Wine Tasting of the Week

Various Wine from Burgundy, Washington State and California

olivier leflaivefaiveley mercureya by acacia pinot noircanoe ridge

This week we will sample a variety of wine from the region Burgundy in France, Canoe Ridge ‘Expedition’ of Horse Heaven Hills, and A by Acacia second-label of Acacia Winery of California. This tasting should provide something for everyone as we will compare/contrast two Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, and additionally sample two robust reds made from Cabernet Sauvignon and a Syrah-based blend.


“Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Setilles (family garden) has become one of the most popular items in the entire Frederick Wildman portfolio. Year in/ year out this wine represents impeccable quality and unsurpassed value in the French wine category. This wine exceeds expectations of even the most discriminating of palates.”


“Terroir: Les Setilles is sourced from vineyards within the communes of Puligny Montrachet and Meursault, with each village representing roughly half of the final blend. Grapes are sourced from multiple plots within each village in an effort to maximize complexity of the final wine.


Vinification: Vintage consistency is the goal with this wine so the blending of lots and aging technique will vary according. Roughly 60% of the wine is aged in Allier oak, only 10% of which is new. The remaining 40% of the wine is aged in stainless steel to preserve clean varietal character.”

Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc ‘Les Setilles’ 2010
Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault, Burgundy, France. “Bourgogne Blanc “les Sétilles” comes from a blend of vineyards in the villages of Puligny-Montrachet (60%) and Meursault (40%). The vineyard, in which we own certain parcels, adjoin communal appellations. The calcareous clay vineyards face southeast to south on flatter land. Thanks to our loyal suppliers for many years, this wine has been very successful, probably owing to the finesse and elegance it offers – a sign of its Cote d’Or origins.” “The wine is medium body with notes of green apple, pear, mineral and just a touch of smoky oak on the finish. Typical of it’s [almost half] Meursault, a backdrop of roasted nuts shines throughout.” Imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons. $22.99


“Domaine Faiveley is located in France, at the heart of Viticultural Burgundy, between Dijon and Beaune in Nuits-Saint-Georges. Historically based in the Côte de Nuits capital, the Faiveley family has progressively extended its domaine and today owns vineyards in the finest climates in Burgundy- Gevrey-Chambertin, Pommard, Volnay, Puligny-Montrachet, Mercurey and others. The vineyards are very fragmented. The average surface area per appellation is around just 1 hectare. The number of bottles produced for each wine is therefore very limited.

The vinification and aging process of this wine are made following the same process as in Nuits- St. Georges, for our wines of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. When the grapes reach a perfect maturity, they are harvested and transported to our winery in Mercurey. Grapes are sorted, destemmed and crushed then put in vat with small stainless steel tanks. Grapes are cooled: the pre-fermentation maceration. Alcoholic fermentation lasts about 10 days and is directly followed by racking. The draining is done by gravity and the marc is placed in the pneumatic press with an elevator. The press wine is filtered and assembled to run wine. The wine is then aged in 100% of oak barrels (80%) and one part in vat. The aging process lasts 11 months. Wines are racked in Mercurey then transported to Nuits-Saint-Georges, to be given mass before being bottled at the headquarters of Domaine Faiveley.”

Domaine Faiveley Mercurey 2010
Mercurey, Burgundy, France. “A beautiful dark ruby colour. The nose opens up with notes of fresh red fruits and spices. Pleasant to taste, this wine has a round and fruity attack before revealing its fine and silky tannins. This well-balanced wine with long-lasting aromas will be appreciated by knowledgeable wine-lovers and will seduce novices too.” “Beautiful ruby color for this Mercurey. This wine releases aromas of fresh little red berries against smoky notes, mixed with fresh tobacco. The fruit is pure and elegant on the palate. There are the Morello cherries and rapsberries already scented on the nose and on the palate, mixed with a not very tannic structure and certain liveliness. It’s a well-balanced wine which will seduce in tastings.” Imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons. $19.99


“Canoe Ridge Vineyard focuses primarily on Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The estate vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA was first planted in 1989, followed by the opening of its Walla Walla winery, established in 1994. The name comes from the vineyard site on the eastern side of Washington adjacent to the Columbia River. Famed explorers Lewis & Clark named this crest of land; they thought the ridge looked like an overturned canoe. In its two decades of winemaking, Canoe Ridge Vineyard has earned more than twenty-five scores of 90 points or better.

The Canoe Ridge Estate vineyard is located in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA on a slope above the Columbia River. Sweeping, river-driven winds keep the vine canopies dry while tempering summer temperatures for ideal ripening. Sitting on warden sandy loam soils, elevations vary from 425-740 feet above sea level. Rainfall averages six inches annually, and vines receive drip irrigation only when needed. The vineyard has the advantage of maturity (some vines are 20 years old), producing arguably the best Merlot in the best Merlot-producing region in the country, in addition to award-winning Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and more.

First planted in 1989, nearly all of our grapes are sourced from this estate vineyard, the vines are planted on their own roots. Here, the well-drained sandy loam and basaltic soils allow deep rooting. Cool nights provide ideal temperatures for excellent sugar to acid balance (and naturally thwart pests and viruses). The vineyard’s latitude and orientations help vines soak up more than 17 hours of sunshine per day at the peak of summer, resulting in rich, fully mature flavors and supple tannins.”

Canoe Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay ‘The Expedition’ 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. “Brilliant yellow-gold in color this wine explodes from the glass with butterscotch and honeysuckle scents. Flavors of ripe pear combine with vanilla cream, honeydew melon and wet stone act as nuances for complexity. The palate is smooth with balanced acidity driving flavors from start to end. The finish lingers with a slight toasty note.” $14.99

Canoe Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ‘The Expedition’ 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. Jen’s note- Sweet nose, ripe fruit toasty oak. Sweet palate- cherry berry fruit. “Spiced floral and blackberry aromas lead to layered, juicy flavors of red currant, smoky plum, savory cherry, and a hint of dusty chocolate. Polished texture and tannin balance leads to a deep velvety finish.” $15.99


A by Acacia is the second-label of Acacia Winery. “Headed by general partner Mike Richmond and winemaker Larry Brooks, Acacia debuted in 1979 and quickly distinguished itself as one of the first California wineries to offer vineyard-designate Pinot Noir. Fruit was sourced locally from Carneros growers until the mid-1990s, when Acacia began acquiring properties surrounding the winery. Today these holdings comprise the 150-acre estate that produces Acacia Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Some of those who bring their artistry, ingenuity and hard work to the winery every day grew up among the vines at Winery Lake and Lone Tree Vineyards, shadowing fathers or uncles between the rows. Others come from further afield, drawn by Acacia’s singular achievement and localized vision. All have quickly become part of the winery family, bonded, if not by blood, then by the love and pride this place inspires—and by the quality it promises and continues to deliver.”

A by Acacia Pinot Noir 2011
California. “Displays seductive aromas and flavors of red cherry, raspberry and plum. Nuances of rose petal and new leather- with a racy hint of smokiness from oak aging- entice you to take another sip. Supple tannins frame the lush flavors and carry them through the long, fruit-imbued finish. The wine’s elegance and bright acidity complement grilled salmon, while its rich flavors stand up to grilled or roasted red meats.” $13.99

A by Acacia Red Blend 2009
California. A blend of 85% Syrah, 10% Merlot, 2% each Grenache and Petite Sirah. “Forward, ripe-fruit aromas of plum and strawberry. On the palate, you’ll discover a nice balance of bright fruit and acidity, with hints of strawberry, raspberry and dark cherry. The texture is soft and inviting; the aftertaste lingers delightfully.” $10.99


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