This Week’s Wine Tasting

American Wines


Joel Gott Wines– “Since our start in 1996, we have selected the best fruit from growing regions in California, Washington, and Oregon which we blend to create more balanced, clean, complex, and elegant wines. We are geared towards continuing to give our customers expressive and food-friendly wines at great prices.” 

“Coming from five generations of California vintners, it’s no surprise that Joel became a wine and food entrepreneur. Born in Napa Valley and raised in the Sierra Foothills where his parents started Montevina Winery, Joel later moved to Carmel and upon graduating high school went to work for Kenwood Winery in Sonoma County.

Joel… partnered with Charles Bieler and Roger Scommegna on the upstart wine brand Three Thieves in 2001. Now partnered with Trinchero Family Estates, the two companies produce Bandit, The Show and Newman’s Own. In May 2009, Joel announced a joint venture with Trinchero Family Estates for the marketing and distribution of Joel Gott Wines.”

Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2014– California. “To preserve the wine’s fruit and acidity, it is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, a small percentage of which are smaller stainless steel drums that give the wine added texture and roundness from sur lie aging. The warmer tropical aromatics are characteristic of our favorite vineyard in Monterey, while Napa Valley vineyards offer stone fruit flavors, and fruit from Lake County brings citrus qualities to our Sauvignon Blanc blend. Combining fruit from throughout the state creates a balanced, food-friendly wine. The 2014 California Sauvignon Blanc has aromas of pineapple, ripe stone fruit and citrus.  The wine fills the palate with bright fruit flavors and a round fullness, finishing with crisp, refreshing acidity.” $11.99

Joel Gott Unoaked Chardonnay 2014– California. “The 2014 growing season was shorter than normal because of a dry winter and a warmer than average spring and summer, causing fruit to mature faster and be picked earlier. Even the cool, marine-influenced Monterey appellation experienced warmer than normal summer nights. These warmer temperatures resulted in intense fruit flavors and softer acidity, particularly in fruit from the Napa and Sonoma appellations. Added minerality and complexity came from Sonoma fruit, helping to create well-balanced wine.

Our Chablis-style Chardonnay does not undergo malolactic fermentation and is aged in stainless steel. This style of winemaking preserves the natural acidity, and purity and flavors of the fruit, resulting in an elegant, naturally balanced wine. The 2014 Joel Gott Unoaked California Chardonnay has aromas of ripe pear and honeydew melon with floral notes. On the palate, the wine opens with bright citrus and tropical flavors, leading to a round mouthfeel balanced by good acidity, and a long finish.” $13.99

Joel Gott Oregon Pinot Noir 2013– Willamette Valley, Oregon. “We sourced fruit from Oregon’s Willamette Valley because its ideal growing conditions produce world class Pinot Noirs. The vineyards are flanked by low rolling hills with the Oregon Coast Range to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east. The cooler climate stresses the vines, creating smaller, more concentrated fruit clusters. The distinctive minerality in the wine comes from the valley’s volcanic soil and silt. The 2013 growing season experienced low rainfall with a long, warm summer allowing the fruit to reach full, optimal maturity. Aged in 25% new Burgundy oak and 75% 1-3 year old Burgundy oak.

The 2013 Oregon Pinot Noir has aromatics of ripe cherries, red plum and raspberries with hints of tobacco and vanilla spice. The wine opens with lush, fruit flavors leading to a juicy mid-palate and a long, elegant finish.” $25.99

Joel Gott Washington Red 2012– Washington State. “To make a well-balanced style red wine, we blended Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a small amount of Malbec from the Red Mountain and Wahluke Slope appellations located within Columbia Valley, a sought after location for red varietals. The growing season began with moderate temperatures, followed by an even, warm summer, allowing for fruit to reach optimal ripeness and maturity. The wine was aged for 14 months in new and 2-year-old American oak barrels, helping to complement the tannins and soften the mid-palate. The growing conditions, vineyard location, and the aging process helped to create a wine with good color, concentration, ripeness and well-balanced acidity.

The 2012 Washington blend has aromas of ripe berries, cherry pie, and cola with hints of sweet oak. On the front of the palate rich black currant flavors are followed by a sweet mid-palate with soft tannins and a juicy finish.” $13.99


Louis Martini Winery– “Our family has been crafting world-class Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa and Sonoma’s finest vineyards since 1933. Our founder Louis M. Martini started with this simple premise: the best grapes make the best wines. Led by third-generation vintner Mike Martini, we proudly continue this tradition today, bottling each of our wines with this same commitment to excellence.” 

“Louis Martini Winery was established in 1933 by the vintner of the same name and in fact was the first winery built in the Napa Valley after prohibition. Their first release was in 1940 making this one of Napa’s oldest continuously operating wineries. In 2002 the Martini family transferred ownership and became a part of the Gallo Winery holdings – the second largest wine company in the world (behind Constellation). The Gallo’s and the Martini’s both being Italian and in the wine business in Northern California knew each other for a long time before the sale. Since Gallo purchased this winery they have retained key Martini family individuals including the grandchildren of Louis Martini – winemaker Michael and his sister Carolyn who is involved in the business side of the operations.”

Louis Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013– Sonoma County, California. “Our 2013 Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of the unique characteristics from several phenomenal vineyards, creating a Cabernet Sauvignon with remarkable balance and consistency. Offering ripe flavors of black plum jam and black currant, this wine is a polished reflection of the excellent 2013 vintage. Hints of toast and a touch of baking spice support the fruit.

We selected more than half of the Cabernet grapes for this wine from our own vineyards in Sonoma County, with the balance coming from our longstanding partner growers. Specifically, we looked to our Frei Ranch Vineyard and Stefani Vineyard in the Dry Creek Valley AVA, as well as our Barrelli Creek Vineyard in the Alexander Valley AVA for fruit. The 2013 vintage was slightly warmer than the previous few years, resulting in ripe, dark fruit flavors in our Cabernet. A touch of Petite Sirah lends further dark fruit character and structure to the wine, while a hint of Merlot contributes to a plush mouthfeel.” $15.99


Ghost Pines Winery– “At the heart of every glass of Ghost Pines is the notion that world-class wines are made from quality grapes – grapes that span many appellations. An unconventional view against today’s backdrop of single-appellation wines, the Ghost Pines philosophy is a modern take on visionary winemaker Louis M. Martini’s approach to winemaking. In the 1930s, Martini didn’t think about appellation boundaries. He simply sought the best grapes from the best vineyards to craft his unforgettable wines, long before American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) were established in California. 

Seventy-five years later, Napa’s historic Louis M. Martini Winery launched Ghost Pines to give Aaron Piotter and a talented group of forward-thinking winemakers the freedom to blend the finest grapes across appellations. The result is a collection of sophisticated wines that illustrate the best characteristics of each varietal and region, balancing elegance with structure, intensity with nuance.”

Ghost Pines Red Blend 2013– California. “Sonoma County, Lake County, and Napa County. A blend of 31% Zinfandel, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petite Sirah, 7% Syrah, 3% Petit Verdot and 5% Other. A showcase of the greatness blending can achieve, each lot of our Ghost Pines Red Blend was fermented separately before assembling the final wine. Our Ghost Pines Red Blend showcases the complexity and balance that the right combination of the right grapes can achieve. Aromas of blueberry and blackberry pie are framed nicely by salted caramel, spice and truffle notes. Rich and full-bodied, this blend offers chewy tannins and a long, luscious finish.” $17.99

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