Wine from California, Washington State and a new Italian Sparkler

This week’s tasting includes a new semi-sweet Italian sparkling wine, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Chalone’s new entry-level line called Gavilan, and three red blends- Longboard of North Coast, California, Waterbrook Melange of Columbia Valley, Washington, and Browne Family Vineyards Tribute Red Blend also of the Columbia Valley.


“The Cavicchioli family has been cultivating vines in San Prospero province of Modena (Sorbara DOC) for over a century, but it was not until 1928 that Umberto Cavicchioli began bottling the wine under his family name. Umberto’s two grandsons, brothers Sandro and Claudio, are still part of the business today: Claudio is the Winemaker and Sandro looks after the commercial side of the family business. The Cavicchioli family is among the largest landowners in the Modena DOC with 95ha of vineyards of which 70ha are of the prized Sorbara variety. Here, the climate is always humid with cold winters and hot summers and vineyards are planted in the pergola system to keep the vines dry. Their family’s focus on vineyard ownership, low yields and DOC production has been instrumental in establishing Cavicchioli as one of the few leaders in high-quality Lambrusco. These wines have been sold predominantly in their native Italy and only until recently, are available in the U.S.”

Cavicchioli Italian Sparkling NV– Modena, Italy. Malvasia: 100%. “The Cavicchioli Sweet Sparkling White is produced from Malvasia grapes grown on the Emilian hills. This is a light straw-yellow wine, with a persistent and creamy froth and a fine perlage. It’s perfume is aromatic, intense and highly characteristic. Enticing aromas of peach and apricot give way to delicious juicy fresh fruit flavors complemented by a balanced sweetness on the palate. The light sparkle adds a creamy texture and refreshing crispness to the mouthwatering finish.” Imported by Frederick Wildman. $12.99


“The oldest producing vineyard in Monterey County, Chalone Vineyard Estate rests on the Gavilan Mountain Range on the north slope of Chalone Peak. At 1,800 feet, the quiet splendor of the vineyards overlooks spectacular views of the wide-open Salinas Valley, made famous by local author John Steinbeck. The first wine produced under the Chalone label was made in 1960 by Philip Togni, in what had been a brooding shed for chickens. Daily trips to Salinas for ice, which at that time was an hour and a half away, provided the cooling needed for the wine cellar. In 1964, Dick Graff tasted a Windsor Vineyard wine made from Chalone grapes. He was immediately entranced and after visiting the remote winery, was determined to own Chalone. In 1965 Dick embarked on what has now become a part of California winemaking and viticultural history, attending University of California, Davis to learn winemaking and then he and his mother, Estelle, saved the Chalone property from imminent bankruptcy. Almost single-handedly, Dick was responsible for introducing California winemakers to the intricacies of malolactic fermentation in white wines as well as the now widespread practice of fermenting and aging white wine in small oak barrels. He was also one of the first persons to import and sell barrels from Burgundy in the United States. Today the Chalone estate is comprised of almost 1,000 contiguous acres, of which nearly 250 are planted to vines. It is the only winery in the Chalone appellation. Although the estate has grown, as has our winemaking and viticultural expertise, our unique terroir remains unchanged.”

Chalone Gavilan Chardonnay 2012– Monterey County, California. “Chalone Vineyard is one of the few wineries in the U.S. growing grapes in limestone-based soils, the same as in Burgundy. The spare, well-drained ground, limited rainfall and low crop levels attracted Dick Graff, who wanted to make top-flight Burgundian-styled Chardonnay. Graff made his first vintage under the Chalone Vineyard label in 1966, producing what became a benchmark for California Chardonnay. In our Chardonnay, bright, fruit-focused flavors keep cadence with sweet essence of oak. Baked pear, Braeburn apple and sweet tangerine are accented by wafts of floral and nutmeg. Well-balanced, the fruit remains bright and crisp, complemented by just enough oak to lend structure and complexity. This wine’s versatility makes it pleasant for sipping as well as a perfect complement to sautéed scallops or stuffed chicken breast.” $15.99

Chalone Gavilan Pinot Noir 2012– Monterey County, California. “Opulent currant and black cherry aromas are accentuated by a light earthiness, like a pine forest after rain. The same fruit elements in the powerful flavors mingle with smoky oak and vanilla notes, and build to a long, sweet finish. Big, harmonious, complex and graceful, this is delicious Pinot Noir with a promising future. Try it with moderately spicy Thai or Cajun dishes, smoked salmon and don’t forget mild cheese. Fragrant heirloom roses, ripe black cherries and a touch of tobacco invite the senses into this approachable and enjoyable Pinot Noir. The red fruit brightens across the palate, picking up raspberry and spice. Soft and silky through the middle, the wine crescendos on the finish, leaving a vibrant, juicy memory in the mouth—an excellent match to wild mushroom flatbread drizzled with a touch of truffle oil.” $17.99


“Longboard Vineyards was established in 1998 by a soul surfer who decided to leave the corporate winemaking world after making award-winning wines for others for 20 years. We grow and process grapes from our own vineyards as well as make wines from grapes we purchase from our friends and neighbors.What does surfing have to do with wine? Try balance, harmony and nature for starters. Surfing is part sport, part meditation and all working within, rather than against, nature. Winemaking? Pretty similar approach. Both surfers and winemakers reach the summit of their respective crafts when they attain an understanding of, and a respect for, the environment in which they work (and play). Adapting to their surroundings and reacting correctly, they achieve peak performance, on the waves and in the vineyards.”

Longboard Point Break Red 2010– North Coast, California. A blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel (% of varieties not provided). “A Point Break (as distinct from a Beach Break) offers surfers a unique experience because it focuses the energy of prevailing swells (often from a few directions) into a single wave with a predictable and powerful path. Similarly, this wine focuses the influences of a few red varieties (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & Zinfandel) and seamlessly integrates them into an expression of aromas and flavors that reflect the climate of Northern California.” $14.99


“Born in San Francisco and raised in Napa Valley, John Freeman was destined to be in the wine industry.  John’s initial work in California included seven years at Franciscan Vineyards and an additional five spent as the Cellar Master at Miner Family. Charmed by the Walla Walla Valley, John decided to move to Washington in 2002.  He started at Waterbrook Winery in January 2003 as Assistant Winemaker and was promoted to Winemaker in January 2005. John wholeheartedly believes in Waterbrook’s mission to produce premium, value wines for all to enjoy.  From vine to bottle, he and his team carefully manage every step of the winemaking process to ensure the overall complexity, balance and consistent quality that Waterbrook wines are known for. John’s favorite things about winemaking are expansive.  He is passionate about working with many different growers discovering ways to improve the vineyards each year.  He enjoys experimenting in the winery to find new ways of improving quality.  The opportunity to work with like-minded people everyday, bring his dog with him and work in the vineyards in the summer makes his job that much more enjoyable.”

Waterbrook Melange Red 2010– Columbia Valley, Washington. “Vineyards: Doval, Oasis, Mirage, Canyon Vineyard Ranch, Benches, Willard, Elephant Mountain and Blackrock. Aged for 19 months in oak; 20% new American and Hungarian, balance of 1-5 year mixed oak. A blend of 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 17% Syrah, 13% Mourvedre, 8% Tempranillo, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Grenache, 5% misc. varieties. Lighter style, fruity and easy to pair with pretty much any food. This wine is very food friendly. Pair with Roasted Pork Loin, Grilled Vegetables, Pasta with Meat Sauce & Hearty Stews.” $15.99


“Andrew Browne, principal of Browne Family Vineyards, is the first to tell you he’s a tastemaker, not a winemaker. As a curator of the brightest talent, best vineyards and the divining rod of winning concepts at Precept Wine, where he serves as its CEO, his groundbreaking feats across the wine industry carry through to his own family legacy in wine, Browne Family. Throughout his 20-year career ascent in the wine industry, he was laying the foundation for his namesake family winery.  Inspired by the greatness of one man—his grandfather, William Bitner Browne—integrity and excellence are the standards upon which Browne wines are created. This is premium Washington wine, made with the utmost quality and enjoyment in mind.”

Browne Family ‘Tribute’ Red Blend 2010– Columbia Valley, Washington. A blend of 48% Merlot, 23% Malbec, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Syrah. Vineyards: Elephant Mountain, Canyon Vineyard Ranch, Blackrock, and Dova. Aged for 19 months in 36% New French Oak, 64% 1-3 Year French Oak, Hungarian and American Oak. The 2010 Browne Family ‘Tribute’ Red Blend is introduced with aromas of leather, cigar box, and a hint of black cherry. The palate continues with notes of plum, maraschino cherries, dry cocoa and a touch of baking spice. Lingering vanilla and fruit notes give way to balanced tannins on the finish.” $25.99

Wine & Spirits Follow us on instagram
This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No feed found.

Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to create a feed.

Made with love by Qode Interactive