Its sparkling gold color is vivid and bright. The aromas are floral and honeyed with a wisp of vanilla. The palate is elegantly full with ripe white peach flavors and toasty overtones but balanced with a lively freshness, and delicacy on the long finish.
A beautiful tribute to the top champagne produced at the Maison Trouillard and a decadent partner to foie gras!
After 10 years, this Champagne is soft, just hinting at minerality from the Chardonnay. Orange zest and a floral touch give the wine a fine balance, the toastiness of maturity just a balancing hint. Drink now.
- Wine Enthusiast (December 2020), 90 pts
Alexandre Monmousseau Gaudrelle Vouvray Reserve Personelle 2010 is made from 100 percent Chenin Blanc
Fine Chenin Blanc typicity, with aromas of ripe apples and honeyed notes. Rich, smooth, rounded palate with great structure and weight. Has the acidity to support ageing for 10 years.
"A luscious sweet wine, very honeyed and liquorous. As a complete contrast, the wine has that intense acidity that is the hallmark of Loire sweet wines. The combination is a fragrant nectar that will benefit from aging. — R.V."
Wine Enthusiast (June 2013), 91 pts
Arzuaga Gran Reserva 95% Tempranillo, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Merlot.
Presenting a ruby red color, this wine has a wide range of aroma of ripe fruit compote, toast, and leather. Fine, complex, and attractive with a great balance. Silky and pleasant in the mouth with a bit of spice detected in the finish.
Serve with red meats, roasts, or game dishes. Its flavor is enhanced with cured or fatty cheeses.
"A beautiful, opulent 2010 with layers of ripe fruit, such as plums, but lots of chocolate and vanilla character. It’s full-bodied and intense with lots of fruit and vanilla at the end. Slightly old-school, but showing opulence. Drink or hold."
- James Suckling (October 2020), 93 pts
Bellevue Cotes de Bordeaux-Castillon Cé Ma Cuvée is made from 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc
The wine is made with 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. Average age of the vines is 50 years old (everything is between 40 and 60 years old).
Cé Ma Cuvée is a tribute from Michel Lydoire to his 2 daughters:
Cé is for Céline. She is like the Merlot grape varietal. Pleasant and calm.
Ma is for Marina. She is like the Cabernet Franc grape varietal. Tough and with a lot of character.
The color is deep and inky.
The nose is spicy, fruity and oaky with some nice vanilla and coconut aromas.
The mouthfeel is complex, with ripe red and black fruit flavors. Some spiciness and integrated oak flavors.
The wine starts as the Vieilles vignes, but some wine is aged in 500-liter American Oak Barrels for 18 months.
They are using a mix of different toastiness for the barrels. Some high toast and some are medium toast.
This is a fun wine that can be enjoyed with any food, charbroil burgers, grilled vegetables, cheeses ... or even with dark chocolate desserts.
2015 Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux Cé Ma Cuvée Céline Lydoire focuses this wine on Bellevue's old Merlot plots, blending in Cabernet franc from southern exposures on gravelly soils. It's her top selection, treated to 18 months in new 400-liter oak barrels; she started making it at the behest of her French customers, who wanted a step up from her cool and refreshing Cuvée Tradition. This is just as cool, but more saturated in its distinctly Castillon fruit flavor—think wild strawberries and blueberries with an earthy mineral undercurrent. That silky fruit gains its supple impression from the new oak, which boosts the textural richness. As I thought about how to score this wine, I found myself writing, "If that were from California, I'd be all over it." Absolutely. But it's also got Castillon limestone clarity. And, it's $27. Buy a case. You won't be sorry -Wine & Spirits 93 Points
Bellevue Cotes de Castillon Cuvee Vieilles Vignes is made from 65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc. Aged in mostly new oak barrels (90% French oak and 10% American oak), and some Château Haut Brion 2nd Barrels.
The wine offers a rich and intense bouquet of blackcurrant, blackberry and strawberry. It is smooth and full in the mouth with a velvety texture. Acidity combined with firm but well-integrated tannins are a fine supporting cast to the black fruit flavors at the end.
Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant Cuvee Oumuamua is made from 52% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 13% Syrah.
As our story unfolds, we learn that with the 2018 vintage, there has been a fundamental change in the style of Le Cigare Volant. Not that there was anything at all “wrong” with the thirty-four vintages preceding the current one, mind you. For a number of reasons, mostly, alas, drearily fiscal/economical, the older style of Cigare has unfortunately proven to be a not particularly sustainable proposition at least from a financial perspective. The “new” Cigare, with a re-adjustment of the encépagement, by which we have dropped Mourvèdre from the mix and elevated the percentage of the (greatly underappreciated) and quite brilliant variety, Cinsault, creates a style of wine far more approachable and seductive in its youth.
We call this cuvée, “Oumuamua,” (or “scout” in Hawaiian), so named in light of the recent mysterious cigar-shaped object/visitor to our solar system, initially imagined to be some sort of asteroid, but believed by none other than the chairman of the Astronomy Dept. at Harvard University to possibly be a sort of probe, perhaps a solar-powered light-sail, sent on a kind of reconnaissance mission to check us out. (Ok, this last part is a bit of interpolation.) Anyhoo, it has been agreed that this was a very, very strange object that recently came to visit. And it appears that it may have arrived in the very nick of time, to bring a sort of much-needed revitalization to our planet, and by metaphoric extension, to the Cigare brand itself.
The color is a deep, vivid violet-red, owing in part to the lower pH of the wine. On the nose, the wine has a haunting kirsch nose (I suspect that’s the Cinsault), along with associated small red fruit (red and black currant) and perhaps a suggestion of blackberry. My colleague, Nicole Walsh and I toil away at the Cigare blend every year, and while the blend will change (sometimes radically, as it has this year), we share an idea of the Platonic form of Cigare, and the ‘17 certainly embodies that form. It goes something like this: Juiciness, fruit (but not confected or overripe), brightness, exuberance, joy, and not least, a sense of savoriness. I realize I’m not speaking orthodox wine parlance. We look above all for balance and for liveliness, for vinous qi. This wine is still incredibly young and just wants to jump out of its shoes.
INEYARD | PRODUCTION NOTES
The Alta Loma Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco area of Monterey County, was planted years back to one of the earlier selections of Tablas Creek Grenache clones, typically not a great selection for imparting real backbone or structure to the wine, but capable of making a wine that is enormously pretty and fragrant; in cool years, the fragrance of cassis or black currant is almost overpowering; most surprisingly, the Grenache in cool years from this vineyard is profoundly black in color. The Cinsault was sourced from the Loma del Rio Vineyard, a vineyard, under a previous nom de guerre (San Bernabe), we know quite well. This was the first year of production for the Cinsault and it was thinned multiple times both for enhanced concentration and evenness of ripening. The cooler climate gives the Cinsault a wonderful articulation of flavor, but what is most noteworthy is the fact that we were able to coferment the Cinsault with Syrah from the equally cool Mesa Verde Vyd. in the Santa Ynez Valley. Something magical happens when Syrah and Cinsault marry; the healthy tannin titer from the Syrah seems to give more structure to the Cinsault, helps to stabilize the color, and in general, insures that the blend will not evanesce tout de suite into the aetherial plane. The spicy, licorice component from the Syrah is a perfect foil to the Griotte cherry derived from the Cinsault.
Appellation: Monterey County
Vineyards: 48% Alta Loma, 35% Loma Del Rio, 6% Mesa Verde, 6% Zayante, 4% Rancho Solo 1% Lieff
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
TA: 6.1 g/L
Production: 11,500 cases
Cellaring: Drinkable upon release (6/19) with ageability of 7-10 years
Longoria Cuvee Diana 2010 is made from 100 percetn Chardonnay
fter skipping the 2009 vintage of Chardonnay due to quality issues, we are very pleased and excited to release the newest vintage of Cuvée Diana Chardonnay.
As with our 2008 Cuvée Diana, the majority of the blend is from grapes grown at Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard. The balance is from Zotovich Vineyard located just a few miles west of Rancho Santa Rosa.
The grapes from both vineyards were harvested on October 2nd, with the Rancho Santa Rosa grapes measuring higher in sugar content than the Zotovich Vineyard grapes. They were whole cluster pressed and the juice settled for a day before being transferred to French oak barrels for fermentation. The wines aged separately until July 2011, when they were blended for the Cuvée Diana lot and put back in barrels to age for another six months. The new oak component was approximately 30%. About 30% of the wine completed the malo-lactic fermentation.
Most of our Chardonnays have needed filtration to meet our standard for clarity, but because this vintage had such brilliant natural clarity, I decided not to filter the wine. Over time the wine may deposit a small amount of natural sediment but this will not affect the taste of the wine.
The wine has a pale gold color with aromas of pears, hazelnuts and custard. On the palate, the wine has similar flavors as the aromas. The wine is medium bodied with a rich texture and excellent acidity, contributing to a long, crisp finish with a hint of toasty oak flavors.
This wine will pair well with seafood and meats such as quail, veal and pork.
Established in 1982, Longoria Wines is a small family owned winery producing acclaimed artisanal wines from some of the finest vineyards in Santa Barbara County. Pioneer winemaker Rick Longoria has been involved in the local wine industry since 1976. His wines are distinctive for their purity of varietal and site expression, balance and compatibility with food.
Longoria Wines is an artisanal family winery established in 1982 by Rick and Diana Longoria. Rick’s decision to start his own wine label was born out of a desire to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, two varietals he was not producing as the winemaker for J. Carey Cellars, his first job as a winemaker. Rick sensed that those two varietals were poised to become the signature varietals for the new Santa Barbara County wine region, and he wanted to become a part of this new movement.
By 1982 he felt confident in his skills and in the quality of some of the County’s best vineyards to venture into the wine business for himself, and with financial help from his father he produced 500 cases of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley vineyards.
Rick continued to produce very small quantities of Longoria wines after he became the winemaker for The Gainey Vineyard in 1985.
In 1997, Rick gave up steady employment to devote his full energies to his winery business. In May 1998, Rick and Diana opened the doors to their own tasting room in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Los Olivos. In December 1998, Rick moved his winery operation into a 5,400 sq. foot industrial building in what is now affectionately called the “Lompoc Wine Ghetto”. His was the first winery to be established in Lompoc.
Rick states "From the very beginning of my career I felt that the Santa Barbara wine region had the potential to produce world class wines and it's been very gratifying to see that belief realized over the last 30 years I've been here. It's also been very rewarding to have had the good fortune over the years to have some of my wines contribute to the acclaim of our wine region."
Over the years Rick has experimented with many different vineyard sources and grape varietals and has added more wines to his portfolio. Rick’s pursuit of excellence requires the production of his wines to remain small even after nearly 30 years in business. Longoria wines are handcrafted in very small quantities ranging from 50 to 700 cases. Total annual production currently averages 3,000 cases.
The Nuits-Saint-Georges A.C. wines are produced on land delimited by the parishes of Nuits-Saint-Georges and Premeaux-Prissey.
The grapes bear small little dark red berries. The bunches are destemmed; they macerate in open vats during 4 weeks helping this subtle terroir to reveal itself. After devatting, the wines are aged in oak barrels during 18 months.
Bright cherry, currant and strawberry fruit flavors are backed by a dense matrix of dusty tannins in this compact red. Balanced, lingering with a hint of cumin on the finish. The saturated flavors are intense. Best from 2023 through 2038. 660 cases made, 200 cases imported. — Wine Spectator 93 Points
El Cismatico Garnacha is made from 100% Garnacha.
The wine is produced from 3 single vineyards - El Mimbreral, Piedra Blanca, Cerro Merino - situated between 850 to 900 meters high. These parcels share the same geological characteristics of pebble stones, red clay, marl and limestone which impart a precise and floral profile to the Garnacha grape that has achieved a balanced acidity and a low pH.
El Cismatico offers an intense ruby red in color. The nose is still very youthful, deep and complex with aromas changing every minute. Its starts out with notes of roasted meat, beets, wild red fruit, cloves, pepper. Little by little, as the wine opens the nose displays touches of crushed violets, pencil lead, black cherry and a light touch of mountain herbs. Fine, elegant and bold, the ripe fruit is exquisitely balanced by fresh acidity achieved from growing Garnacha at altitude. The tannin is firm but polished with an extremely long finish. Drinking 2022 and onwards for many years.
El Cismático is only released when the correct raw material has been achieved to make an Old Vine Garnacha with the capacity to age gracefully for years in bottle, gaining complexity along the way. The objective is to produce a wine that has the capacity to age quite happily for up to 30 years.