The “Blind-Tasting Challenge” is back for September. In the past when we have done this, it has always been very well-received. It’s a fun exercise in allowing your senses do the decision making rather than the label, region, or varietal, to pick your favorite wines.
This month we are doing the Old World VS New World.
We have four wines on each club. Both clubs have a mix of old world and new world wines. Your challenge is to pick which wines are from which world.
We have 4 varietals on each club: Pinot Grigio/Gris, Chardonnay, Garnacha/Grenache, and Cabernet.
Platinum Club members of course will taste all 8 wines. You will have the chance to not only choose which of your four wines are old or new world, but you will be able to compare the varietal on which is old or new world.
Gold Club members have four different wines to taste and pick which is which. If you would like to take on the varietal challenge as well, you can add on the platinum tasting for just $10 a person.
When you pick up your tasting, we will give you a sheet to use to select if the wine is old world or new world. Return that when you come in to pick up your bottles and you can see how well you did.
NOT A CLUB MEMBER? Join today online and come and be part of the challenge. Or you can also simply purchase a tasting for you to pick up and enjoy at home or on our patio. Gold Club Tastings are $15 a person, Platinum Club Tastings are $20 a person, OR do both for $30 a person. You can stop in and ask to purchase a tasting to-go, or have the server help get you signed up for the club.
We look forward to having you join us in this challenge and look forward to seeing you soon!
Among the most respected regions in the world of cold-climate Chardonnay, Chablis produces maybe the hyperbolic examples of the style. This section of Burgundy is responsible for producing clean, lean versions of Chardonnay that stand in stark contrast to the heavily-oaked, rich examples produced here in the US. This is a quintessential example of the style. On the nose, look for aromas of lemon peel, crisp green apple, and flinty minerality. On the palate, see if you find the vein of salinity intertwined within the crisp tree fruit character supplemented by notable acidity and minerality.
Argentina is probably not the first place you would think of when it comes to Chardonnay. It is far from the most-planted white variety in the country, and rarely finds its way to the US market unless it is distributed by larger brands or one connected to a prominent domestic brand (Think Felino of the Paul Hobbs portfolio). This is not to speak ill of its quality, however, as Argentinian Chardonnay is a treat and will appeal to fans of other new world styles. In this example look for aromas of baked apple, ripe pear, and butter, with notes of vanilla, creme brulee, and ripe tree and stone fruits on the palate.
Italian Pinot Grigio is most often sourced from the Northeastern region of Alto Adige; one of Italy’s cooler climates that turns out crisp, mineral-driven interpretations. When sourced from a hotter region such as Tuscany, however, Pinot Gris usually displays a fruitier, riper character. In this example look for aromas of apricot and melon and notes of pear, stone fruit, honey, and cream on the palate.
Anderson Valley is known as one of the premier areas for Pinot Noir and Sparkling Wines in California, housing the wineries of many Champagne’s most prominent houses such as Louis Roederer’s (Cristal, Champagne Deutz) Roederer Estate and Scharffenberger. It would make sense then that cool-climate friendly grapes such as Pinot Gris would thrive in this cool, coastal climate. Take note of the aromas of stone and citrus fruits mixed with fresh lemongrass and the palate laden with lime zest, apricot, pear and subtle notes of beeswax supplemented by well-integrated acidity and minerality.
When we think of Rhone Varietals from California, we generally think of the regions that housed the initial ‘Rhone Rangers’ effort such as Santa Barbara (Bonny Doon, etc) and Paso Robles (Tablas Creek, etc.). They have found their way all over the state, as there are plantings of Grenache from the South Coast AVA’s all the way to Lake County. This example is from the larger Sierra Foothills region; an area primarily known for Zinfandel, but one that is expanding its wine repertoire. In this example look for aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon, and star anise playing with robust dark red fruits. On the palate, look for rich black cherry, blueberry, vanilla, and spicy smoky mesquite.
Standing in stark contrast to the Grenaches of Rhone and even the New World, Spanish Garnacha is like if wine was a ‘warm blanket.’ Due to its Mediterranean climate, Garnacha’s tend to display heightened notes of tertiary notes such as spices and oak influence. They can be manipulated greatly during the winemaking process, and use a wide variety of oak programs to yield different levels of richness or approachability. In this example, look for notes of five spice and reduced raspberry on the nose, with notes of rich plum, baking spices, and vanilla supplemented by firm tannins and lip-smacking acidity.
IIf you have had Italian Cabernet Sauvignon, it likely has been sourced from Tuscany, which has built its reputation with its approachable and legendary Super Tuscan blends. However, the variety is planted in select amounts all over Italy, with one of the more recent and prominent examples being Puglia. This region is located on the ‘heel’ of the boot that is Italy, and experiences a warm, Oceanic climate. This weather makes for reds with restrained tannins, moderate acidity, and fresh, lively fruit flavors. In this example, look for notes of black cherry, raspberry, and spicebox notes such as anise, and cinnamon on both the nose and palate.
We have long loved Cabs from this Central Coast region of California. The status of Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles has seen a meteoric rise in popularity in recent years, and can be found just about everywhere at a wide variety of price points. Cab’s from this area are often excellent examples of how very hot climates interact with late-ripening varieties. In this example, look for aromas of macerated blueberries, reduced black cherries, and black peppercorn and notes of dark red fruits, five-spice, and rich vanilla on the palate.
We find ourselves in another month of business to-go here at Steve's Wine Bar. As we have done over the last three months, we have been sending our monthly wine tastings with our club members to enjoy at home and then pick their favorite wine from their tasting. This month we decided to create a menu that pairs with each of these wines you will be enjoying. You may want to craft your meal at home with our recipe's for a four course meal, or pick up a meal from our partner this month, Chestnut Tree on the Square. Our friend Suzanne Johnson will be putting together the meals for you take home and simply pop in the oven to finish the process in your kitchen. You will then be able to taste your wines with each course to make your decision on your favorite wines.
The process is simple; you will see we have once again 4 wines on each club level. Each course will pair with the corresponding menu item.
You may request the recipes for these items by email at email@example.com. Call the Chestnut Tree, or order online, ahead of time, and they will prepare the meal to pick up in advance of you stopping by Steve's to pick up your tasting.
Riesling outside of France and Germany (and recently Australia) has earned a pervasive, but unfair, reputation as overly ripe and sweet. This could not be further from the truth, as many winegrowing regions from Washington to Oregon to New York are producing balanced, complex versions of this oft-misunderstood grape. An excellent example of this is Januik’s 2017 Bacchus Vineyard Riesling. It pours a light to medium gold color with white hues. The nose is complex, offering honeycrisp apple, peach, and bready notes with the slightest hint of petrol. The palate is layered with notes of ginger, honey, apple, apricot, and sleek minerality. This is easily enjoyable now, but has the acidity and structure to lay down for a year or two.
From the eternally versatile appellations of Languedoc, this vin gris displays some of the hallmark characteristics of ‘blush’-style wines from the regions and the grapes that compose them. A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan,This wine pours a pale pink/pale copper with shimmering white hues. The nose offers a whimsical blend of red berries, minerality, and the slightest hint of cotton candy. The palate offers a slightly-heavier-than light body enveloping fresh cherry, raspberry, and pomegranate cut by sleek minerality and zingy acidity.
Oregon has firmly established itself as the New World benchmark for cold climate Pinot Noir; a title that stretches across all price points. Among the newer entries into the winegrowing scene in the Willamette Valley is Portlandia, a multi-AVA-focused (Dundee Hills, Mcminnville, and Yamhill-Carlton) winery with an emphasis on Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Their 2018 is a lovely combination of Oregon’s quintessential fruit profiles and an approachability akin to the heavier-bodied pinots of Napa and Sonoma. It pours a rich ruby with subtle purple hues. The nose is a rich medley of red fruits including raspberry, black cherry, and rhubarb. The palate offers these fruits cut with subtle notes of five-spice and earthiness woven within a lush body with balanced acidity.
An underdog in the seemingly endless list of food-friendly Italian wines, Montepulciano is often overlooked for its Sangiovese-based counterparts. This is in spite of the fact that it is the second highest planted red grape in Italy. It most often finds its home in Abruzzo, a sizable region East of Rome that runs along the Adriatic coastline. This particular version goes through a rigorous vinification process before release; aging in oak and bottle. It pours a rich ruby with garnet hues and offers a nose of bittersweet chocolate, plum, dried cherry, and vanilla. The palate is rich with notes of plum, tart cherry, and slight hints of savory spice. The tannins are soft and well-integrated and the acidity prevents the overall rich profile from becoming too heavy.
Old World-purists rejoice! Burgundy has reached the wine club! This rendition comes from the premier cru of Vaillons, located near the actual town of Chablis. This uber-savory rendition of Chardonnay will challenge the way you think of the grape. It pours a light gold with green hues. The nose offers a crisp combination of pear, apple, and slight vegetal tinges (Think hay or lemongrass). The palate offers the quintessential slate-like minerality associated with Chablis that cuts through a juicy core of stone fruit and citrus; all accented by bright acidity.
After a brief hiatus, Provence is back on the wine list. Pandemic or not, this region still reigns supreme in rose production; attracting the attention and investment of movie stars and musicians alike. Mirabeau en Provence’s ‘ Classic’ version embraces the beautiful simplicity that has made this region famous. The 2019 vintage pours a brilliant pink color with white hues, offering notes of cherry, raspberry, and tart red currant on the nose cut by a subtle smokiness. The palate doubles down on the cherry and other red fruits with hints of minerality and blowing acidity.
It seems somewhat of a misnomer to call any part of California practically ‘cold-climate’, but the Pinots and Chardonnays from Southern Sonoma and Napa would beg to differ. Pinot from the Russian River Valley AVA and its sub-AVA’s in particular are among the most critically acclaimed in the world of cold-climate Pinot Noir. Sebastopol Hill’s (located towards the southern end of the region) 2017 vintage of their RRV-sourced Pinot Noir embraces the requisite characteristics wholeheartedly. The wine pours a beautiful ruby to pale ruby, and offers notes of bing cherry, fresh vanilla, and savory leather. The palate offers a core of red fruit accented by orange peel, cola, and savory herbaceousness. This is all brought into balance by subtle minerality, balanced acidity, and silky tannins.
Paso Robles has long been one of the more heralded regions for Zinfandel growth in CA (Makes sense as it is the region’s heritage grape!). Though the market focus of the region may currently be on rich, ripe Cabernets, the Zin’s have character and prestige all their own. Opolo’s 2018 ‘Mountain’ Zinfandel displays the balance of power and nuance that has come to characterize Zinfandels from the central coast. This wine pours an inviting ruby color with rich purple hues. The nose offers rich blue and dark red fruits accented by floral notes, black pepper, and subtle mesquite. The palate is HUGE, with the fruit retained from the nose accented and perfumed by the 15.5 ABV while still offering subtle woody and peppery notes. The tannins are silky-smooth and the acidity holds everything in balance.
It's July, and it's the month we recognize the official birth of the United States. We recognize that we are a country built on people who have come to this land from many other countries. So this month we do a salute to 8 different countries, past and present, through wine.
Call to order your tasting to-go 940-514-1852
In our trip around the world we begin with the premier grape of South Africa: Chenin Blanc. This extremely versatile grape accounts for 18% of total acreage, and is made into just about any style you can imagine. As such, many regions have some amount of Chenin Blanc growth, but for this month we will be looking to the Southwest region of Swartland; a relatively new area with a particular focus on more savory examples of the grape. The 2019 Storm Point, named after the ‘Cape of Storms’ moniker once bestowed upon the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ showcases this focus extremely well. It pours a clear pale straw with light yellow hues. The nose is wonderfully fresh, with notes of florals, citrus zest, and salinity. The palate follows suit with restrained stone fruit notes and elderflower. This is all contained within a light, crisp texture with bright acidity; likely the result of the winemaker’s choice to avoid malolactic fermentation. The salinity and nuance of this wine makes it an ideal candidate for clean, grilled seafood and shellfish.
With the more well-known wine regions of the world, we made an effort to bring in varietals off of the beaten path; case and point, New Zealand Pinot Gris. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay compose the bulk of white varietal growth in NZ by a wide margin, but the same characteristics that make it such a haven for fragrant, bright Sauvignon Blanc make it a haven for Pinot Gris as well. Wairarapa, located on the most Southern point of the North island, displays the cooler climate characteristics of the South island, which makes for an extremely fragrant version of this Burgundy mutation. This Pinot Gris pours a pale straw with light green hues, exploding with notes of melon, ripe pear, and grapefruit. The palate yields a plethora of tropical fruits accented by lively acidity and minerality. The fruit in this wine makes it an ideal candidate for Thai cuisine or even sushi!
We know Portugal for the production of fortified wines such as Port and Madeira along with the almost innumerable grapes that go into their production, but many of these grapes are also used to produce long-lived, well-structured dry wines. Coming from the Lisboa ‘Vinho Regional’, the PAXIS “Bulldog” is a largely equal blend of Touriga Nacional (too-REE-ga nah-syo-NAHL), Touriga Franca (too-REE-ga f-RAN-ka) and Tinto Roriz (tin-toh ror-ij); the latter of which is a local iteration of Tempranillo. This wine does an excellent job of showing the potential of these grapes in a fresher, untouched context. The 2013 vintage pours a rich garnet with purple hues. Time has not muted a rich bouquet of fresh cherries and raspberries accented by savory spice. The tannins have smoothed into a velvety consistency, surrounding a core of rich dark blue and black berries with noted minerality. This wine is in its optimal window, so pair it with grilled red meats and hearty vegetables like asparagus.
Often known for Malbec and Torrontes, Argentina boasts an impressive selection of grape varieties used in the production of fine wine. Not far behind in Malbec in the red department, is Bonarda. Believe or not, there is a solid chance that you have already experienced this grape, as it has become popular for blending in a multitude of large-production red blends, generally under the name of Charbono. The minds behind this rendition, Hector and Pablo Durigutti, were key figures in the establishment of Argentina as the top producer of high quality Malbec, and have since shifted their focus to a holistic catalogue of grape varieties in their eponymous catalog in order to further the winegrowing profile of Argentina. Drawing from some of the highest quality subregions of Mendoza and San Juan, this Bonarda is an excellent example of the grape's potential. It pours a rich purple color with blue hues, yielding lush blue fruits accented by notes of five spice and cinnamon. Rich notes of black cherry and plum are woven seamlessly with mocha and mint, creating a nuanced and decadent wine. This wine screams for a plate of short ribs or venison.
With regards to wine production and distribution, Turkey is relatively self-contained, with much of the resulting wine remaining within its borders (Something that will likely change as its wine laws become more integrated with the EU standards). Kavaklidere has been one of the lone forces bringing Turkish wine to the masses, with a massive portfolio of different lines utilizing both non-indingenous and native grapes. One of the latter is Narince ( Nair-inj-uh), one of the more prominent white varieties. The 2018 vintage of their Ancyra line pours a brilliant light yellow with white hues. The nose yields bright notes of mandarin, peach, and fragrant florals. The palate will reward lovers of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay lovers alike, with fresh peach, Meyer lemon cut by zingy acidity and minerality. The Ancrya line is named after the latin term for anchor or Ankyra, so use this to “anchor” a dish of meaty octopus or grilled chicken.
Though generally not thought of as the European king/queen of cold-climate Pinot Noir, Germany has rapidly gained a reputation for producing focused, savory, and approachable renditions. They generally fall into a lighter category, sharing many characteristics with those produced in New Zealand and the most savory examples from Oregon. The advantage Germany’s renditions have over these is an established and notoriously rigorous classification system, which puts the AOC and DOC systems of France and Italy respectively to shame. This system is why Germany is seen as one of the more consistent quality wine-producing regions in the world, and this wine displays that perfectly. The ‘Daily August’ pours a medium ruby with light purple hues. The nose explodes with notes of dried cherry and currant accented by ‘green’ notes of red pepper and earth. The palate is a luscious exercise in ripeness balanced with structure, with ripe cherry and cola notes balanced by well-integrated tannins and balanced acidity, resulting in a complex red that you can enjoy during any time of the year. Pair this with a savory dish focused on various mushrooms.
As the Texas wine scene continues to develop its standing among the winegrowing scene in the US, it is becoming clear which grape varieties work well within the state’s climate and geography. Mourvedre, a grape notorious for its late ripening and budding tendencies, works extremely well in this unforgiving climate, and many winemakers have taken notice. There is a developing plethora of styles ranging from austere examples resembling something closer to red Burgundy to rich, ripe roses layered with notes of bubblegum and cotton candy. A recent addition to this pool is the ‘Texoir’ line developed by Lost High Plains, whose goal is to display the potential of single-varietal, hot-climate wines from the Texas High Plains AVA. The 2018 Mourvedre pours a dark ruby to purple color with a nose filled with reduced blue fruits, earth, and smokiness. The palate is intensely focused and ever-evolving, beginning with a core of plum and blackberry, and eventually evolving into a finish of mocha and smoky wood notes; all enrobed in well-integrated tannins. This is an unmistakably rich wine that can be enjoyed now or 3 years from now with rich braised lamb or beef dishes.
First, can we talk about how cool it is you are about to enjoy a wine that has aged beautifully since 2007? Back to the wine; WAY down on the list of varieties grown in Spain are the grapes of Bordeaux. Despite this, many of the highest quality wines of Spain use Bordeaux varieties to balance with Tempranillo; perhaps most notably in the fabled Vega-Sicilia portfolio. Many wineries have continued this trend by producing blends composed completely of these varieties, including the Los Aljibes, which uses a blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc aged for 12 months in a combination of American and French oak. It pours a lovely garnet with purple/red hues. Ripe cherry, raspberry, and red plum are woven with cinnamon and five spice on the nose. The palate is rich and full-bodied with lush red and blue fruit accented by bittersweet chocolate, granite, and oak. Time has softened the velvety tannins and acidity, leaving a complex, impeccably balanced wine to accompany ribeye or venison.
So come join us this month and taste through all of these wines.
Gold club members can add-on the Platinum tasting for only $10 a person.
For those who are not club members, you can still join us for tasting. The Gold Club Tasting may be purchased for $15 a person, and the Platinum Club is available at $20 a person. If you are feeling adventurous, you may try all 8 wines for $30.
This month we asked our team to come up with wines they feel they would love to talk about and share with our club members and guests. We have a great line up for you and we hope you enjoy each of these very enjoyable and tasty wines.
Call to reserve a table at 940-514-1852
Micah has fallen in love with Sauvignon Blanc and his favorite has been one we have been pouring regularly here at Steve's for several months.
For more than 85 years, family-owned, Wooden Valley Winery has been producing award-winning wines from the Suisun Valley appellation. Mario Lanza and Lena Carlevaro Lanza met in Oakland, California in 1934, and married three years later. Their families both came from the small town of Silvano Di Orba, in northern Italy. Mario loved this land. He purchased the ranch next door to the winery, and gradually replaced its 36 acres of pear and prune trees with vines. The property would grow to over 300 acres of prime vineyards. The current generation of Lanzas have a vision for Wooden Valley Winery and Vineyards – to establish Suisun Valley as a world-class wine region. And as the family’s fourth generation matures, the future certainly looks bright for Mario and Lena’s great-grandchildren.
When they say their wine is made in the vineyard, the wine is the exact definition of what they are talking about. The grapes are harvested early in the morning so they are cold when they are crushed. This is done to avoid premature oxidation, keeping the juice clean and fresh tasting, which allows the wine to be fresh and tart. The wine opens with aromas of peach and grapefruit. On the palate, the grapefruit continues with the addition of hints of lemon. It is a fun and pretty wine that should pair well with chicken, pork, and turkey.
Svetlana asked for us to put a very enjoyable Rosé on the club this month. Her choice is a French wine with a very interesting profile.
Often used in small amounts in Rosé blends throughout the Loire Valley, the Grolleau grape is rarely seen gracing the label on its own. Vignoble Malidain’s Rosé use of the odd grape offers a refreshing change to the Provence Rosé's currently dominating store shelves. The wine pours a brilliant, light pink. Sour strawberry and raspberry notes spring out of the glass, with the palate displaying fresh red fruits enveloped in mild tannins, zingy acid, and a round texture. With some more power than the standard “porch-pounding” Rosé, food pairings could range from rich seafood dishes to roast pork.
Brian's choice for this month is, as you might imagine, an old world classic Malbec.
Argentina is currently acknowledged as the Malbec capital of the world, but there was a region focusing on this Bordeaux-afterthought well before. The ‘black wines’ of Cahors date back to the Middle Ages, and have long focused on rich, elegant concoctions of Malbec supplemented by Tannat and Merlot. Chateau Nozieres’ Ambroise de L’Her is a modern example that pays homage to traditional wine-making methods. As the vernacular would suggest, the wine pours a rich, opaque purple with ruby tinges. The nose is filled with lovely fresh blue and black fruits, with baking spice highlights. Supple tannins and acidity help balance against the richness of the fruit on the palate, creating a balanced wine that can be paired with rich lamb or beef dishes.
Margie loves a full bodied dry red wine. She is very partial to Spanish wines and her request is a very full flavored Garnacha.
In 2005, The Juan Gil Wine Family established Bodegas Ateca to take advantage of the fertile vineyards of the Calatayud DOP within the larger Aragon region. Though known largely as a rose-producing region, Aragon, and consequently Calatayud, also produce rich reds composed of one of Spain’s most recognizable varietals: Garnacha Noir (Grenache). Honoro Vera represents one of the recent super values in the world of wine, with minimal winemaking interference creating a fresh and powerful product. This purple-hued wine gives off scents of blue and black fruits accented by spice and tea. The palate shows off much of the same, with granite and supple tannins followed by a long, ripe finish of plum and blackberry. Pair this with grilled red meats or rich, creamy cheeses.
Courtney is in love with our Quilt Chardonnay and wanted to make sure it was considered for this month's wine club.
Crafted by superstar winemaker Joseph Wagner (Meiomi, Elouan, Belle Glos, etc.), Quilt aims to put out high-quality, multi-AVA, and Napa-sourced wines. The 2017 vintage of Quilt Chardonnay represents one of the more critically-successful attempts, receiving praise from multiple wine review outlets. Sourced from the Oak Knoll and Carneros AVA’s, this wine is aged for 15 months in 70% new French oak barrels before undergoing malolactic fermentation, which imparts the wine’s characteristic butter and vanilla notes. It pours a brilliant golden color, with apple, pear, honey, and melon notes on the nose. The palate screams Cali-chardonnay with luscious Meyer lemon, apple, and pineapple accented by kiwi and lemon zest. Per the winery, this dish is best served with sautéed chicken served with garlic fingerling potatoes or an angel hair pasta tossed with a white wine sauce.
Codi loves her some UNT, and local wine maker John Cassaro has created a special Tempranillo for UNT to help raise funds for the alumni organization as well as a very enjoyable and easy drinking wine. $5 of every bottle sold goes to the UNT alumni organization.
Blending Texas wines with Italian tradition, John and Jill Matthews and Cassaro Winery bring a Tuscan wine-tasting experience to the Dallas – Ft. Worth metroplex. Located on nearly three acres in historic downtown Ovilla, their 1910 Texas farmhouse has been remodeled into a Tuscan-style tasting room and winery. The Cassaro family’s wine-making history dates back to when John’s grandfather Giuseppe Cassaro emigrated to the United States from Italy. John wanted to continue the tradition, and planted his first European varietals in 2015. Today, John uses 100% Texas grapes to make Texas wines in true Italian fashion.
This 2017 North Texas Tempranillo is 100% Texas High Plains grape. Native to Spain, this Tempranillo is a favorite among dry, red lovers with its bold and earthy texture and hints of cherry. A portion of the proceeds from all sales are donated to the UNT Alumni Association to support student scholarships and other alumni initiatives.
Wendy picked a wine that we have never poured here at Steve's Wine Bar. It's good know that our team is always looking for outstanding wines to present to our club members and guests.
Ammunition wines is the realization of the vision shared by Bill Kerr and Andy Wahl to create well-produced Sonoma-sourced multi-AVA wines. Their flagship product is the ‘The Equalizer’; a red blend composed of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, and Mourvedre sourced from the Sonoma Valley AVA. The wine is aged for 18 months in 35% new French Oak, imparting notes of vanilla and creme brulee. This supports the rich dark, reduced red and blue fruit notes found on the nose and palate. This is all woven into a well-structured wine with supple tannins and acidity, creating a powerhouse wine rich in alcohol capable of 5-10 years of additional aging. This combination screams barbecue, and should be present at your next gathering.
Karen demanded we put a Zinfandel on the club....well demanded is a bit strong, but we both love our Zinfandel and one of the wines we always looked for when going out to drink, before we owned a wine bar, was the Oakville Zinfandel.
Napa is often overlooked as a hub of Zinfandel production for the more commercially-active appellations such as Dry Creek Valley, Lodi, and Paso Robles. Napa’s offerings are generally more-structured and less fruity, but will offer the Zin-lover something marvelous regardless. Oakville Winery’s Estate Zinfandel is an excellent example of this, offering a more savory version of the grape supplemented by its customary fruit and richness. This Zin is sourced from two of the family’s Oakville vineyards, and aged in a combination of American and Hungarian oak for 12 months. It pours a rich ruby color with red hues. Raspberry sauce, pepper, and clove scents arise from the glass, followed by tastes of the same accompanied by a rich round texture on firm, but supple tannins. The finish is long, and filled with ripe plum and berry notes. Much like the ‘The Equalizer’ this Zin could be at home paired with BBQ, but could also stand up to rich short rib or steak dishes.
So come join us this month and taste through all of these wines.
Gold club members can add-on the Platinum tasting for only $10 a person.
For those who are not club members, you can still join us for tasting. The Gold Club Tasting may be purchased for $15 a person, and the Platinum Club is available at $20 a person. If you are feeling adventurous, you may try all 8 wines for $30.
May 2020 is a look back at wines we have found to be big winners from past wine clubs. These wines may look familiar as a few, like Pine Ridge, Aviary, and the Renegade, have been served regularly here at the bar. But all of these wines have not been on our wine club for year or longer. So we are now enjoying a new vintage on all of these wines.
View Steve's comments on the wines:
We are also offering wine-tasting to-go. We have picked up plastic to-go cups which we will be happy to put together in a to-go bag for you to sample at home. Until we are able to start serving you on premise, we want to give you a chance to take home the wine, sample it at home, and then choose your wines for you club. We will number the cap which will correspond with the wines listed here on the blog.
Just call ahead and we will put together your wines for your tasting.
940-514-1852 – Use for pick up and phone orders between 2pm and 7pm.
Founded in 1978 by Gary Andrus, Pine Ridge Vineyards sits in the heart of the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, famous for Cabernet Sauvignon wines of distinctive power and elegance. Today, the winery owns estate vineyards in five premier Napa Valley appellations: Stags Leap District, Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, and Carneros.
Crisp, bright, and vivacious, an aromatic white blend boasting a bouquet of honeysuckle, orange blossoms, ruby grapefruit, white peach, and jasmine tea. The entry is both bright and mouth filling exhibiting refreshing acidity and roundness, opening to flavors of tangerine, lime, and lemon curd, lemongrass, ginger, white peach, and green apple. This delicious wine finishes clean and long with a lingering hint of lime.
Founded in 2010, Aviary Vineyards launched with the 2009 vintage of our Napa Valley Red Blend. That first vintage took advantage of tiny lots of different varieties from 13 different vineyards throughout Napa Valley.
The 2018 Aviary California Chardonnay is emblematic of the classic rich style we strive for every vintage. The wine starts lively with floral notes of hibiscus and warm baking spice, before proceeding to the mid-palate with an enticing texture of silky custard or flan. Notes of coconut and tropical fruits abound throughout: guava, pineapple and subtle notes of toasty vanilla bean. The wine finishes with a refreshing splash of tangy acidity complimented perfectly with some secondary hints of toasted hazelnuts. This wine pairs spectacularly with a bevy of main dishes, from roast chicken to creamy seafood pasta; but would also work very nicely aside an after-dinner cheese plate, or even crème brûlée.
Light Horse is a nod to the American West and to the invaluable horses that helped settle this vast and untamed region of the country. These are the wines you’ll turn to every day: classic, easy-drinking and fruit-forward California varietals that offer superior value and complement the foods you enjoy.
This enticing Pinot Noir possesses aromas and flavors of red cherry, cranberry, cassis and sweet spices. Elegantly structured with supple acidity and mellow tannins, hints of vanilla and oak linger on the palate and lead to a graceful finish.
With 30 years of expertise in grape varieties and vineyards in the south of France, Fortant has taken a new step in its perpetual quest for excellence in the know-how of blending terroirs. The house produces for the first time exceptional wines in appellations of origin controlled Languedoc. The Fortant Grands Terroirs range is born with 6 carefully crafted wines, exploring remarkable terroirs in Languedoc.
Aromas of currants, blackberries, and dark cherries combine with highlights of toasty oak and floral earth on the nose. A sip delivers flavors of currant, blueberry, and blackberry that open up into suggestions of rose petal, earth, and oak. Dark fruit and supple tannins.
As one of Lodi’s oldest farming families, they take a lot of pride in farming their vineyards both organically and sustainably. Integrity for the land along with responsible farming practices ensures that the wine grapes are of the highest quality for our wines. The family is involved from the vineyard to the bottle; growing, harvesting, trucking, winemaking and sales.
Inviting aromas of dark cherry, cola, cedar, mineral, and earth followed by a graceful mingling of cherry, cranberry and sweet oak flavors with a whisper of vanilla. On the palate, the rich mouthfeel is moderated by juicy acidity, and the long finish is reminiscent of a fine Bordeaux. This elegant and poised Cabernet is accessible now, and its structure and complexity will see it through many years of aging.
Ancient Peaks Winery represents the shared vision of three longtime local winegrowing and ranching families—the Filipponis, Rossis and Wittstroms. In 2005, the three families acquired ownership and control of Margarita Vineyard. The obvious potential of the vineyard ultimately inspired the three families to become vintners as well as winegrowers. They knew that they could cherry-pick their favorite blocks and make distinctive wines with a strong sense of place.
The 2017 Renegade comes from the estate Margarita Vineyard on the historic Santa Margarita Ranch. From missionaries to gunslingers, roughriders to outlaws, a colorful cast of characters has traversed the ranch’s rugged terrain since the 18th century. An intensely flavored blend that pushes the envelope, defiantly bold and daringly elegant. Loaded with enticing aromas of blueberry, blackberry, vanilla, sandalwood and savory tobacco. A rich, juicy texture reveals flavors of black cherry, boysenberry, cedar, cocoa and baking spice. A lingering jammy fruit character is joined by black pepper spiciness on a smooth, rounded finish.
Initially, the brand was called Four Bears because of their four children - three sons and a daughter. “Early on, we would convene at the kitchen table to taste various lots of wine, play around with potential blends and talk about what we liked and didn’t like. At one point, our 4-year-old likened this practice to the idea that we were like Goldilocks searching for just the right bottle”.
Wines are produced from premier appellations throughout California, sourced from vineyard sites strategically located near the cool, marine influences of the sun-filled California coast. With the help of a family friend and colleague, Will Bucklin, the initial production featured a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast Chardonnay, and Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc.
Fast forward to today - the children have grown up, the business has evolved and the name has changed (Sean Minor Wines). “Since we don’t own vineyards, we work diligently with sustainable, experienced farms throughout California and Oregon”.
The Nicole Marie Red Blend is deep ruby in color and displays aromas of ripe blueberry, dark cherry, cassis and vanilla. On the palate, flavors of blueberries and dark cherry combined with hints of oak spices that coat the palate. The soft tannins and sweet oak balance lead to a long and lingering finish.
A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. “Super Tuscan” is a term used to describe red wines from Tuscany that include the use of non-indigenous grapes, particularly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The creation of super Tuscan wines was a result of the frustration winemakers had towards a slow bureaucracy in changing the wine law of Italy during the 1970’s. Winemakers began mixing ‘unsanctioned’ wine varieties (like Merlot) into their blends to make high quality wines. The legal system eventually yielded in 1992 with the creation of IGT, a new designation that gave winemakers the ability to be more creative.
Intense ruby red color, intense aroma of oak and fruit. Characteristic flavor of red berries and plums with persistent oak finish. Gentle and harmonious, flavor of cherry and plum, fruity with oak finish.
Ideal to accompany roasts, chops and mature cheese.
This fine wine is mostly made from selected Sangiovese grapes from selected Tuscan vineyards with sandy, clayey and calcareous soil. Following the old traditional vinification method, completely mature grapes are harvested from vineyards and crushed almost immediately. The wine is filtered and stored at constant temperature in oak casks and small barriques for a minimum period of 12 months, in order to obtain warmer tones and colo Color: Intense ruby red color.
A crisp, acidic, and approachable white made from the oft-misunderstood Colombard grape, one that was until relatively recently used for brandy production. These grapes are grown in Gascony, France, which is found in the very southwest corner in France. The grapes are aged in stainless steel, undergoing malolactic fermentation and aging on their lees, resulting in a rich, creamy texture. This region benefits from having a combination of Oceanic and Mediterranean climates, providing ample sun for the production of this lovely white that shows floral and citrus notes on the nose followed by friendly ripe stone fruit on the palate.
Klinker Brick is one of the most recognized and well acclaimed producers in the Lodi region, named after the odd-colored ‘klinker bricks’ used in the production of the early 20th-century houses still present in Lodi. This rose is a combination of Grenache, Carignane, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, utilizing both Rhone and ‘Old Vine’ varietals. Unlike many substantial production wineries, the grapes used for “Bricks & Roses” are designated for just that, and are not surplus from red wine production. This wine is made in a ‘Provence’ style, signifying no skin contact, no oak, and little tannin, making for a clean, acidic rose highlighted by notes of melon, grapefruit, cherry, and hints of minerality. Drink this with clean, lean proteins or rich salads.
Another entry in the rapidly-expanding world of biodynamic wine. This red is made from 100% Montepulciano from its namesake Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOP. The winemaking process, like some of our previous biodynamic selections, involves the grapes being rested on their indigenous yeasts following de-stemming and pressing. This is followed by aging in oak, stainless steel, and in the bottle. This wine is characterized by plush, fresh red fruits such as cherry and red plum accented by savory notes of hay, oregano, and tar, making a wonderful pairing for cured meats or rich tomato-based pastas.
Brighter red fruits like cherry and raspberry combined with soft tannins and approachable acidity give this Argentinian red its profile. Produced by Loca Linda or “Crazy Beautiful” Wines, this fun, easy red is representative of its name, and will go well with a wide variety of savory dishes.
Bodegas Ondarre is based in Viana and makes a very enjoyable range of Rioja wines. This cuvée of Tempranillo with 15% Mazuelo and Garnacha is a case in point, with plenty of perfume, succulent berry fruit and a gentle balsamic finish. A tight, drawing palate is tannic and high in acidity. Like the nose, this tastes saucy, earthy and tomatoey, while a steady finish confirms that this is traditional Rioja reserva.
A winery under the umbrella of the legendary Paul Hobbs, Familia Deicas is bringing a storied vinicultural history to the generally underappreciated wine-growing regions of Uruguay. This 100% Tannat is sourced from four estate vineyards in order to create an ideal representation of the country’s flagship varietal. This wine pours an inky purple with a nose dominated by earth, herbs, and blue fruits. You will probably find this wine more akin to some of the more structured reds of Languedoc and Rhone, as this wine’s tannins are apparent, but well integrated with bright acidity and fig notes to round out.
KWV is amongst South Africa’s most admired and consumed producers, and one of the very few that you will find producing a 100% Petit Verdot every year! Generally forgotten among its other Bordeaux counterparts, Petit Verdot is generally used for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot for its hallmark inky purple color and immense structure. KWV’s rendition is aged 8 months in oak and shows notes of dark red fruit, graphite, and spice on the nose. The palate is surprisingly ripe, with luscious black cherry and plum notes but balanced out with formidable tannins and acid, making a perfect accompaniment for any red meat.
From amongst the most recognizable and respected producers in CA, Hess’s “Allomi” is sourced from the estate’s Allomi vineyard in Northern Napa Valley. This has all of the prerequisite hallmarks of a Napa Cabernet, with Cabernet Sauvignon making up the bulk of the blend, with Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Merlot adding color and structure. This sees 18 months in 27% American Oak. On the nose, you will find black fruit, floral notes, and vanilla from the oak. On the palate, this is a decadent wine, clocking in at 14.5% ABV with a palate dominated by ripe black fruits, bittersweet chocolate and velvety tannins.
Bieler Family Pinot Grigio “Daisy” (2018)
A blend of four white grape varieties, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Muscat, co-fermented at the precise moment of optimal ripeness. Daisy opens with gorgeous aromas of grapefruit, lychee, licorice and summer flowers, framed by a flinty minerality. The palate delivers an intriguing interplay between rich, ripe notes and a firm acid backbone. There's a beautiful sense of lightness, texture and freshness to the fruit flavors that linger on the finish. The balance is exquisite.
Springtree Chardonnay (2018)
Spring in the Yakima Valley is a time of renewal. The harshness of winter gives way to a season of softness and warmth that awakens the senses to the beauty of the region. The wines of Springtree reflect this feeling. Sourced from some of the finest blocks in our estate vineyard, this gently crafted artisanal wine caresses the palate with a fresh, fruit forward expression, finesse, and balance true to the terroir in which it was grown. Co-fermented with Viognier, this Chardonnay displays refreshing notes of pears, lemon zest, and honeydew melon.
In Sheep's Clothing, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley (2016)
Dark brooding blackberry balanced by bright Bing cherry notes, this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from both Wahluke Slope and Red Mountain in Washington state. The opulence of fruit is dominant, balanced by smooth tannins and a long finish. This Washington Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted by renowned winemaker Andre Mack, famous for his Oregon projects.
Drumheller Cellars, Columbia Valley Merlot (2017)
Like their namesake, the wines of Drumheller are dramatic and distinct. Drumheller approaches winemaking thinking about elegance, and the resulting wines show very delicate flavors with impressive balance and character. A pretty aromatic profile and fresh texture make them perfect for either sipping or pairing with food. This Merlot opens with aromas of blueberry, subtle spice and rose petals with hints of cocoa. Balanced in style, this wine is structured yet lively.
Lone Birch Red Blend (2018)
For four generations, the Miller family has farmed in the Yakima Valley – Washington’s oldest established AVA and home to some of the state’s finest vineyards. The winery is named after a 70 year old birch tree that sits in the vineyards. This red blend of Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese imparts a bouquet of dark berry and spice leading to a smooth finish with smooth finish with soft lingering tannins.
Sleight of Hand Cellars – The Spellbinder, Red Blend (2017)
The 2017 Spellbinder is a gorgeous blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, and 5% Syrah. It is dramatically aromatic, with classic Cabernet characteristics like fresh herb and earth notes framed by graphite overtones. Medium bodied, the Spellbinder shows both red and dark fruit characteristics, including Bing cherry, blackberry, and cassis, that finishes with soft tannins and bright acidity. This wine is the perfect everyday wine that drinks well alone or as an accompaniment to a broad spectrum of foods, from meaty fish to pork and chicken.
Revelry Range, Grenache 63%/Syrah 37% Red Blend (2016)
Founded in 2005, Revelry Vintners is a progressive producer of premium wines, highlighting the viticulture and the dynamic quality of Washington State's Columbia Valley. Range is a blend of Grenache from the southern reaches of Washington State, and Syrah grown 100 miles to the north. The product of two classic Rhone varietals, each grown in vastly distinct locales, this wine is a sultry, and incredibly balanced array of flavor. It is the extent to which, or the limits between which variation is possible.
Basel Cellars Claret, Red Blend (2016)
It’s no secret that any good glass of wine is made in the vineyard. The Walla Walla vineyard is certified sustainable and salmon safe. The distinct terroirs of Double River and Double Canyon are revealed in the beloved Bordeaux-style red blend. The expressive and vivid dark berry fruit from Double Canyon complements the bright and floral characteristics of the Double River Vineyard fruit and creates a beautiful multi-layered wine. It is said over and over again that Walla Walla and the Eastern Washington terroir are something special—that there is nothing else like it in the world. In addition to being located along the same latitudinal axis as some of the most famous wine regions in the world, Walla Walla is one of the few places whose vines are planted on their original roots. 36% Cab Sauv, 36% Merlot, 18% Cab Franc, 10% Malbec
*Owen Roe Cab Franc Rosa Mystica (2017)
Owen Roe is committed to practicing the highest standards of winemaking. Since the first vintage in 1999, the goal has been simple; to produce beautiful wines from superior sites in the Pacific Northwest. A place where the fruit ripens slowly and fully, resulting in excellent acidity and balance. All of the grapes are hand harvested, handled with minimal processing, small-lot fermented and aged in French oak barrels. This vintage of Cabernet Franc from the Yakima Valley is more opulent than versions past. The beautiful fragrance of Cabernet Franc is redolent of violets, tobacco leaf, and blackberries.
*Phinny Hill Vineyard Cabernet (2016)
Nestled in the heart of the Horse Heaven Hills at an elevation of 750 feet, these Cabernet vines are rooted deeply in rich mineral and gravelly soils and deliver fruit with distinct character. Aged for 20 months in French and American barriques. This intriguing Cabernet shows beautiful notes of tobacco, leather, black currant and blueberry. With a little aeration, exciting fruit flavors of dark cherry and blackberry will please the senses.
The initial taste is soft and supple, with layers of silky fruit coating the mid-palate. The outburst of ripe, dark fruits is complemented by the use of subtle French and American oak. The beautiful integration between fruit and oak is polished well by mature tannins and fair acidity. This Cabernet Sauvignon can easily stand alone, but will be even more expressive and complex when paired with a firm textured cow’s milk cheese, braised lamb shanks, or blue cheese burgers. Enjoy!