Casa Nuestra— 2000 Chenin Blanc, Napa Valley
Kirkham is quite a character who makes wines with character
as well, in his upgraded garage of a winery on the northern
end of the Silverado Trail in Napa. Everything at Casa
Nuestra is made in traditional fashion and in very small
batches, with total production never exceeding 2,000 cases.
We held back a bottle of this 2000 Reserve to see what it
might do. It did well but could probably age a bit longer.
In fact we had a better appreciation for it after it had
been open for a while, when it started to show a rich golden
color. Scents and flavors of apple, melon and honey also
revealed themselves in layers. It is interesting to note
that plantings of this bottling date back from the 1940’s.
This is a great match with salads and other light later
Blancs we've tasted
Check out our guide to Napa
For more information, visit www.casanuestra.com
Famiglia Bianchi — 2003 Malbec
import from San Rafael, Argentina, this deep purple-red
wine is a true expression of the lushly intense Malbec varietal.
Great care was taken in producing this wine, with its hand-picked
grapes, classic fermentation and an aging process of more
than 12 months. The wine has deep concentrations of fruit,
with hints of plums, cherries, berries and spice. On the
palate, the aromas play up even more, adding a soft but
full-bodied feel and a long finish. Because of its intensity,
the wine pairs best with a number of foods, but we recommend
trying it with red meats and sharp cheeses, as well as letting
it age a bit.
reds we've tasted
Check out our guide to Argentina
For more information, visit www.vbianchi.com
Franciscan Oakville Estate — 2002 Cuvée Sauvage
almost two decades, Franciscan Oakville Estate has had their
very own elaborate way of letting nature take its course
in this wild cuvée of Chardonnay. After selecting
the finest barrels and the best grapes from their vineyards,
winemaker Larry Levin puts the juice in the barrels—without
adding yeast. Instead of using commercially cultured yeast
to trigger the fermentation process, Levin lets the native
vineyard yeasts already in the grapes do the work. Each
barrel develops an individual dimension and character, and
only the best barrels are chosen for the cuvée, which
will produce at most 2,000 cases.
the heavy use of French Oak (65 percent new), wood is not
the main characteristic. The 2002 is perfectly balanced
and exuberates richness with fresh white fruit and honeysuckle.
Its long finish is characterized by hints of butter and
toasted nuts. Pair it with white fish or chicken.
Chardonnays we've tasted
For more information, visit www.franciscan.com
Penfolds — 2002 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz
is a new release for this staple wine made since the 1960’s.
Bin 389 has helped Penfolds establish a solid reputation
among red wine connoisseurs. Those familiar with the Penfolds
Grange will be happy to know that this wine sometimes referred
to as “Baby Grange” is mature in barrels that
held the previous vintage of Grange! As you can imagine
you are greeted by a dense deep red beverage, soon releasing
a cornucopia of flavors: plum, licorice, mocha and smoky
oak with floral tones in the background. You might want
to park it for a few years but you can already enjoy the
vibrant layers of blackberry, chocolate and spicy oak. It
is rather full-bodied but the acid fruit balance is in check.
Pleasant in the mouth, its not-too-aggressive tannins will
allow the wine to age nicely. It will pair comfortably with
lamb, beef and game.
Red Blends we've tasted
Check out our guide to Adelaide
For more information, visit www.penfolds.com
Lolonis — 2000 Petros, Redwood Valley
more than 80 years, the Lolonis family has been growing
grapes in the Redwood Valley area. With this release, the
goal was to create a rich proprietary red blend to embody
the philosophy of the winery. “Our wine is produced
from organically grown grapes,” proprietor Petros
Lolonis said. Grapes were harvested from their Heritage
Vineyard with vines’ ages averaging from 30 to 60
years. You will want to age this wine for a while, but should
you drink it now, you would experience a rich, layered and
pleasant wine. Berries dominate the palate, along with hints
of ripe cherries, chocolate and light spice on the finish.
It’s organic and packs only 13.5 percent alcohol,
so sensitive types might do fine with it. Though tannic,
this Merlot-based wine is somewhat delicate and therefore
good for sipping. We might consider it with a meat and pasta
dish. So get one of their six-packs soon—if you can—since
only 2,200 bottles were produced.
Red Blends we've tasted
Read more about organic and biodynamic
For more information, visit www.lolonis.com