Four from South Africa, Two from Washington State
This week we will sample three whites and a rose from Mulderbosch Vineyards of Stellenbosch Hills, South Africa and two reds from Charles Smith of Columbia Valley, Washington.
Mulderbosch Vineyards offers exceptional quality to value ratio and is one of the finest producers from South Africa that’s available in the state. Their wines have been around off-and-on, but are now coming to us for the best prices yet! Tomorrow night we will sample their signature Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc along with a Chardonnay and Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon, all priced between $9.99 – $15.99 for the tasting.
Many of you are familiar with Charles Smith and his winery K Vintners. Charles is one of our favorite American winemakers for his high-quality Washington Syrahs and his fun, yet (somehow) serious, (somewhat) traditional and (definitely) rogue approach to winemaking and the wine industry at large. This week we will try the newest releases of his entry-level “Boom Boom!” Syrah and “Chateau Smith” Cabernet Sauvignon, both for rock-bottom, awesome end-of-the-year deal prices- as Charles would say- “I “&%$#$)%!” swear!”
We hope you will join us this Thursday for a fantastic line-up! Oh yeah, Go Bama ROLL TIDE!!
Mulderbosch Vineyards– “Founded in 1989, Mulderbosch quickly captured the attention and respect of the wine world with their racy Sauvignon Blanc, helping to create a reputation for South Africa as a source of world-class wines. Widely recognized as one of South Africa’s finest producers, Mulderbosch has attained great critical and commercial success, crafting an award-winning range of wines that consistently earn top ratings and Wine Spectator “Smart Buy” and “Outstanding Value” accolades. The brand’s distinctive labels were designed by former cellar master Mike Dobrovic, who found inspiration in a Cuban cigar band.
Terroir Capital, the California-based investment group focused on wine-related hospitality, recently purchased Mulderbosch Vineyards. The Terroir team is headed by American Charles Banks, former partner in cult California Cabernet producer Screaming Eagle.
Mulderbosch has been imported into the US by premier South African importer Cape Classics for nearly two decades and has become one of the most sought-after and widely available premium South African wine brands in the American market. Widely recognized both at home and abroad as one of South Africa’s top wine producing estates, Mulderbosch was recently invited to participate in Wine Spectator’s first-ever “New World Wine Experience” as well as the elite Davos du Vin conference in Lake Como, Italy.
The Mulderbosch production team will remain in place under the new ownership, whilst Terroir plans to bring some fresh perspectives and new approaches to the brand. Adam Mason along with consultation from Andy Erickson, the winemaker for Screaming Eagle and other blue chip California estates, will lead the winemaking team, beginning with the 2011 vintage.”
Mulderbosch Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2011– Western Cape, South Africa. Chenin Blanc 97% and Viognier 3%. Age of vines: average of 32 years. Twenty percent of the wine was fermented and matured for five months in oak barrels. “A powerful nose of guava, lime zest and ripe pear braced by honeysuckle and orange blossoms. A juicy palate with opulent passion-fruit, following through from the nose and finishing off with tart grapefruit characteristics. The refreshing acidity is perfectly counteracted by a creamy mid palate and subtle oak-derived spice. The 2011 vintage is a more fruit-driven style that is fresher & drier comparing to the 2010 vintage. A delightfully accessible wine that is mouth-wateringly moreish.” Jen’s note- Petrol aroma with peach and tropical undertones; leesy and honeyed. Textured mouthfeel with flavors of honey and lemon. Great quality for the price. Tasting $11.99
Mulderbosch Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2011– Western Cape, South Africa (Stellenbosch 82%, Elgin 12%). 100% Sauvignon Blanc; no oak contact. “The wine was fermented cold and given extended lees contact. Reductive winemaking techniques were applied to preserve the fruit character throughout blending and bottling. A bright lemon-green colour with a pronounced nose of citrus, lemon zest, green fig and black current leaves all held together by an intriguing floral note. A vivid palate with an engaging concentration of clementine peel, granadilla [tropical fruit known as sugar fruit] pulp, Cape Gooseberry and melon. Herbal undertones with a complex, chalky minerality compliments the mouthwatering finish.” Jen’s note- Lime and citrus are present on the nose with subtle notes of mineral and wet stone. The palate is lean, yet balanced with nice acid presence and a savory finish. Tasting $13.99
Mulderbosch Vineyards Chardonnay 2011– Western Cape, South Africa (Koelenhof area). 100% Chardonnay. The wine fermented in a combination of oak and stainless steel with indigenous yeast. 55% aged in French oak (25% new, remainder 2nd use) for 8 months, the remainder in stainless steel. “The wine underwent no malolactic fermentation and was left on the gross lees for eight months. It was lightly fined and filtered before being bottled. Pale straw in appearance with green hues. The complex nose exudes ripe apricots, freshly shelled almonds, subtle oak-spice and delicate frangipani [plumeria flower] leading onto a richly layered palate bursting with flavour. The creamy, velvety mouth feel is offset by racy mineral freshness which persists long into the finish.” Jen’s note- Toasty, tropical nose is followed by a complex palate with tangy acid, subtle oak and fresh fruit flavors. Great value. Tasting $15.99
Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose 2012– Western Cape, South Africa (Stellenbosch, Swartland, Darling and Durbanville). 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, no oak contact. “Once pressed, the juice is handled as per Sauvignon Blanc, i.e. cool fermentation with aromatic yeasts to heighten the vibrant, zesty aromas and fresh mineral palate. Crucial to this style of rosé is early bottling in order to preserve the wine’s inherent freshness. A sexy pink colour with lively hues. The nose combines aromas of ripe blood-orange, cherry-drops and black currant cordial with fragrant sandalwood whiffs. The gorgeously weighted palate balances juicy fruit flavours with racy acidity and finishes on a pleasantly persistent, zesty note.” Jen’s note- Rose petal in color with a tangy nose of pink grapefruit and citrus peel. Bright, juicy acidity combines with tart and tangy fruits followed by a fresh and delicious finish of strawberry and cherry. The alcohol content is 12.5%- I’d like to put a straw in it! Tasting $9.99
Charles Smith is the “larger than life” Washington State winemaker whose labels feature “funky” distinct black-and-white pictures including those of sculls and crossbones, bombs, grapes, simply the letter “K” and one even with his self portrait (“The Creator”). He is best known for his K Vintners Syrahs from numerous single-vineyards throughout Washington’s Columbia Valley. His motto is “land to hand, vineyard to bottle.”
“In 1999 he moved to the Pacific Northwest, opening a wine shop on Bainbridge Island, just across the Puget Sound from downtown Seattle. On a road trip in late 1999, he passed through the small town of Walla Walla and met a young Frenchman and winemaker named Christophe Baron. After the two found their common passion for great Syrah, Christophe suggested Charles move to Walla Walla and make his own juice. In 2001 Charles did just that and released 330 cases of his first wine, the 1999 K Syrah. The Walla Walla Valley was now his home.
After a devastating freeze in 2004, Charles brought to life a label he had once in a dream: House Wine. Low and behold, the label concept had never been created or trademarked, so Charles launched the legendary brand before selling it to Precept Brands in 2006. That same year, Charles started a second brand, Charles Smith Wines. The brand was themed as “The Modernist Project,” which focuses on the way people generally consume wine today: immediately. The intent was (and still is) to create wines to be enjoyed now, but with true typicity of both the varietal and the vineyard.
A self-taught winemaker, Charles is a true artisan and a pioneer in the wine world. In 2008, K Vintners was recognized by Wine & Spirits magazine as one of the “Best New Wineries of the Last Ten Years,” and as “Winery of the Year” in their annual buying guide. In 2009 Food & Wine magazine awarded Charles “Winemaker of the Year” and in 2010 Seattle Magazine recognized Charles as their “Winemaker of the Year.””
Charles Smith Boom Boom! Syrah 2011- Columbia Valley, Washington. 100% Syrah. “Vineyards: Art den Hoed—The vineyard stretches for 250 acres over the south slope of the Rattlesnake Mountains in the Yakima AVA at 1300 feet elevation. The excellent air drainage and higher elevation work to preserve the natural acids in the grapes while flavors mature, making this site ideal for Syrah. Milbrandt—Wahluke Slope AVA, planted beginning in 1998 by the Milbrandt Family, comprised of well-drained, sandy gravelly soils deposited by ancient glacial floods. Weyns—Located in the Snipes Mountain AVA in the heart of the Yakima Valley. With slopes facing in all four cardinal directions and an elevation that ranges from 750 to 1300 feet, Upland is some of the oldest and most diverse soils in the state – ancient, rocky soils mostly un-touched by the Missoula floods. Tasting Notes: Black cherry on the nose, Dark and persistent with layers and layers of red and black fruit, baking spice and earth. The fruit explodes in your mouth! -Charles Smith” Tasting $14.99
Charles Smith Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2010– Columbia Valley, Washington. 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec. Fermented in stainless, French Oak aged. “Vineyards: Milbrandt—Wahluke Slope AVA, planted beginning in 1998 by the Milbrandt family, Soils are uniform over large areas, excessively well drained and course in texture, sandy gravelly soils deposited by ancient glacial floods. Irving Newhouse— Located in the Snipes Mountain AVA in the heart of the Yakima Valley, this vineyard is grown on ancient soils at the very top of the vineyard with Ellensburg flood soils in the middle and bottom of the vineyard. The flood soils consist of lime, and cleachy, the ancient soils are loamy with basalt and granite intermingled. There is also a layer of volcanic ash from the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption. Upland—Snipes Mountain AVA nestled in the heart of the Yakima Valley. Ancient, rocky soils mostly untouched by the Missoula floods which deposited large amounts of foreign topsoil on the valley floor. Slopes facing in all four cardinal directions 750 to 1300 feet range in elevation. Art den Hoed—250 acres over the south slope of the Rattlesnake Mountains in the Yakima AVA at 1300 feet elevation. The excellent air drainage and higher elevation work to preserve the natural acids in the grapes while flavors mature. Tasting Notes: Like a monarch’s robe, majestic, plush, rich and velvety. Cassis, black cherry, and a pinch of pipe tobacco. Long and full. The best Chateau Smith to date. I “&%$#$)%!” swear!—Charles Smith” Tasting $16.99