Wine News
Top 10 Lists
Food & Wine Pairing Shop/Gifts Top 10 Wine Lists Top 10 Wine Bars 1


March 2009

March 30, 2009

Clos Pepe Estate's 2006 Pinot Noir

Clos Pepe Estate
2006 Pinot Noir

Sta. Rita Hills, California

Located in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation of Santa Barbara County, Clos Pepe is in the perfect position to produce Burgundian-style wines, both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Yet, at its core, this family-run winery focuses on wine growing, cultivating grapes not only for themselves but also for other well-known wineries including Ken Brown, Loring Wine Company and The Ojai Vineyard. Aromas from the Pepe’s 2006 Pinot Noir—the winery’s flagship bottling—are fruit-driven with cranberry and cherry lollipop notes. On the palate, the Pinot is bright and tangy with tart cranberry, blackberry, currant and a touch of spice. It has great weight on the mid-palate for such a light and youthful wine, and its lingering finish hints at caramel and espresso. A slight medicinal quality may be this Pinot Noir’s only flavor flaw. Try a pairing with duck breast or roasted pork loin in fruit sauce, or with the “stinky” cheeses of Burgundy. Cellaring for a few years would let the fruit flavors fully integrate with the wine’s hints of earth and spice.

Rating: 14.5/20
Price: $56

Other Pinot Noirs we have tasted
Check out our guide to the Santa Barbara Wine Country
For more information, visit

March 23, 2009

Justin Vineyards & Winery's 2006 Savant

Justin Vineyards & Winery
2006 Savant
Paso Robles, California

Embodying the somewhat laid-back lifestyle of California’s Paso Robles region, the folks at Justin Vineyards & Winery never seem to take themselves or the business of wine too seriously—except in the crafting of their award-winning cuvées. The winery’s primary focus is producing American wines from the Bordeaux varietals. In general, Justin’s wines tend to provide very good value for their price, and even offer a bit of humor to the all-too-often staid wine world with cuvées bearing names like Justification, Obtuse, Orphan and Savant. The 2006 Savant, a blend of 59 percent Syrah and 41 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, combines the Syrah’s up-front friendliness with the Cabernet’s sturdy structure. A whiff of this wine is like opening a cedar box filled with fresh and dried berries, cinnamon and cardamom. Berries and spice also dominate the palate with a nice tart, cranberry acidity toward the back. The finish is somewhat lean, but offers a lingering hint of cocoa and espresso. A lovely choice with roast chicken, pheasant or a gamier squab, Savant also pairs nicely with dark chocolate, and could make an interesting accompaniment to a bittersweet dessert.

Rating: 14.5/20
Price: $45

Other Red Blends we have tasted
Check out our guide to Paso Robles
For more information, visit

March 16, 2009

Mont Tauch's L’instinct Vignerons Fitou

Mont Tauch
L’instinct Vignerons Fitou

Fitou, France

Mont Tauch is based in Tuchan, France, a remote town in the heart of Languedoc’s Fitou appellation, known for its red wines and idyllic Mediterranean landscape dotted by castles and rosemary, lavender and juniper-laden hills. The winery, named for the nearby mountain, is operated by a cooperative of grape growers centered on the villages of Tuchan, Paziols, Villeneuve and Durban. Since it was founded in 1913, the cooperative has grown to encompass 300 growers with approximately 7,000 small vineyards throughout the Fitou and Corbières regions. Mont Tauch produces AOC and Vin de Pays wines from primarily Carignan, Grenache and Syrah grapes, which come from low-yielding vines cultivated on the region’s steep slopes and diverse soils. Other varietals grown include Grenache Blanc, Maccabeu, Marselan, Merlot, Muscat and Cinsault. Mont Tauch’s L’instinct Vignerons Fitou is a good example of the company’s combined efforts and the appellation’s red varietals. This full-bodied red blend, consisting of 40 percent Carignan, 35 percent Grenache and 25 percent Syrah, exhibits a concentrated fruit character and pairs well with grilled meat, game and cheeses.

Rating: 13.5/20
Price: $18

Other Red Blends we have tasted
Check out our guide to France
For more information, visit

March 9, 2009

Maison Louis Latour's 2006 Viré Clessé Chardonnay

Maison Louis Latour
2006 Viré Clessé
Burgundy, France

Maison Louis Latour is the Old Faithful of Burgundian wine houses. All too often, an inexpensive bottle emblazoned with “White Burgundy” is made from a glut of over- or under-ripened grapes and carelessly crafted so that it can be delivered at a rock-bottom price. However, the Latour label affixed to a bottle’s neck assures that the wine is a real bargain. How does this winery consistently produce such value wines? Practice is a factor; Latour has been in operation since the seventeenth century and has been running its own shipping company since 1797. The grapes for Latour’s 2006 Viré Clessé Chardonnay hail from the northern part of the Mâconnais region, north of Pouilly-Fuissé. The wine’s aromas and flavors are a combination of crisp apple, citrus and canned pineapple with just a touch of minerality. On the palate, the Chardonnay has an acidic zip as well as respectable length for a white wine in this price range. Try complementing the vino’s bite by pairing it with a plate of hard cheeses, or contrast the acidity with white fish in a decadent butter sauce.

Rating: 13.5/20
Price: $19

Other Chardonnays we have tasted
Check out our guide to France
For more information, visit

March 2, 2009

Castello di Amorosa's 2005 Sangiovese

Castello di Amorosa
2005 Sangiovese

Napa Valley, California

One of Napa Valley’s newest wineries, Castello di Amorosa opened its doors in 2007 and quickly became a popular destination in Calistoga. The much talked-about estate, a pet project of Daryl Sattui of V. Sattui winery, is a detailed replica of a medieval Tuscan castle, featuring a moat, drawbridge and functional torture chamber. Castello produces a wide range of wines from Napa fruit as well as with grapes from across the Golden State. Their winemaking program places heavy emphasis on Italian styles, with a Super Tuscan, Pinot Bianco, sweet Moscato and Rosato of Sangiovese offered in addition to the winery’s noted Sangiovese. On the nose, their 2005 Sangiovese offers cooked strawberry aromas mixed with black cherry and cola. The red’s flavor, also fruit-driven, exhibits a strawberry sweetness with the tartness of cranberry for balance. Well structured, it is made in a style both pleasurable to savor on its own and to serve with a meal. Pair it with a simple supper of grilled meats and roasted potatoes, or even a grilled tuna steak. The wine will also hold up to aged, sharp cheeses like Pecorino or Gouda.

Rating: 14/20
Price: $30

Other Sangiovese we have tasted
Check out our guide to California
For more information, visit



Read about the wine world's most influential critic: Robert Parker, Jr.

News / Tasting Notes / Features / Wine Map / Wine Events / Interviews / Community / Site Map / About Novus Vinum / Contact Us / Advertise

Copyright © 1996-2010 GAYOT ® All Rights Reserved; Privacy Policy; Disclaimer GAYOT (pronounced guy-OH)