends, each with its own distinct branding.

5. The Artisan line has great depth of story, label, design and overall packing- was it an evolution?  What was the inspiration?

Derek: Each wine has a unique back story, for instance, White Wedding was a happy blending trial accident when I blended Sauvignon Blanc with Viognier.

6. You packaging is one of the most unique I have seen—the evocative imagein your Syrah is so modern and the back label having just the image is so well done.  What was the inspiration?

Derek: Midnight Oil is a very dark wine and, when pulling barrel samples one night at 2am, I thought to myself: “I’m really burning the midnight oil…and this wine is almost black.”  And the name stuck.

7. How did you choose your current set of varietals that you produce?

Derek: Pinot Noir because it is my favorite wine to produce due to its unparalleled ability to express site and good [light-handed] or bad [heavy-handed] winemaking.

8.You have a variation of locations—how did you choose each AVA?

Derek: When I started out, I took a shotgun approach, working with as many varieties and vineyards as possible and kept the best.  Being located in San Francisco, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino AVAs are all within reach.

9. Your Lucky Proprietary  and White Wedding wines are multi-vintages—what is your philosophy on MV?

Derek: When making a white or red wine blend like White Wedding and Lucky, the use of wine lots from multiple vintages is just one more option available to me as a winemaker.  In these particular cases, I see no reason to limit my options….if it makes the blended wine taste better, then that’s what matters.

10. What is the best part of being an urban wine maker?

Derek: The ability to work with multiple vineyards in all of the most notable AVAs in Northern California.

11. What if any misconceptions might there be about the urban wine making movement?

Derek: That it’s a new thing.  Urban wineries dominate San Francisco before the 1906 Quake and Prohibition.

12. Your wines are optimally produced and are all-approachable on a price point level.  Your Character Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is priced at $39 – a superb price point.  All of your price points are approachable and are not just value oriented—is this a component of the urban wine making proposition?

Derek: I do strive to offer value and making a $100 bottle of wine has little appeal to me.  That said, as grape prices increase, so do wine prices and the wine market does tend to be very cyclical.

13. You have a very nice and full varietal offering—do you have any new wines due for release?

Derek: There are vineyard designated Bravium Pinot Noirs in barrel that I will be bottling soon from two incredible vineyards: Signal Ridge in Anderson Valley and Beau Terroir in Napa Carneros. I am really excited about these wines and they will round out my Sonoma Coast and Santa Cruz Mountains Pinots.  As to Chardonnay, I am working with the Abbassi family with their 35 year old vineyard as well as new plantings in Sonoma Carneros…these wine will drive the Bravium Chardonnay program forward.

14. In a few words how do you describe Bravium?

Derek: Site-specific, traditional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

15. What is the most challenging AVA to receipt fruit or varietal each year?

Derek: Signal Ridge Vineyard, the highest elevation planting in Anderson Valley, at the ridgetop with a dirt road.

16. Your emphasis has been on crafting wines to pair with food—are they stand alone wines as well?

Derek: Acidity is a key component of a balanced wine and allows wine to be refreshing on its own as well as with food.  That’s why I don’t put all of Bravium’s Chardonnays through secondary fermentation…I don’t want the finished wines to be too heavy.

17. In the decade you have been making wine—has there been changes in what consumers are drinking?  Varietals?  Enjoying wine more often?  Seeking specific AVA?

Derek: No comment..it’s a great question that could result in multiple thesis papers and I’ll defer to other industry experts.

18. What is the easiest thing about making wine?

Derek: It doesn’t ever feel like work…even at 2am in the morning after a full day of harvest in the vineyards and hectic activity in the winery.

19. What is the most difficult thing about making wine?

Derek: Waiting out bad weather at harvest time.

20. What is the aging capacity of your wines?

Derek: Only time will tell but many of my earliest wines still have a lot of life left and I believe that the acidity I retain in the Chardonnay as well as the fact that the red wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered gives them the best possible chance to age well in bottle.

21. What person has inspired you the most?

Derek: When it comes to viticulture and winemaking, Kevin Harvey and Jeff Brinkman at Rhys Vineyards are doing things the right way and I find their work to be paradigm shifting.  When it comes to great people in the wine business, Roger Scommegna, one of the Three Thieves along with Joel Gott and Charles Bieler, has become a friend, mentor, and inspiration.

****

¡Salud!

***

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

Read more of my wine reviews:

© 2012 James Meléndez / Jaime Patricio Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Argiolas Costera – 2009 – 9.0 – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

Superbly dry. Notes of red plum, raspberry, early season bright red cherry, bramble notes; blackberry, chile Ancho, Shiitake mushroom, Cardamom and cinnamon and bay leaf on finish

¡Salud!

***

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

Read more of my wine reviews:

© 2012 James Meléndez / Jaime Patricio Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Castello di Amorosa Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer – 2011 – 9.2 – James Meléndez

Dry yet giving a signficant presence and mouth fill …spit roasted flesh comice pear, Spitzenberg apple freshly sliced, mineral, graphite, cinnamon cereal, white floral bed, almond and ginger.

¡Salud!

***

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

Read more of my wine reviews:

© 2012 James Meléndez / Jaime Patricio Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Don Pascual Tannat – 2010 – 9.2 – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

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Named after Pascual Harriague who introduced Tannat to Urugay a century ago.

notes of deep roasted black plum, fresh black cherry, cinnamon, bay leaf, white mushroom, and madagascar vanilla.

¡Salud!

***

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

Read more of my wine reviews:

© 2012 James Meléndez / Jaime Patricio Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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David Bruce Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir – 2003 – 9.0 – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

Mid-season red cherry,  currant, red candy, fresh red rose petals, and earthly notes of Crimini mushroom.

¡Salud!

***

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

Read more of my wine reviews:

© 2012 James Meléndez / Jaime Patricio Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Erste und Neue Gröbnerhof Südtirol St. Magdalener – 2010 – 9.0 – James Meléndez

http://www.erste-neue.it/

This wine is 93% Vernatsch (Schiava) and 7% Lagrein and 13.5 alcohol.

Sequencing of notes; Early season cherry, mountain strawberry, hint of red rose petas, fennel, and Malabar pepper.

¡Salud!

***

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

Read more of my wine reviews:

© 2012 James Meléndez / Jaime Patricio Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse: