This Week’s Wine Tasting
California and Oregon
Chateau St. Jean- “In 1920, “The Chateau” was built as a summer home for Ernest and Maude Goff, and their children. The family, originally from Saginaw, Michigan, made its fortune in iron mines there, and in lumber in the Pacific Northwest. The 250 acres of land now Chateau St. Jean vineyards were initially planted with white grapes. Prohibition curtailed grape growing, however, and the family opted to grow prunes and walnuts instead.
When Chateau St. Jean was established in 1973, the decision was made to preserve the Goff legacy. “The Chateau” was fully restored and opened to the public. It has since been listed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation.”
Chateau St. Jean Fume Blanc 2013– Sonoma County, California. Sauvignon Blanc. “This Fumé Blanc is extremely inviting with vivid aromas of peach, nectarine, fresh fig and a soft floral citrus note. The nose leads to luscious palate with flavors of red sweet apple, lemon citrus and a touch of honey. There is a core of vibrant lemon-lime acidity on the finish which makes the wine bright and very food friendly.” $11.99
Sonoma Cutrer “has been producing the finest quality wines since it opened as a vineyard company in 1973. Its foundation is built in the hillsides and rocky foothills in the region recognized as the Sonoma Coast Appellation – this region experiences long, even growing seasons thanks to the cool, foggy coastal climate. In the 70’s, the company planted several different grape varieties and virtually overnight Sonoma-Cutrer’s Chardonnay grapes had gained a reputation for exceptional quality and were in high demand by many premium wineries.
Discussions about creating a cutting-edge winery began, and Sonoma-Cutrer gathered a crew of wine experts including Terrence Clancy, Brad Web, Bill Bonetti, Robert Haas, David Reid and Chuck Bennett. Under the guidance of these experts, Sonoma-Cutrer made Chardonnay its main focus.”
Sonoma Cutrer Russian River Chardonnay 2013– Russian River Valley, California. “This Sonoma white wine’s fruit aromas of green apple, lime and pineapple are complemented with touches of nougat, caramel and Sonoma-Cutrer’s signature minerality. A crisp Chardonnay true to the Russian River Ranches style, the wine is elegant and balanced with a nice, bright acidity. Zesty flavors of lime, lemon drop and grapefruit are accented with peach notes and a nice barrel spice. This California Chardonnay has a light, creamy mid-palate flow to a citrus acidity for a long, lingering after palate.” $19.99
A to Z Wineworks “was started in 2002 by four friends, Oregon wine industry veterans, Deb Hatcher (Eyrie), Bill Hatcher (Domaine Drouhin Oregon), Sam Tannahill (Archery Summit) and Cheryl Francis (Chehalem). The two couples worked in the Hatcher’s kitchen to build the original blend honored by Food & Wine magazine as the Best American Pinot Noir under $20. Recognition for their A to Z wines with dependable quality and great value continued and production grew.
In 2006, the group welcomed another Oregon wine veteran, Michael Davies, as winemaker, and partnered with Gregg Popovich (Coach of the San Antonio Spurs) to buy REX HILL Vineyards and Winery (established in 1982). A to Z has worked with more than 100 vineyards across the state always offering assistance for sustainability certification that the group expects to be achieved within three years of partnering. Today, A to Z has two viticulturists on staff and uses biodynamic principles to farm all owned or long-leased vineyards.”
A to Z Wineworks Rose 2014– Oregon. Sangiovese-based. “The 2014 A to Z Oregon Rosé leads with aromas of strawberries, tangerine, watermelon and grenadine with hints of thyme and hibiscus then opens to reveal plum, apricot and more strawberry notes. Clean, balanced and approachable with generous fruit, the crisp and juicy A to Z Rosé integrates excellent texture with firm acidity finishing long and pretty.” $12.99
MacMurray Ranch- “At MacMurray Ranch, our wines reflect our passion for the special places that give us extraordinary grapes. Beginning with our home vineyard in the heart of the Russian River Valley, we also select grapes from other premier vineyards in the Russian River Valley and the Central Coast to craft exquisite Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.
Our roots in the Russian River Valley run deep. In fact, our majestic ranch has been a homestead since the 1850s. Our modern history began when actor Fred MacMurray bought the ranch in 1941 and began raising cattle here. Today, Fred’s daughter, Kate MacMurray, is intimately involved with MacMurray Ranch, helping us share the incredible story of our world-class wines.”
MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir 2012– Russian River Valley, California. “From Sonoma’s Russian River Valley wine region, this Pinot Noir has elegant varietal fruit character, with rich aromas and flavors of raspberry, cherry, red currant and boysenberries. Hints of lavender and mushroom are supported by a subtle oak influence. This wine will evolve into a silky, smooth wine with time in the bottle.” $17.99
William Hill Estate Winery “is a special place. In 1978, visionary vineyard developer William Hill saw the incredible potential of the Silverado Bench, where he built his namesake winery. More than three decades later, our winemaker Mark Williams is making modern wines that speak to the unique terroir of this virtually unknown area of southern Napa Valley.
A confluence of characteristics makes our 140-acre estate an ideal vineyard. Set on a benchland – off the valley floor, but below the steeper slopes of the hills – with a southwestern exposure, the vines bask in abundant sunlight. The vineyard is close to the valley floor climatically, but the volcanic soil and the size and vigor of the vines means William Hill is more like a mountaintop vineyard. These elements translate to elegant, expressive red Bordeaux wines.”
William Hill Central Coast Merlot 2012– Central Coast, California. “Our 2012 William Hill Estate Central Coast Merlot is reminiscent of a bold Cabernet Sauvignon, with its rich flavors and substantial mouthfeel. Aromas of blackberry, black cherry and toasty oak set the stage for a palate of decadent black cherry, pepper and chocolate.” $10.99
Louis Martini- “For more than 75 years, the Martini family winemakers have crafted world-class Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the exceptional vineyards of Sonoma and Napa counties. Louis M. Martini embodied a simple, honest premise: The best grapes make the best wines. Today, Michael Martini, third-generation winemaker carries on this tradition at the historic winery in Napa Valley with his range of unforgettable Cabernet Sauvignon wines.”
Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon 2012– Sonoma County, California. “Our Louis M. Martini 2012 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of the unique characteristics from several vineyards, creating a superbly balanced Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has ripe flavors of black plum jam and black currant, a reflection of the warmer vintage. Hints of oak and a touch of baking spice support the fruit.” $12.99