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April 2007

April 2, 2007

Joseph Drouhin Premier Cru Chablis-Montmains

2005 Joseph Drouhin Premier Cru Chablis-Montmains
Chablis le Cru Controlée, France

After the phylloxera epidemic of 1885 destroyed most of Europe’s grape fields, Joseph Drouhin made use of old maps and geological documents to restore his vineyards. More than a century later, Drouhin’s family is still diligently working the land he repaired, including their share of the Chablis Premier Cru Montmains vineyard. This vineyard is classified as “Premier Cru” due to its high content of Kimmeridge clay, which contains billions of petrified shells from the Jurassic area. This fossil-packed soil is ideal for growing the Chardonnay grape, and also adds to Chablis’ distinctive mineral taste. Grapes are hand-picked and hand-pressed at the Joseph Drouhin winery in Chablis and then aged for 8 to 9 months in carefully selected barrels. The resulting wine is true to type with great aging potential and good wood treatment, making it an excellent companion to shellfish.

Rating: 14.5/20
Price: $33

Chardonnays we've tasted
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April 9, 2007

Corison Cabernet Sauvignon

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Kronos Vineyard
Napa Valley, CA

The two images on the Corison label— one representing rain, the other a seed—embellished vases excavated from the site of one of the earliest European cultures to cultivate grapes and make wine over 7,000 years ago. Cathy Corison has only been making Cabernet on her own for 20 years, but like an ancient artifact, her 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Kronos Vineyard is a rare find. The winemaker, who holds a Master’s degree in Enology, only produced 250 cases from the thirty-year-old vines growing in deep, stony alluvial soils between Rutherford and St. Helena. Stored in small French oak barrels before bottling, the wine has a great nose, and is jammy raspberry on the palate. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll be patient, and bury this solid wine deep in your cellar for a decade or so. When you unearth it, like an ancient artifact, it will stand up to any meal, and pair well with steak and grilled meats.

Rating: 17/20
Price: $98

Cabernet Sauvignons we've tasted
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April 16, 2007

Scott Aaron Integrity

2004 Scott Aaron Integrity Red Blend
Paso Robles, CA

Scott Aaron used to attend vineyard seminars and listen to the endless lectures on how to maximize vine growth and get the most from every yield, but he felt the speakers were missing the point.  He believes that quality wines come from quality grapes, which often means allowing fruit to thrive by minimizing yield, putting a premium on quality instead of quantity. Aaron’s flagship wine, Integrity, is a prime example of this conviction.  Only 103 cases of this red blend were created, and the elaborate silver Arabian stamp on the bottle (dedicated to Scott’s mother and her love of Arabian horses) makes the wine feel that much more unique and hand-crafted. A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the wine is elegant and complex, full of fruit and earthy notes. This limited edition selection should be enjoyed with a meal, and would be a great companion to venison.

Rating: 15/20
Price: $55

Meritage and Bordeaux we've tasted
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April 23, 2007

Shannon Ridge Viognier

2006 Shannon Ridge Viognier
Lake County, CA

Just north of Napa, Lake County has been producing quality wines since the mid 19th-century. The area, named for Clear Lake, has many different types of terroir, and contains four distinct AVAs. The High Valley growing region is approximately nine miles long and three miles wide, and is nestled in the valley near the northeast shores of Clear Lake at up to 3,000 ft. above sea level. The region draws cool air from the lake, making it a cooler growing region than the surrounding Lake County valley floor. Its rocky, volcanic slopes also allow for good root development and drainage for grapevines, and are ideal for producing small berries with concentrated flavors. Clay and Margarita Shannon, both natives of California’s wine country, met while working side by side at a Napa Valley winery. They produced just 800 cases of their 2006 Viognier, which has an aromatic intensity, featuring notes of marjoram and sage. On the palate, the crisp wine displays flavors of peach, guava, herbs and dried apricot. Enjoy this value wine with aged goat cheese.

Rating: 13.5/20
Price: $18

Viogniers we've tasted
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April 30, 2007


2003 Bonterra Vineyards The McNab
Mendocino, CA

Now it’s possible to do good for the environment—and for your own health—when you open your next bottle of wine. Bonterra lives up to its name, meaning “Good Earth,” as its McNab vineyard in Mendocino, California, was certified biodynamic by the Demeter Association over a decade ago, before green was in. Biodynamics is a form of farming which avoids inorganic substances and chemical fertilizers and relies only on “natural” techniques. People believe that biodynamically-grown grapes are also better for the imbiber, resulting in fewer ill effects and hangovers. Winemaker Robert Blue, in conjunction with consulting winemaker Christian LeSommer, has produced a scant 500 cases of this robust beverage. This red wine blend is definitely a food wine with a slight astringency in its early life. We’d recommend ageing it a little while, but there is a good balance of 47% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% old vine Petite Syrah fruit and acidity. We picked up some chocolate flavors on the palate, with a pleasant mouth feel and a decent finish. Pair it with a good bone-in steak. Just because you enjoy biodynamics doesn’t mean you’re vegetarian.

Rating: 14.5/20
Price: $45

Other Red Wine Blends we've tasted
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