Ridge — 2001 Santa Cruz Mountains Home Ranch
red blend is the first bottling of Ridge’s estate-grown
“Home Ranch,” a term referring to the very first
vineyard that winemaking families planted before acquiring
other vineyards. For Ridge, this is Monte Bello, a small
area tucked away in the Santa Cruz Mountains. From this
vineyard comes a very complex wine: a blend of Cabernet
Sauvignon from 35-year-old vines, balanced with a younger
Merlot for a rich, sensuous wine. This blend, with its deep
ruby hues, releases aromas of blackberry and ripe red fruits.
Oak, currant and spices fill your mouth with hints of eucalyptus
and vanilla. The robust beverage will be enjoyed with a
Red Blends we've tasted
For more information, visit www.ridgewine.com
Mount Riley — 2002 Seventeen Valley Pinot Noir
head to the Marlborough region of New Zealand for this week’s
pick. We have selected the premium label of Mount Riley.
Although the producer with 260 acres, three winemakers and
an overall annual production of 65,000 cases is of good
size, the Seventeen Valley line only offers 2,000 cases
at most of any bottling. Truly only a few cases of this
Pinot Noir will find their way to the United States. These
winemakers went out of their way to ferment a small batch
of the juice with traditional hand-plunging techniques,
and the wood treatment is gentle enough to let the terroir
express itself. “This is a perfect match with grilled
salmon,” expresses owner John Buchanan.
Hennesy, our Chief Winemaker, and his team are proud of
this release,” says John’s daughter Amy, Mount
Riley’s export manager. “We are making some
great inroads in Asia with this line.”
in the glass, you see a deep ruby juice with flavors of
ripe blackberry, stewed plums, mocha and spice. This is
a complex wine with supple tannins, but its greatest asset
is its impeccable balance.
Going to New Zealand? See our travel
Pinot Noirs we've tasted
For more information, visit www.mountriley.co.nz
Civello — 2003 Pinot Gris
though they are often ignored, we have long considered Oregon
whites a great value. The folks at Row Eleven Wine Company
from the Rogue Valley in southwest Oregon offer an inaugural
release with crisp apple and melon flavors.
in alcohol (12.95%), it has good body and fills the mouth
with intense flavors all the way to its lasting finish.
“Our Pinot Gris is fresh, sexy and a better dancer
than Chardonnay,” proclaims Civello Winery owner Brad
Miller. It’s a terroir wine fermented in steel, and
its lack of malolactic
fermentation guarantees freshness and crispness. Although
not inexpensive, this wine is still a great value and makes
an excellent complement to your next summer barbecue.
to Oregon? See our travel
Pinot Gris we've tasted
For more information, visit www.civellowinery.com
Altaïr Vineyards & Winery — 2002 Altaïr
Dassault of Saint-Emilion’s Grand Cru Classé
Château Dassault banded with Guillermo Luksic of Viña
San Pedro (Chile’s second largest winery) to create
Altaïr Vineyards & Winery, the label of this week’s
pick. Basically, these guys mean business and also have
the savvy to make good wine. The proof is in the bottle.
many wine connoisseurs had not heard or come across the
inaugural release of this Chilean joint venture, we were
suspect of this new offering. But after picking up the bottle,
inspecting the immaculate cork, then looking, swirling,
sniffing and tasting, our reaction was nothing short of
out Colgin and Screaming Eagle. With grapes grown in the
Cachpoal and Maipo valleys of Chile, this vino oozes the
terroir: Cabernet Sauvignon (86 percent), Carmenere (7 percent)
and Merlot (7 percent). Inasmuch as this is a robust, deep-color
food wine, we recommend sipping it. Layers of scent and
flavors escape on take off: black current, coffee, tobacco
and cedar. A velvety feel seduces your mouth with ripe red
fruit character leading you to a slightly rustic herbaceous
landing. ¡Muy bueno!
it with rich meats like lamb, grilled steak or salmon, or
with strong cheese like cheddar or Asiago. Although this
wine is nice to drink now, we’d love to revisit this
one every 10 years.
Cabernet Sauvignons we've tasted
For more information, visit www.altairwines.com