Avennia Sestina Red Blend is made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc
The Sestina is a poetic form from Medieval France. Just as a contemporary poet can use an old form like the Sestina to express modern ideas, we use the traditional Bordeaux blend to make modern wines that express Washington fruit. Sestina is our vision for an old vine blend where the focus is on structure, balance, and complexity. This wine is designed for the cellar, but is enjoyable now.
Sestina: This wine is a blockbuster, with black currant, black raspberry, saddle leather, freshly tilled earth, vanilla, and violet on the nose. Exceedingly rich and balanced on the palate, with great poise and structure for long aging. The finish echoes with fresh black fruits, minerally touches, and floral notes.
"The 2015 Sestina is showing very well, offering up a rich, more exuberant bouquet than the 2014 rendition. This emphasizes notes of cassis, black plums, dark chocolate, espresso roast and a subtle framing of new oak. On the palate, it's full-bodied and lavish but controlled, with an ample, more sun-kissed core of fruit and fine-grained structuring tannins. Like the 2014, it's a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. While the 2014 and 2015 are quite different in style, it's hard to choose between them qualitatively. While it needs a few years in the cellar, I suspect the 2015 will hit its peak sooner. - William Kelley"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (Issue 237, June 29th 2018), 96 pts
Number #93 On Top 100 Cellar Selections From Wine Enthusiast
"The flagship 2015 Sestina checks in as 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new French oak. Gorgeous notes of blackcurrants, black cherries, graphite, wet river rock, and leafy herbs all emerge from this beautifully balanced, fresh, classic wine that's still tight and backward. It's not a blockbuster but has building richness and tannin, as well as a great finish. Give bottles 2-3 years and enjoy over the following 10-15."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2018), 95+ pts
"La Brulade" is the name of a select slope located at an altitude of 400 meters overlooking the Mediterranean sea between La Baie d'Amour (the town of La Ciotat) in the South and La Sainte Baume in the North. This is one of the highest parcels in the Bandol appellation.
The wine is only produced in exceptional vintages. This carefully selected blend is made of 95% Mourvedre and 5% Grenache, aged in large French oak barrels for 24 months.
The wine shows a deep purple color. It is fresh and fruity on the nose with intense garrigue aromas. Structured, elegant and well-balanced on the palate with strong tannins. Licorice, ripe black fruits, garrigue flavors and some peppery freshness on the finish.
The 35-year old grapes are grown on clay and limestone soils and are farmed organically. Yield is very low - 15hl/ha. The grapes are harvested manually.
Winemaking: Double selection, destemming, crushing before skin contact fermentation. No filtration. Aging for 24 months in French oak casks (600L).
Grilled meat (lamb, beef, boar), Mediterranean cuisine, spicy dishes.
"The inky-colored 2015 Bandol Rouge la Brulade is 95% Mourvèdre, aged two years in demi-muids. Rich, plummy and intense, it showcases the power and majesty of Mourvèdre but somehow tames the tannins to manageable proportions. It's full-bodied and dense, boasting hints of lavender, thyme and sage to go along with the dark fruit flavors. It should drink well soon and remain strong through at least 2030. - Joe Czerwinski"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Interim end of September, September 2018), 93 pts
The flagship 2015 Bandol Brulade is a powerful, serious Bandol that knocks it out of the park with its monster nose of dark fruits, cured meats, sandalwood, olive tapenade, and leathery characteristics. Medium to full-bodied, concentrated, and pure, with plenty of sexy fruit, it’s a terrific, serious Bandol that needs another 2-3 years of bottle age and will keep for 15-20."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 27th 2019), 94 pts
Grenache speaks loudly in the Bésoleil with notes of pomegranate, red raspberry, and strawberry leaf. The Counoise and Cinsualt bring bing cherry fruit and blueberry notes to the table, complicated by pepper and garrique. Mourvedre donates a wild meatiness to the blend, and a purple hue. Syrah rounds things out, adding texture, and flesh to the palate.
The first vintage where they’ve pushed the bottling back to give the cuvee 16-18 months in barrel, the 2015 Besoleil is a dead ringer for a high-quality Chateauneuf du Pape and offers perfumed notes of herbes de Provence, kirsch, licorice and sweet spice. It’s medium to full-bodied, textured and fruit-forward, with a hedonistic yet elegant profile that’s going to evolve gracefully.
Betz Family Clos de Betz is 67 % Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot
"Possessing even more Merlot than the 2014, the 2015 Clos de Betz is 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot brought up in a mix of barrels. Its chocolatey plum, tobacco leaf, licorice and damp earth aromatics give way to a medium to full-bodied, polished, pretty style on the palate that shines for its elegance and freshness. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #231, June 2017), 92-94 pts
Betz Family Pere de Famille is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, and 4% Merlot
The 2015 Père de Famille is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, and 4% Merlot that's mostly from Red Mountain aged 20 months in 70% new French oak. This inky colored effort is packed and stacked, with deep blackberry and currant fruits intermixed with lots of graphite, crushed rock, and minerals as well as smoky, violets aromas and flavors. This full-bodied beauty has gorgeous purity and elegance. It needs 2-4 years of bottle age and will keep for two decades. -Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
Pure, powerful and polished, the Wall Road shows immense aromas of black currant, blueberry, blackberry preserves and hints of sweet dark herbs. The palate is fully developed and well-structured with firm yet ripe tannins and layers of dried red fruits and currants. There is a forest and sweet herb quality that hints at the signature terroir of this Mountain gem. The finish is long and lingering and lifts the layers of fruit on the palate perfectly.
Vintage Notes – An unseasonably warm start to 2015 brought early bud break and bloom for Napa Valley. Vines began to show fatigue as they entered their fourth year of drought, resulting in lower crop yields than years prior. Unexpected heat meant an early harvest for the valley, one of the earliest on record. Ripened fruit proved to be of tremendous quality, while Cabernets are deep and decadent in color with great balance in tannin.
Wall Road Vineyard – This three-acre gem is located at the northern tip of the Mount Veeder AVA, due west of Oakville and the To Kalon vineyard. True to the Veeder AVA, this site delivers both the power and elegance we strive to achieve in our Mountain Cabernets. The elevation, slope orientation and well-drained soils yield fully ripened small berries with concentrated flavor.
Mount Veeder AVA – Known for its acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon, this illustrious appellation produces graceful, expressive and world-renowned wine. Limited by nature, Mount Veeder’s rugged mountain terrain, high elevation and cooling influence from the San Pablo Bay allows for a long growing season that returns low, sought after yields. This results in powerful fruit with distinct berry flavors.
"This is some very serious stuff. Aromas of tar, vanilla and cloves. But the fruit is delicious with notes of boysenberries, blackcurrants, oranges, lavender, herbs and baking spices. The palate's rich and warming but also calm and composed. Layers of blue fruit, ripe yet integrated tannins, a fine line of acidity and a long finish. The broader style remains so elegant. Drink in 2022."
- James Suckling (May 2018), 95 pts
Alleme Getariako Txakolina 2014 is 100% Hondarribi Zuri
A very fruity, persistent and clean Txakoli. It reminds the white exotic fruits, such as lichy. It has a straw yellow color, without the slightest tone of rust and a faint natural gas pearl crown, due to the grape juice fermentation. In the mouth, it is greasy and unctuous, with a good balance of structure and acidity. In order to get such a Txakoli, we have combined the most traditional and the most innovative production methods to create it. Thanks to the batonnage (stirring of the lees), we have attained the characteristic unctuosity of this Txakoli.
After harvesting and pressing, the must is left to ferment in stainless steel tanks. Traditionally, and until recently, this was done in oak or chestnut barrels, called kupels, in Basque. Fermentation lasts 20–25 days and then the txacolí is left to lie on its lees. The CO2 prevents oxidation and dissolves the sediments and gives the wine its sparkling characteristic. The wines is not racked so it does not lose its sparkle and is clarified by natural sedimentation by gravity in the tank or barrel. Traditionally, the wine is tasted on the feast of San Antonio on 17 January, which is known as Txacolí Day (Txacoli Eguna, in Basque).
The Alleme Estate
Alleme is produced at Bodega Talai Berri. Located in the town of Zarautz (in the Spanish side of the Basque Country).
Zarautz is a small fishing towns on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, in the province of Guipuzcoa, Basque Country, Spain.
Built in 1992, the winery lays on the sunniest slopes of Mount Talai Mendi, surrounded by 12 ha of vineyards.
Bixente Eizagirre Aginaga represents the fourth dynasty generation, and his daughters, Itziar and Onditz, the fifth generation making Txakoli out of their vineyards fruits.
- History: The Denominación de Origen Txacolí de Getaria was created in 1990 and covers around 227 hectares of vineyards, down from over 1,000 hectares at the turn of the 20th century. However, wine had traditionally been made in this manner for hundreds of years and was popular from the Middle Ages up to the end of the 19th Century, when the vines were devastated by the phylloxera virus and the effects of industrialization of the Basque Country. There are now 26 wineries (bodegas) registered with the DO.
- The Climate: The DO area is protected from the cold northerly winds by the coastal hills, and enjoys a relatively mild climate, with an average annual temperature of 13.5°C, and moderate sunlight hours. Hail is a serious risk for the grapes. The rainfall of 1,600 mm/yr is the highest of all the Spanish wine regions.
- Grape Varietals: The only authorized grapes are Hondarrabi Zuri (white) and Hondarribi Beltza (red)
The Alleme Vineyards
The vineyards are all located near the coast where they are protected from the spring frost and from the summer heat. They are planted on the southeast facing slopes for additional protection from the sea breezes and in order to receive more sunlight. The slopes are often very steep and sometimes not terraced. The vines are trained over wires and sometimes over earthen or stone pillars. They can be anywhere between 10 and 100 meters above sealevel. The subsoil is predominantly clay covered by a layer of sandy soil.
Talai Berri owns 12 hectares.
Philippe Milan Pommard AOC is 100% Pinot Noir
This wine has been aged in Oak (25% new Oak)
This is a little more structured and the style goes more toward the "vin de garde", or wines meant to age. This wine needs some food, or sometime in the decanter right now. It is well structured and reminds me of a Volnay. As a matter of fact, the parcel is located right next to Volnay. The finish is long and still quite juicy with chewy tannins lingering.
Mas Sinen Coster Reserve Priorat is made from 50% Grenache and 50% Carignan.
he Priorat DO was created in 1954. But it is only in the 1990 that the quality of the wines were able to compete internationally. It is now a DOCa (The highest qualification level for a wine region according to Spanish wine regulations, alongside Rioja DOCa). Total acreage for the entire appellation is 4,400 acres. Intense red cherry color with garnet reflections. Black fruit, compote fruits, hints of balsamic. The mouth is ripe and intense, fresh and powerful. Strong and flavorful.
50 year old vines planted on Llicorella soil (decomposed black and reddish Slate, mixed with Mica and Quartz). Light filtration.
"The ambitious and oaky 2014 Mas Sinén Coster is Garnacha and Cariñena from sloped vineyards that yield no more than 500 grams of grapes per plant. It fermented in stainless steel for 14 days followed by 18 days of maceration, and it matured in new French oak barrels for 12 months. The oak is still pretty obvious; the fruit has good ripeness, and the mouthfeel shows balance, perhaps a little too much oak for the fruit. Give it a little more time in bottle. 1,600 bottles were filled in July 2016. - Luis Gutierrez"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #236, April 2018), 90 pts