California and Oregon, plus one from France
This week we will sample a variety of wine from various regions including three from California, two from Oregon and one from France. From California we will taste two from Sterling’s Napa Valley line, the Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, as well as one made by Provenance Vineyards’ winemaker called Uppercut Cabernet Sauvignon, that’s also from the Napa Valley. From Oregon we will try the Argyle Willamette Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Finally, from the region of Alsace in France we will try a white blend called Gentil ‘Hugel,’ an aromatic, complex white that is perfect for pairing with Thanksgiving Dinner.
In addition, we will pour as a “bonus” the Sterling Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, a Bordeaux-style blend from their estate vineyards in Napa Valley. We hope to see you this Thursday!
Hugel– “The first traces of the Hugel family in Alsace can be traced back to the XVth century. Some two centuries later, Hans Ulrich Hugel settled in Riquewihr, which had been devastated by the terrible Thirty Years War. In 1639 he was made a freeman of the city and soon took charge of the very powerful Corporation of Winegrowers. In 1672 his son built a fine house in the Rue des Cordiers, and over the doorway was carved the family crest which was the origin of the company’s logo still used today.
Vines have been cultivated in Alsace for more than 2,000 years, and brought great prosperity to the region, particularly in the Middle Ages. Thanks to the nearby river Rhine, at that time the most important artery of communications in Europe, the wines of Alsace were exported to Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia and to England, where they were particularly appreciated. Until the early XVIIth century, Alsace was the largest and most renowned wine producing region in the Germanic Holy Roman Empire.
Generic “Hugel” wines are made exclusively from grapes purchased from winegrowers under long-term contract, in a dozen of the most favoured localities around Riquewihr. The grapes are exclusively carefully harvested by hand.”
Gentil ‘Hugel’ 2010– Alsace, France. A blend of 11% Gewurztraminer, 7% Muscat, 18% Pinot Gris, 16% Riesling, and 49% Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc. “This wine revives an ancient Alsace tradition that wines assembled from noble grape varieties were called “Gentil”. Gentil “Hugel” allies the suave, spicy flavour of Gewurztraminer, the body of Pinot Gris, the finesse of Riesling, the grapiness of Muscat and the refreshing character of Sylvaner.” “Bright, young, fresh, light green, pale yellow to pistachio legs. The aromatic expression is open, dense, fragrant, rose, jasmine, hawthorn, linden, acacia flowers, almond blossom, fruity of apricot, yellow peach, pear, quite spicy, cardamom, licorice. Flattering and harmonious bouquet. The palate is fleshy, a nice richness and almost opulence without heaviness, all is well balanced soft, tender with a lively acidity on the finish. This is a Hugel Gentil has a little more generosity and vinous character and fragrance.” (Tasting note written by Serge Dubs, World’s Best Sommelier 1989) Tasting $13.99
Argyle– “In the early 80’s, Rollin Soles and Brian Croser came together on a common vision of prospecting the New World’s coolest latitudes for wine production. In 1987, they staked a claim in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, a place ideal for late season ripened Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Argyle Winery is a Grower First, producing world-class Methodé Champenoise Sparkling wine, barrel fermented Chardonnay and silky textured Pinot Noir from low yielding vines on Argyle-farmed hillside slopes.
Winemaker and founder, Rollin Soles, has produced wines that have garnered high praise and fond attention from wine critics and enthusiasts for more than 25 years. Throughout the years Rollin has continued to produce wines that are ranked among the Top 100 Wines of the World by the Wine Spectator (more times than any other Oregon winery). Rollin approaches winemaking with a personal passion and dedication and has helped reinvent the Oregon wine industry by increasing the quality of Oregon’s vineyards and winemaking.”
Argyle Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2007– Willamette Valley, Oregon. “The aromas are a wonderful high-toned honeysuckle blossom, citrus flower, star fruit mix with complex spices of vanilla and white pepper adding depth and a sense of minerality. When a wine has minerality in its structure, its likely to get nice and creamy in texture with food. This Chardonnay displays minerality, yet retains a juicy centered texture. Flavors of limeade, lemon grass, and a chilled apple crisp appear front, center and throughout the long finish.” Tasting $15.99
Argyle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010– Willamette Valley, Oregon. “From a very cool growing season in the Willamette Valley comes a wonderful example of cool-climate grown Pinot Noir. The wine is alive on the nose with pie cherries, blackcaps, bergamot, and pipe tobacco. The mouth shows a lightness and grace with notes of pink peppercorn and polished leather that will keep you looking for another glass.” 90 Wine Spectator– “Light in color and texture, this Pinot displays pretty watermelon and cherry flavors that ride smoothly over velvety tannins, hinting at mint as this all lingers enticingly.” Tasting $21.99
Sterling Vineyards– Sterling Vineyards was founded in 1964 by British international paper broker Peter Newton, with the purchase of a 50-acre parcel of established vineyard in the Napa Valley, bordering Calistoga. From 1965-1967 Sterling Vineyards acquired additional upper valley property, where Peter planted the region’s first significant planting of Merlot vines. In 1969 the first wines were bottled under the Sterling Vineyards label, this included Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. In 1972 their newly built, state-of-the-art winery was opened to the public. Today Sterling Vineyards and Winery boasts one of the finest, newly renovated, state-of-the-art winemaking facilities in the Napa Valley.
Sterling Napa County Sauvignon Blanc 2011– Napa County, California. “Bright, fragrant passion fruit and floral aromas leap from our 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. The palate follows with clean, tropical fruit and citrus flavors, touched with a hint of grassiness that reflects the cool conditions of the vintage. Lees stirring lends depth and texture to the palate, accentuating the notes of honeydew through the middle. Grapefruit flavors add a sweet–tart element that rides the long finish, making this wine a perfect companion to a multitude of summer dishes, such as grilled chicken, salads or light pasta dishes.” Tasting $16.99
Sterling Napa Valley Merlot 2010– Napa Valley, California. “The rich, distinctive character of Napa Valley abounds in our 2009 Napa Valley Merlot. Dark raspberry-truffle aromas take the lead, followed by glints of hibiscus and clove. Velvety smooth, the palate has a juicy pomegranate–blueberry character wrapped in sweet oak and baking spices. The fruit flows through the lengthy finish, laden with brambly berries and accented by licorice root. Showcasing the season’s long hangtimes, the wine has a robust texture and complex structure that make it a perfect match for roasted meats, fall risottos or hearty pastas.” Tasting $20.99
Provenance Vineyards– “Our inaugural release, Provenance Vineyards 1999 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, established the winery’s style: an elegant yet powerful richness with deep, intense flavors that reflect the vintage and vineyard. With the 2000 vintage we expanded our family of wines to include Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Valley Merlot. Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc, our only white wine, made its debut with the 2003 vintage. In August 2002 we acquired the winery known formerly as Chateau Beaucanon, located on Highway 29, for our home in the heart of the Rutherford appellation. After extensive remodeling and refurbishing of the property, we opened our tasting room, featuring a floor made of staves from our own oak barrels, in October 2003.”
The idea behind Uppercut began with the desire to create the perfect wine to pair with steaks, seafood, and other richly flavored foods, at a reasonable, everyday price. The Uppercut Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are made by Provenance Vineyards winemaker Chris Cooney, who “knows exactly where to source powerful, high-quality fruit at a great value.”
Uppercut Cabernet Sauvignon 2010– Napa Valley, California. “Perfect with a sizzling steak, Uppercut Cabernet Sauvignon boasts aromas of dark fruit, espresso, violet and spice. Smooth blackberry, black cherry and cocoa flavors expand across the palate, revealing nuances of caramel and toffee from new oak barrels. “This broad-shouldered Cabernet Sauvignon draws you in with its expressive nose,” says Winemaker Chris Cooney. “The deep flavors—structured with firm, approachable tannins and lively midpalate acidity—stand up to the bold flavors of grilled rib-eye steaks and braised short ribs. Its multilayered personality is unmistakably Napa Valley Cab”.” Winemaker Chris Cooney is also the winemaker for Provenance Vineyards. The fruit that comprises this wine is sourced from Provenance, Sterling and BV. Tasting $16.99