Chandon Introduces New Red Sparkler
in time for the sparkling season, Chandon launches Sparkling
Red. Rarely seen in the U.S., sparkling red wines have a
long tradition in the Loire Valley, Germany, and Australia.
the grace and complexity of Pinot Noir, blend in the zesty
characteristics of California Zinfandel, and marry this
unusual blend with the fun and vitality of a sparkling wine.
It's sure to please wine lovers with a sense of discovery
and it definitely shouts 'it's party time'," says winemaker
With this wine, Donaldson continues to launch innovative
new sparkling styles, having released Chandon Riche, a unique
extra-dry style, last year. As with Chandon Riche, Donaldson
first explored a sparkling red style in Australia where
he was Domaine Chandon's winemaker for 11 years. There,
he crafted a sparkling red blend of Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
Unlike most sparkling wines, the cuvée for Chandon
Sparkling Red begins with Pinot Noir and Zinfandel base
wines that have been fermented on the skins, providing the
flavor and body of a still wine with the refreshing characteristics
of a sparkling. The wine has rich and concentrated flavors
of plum, cranberry, and black cherry with hints of allspice
For the adventurous in wine and food pairing, Donaldson
remarks, "I'm crazy about this wine with my mother's
roast turkey, a honey glazed smoked ham, or minced-meat
A total of 218 cases of Chandon Sparkling Red were produced
and it retails for $19. Please, visit www.chandon.com.
Leap Wine Cellars Goes Greek with Artemis
ARTEMIS Cabernet Sauvignon
worry, they are not wearing togas in the cellar. However,
Warren and crew christened 30,000 cases of combo juice from
estate and purchased programs with the name Artemis, the
greek goddess of the moon, hunt, and known to be the protector
of the stag. The good news is that you get some declassified
FAY vineyard (20%) and some S.L.V. (10%) barrels for a total
of 30% estate fruit and 70% contract. Those grape contracts
are representative of Napa's multi-faceted characteristics.
For good measure and Bordeaux tradition the winemaking team
added some Merlot (8%) and Petit Verdot (2%). This is fun
and sexy wine, too, due to its many layers that deliver
an array of floral and fruit flavors. We tasted a delicate
and soft, possibly feminine Cab—and definitely with
its complexity. The package with an embossed logo is quite
distinctive and would certainly tempt Bacchus. Since the
notorious Paris tasting, Warren Winiarski [winemaker's son
in Polish] has printed his name on the international map
of quality winemakers. "We use the three G's method
here: Grape, Ground and the Guy," says Warren amusingly.
He proceeds: "We use just the right amount [of quality
components]: not too much not too little." This "cuvée"
won't disappoint; it's rather drinkable now with a peak
in five to seven years. So, if you are prepared to spend
$40 to $45, give it a try. Bargain hunters and huntresses,
this is as close as you are going to get to the FAY, S.L.V.
and CASK 23 like. Call 707-944-2020, or visit www.cask23.com.
Other "Whine" of the Week
Family Winery has released a new wine to commemorate California's
recall election. Milano owner and winemaker Deanna Starr
says the blend contains "as many wines as there are
serious candidates in the election, namely six: Zinfandel,
Sauvignon, Cabernet, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Petite Syrah."
The Recall Red is medium bodied with nice fruit on the palate
and a lot of Merlot flavor.
Recall Red is available for a limited time and in limited
quantities for $8.99 each. If you want to get some to toast
the occasion you better hurry: Locals have been buying it
up like crazy. The Milano Family Winery is located in an
original, old Hop Kiln, near the Russian River just south
of the town of Hopland in Southern Mendocino County. Call
707-744-1396, or visit www.milanowinery.com.
Robles Westside Grand Crew
nine "Crew" members
vineyards on the west side* of the Paso Robles wine
appellation offer a unique terroir dating to the latter
part of the Cretaceous period seventy million years ago.
Its unique soils and ideal microclimates create a terroir
that is the envy of vintners throughout the world.
nine prestigious family wine estates on the west side of
the Paso Robles wine appellation that share the rugged hillside
terrain, the limestone-clay soils, and the warm days and
cool nights that are characteristic of the area, have teamed
up to form a marketing coalition to showcase their fine
Paso Robles Westside Grand Crew consists of Adelaida Cellars,
Austin Hope, Dunning Vineyards, Justin Vineyards & Winery,
Peachy Canyon Winery, Saxum, Tablas
Creek Vineyards and Windward
their grape varieties range from those of Burgundy, Bordeaux
and the Rhone valley to the typically American Zinfandel,
their winemaking philosophies are strikingly similar. All
are proponents of the philosophy that fine wines are made
first and foremost in the vineyard. They believe that great
wines can only come from great grapes, and that the art
of winemaking is founded on starting out with the very best
grapes and bringing their juice through fermentation as
naturally as possible. Within the appellation, each of the
Grand Crew wineries has a specific terroir (climate, soils,
and viticulture) that expresses itself in the wines,"
says Archie McLaren, founder and executive director of the
renowned KCBX Central Coast Wine Classic.
the Crew's activities will be symposia around the country
such as their recent first formal Terroir Symposium at the
winery will present a flagship estate red wine. For activities
and additional info contact Mr. MacLaren at 805-544-1285
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The west side of the Paso Robles wine appellation
refers to the west side of Highway 101 in Northern San Luis
Obispo County, CA, east of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range
and Hearst Castle at San Simeon.
Strong Reaches for the Sun
Strong Vineyards are about to install the largest winery
solar electric system in the world of wine. The winery,
located in Healdsburg, CA will commence with installation
in early October of 2003 and the project is scheduled to
be complete before the end of the year.
installed on the winery's 100,000 square foot barrelhouse,
the solar system will generate 766 kilowatts of power. During
full days of sun, the system will be capable of supporting
a significant portion of all the winery's power needs.
the 25-year life of the system, the solar generated electricity
will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 8,700 tons. The
emissions reductions are equivalent to planting almost 2,500
acres of trees, removing 1,700 cars from the road or not
driving nearly 22 million miles on California's roadways
(equivalent to 45 trips to the moon and back)! In addition,
the solar system will generate enough electricity during
the daytime to power almost 800 homes.
Klein, winery CEO explains, "Solar electrical systems
have never been more suitable to our industry. The combination
of solar technology improvements, along with customary flat
surfaced winery storage areas and their sunny locations,
have made renewable energy more commercially viable."
Klein family, a century-old California farming family, has
owned Rodney Strong Vineyards for 13 years. In that time,
they have made a significant investment to build what has
become a Sonoma County franchise, by producing wine only
from Sonoma county, by investing in over 1,000 acres of
vineyard land and now by taking a major step to protect
the quality of life in the region.
Releases First White: 2002 Caparoso Riesling Pfalz
(Deidesheimer Leinhohle Kabinett)
Caparoso has released its first white. The 2002 Caparoso
Riesling Pfalz epitomizes what Caparoso Wines is all about:
easy, fresh, yet powerfully aromatic wines of absolute food
versatility (especially today's intense cuisines).
authentic German style Riesling is sourced from the Leinhohle
vineyards on the hillsides outside the town of Deidesheim,
in the classic Rhine River region known as the Pfalz. Leinhohle
grown Rieslings typically combine an exotic, almost pineapple-like
fruitiness with a serious minerality that rolls and flows
across the palate.
at Kabinett level and finished with 22 grams of residual
sugar, it is dry enough to appeal to contemporary tastes,
yet with just a whisper of sweetness to keep it from being
overly tart. But in the end, it is the Leinhole itself that
speaks; expressing the classic German qualities of crispness
and delicacy, with incredible clarity of Riesling perfume.
The recommended pricing is about $18 in retail and $35 in
Wine Sales Down, Spanish Toast Success
Anti-French sentiment in the United States shows no signs
of slowing down. The sale of products from France is continuing
to slump with wine sales particularly badly hit. While Americans
these days spend more on wine overall, French wine sales
have lost dramatically from 2002, reports the Wine Spectator
citing the Information Resources Inc.: "Between June
15 and July 13, American wine drinkers purchased 20.6 percent
less in case volume and 24.2 percent less in dollar value
when compared with the same four-week period a year ago."
at the same time, reports that Spain is celebrating a success
in the U.S. wine market with Spanish wine sales up by 20.5
percent in the first half from a year earlier. Reuters quotes
Rich Cartiere, editor and publisher of Wine Market Report
in Calistoga as saying: "Spanish and Australian importers
are the most aggressive in telling retailers they're the
best alternative to French wine." How aggressive shows
a recent Spanish ad in The Wall Street Journal "describing
Spainwhich, unlike France, backed the U.S.-led war
in Iraqas "A friend from Europe" with fine
wine for sale."
Opens Tasting Room
Kendall-Jackson has opened its tasting room on the town
square of Healdsburg this past weekend. Situated on the
charming tree- and boutique-lined Healdsburg Plaza, the
new Kendall-Jackson tasting room will focus entirely on
its upper-end and estate wines, including the Grand Reserve,
Great Estates and Stature wines. The Tasting Room is located
at 337 Healdsburg Ave. and is open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
For more information, call 707-433-7102.
The Corley Family is one of the first wineries to bring
to market wines bearing the "100% Napa Valley"
Certification Mark. The Corley Family kicked off their full
participation with the release of their Vintage 2002 Monticello
Vineyards Estate Grown Chardonnay ($26) and Vintage 2001
Monticello Vineyards Estate Grown Merlot ($30).
are extremely proud to participate in the "100% Napa
Valley" Certification Mark program," said Stephen
Corley, Director of Wine Sales and Marketing at his family's
winery. "Our father came to Napa Valley in 1970 to
grow Napa Valley grapes and produce Napa Valley wines because
he believed it to be one of the finest Appellations in the
World. The Certification Mark will help protect and promote
our great Napa Valley Appellation and better inform consumers
as to the complete origin of the wine they buy and drink.
March 2003 the Napa Valley vintners kicked off this new
marketing program designed to help consumers make educated
decisions about the wines they purchase. Dubbed "100%
Napa Valley," the Mark is a voluntary add-on to an
existing wine label. The Mark certifies that a full one
hundred percent of the wine contained in the bottle is actually
made from wine grapes grown, produced and bottled in Napa
Launches Wine Portfolio in U.S.
de Pirque, Chile's top breeder of thoroughbred horses and
top producer of estate wines, have been selling their outstanding
portfolio of fine wines in the United States since August
wines are launching in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington,
DC, Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, California and Florida
on Monday and being rolled out to the rest of the country
on January 1, 2004.
de Pirque is the premium producer of wines in Chile. These
are very serious wines. All grapes are 100 percent estate-grown
and all wines are estate-bottled. Each wine is 100 percent
of the indicated varietal, and the are grapes selectively
hand picked before vinification. Viticulture is taken very
seriously and drip irrigation, shoot thinning,
leaf pulling and cluster thinning are all employed. Wines
pass through significant periods of aging in both French
and American oak.
state-of-the-art winery is built in the shape of a horseshoe
in honor of the thoroughbred farm. It is the only horseshoe-shaped
winery in the world, built into the side of the Andes.
The inner sloping floors of the winery built on the
side of a hill allow the force of gravity to gently,
slowly move the musts and wine, eliminating the need
for pumps and other kinds of transfer systems and substantially
reducing the potential for oxidation.
Alvaro Espinoza trained in Chile and France. He holds a
degree in oenology from Bordeaux and prior to working for
Haras de Pirque, he worked on the winemaking teams at both
Château Margaux and Moet & Chandon.
Haras de Pirque estate covers 1,500 acres (600 hectares)
on the lower slopes of the Andes Mountains, 362.5 acres
(145 hectares) of which are planted vineyards. In addition,
Haras de Pirque is the only facility in Chile where thoroughbreds
are bred, raised and trained.
Vineyards from Space?
European Commission backed Bacchus project aims to help
wine growers by providing them with satellite images of
vineyards and computer analyses. Numerous European companies,
research institutes and growers' organizations have signed
on to the non-traditional project. The general idea is that
space technology can be used to monitor a full spectrum
of important details: slope and humidity of a given area,
color and shape of growing vines, soil analyses, etc. This
information could then ultimately be used to help answer
key questions like determining the ideal timing for grape
Carneros Officially Opens New Pinot Noir Winemaking Facility
in The Carneros Appellation Dedicated Exclusively To Pinot
Carneros, owned by France's famed Champagne Taittinger,
celebrates ten years of making fine Pinot Noir wines with
the official opening of its new Pinot Noir
winemaking facility. The 23,500-square-foot building, situated
adjacent to the winery's landmark French château,
is the first winemaking facility in the Carneros appellation
dedicated exclusively to the production of Pinot Noir. Featuring
a host of modern production capabilities and energy efficiencies---including
a solar panel system
that will supply up to 40 percent of the winery's own energy
needs -- the new facility will effectively double the winery's
Pinot Noir production.
"This is our commitment to expanding production and
evolving the quality of our Pinot Noir wines - the Domaine
Carneros Pinot Noir, the Famous Gate and the Avant-Garde.
With this new facility, we can now fully leverage the advantages
of the Carneros
appellation and its long, moderately cool growing seasons
to create Pinot Noir wines that embody the optimum balance
of ripeness, acidity and complexity," says Eileen Crane,
Domaine Carneros' president and winemaker.
new Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir facility features a wide
range of state-of-the-art
production capabilities and energy efficiencies. These include
a 120 killowatt solar electrical system, the largest solar
photovoltaic installation at any U.S. winery; 15 insulated
skylights to provide an even, natural light that lessens
the need for electric lights in the fermentation room; a
variety of fans and vents to create a night cooling system
that automatically replaces warm air with cool air and reduces
dependence on the refrigeration system; and an entire 22-foot
insulation wall built into the hillside to take full advantage
of the cool, 55-degree temperature of the earth. Additionally,
the Pinot Noir facility features traditional open-topped
fermenters to maintain fruit character and density, as well
as a system to facilitate manual punch-downs. Visitors to
the facility can also enjoy a hospitality area with fireplace,
custom chandelier and views of the barrel room.
Carneros is located at 1240 Duhig Rd. in Napa, CA, 707-257-0101.
The winery is open daily for tours, tasting and retail sales.
Nabs a Perfect Score from Parker
The infamous Robert Parker (whom Jacques Chirac called "the
most followed and influential critic of French wines in
the world") has given a perfect 100 score to the 2000
Chapoutier "Cuvée de l'Oree" Hermitage,
Blanc 750ml, the Wine
are the details:
WA 100 points. An amazing nose of licorice, minerals, acacia
flowers, honeysuckle, and a hint of butter. Unctuously-textured
and full-bodied, with great intensity and purity, yet remarkably
light on its feet, it can be drunk over the next 3-4 years.
Available for $202.99 per bottle at www.samswine.com.
Nuestra Wines Bring $3,000 At Charity Auction
Casa Nuestra Winery's offering at the Napa Valley Wine Auction
highlighted a rare glimpse at the 23-year history of the
winery. Included were four vintages of Chenin Blanc, the
specialty of Casa
Nuestra, ranging in age from 18 to 23 years. The lot
description explains that Chenin Blanc, seriously made,
has an extraordinary cellar, perhaps exceeding any other
white variety. According to winery founder, Gene Kirkham,
few people have had the opportunity to taste a white of
this age from North America. The experience is simply not
available, at any price.
In addition to the Chenins, the auction lot contained early
examples of Casa Nuestras award-winning Cabernet Franc
(1986, 1987); Johannisberg Riesling (including a rare late
harvest); Meritage; Merlot; and Casa Nuestras proprietary
Oakville field blend, Tinto Classico. The 12 library bottles
of Casa Nuestra Wine brought $3000 for local charities at
the 2003 Napa Valley Wine Auction. The successful bidder
was Sam McGann of Blue Point Bar and Grill of Kitty Hawk,
Casa Nuestra's lot was fancifully presented in the theme
of this year's auction: "Copa de Napa Last of
the Red Hot Nightclubs." Each bottle was dressed to
resemble famous musicians of the speak-easy era, so that
the ensemble presented an all-star orchestra.
Nuestra was established by the Kirkhams in 1979 and continues
to produce only about 1200 cases annually with seven varietals
including Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Riesling,
and three blends, Tinto Classico, Tinto, St. Helena, and
Meritage. They welcome visitors to the winery daily 10 a.m.-5
p.m. Casa Nuestra Winery is located at 3451 Silverado Trail
N. in St. Helena, Napa Valley. Call 707-963-5783 or visit
for more information.
de Napa: Napa's Charities Receive Serious Financial
Boost at Recent Edition of Napa Valley Wine Auction
Napa Valley Wine Auction once again brought together wine
lovers, vintners, chefs and gastronomic luminaries such
as James Beard, over the weekend of June 5-8. The world's
largest wine charity event, now in its 23rd year, managed
to raise an incredible $6.47 million—up more than $350,000
from last year—to benefit local Napa County charities.
arrive for the auction
top bidders of the day were John and Tamra Gorman of Austin,
Texas who bid $320,000 for the "Bidder's Brand"
lot—a move that turned them into vintners literally over
night, as the lot includes all of the key requirements to
create a fine Napa Valley wine -- five tons of premium Napa
Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grapes; the expertise of renowned
winemaker Philippe Melka; French oak barrels; world-class
label design; a sales and marketing plan; wine bottles and
packing materials; and, a one-year membership in the Napa
Valley Vintners Association. The result will be 300 cases
of vintage 2003 "Gorman" Napa Valley Cabernet
Lincoln of the steakhouse chain Lone Star Steakhouse &
Saloon, Inc. placed the second-highest top bid with $599,100
spent on 46 individual lots, including the Robert Mondavi
Winery lot that sold for $360,000.
Wine Auction is hosted annually by the Napa Valley Vintners
Association. This year's Auction was chaired by the Trinchero
Family of Trinchero Family Estates.
Visit www.napavintners.com for more details