April 7, 2008
2005 Vintage Pey-Marin Vineyards "Trois Filles" Pinot Noir
Marin County, CA
Jonathan and Susan Pey, owners of Marin Wines in western Marin County, have produced their own wine labels since 2005, and are in the process of becoming a certified organic winery. With years of experience (Jonathan with wineries like Domaine Louis Jadot and Penfolds, and Susan as Corporate Wine Director for Il Fornaio Restaurant Group), they know how important conscientiously maintained vineyards are to the winemaking process. At their vineyards, they grow cover crops to attract beneficial insects that drive away pests, and tend their vines through careful leaf-removal and canopy management. Emblematic of the Peys’ experience and care for detail is their 2005 Vintage Pey-Marin Vineyards “Trois Filles” Pinot Noir. All the grapes are harvested, sorted, destemmed and crushed by hand. The Pinot Noir is then put into a “cold soak” to extract lively colors and flavors while preventing fermentation. Following this, the wine is allowed to ferment and put into premium French oak barrels for three years. The process imbues the vino with a delicate and yet spicy mouthfeel. Exuding aromas of vibrant cherry and toasty oak, this wine exhibits flavors of sweet, black fruit and raspberries, and makes a good complement to a meal of pheasant, salmon or scallops.
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Check out our guide to California
For more information, visit www.marinwines.com
April 14, 2008
LIGHT AND OAKY
Bodegas Marqués de Cáceres
2006 Barrel-Fermented White Rioja
As Spanish wines grow more popular internationally, customers are learning more about Spain’s industry and terroir, including the Rioja region. This area is home to Bodegas Marqués de Cáceres, noteworthy for its revolutionary practices that helped change the way local wines were made. When Bordeaux winemaker Enrique Forner and his family founded Marqués de Cáceres in 1970, it was the first new bodega (winery) in the region in half a century. The founder was the first in Rioja to add a stainless steel fermentation vat and automatic temperature control to his bodega. He also decided not to age his wines like the locals, who matured their vino for extended periods in American oak barrels, producing wines with powerful oak flavors. Instead, Forner aged his wines in French oak barrels before letting them finish maturing in bottles. These decisions resulted in vino of more fruit character. Marqués de Cáceres continues this process today, with many local bodegas following suit. The winery’s 2005 Barrel-Fermented White Rioja exhibits their careful attention to detail in aging wine. This white vino is made mostly from Viura, with a small portion of Malvasia—two of Rioja’s major white varietals. After harvesting, the freshly pressed grape juice is allowed to ferment on its lees before aging in French oak barrels. The resulting golden-colored vino displays aromas of toasty vanilla and creamy pears, and reveals fresh fruit flavors in the mouth along with soft tannins. For a meal, pair this white with seafood bisque, shellfish, lobster, sushi, rice or pasta.
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For more information, visit www.marquesdecaceres.com
April 21, 2008
BLUE RIBBON-WORTHY BUBBLY
Champagne de Venoge
Cordon Bleu Brut Sélect
While the French are world-renowned for their Champagne, one of the early pioneers of this bubbly beverage was actually Swiss. Henri-Marc de Venoge, born in Switzerland, founded Champagne de Venoge in Mareuil-sur-Ay in 1837. Two years later, de Venoge moved his business to Épernay, where the House has remained ever since. Notably, the founder was the first in this well-known wine region to illustrate his wine labels—his design featured two painted wine bottles. Up until that time, labels simply displayed the name of the producer and the vintage. Though fifty years have passed since the last direct heir to the family controlled the company, Champagne de Venoge maintains its heritage of continuously well-crafted Champagne. Their Cordon Bleu Brut Sélect, for example, was first launched in 1851 and continues to be produced today. Cordon bleu means “blue ribbon” in French, and symbolizes high quality as well as the Venoge River in Switzerland, from which the family derives its name. The non-vintage cuvée combines grapes grown in 45 different villages, and consists of 50 percent Pinot Noir, 25 percent Pinot Meunier and 25 percent Chardonnay. This sparkling wine tastes consistent each year because 20 percent of the wine comes from reserve vino from the previous two years. The bright gold Champagne exudes aromas of apples, lemon and honey, which transform into buttery, biscuit-like scents as the wine aerates. The wine is good as an aperitif, or along with light starter dishes of veal, sweetbreads or crab.
Other Sparkling Wines & Champagne we
Check out our guides to France
For more information, visit www.champagnedevenoge.com
April 28, 2008
Viñedos y Bodegas Garcia Figuero
2004 Viñedos y Bodegas Garcia Figuero Noble
Ribera del Duero, Spain
As we enjoy more and more Spanish wines, we realize how versatile the Tempranillo grape can be. Many of the inexpensive imports based on the country’s signature red grape are light-bodied, making them fine for sipping, serving with cheese or as a simple table wine. But the 2004 Noble from Vinedos y Bodegas Garcia Figuero is a big red, with a price tag to match. Using their ancestors’ techniques, Jose Maria Garcia and Milagros Figuero spent many years growing grapes until they decided to make their own wine in 2001 with the help of their three children. The fruit for their top-of-the-line product is hand-harvested from estate vines more than 70 years old in the Ribera del Duero region of central Spain, about 80 miles north of Madrid. The 2004 Figuero Noble was aged fifteen months in American oak, six months in French oak, and an additional fifteen months in the bottle before leaving the cellar. The result is a big red with a nose and palate of ripened fruit, jam, minerality and wood. This powerhouse, with 14 percent alcohol, packs a long finish and will only improve with age over the next five years. Serve it with steak, venison, or the heartiest fare you can muster.
Other Tempranillo we
Check out our guides to Spain
For more information, visit www.tintofiguero.com
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