Desparada Wines of Paso Robles – The Most Important Winery In The Most Important Wine Region In California

                     Just a Few of Vailia’s Must-Haves – Desparada Wines

 

Centered at the halfway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Paso Robles has been one of my favorite hunting grounds for unique, thoroughly one-of-a-kind wines for years. It’s where I first discovered the Rhone Ranger glories of L’Aventure, and stumbled upon the mind-bending Syrahs grown in the western reaches of Paso Robles by Justin Smith of Saxum. Also home to some of the most prized bottlings in my personal collection – Linne Calodo – Paso Robles is one wine region I simply cannot visit often enough.

In the early days, the A-listers could be counted on a few fingers, to include the aforementioned and – of course – the ethereal Zins of Turley. That’s all changed though, with a new group of settlers finding their way to Paso Robles over the past decade, lured to the gentle rolling hills of this chaparral environment. Vineyard owners seem to be everywhere these days – eager to rent their homes when you come to town – thanks to the need for high quality grapes by some big name producers here.

But I’ve fallen in love with the wines of a winery I hope remains as boutique and under the radar as they’ve been for years. That winery is Desparada, and its owner Vailia is among my top 5 – make that 3 – very favorite people in the wine business. My wife and I recently paid a visit to Paso Robles, and our two hours in the cellar with Vailia were unforgettable.

The first thing you notice about Vailia is that smile. It’s real; never departing from her face, it reaches all the way to her eyes. That smile is as real as the wines she makes, wines that now fill at least 50% of our small 15 case “cellar” at home. Wines that speak of Vailia equally as much as Paso Robles and the single vineyards she sources from. Wines that perfectly speak of varietal – she works with so many, so unique – and, just as important, wines that allow each unique vintage to share their story. Vailia is a tremendous winemaker. As such, she thoroughly understands and respects her role as steward.

Working with some of Paso Robles’ great single vineyards and perfectly tended vineyards, Vailia has shown me bottles of shockingly delicious blends spanning multiple vintages. My first experience has turned into a vertical of “Sackcloth & Ashes”, a multi-site, multi-varietal blend which I first encountered with the 2012 vintage. Now into my fourth vintage, I will attest that this striking wine – Cabernet, Petit Sirah, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec; hailing from the Happy Canyon, Coghlan, Roadrunner, Santa Barbara Highlands and Vogelzang vineyards – is one of the most profound of its type; worth 2-3 times what we pay.

Then there’s the vertical of “Borderlands” I cannot keep my hands off. Another stunning blend – this time equal parts Cab, Cab Franc, Grenache and Syrah – from the Coghlan, Santa Barbara Highlands, Spanish Springs and White Haw vineyards, it is so immensely irresistible that I’ve asked my wife to hide two bottles of each vintage from me. How Vailia bottles such deeply soulful wines at these earthbound prices is one of life’s great mysteries.

But there’s so much more – so VERY much more. So many shockingly delicious versions of Sauvignon Blanc; one that I’ve “blind” tasted my Francophile buddies on and convinced them it was La Mission Haut Brion Blanc (go ahead, look up the price difference). Amphorae fermented and aged wines of every type and description. Barrel fermented, stainless fermented wines based on the same varietal – just so Vailia can follow their evolution. Italian varietals, Spanish varietals – that truly and completely honor their native land while reflecting Paso Robles AND Vailia.

I’ll close now – probably said too much already (just can’t keep a secret) – by encouraging you to (at the very least) sign up for the

Desparada newsletter

the wines will quite possibly change your outlook…

 

 

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2012 Melville Sta Rita Hills Estate Pinot | “Gorgeous, Radiant Wine” says Galloni

Thanks Nancy Pastor, The Wall Street Journal for the picture

Melville Estate – Tops in 2012 for Sta Rita Hills!

If Santa Barbara isn’t squarely on your radar, it should be.

Galloni opened his July 15 review with,

“A palpable energy and the thrill of discovery accompanied my tastings in Santa Barbara this year.”

Looks like big name Pinot producers from Napa and Sonoma have some competition on their hands. Melville in particular.

A long-time favorite, Greg Brewer and his team turned in a set of 2012s that flat out stunned Mr. Galloni. From fruit grown on their estate in the Santa Rita Hills AVA, Melville’s 2012 Pinot was the best of the bunch.

Galloni dubbed it

“One of the most polished, refined and aromatically expressive wines I have tasted from Melville…”

crowning it 94 points and saying

“What a gorgeous, radiant and totally sexy wine…”

Melville’s Lompoc estate, planted on various sub soils – predominantly Lompoc dune sand, clay loam and shale – performed brilliantly in 2012. The increased hang time allowed by the lazy, foggy mornings added up to picture perfect growing conditions. Brewer was able to harvest gorgeous fruit, with acidities to balance the striking fruit profiles and stunning aromatics.

Personally, these remind me of his ’07s – bursting with pleasure, balance like none other.

Gorgeous stuff, indeed!

Best price around is here for a short while:melville-2012-estate-pinot-noir-sta-rita-hills

http://bit.ly/1qicA7I

Lail Vineyards – A TRUE American Tale!

Lail House

Having been in the biz this long, I’m often guilty of wandering back to Europe when writing about California wines – I’ve even been called out on it… But this is a family’s story so deeply rooted in the vinous fabric of America that even I can’t think of anywhere else but Napa when sharing their story. Follow me now; this one has a lot of forks in the road… It all began in the late 19th century when Robin Lail’s Great Grand-Uncle Gustav Niebaum (ya’ the one and only!) built Inglenook Vineyards – talk about an American icon. By the turn of the 20th century, American wine had no rival. Niebaum’s Inglenook passed down to his Great-Nephew, John Daniel Jr. in 1936 after Prohibition, and Daniel Jr. would be the catalyst for bringing many of Niebaum’s dreams to life. Daniel Jr., along with Robert Mondavi, made the Napa Valley appellation a reality. The sale of Inglenook in the 1960s made history, as it signified a family’s legacy in the Napa Valley. Enter Robin Lail – John Daniel Jr.’s daughter. She inherited the Napanook Vineyard (again, ya’ the one and only!) and, after a brief hiatus, “went on to co-found Dominus in 1982 with her sister Marcia Smith and the brilliant winemaker Christian Moueix”. Pride of ownership beckoned (obviously) and after a successful run with Bill Harlan, Robin sold her portion of Dominus and Merryvale, hooked up with rock-star wine-maker Philippe Melka in 1998, and gave the world Lail Vineyards!Lail Logo

Check out the new releases here

Turley “The Label” Cabernet 2011 ~ The Zin Man “Actually Likes It”!


Christopher’s Wine Country Connection
Your Direct Source to Exclusive Offers from Wine Country


2011 TURLEY “The Label”Turley The Label

Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena
(92 points): Outstanding; Tanzer

~ “Larry Turley bought this property next to his winery north of St. Helena in 2009 and promptly pulled out the merlot and replanted it to cabernet sauvignon

~ “Aged in one-third new oak, vs. 20% for the zinfandels here; tasted from tank a day or two prior to bottling…

~ “Good full red.  Nice lift to the aromas and flavors of currant and pepper.  Sweet, supple and scented, in a gentle, seamless style.  An herbal quality contributes to the wine’s juicy character and light touch.  Finishes seamless and persistent, with noteworthy purity of flavor.  ‘I actually like it,’ says zin man Turley.”
(92 points) ~ Tanzer

~ The above referenced notes come to us via Tanzer and indicate a wine in keeping with the long-standing reputation of Turley; a wine which true enthusiasts should be buying before it’s gone!

2011 “The Label” Cabernet

Turley Wine Cellars, St. Helena

Retails at:  $45.00/btl

Your Price: $42.99/btl


2011 TURLEY “The Label”

Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena


Larry Turley

Larry Turley (left) & Ehren Jordan

2011 marks the 2nd release of “The Label” Cabernet from legendary producer Turley Cellars. This surprisingly impressive Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from magnificent 20+ year old vines in a single, organically-farmed vineyard that recently became part of the Turley Estate in St Helena.

The wine undergoes aging in 100% French oak (33% new), which imparts a nicely integrated seamlessness and toasty spice. It’s packed full of ripe black and blue fruits with pretty floral notes. Balanced and inviting,

“The Label” represents a refreshing take on Napa Cabernet and deftly balances New World charm with Old World refinement.

If you’ve ever wondered just how good the wines of Turley can be, I strongly recommend securing a case of this limited Cabernet for your wine collection.

To order simply call my toll free number: 866-620-4476

(if your account is already established you may order by replying to this email)

All the best in wine & life,
Christopher
Wine Country Connection
866-620-4476

Olson Ogden Milla’s Blend 2009 ~ A Rhone Blend for Pinot Enthusiasts


Christopher’s Wine Country Connection


Olson Ogden 2009 Milla’s BlendOlson

* Rarely do you find a wine that the world’s most respected wine critics can all agree on…

* Olson Ogden quickly became a fan favorite, with their consistent reviews, realistic prices and new and unique blends.  The winery is closing its doors Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to stock up on this fantastic blend.

Here are some of the Reviews….

~ From the Connoisseurs’ Guide:
“…Rich, well-balanced…shows a real sense of winemaking polish from front to back….fresh berries…sweet oak…refined flavors…lively, long-lasting fruit..”
90 points

~ From the Rhone Report:
An electric, fun blend….fruit-driven…beautifully put together, this should have 5-6 years of prime drinking.
89 points

~ From Steve Tanzer:
Aromas of dark berry preserves….Juicy and precise, offering tightly wound blackberry, and mulberry flavors that show very good focus...
90 points

~ From the Wine Enthusiast:
full of flavor…concentrated and thick…the finish is long..”
91 points

 

2009 Olson Ogden Milla’s Blend
Retails at:  $35.00/btl
Your Price: $25.50/btl + Ground Shipping Included on Case Purchases

 ~ WCC Notes:
Enchanting aromas of raspberry cobbler, vanilla and ripe plum.  Impeccably balanced flavors of ripe red berries, sweet oak, spices and brambleberry vanilla silk.  Very elegantly presented, this is a Rhone Blend for Pinot drinkers, and fans of interesting and unique red wines.   The finish is long and memorable.  Drink now through 2015″.
91 points


Olson Ogden

2009 Milla’s Blend


From a Star Studded lineup of vineyards, that reads like a who’s who list of some of California’s Best, including Alder Springs, Kick Ranch, Unti and Stagecoach.  This unique and delicious Blend is very well balanced, and elegantly presented.   Just 365 cases produced, this wine is sure to impress.

Olson Guys

 

Olson Ogden delivered some fantastic wines over the last several years.  This is a rare opportunity to stock up on their 2009 Milla’s Blend at a truly fantastic price.  The winery is closing their doors, and this will likely be your last chance to secure a case or two of this delicious wine.   The last 100 cases will be sold on a first come first serve basis….

 

 

To order simply call my toll free number: 866-620-4476

(if your account is already established you may order by replying to this email)

All the best in wine & life,
Christopher
Wine Country Connection
866-620-4476
https://cepagenoir.wordpress.com/tag/wine-country-connection

 

Fortune 1621 Cabernet 2011 ~ Brian Mox brings his Lewis Cellars moxie to Oakville

Christopher’s Wine Country Connection

Your Direct Source to Exclusive Offers from Wine Country

2011 Fortune 1621
Napa Valley Cabernet SauvignonFortune 1621

*Crafted by Brian Mox. (Former winemaker at LEWIS Cellars!)

*Previous Vintage Earned “Double Gold” in SF Chronicle Competition (60 Professional Judges!)

*At $26.99 with Shipping Included, you’ll think you’re drinking a $50 Napa Valley Cab! Yes, it’s that good….

*Without a doubt, the newly released Fortune 1621 is one of the best Cabs under $30 that we’ve seen all year!

2011 Fortune 1621 Napa Valley Cabernet

Retails at: $28-$30/btl
Your Price: $26.99/btl +
Ground Shipping Included on Case Purchases

“Seductive aromas of ripe blackberries, cassis and dried violets. Stunning depth and focus, usually not found in Cabernet anywhere near this price point. Layers of ripe black fruits, chocolate, black cherry, espresso and caramel are complemented by the finely intertwined soft velvety tannins.”
93 points, WCC

~Fortune 1621 by Darms Lane~
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the secrets to our success in sourcing some of THE highest quality wines and greatest values in all of Wine Country is that we follow the greatest winemakers in the region….

BRIAN MOX was not only the inaugural winemaker at LAIRD ESTATE, he also worked alongside industry leader/winemaker Tony Soter at ETUDE WINERY.

More importantly, Brian was the full time winemaker at LEWIS CELLARS. Lewis’s Reserve Cab was just featured as the #9 Wine in the World on the Wine Spectator top 100.

With Lewis Cabs retailing in the $90-$300/btl range, the new Fortune 1621 by Darms Lane is a no brainer at $26.99/btl (including shipping).

This is another one of those wines that will have your friends and family asking, “Where in the world did you find this amazing wine!?”

$hipping Note – We offer an option of using 15 bottle cases which are not only better insulated, but ship for the same cost as 12 bottle cases. This reduces your per-bottle shipping cost by about 20%.

If your account is set up, hit reply and indicate your desired order.

Or contact our office to establish an account and place your order:
(866) 620-4476

All the best in wine & life,
Christopher

Wine Country Connection
cepagenoir@gmail.com

DuMOL Pinot Noir Estate 2011 – One of America’s True Grand Crus


Christopher’s Wine Country Connection


DuMOL Pinot Noir Estate 2011Dumol Estate Pinot
(93-95) points Wine Advocate

~ When it comes to reference point Pinot Noir, there are TWO estates on the planet which growers of this uber-luscious, ever-fickle varietal consider vanguards: Domaine de la Romanee Conti & Domaine Leroy.

~ So when DuMOL’s 2011 Estate recently recorded a potential 95 point ranking from The Wine Advocate, serious Pinot aficionados took note!

~ Why? For vintage 2011, The Wine Advocate bestowed a similar 95 points upon Domaine Leroy’s Grand Cru Richebourg.

~ The difference? Leroy’s 2011 Richebourg will set you back a cool $3000!

~ DuMOL’s 2011 Estate Pinot:

Retails at:  $100/btl
Your Price: $94.99/btl

From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:

The flagship 2011 Pinot Noir Estate DuMol Estate is all about balance and harmony. Nothing in particular stands out, just the wine’s stunning balance and proportion. Deep, rich and voluptuous yet backed up by serious tannins, the 2011 is an infant today. It will be great fun to see where this goes. Today, the Dumol Estate is pure sexiness in the glass! Amazingly, these vines are just seven years old. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2026.” 
(93-95) points


DuMOL


From The Pinot File:

“Since its beginning in 1996, DuMOL has had a stellar lineup of wines which today includes Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier. Partners Michael Verlander, Kerry Dumol CellarMurphy and winemaker/partner Andy Smith tend to lead a low profile with very minimal public exposure and let their wines speak for themselves.

Verlander and Murphy met in 1990 when Murphy was dining in Verlander’s Walnut Creek restaurant. Murphy had been collecting wines from Burgundy since he sold his family tire business, Murphy’s Inc., to Goodyear in 1987. The two men decided to start DuMOL in 1996. The first year they produced 300 cases split evenly between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Dutton Ranch.

The winemaker and viticulturist since 2000 is talented Andy Smith who became a partner in the winery in 2005. Prior to coming to DuMOL, he studied under Neil McCallum (Dry River, Martinborough), Ted Lemon (Littorai) and Paul Hobbs.”

If your account is set up, hit reply and indicate your desired order.

Or contact our office to establish an account and place your order: (866) 620-4476

All the best in wine & life,

Christopher
Wine Country Connection

cepagenoir@gmail.com
https://cepagenoir.wordpress.com/