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Brian McGoldrick
 
October 13, 2021 | Brian McGoldrick

Il Borro Tasting!

When someone mentions Tuscany in the context of wine, many things may come to mind.   Maybe it’s the blue chip wines of Maremma and Bolgheri.  Maybe it’s the sunbaked terroir hosting countless chateaus specializing in made from Sangiovese to Vernaccia to any number of Bordeaux varieties.  What might be most interesting however, is the sheer longevity and history associated with many of the operations.  We are happy to be able to showcase one of these truly historic estates:  Il Borro.

Located in the larger Valdarno de Sopra region near the city of Arezzo, Il Borro specializes in complex, but rich renditions on the classic ‘super tuscan’ formula.  Additionally, they are responsible for some of the most elegant Tuscan white wines the staff has ever tasted; most notably the ‘Lamelle’, which you might remember as a strikingly Chablis-esque, but approachable, Chardonnay. 

We will be hosting Darrell Gibson, Mid West Il Borro Brand Manager as our presenter.  Darrell wowed us Steve and I with these wines months ago, and I’m glad we are able to share them with you on 10/24!

Time Posted: Oct 13, 2021 at 9:07 AM Permalink to Il Borro Tasting! Permalink
Brian McGoldrick
 
September 30, 2021 | Brian McGoldrick

October 2021 Club Wines

Decadence All Around!

Gold Wines:

Visintini 2019 Friulano- Friuli Colli Orientali DOC, Friuli Colli Orientali-IT

Do you like Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, or Muscadet?  Do you wish the wines were more bone-dry and had some more weight flavor and body-wise to them?  Look no further than Friulano from Fiuli Colli Orientali.  This DOC is located in Friuli-Venezia Giula, a large northeastern Italian growing region that borders the Veneto region, Slovenia, and Austria.  This region generally displays a mild Mediterranean climate with a cool influence from the Alps to the north.  This screams for both structured white wines and lighter styles of red wine.  The styles displayed here are varied, from bone-dry whites to plush Bordeaux-based wines (see the Bortoluzzi Cabernet Franc) to the rich dessert wines of the Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit DOCG (Which gets a shoutout in the Sopranos!).  So, what can you expect from the Vinsintini?  The wine displays a light yellow/ pale straw color.  The nose is complex and savory, with almond, apple skin, and white flowers.  The palate displays zippy acidity, subtle stone and citrus fruits with herbaceous and almond accents.  While you might think to pair this with lean white meat or delicate fish, try pairing this wine’s high acid with cured meats and salty pork!

Nine Hats 2018 Pinot Gris- Columbia Valley AVA, Washington- US

Even when thinking explicitly of popular white varieties in Washington, Pinot Gris probably does not come immediately to mind.  To be fair, the typical portrayal of Washington doesn’t display the typical climate associated with Pinot Gris.  However, the rainy, green pastures on the West of the Cascades are a far cry from the generally sunny and dry valleys on the East (Where virtually all of the wine production for the state occurs).  In fact, comparisons could be drawn between Columbia Valley and what is likely the premier non-Italian Pinot Gris-growing region, Alsace.  Though the Nine Hats displays some fundamental differences from Alsatian Pinot Gris, it does display the potential for Pinot Gris going forward in Columbia Valley.  This wine pours a light straw to light yellow with some light white hues.  The nose offers an intense combination of flowers, wet stone, and tart orchard fruits.  The palate is less intense, with soft honey crisp apple and green pear cut with some honey.  If there’s a “light” wine on the list, it’s this one, and would go best with some charcuterie or sashimi.

Quarisa 2016 Mrs. Q Shiraz- McLaren Vale-AUS

Recently, we’ve been bringing in lighter renditions of Australian reds in order to display the versatility of various regions.  It’s time to get back to the rich stuff, if only briefly.  This is a partially-barrel fermented rendition that experiences roughly 18 months in American oak following fermentation. The Mrs. Q Shiraz is a faithful version of the style, pouring a rich purple color with blue and black hues.  The nose is intensely rich, with macerated red and blue fruits, black pepper, and sweet baking spice.  The palate is heavy with much of the same fruit characteristics being enveloped by rich sweet tannins and hints of chocolate and coffee. 

Retro 2020 Primitivo di Manduria- Primitivo di Manduria DOC, Puglia- IT

Although they are genetically identical, Primitivo is generally associated with lighter, more structured wines while Zinfandel is known for the being the posterchild for hedonistically rich wines.  In this case, we have an instance of mistaken identity, as the Retro is a decidedly new world rendition of Primitivo.  This wine pours a medium ruby color with purple hues, offering aromas of raspberry, bramble, vanilla, and pipe tobacco.  The palate is rich, with soft tannins enveloping soft, juicy red fruits and sweet baking spice. 

Platinum Wines:

Domaine Chavet 2020 Pouilly Fume- Pouilly-Fume AOC, Loire- FR

We all know about Sancerre, which is arguably the most famous region in the Upper Loire and the Loire Valley itself.  For the most part, Sancerre is going to be the primary representative for the Loire Valley in the US market.   However, it isn’t the only phenomenal Sauvignon Blanc-based wine from Loire you should be paying attention to: cue Pouilly-Fume.  As Sancerre’s proverbial little sibling, Pouilly-Fume is generally produced in a rounder, softer style.  This provides a great backdrop for certain winemaking techniques that result in a richer, more new world product; such as malolactic fermentation.  Domaine Chavet’s Pouilly-Fume is a great example of how ‘malo’ can benefit Sauvignon Blanc.  This wine pours a pale yellow color, offering aromas of citrus, light stone fruit, and ripe vegetal notes.    The palate is light-plus bodied, with a slightly creamy texture and (comparatively) lower acidity enveloping stone and citrus fruits. 

Owen Roe 2019 ‘Sinister Hand’-Columbia Valley AVA,Washington-US

Though this might be the lightest red on the platinum club, it’s only by comparison.  This is quaffable, but rich take on the classic GSM formula from Southern Rhone.  In this case, a majority of Syrah is blended with Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and multiple white Rhone varieties.  A rich ruby color belies bright aromas of raspberry, vanilla, and black pepper.  The palate is medium-bodied, with medium tannins and medium acidity accenting notes of bright cherry and plum cut with black pepper, grilled meat, and sweet baking spice.  Inquire with your server about the story behind the label!

Podere Grattomacco 2019 Bolgheri Rosso- Bolgheri DOC, Tuscany- IT

A bit of an oddity and a first for SWB, we have a DOC ‘Super Tuscan’!  What is likely one of the most ambiguous terms in wine originated in the 1970’s when high-quality, typically Bordeaux variety-based, wines were not eligible for classification under the Chianti DOC.  This ended up resulting in the creation of the Bolgheri DOC in 1983 and the famed Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) category in 1992.  Both of these appellations/categories were created to allow for these ‘Super Tuscans’ to have a denomination greater than the base vino.  Grattomacco’s rendition is very style-appropriate, being composed of a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Sangiovese.  This wine pours a medium ruby color with garnet hues.  The nose offers fresh herbs, graphite, and tart red fruit.  The palate offers a medium + body, medium dusty tannins, and medium acidity.  The flavor profiles offers ripe red fruits, balsamic reduction, and savory baking spice.

Chronology 2019 Red Wine- General California- US

‘Kitchen Sink’ blends have been an unstoppable New World phenomenon ever since Dave Phinney unveiled the Prisoner in the early 2000’s under the Orin Swift line.  Due to over-saturation, many of these blends are susceptible to manipulation and a complete lack of balance.  The Chronology, conceptualized by famed Burgundy producer and portfolio savant  Jean Charles Boisset, is an excellent example of the potential these types of wines display.  This is a true ‘blend’, with Petite Sirah occupying the majority, followed by Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, Malbec, Carignan, Mourvedre, Mission…and Petit Verdot.  Despite the relatively little oak this wine sees, the color is representative of Petite Sirah, with a near impenetrable dark ruby with purple hues.  The nose offers reduced figs, mocha, cherry-berry flavors and blackberry bramble.  The palate is rich, but balanced with soft tannins and surprisingly quaffable acidity.  The fruit is the star of the show here, shining brightly through with cedar box and dark chocolate. 

 

Time Posted: Sep 30, 2021 at 8:54 AM Permalink to October 2021 Club Wines Permalink
Brian McGoldrick
 
September 1, 2021 | Brian McGoldrick

September Wine Club

September Club Wines

"This Is From Where?"

 

Gold Wines

Domaine de Sahari Vin Gris- Beni M’Tir, Meknes-Fes, Morocco

We’re starting this club off with a bang: Moroccan wine.   French colonization was the primary catalyst for Moroccan viticulture, but the country’s independence in the mid-20th century gave way to an influx of influences from other prominent regions. This is a blend of Grenache and Cinsault, but one that more resembles Spanish Garnacha Rosado, in taste, than any prominent rose-producing region in France.  This wine pours a pale pink/ pale copper color, which is indicative of the vin gris style.  The nose offers citrus peel, white flowers, and tart neutral fruit flavors such as cantaloupe.  The palate offers subtle stone and citrus fruit, high acidity, and a surprisingly full body for the style.  This is a quintessential grilled veggie or raw seafood wine. 

Montinore Estate Borealis NV- Willamette Valley AVA- Oregon

When you think of Oregonian white wine, you likely think of Burgundy-adjacent Chardonnay or richer styles of Pinot Gris.  However, much like some other cool climate growing areas, off-dry whites can be an immense success.  The Borealis is a blend of Muller-Thurgau, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris.  Don’t be dissuaded by the NV designation; this is done intentionally to yearn different levels of ripeness and intensity from each individual grape.  This is certainly an off-dry wine, but the level of expression from step to step is amazing.  The nose offers a plethora of tropical fruits, lychee, peach, and the slightest hint of petrol.  The palate has a fun, slightly oily texture, showcasing mouthwatering acidity and deliciously ripe fruit.  Pair this with your next Thai meal or anything with a noted level of spice. 

Lulumi Pinot Noir- Pays d’Oc IGP- France

When you think of the Languedoc, you likely think of spicy red blends made from Cinsault, Carignan, and Syrah; but probably not Pinot Noir.  Pinot’s ubiquity is not limited just to Burgundy, as notable plantings can be found virtually anywhere outside of Bordeaux (And that’s just in France).  This version is the epitome of easy-going, with aromas of brambly red fruit, earth, and potpourri.  The palate displays light, spicy tannins, quaffable acidity, and a restrained medley of red berries.  This is incredible versatile in terms of food and could even be the accompaniment to heavy seafood-based fare. 

Pizarras de Otero Mencia- Bierzo D.O.-Spain

Spain might be the poster child for underappreciated, mostly indigenous, varieties.  Chief among the red varieties might be Mencia, which can be compared to other medium-bodied aromatic reds like Pinot Noir and more delicate Cabernet Franc.  Generally, Mencia showcases juicy, tart red and black fruit intermixed with earthy and spicy aromas.  The Pizarras de Otero is very style-appropriate, pouring a medium ruby color and offering aromas bursting with juicy red and black fruits cut with anise.  The palate is medium-bodied with mildly-gripping tannins and balanced acidity, which again accentuates the juicy fruit on the palate.  This is an extremely versatile food wine and could be paired with just about anything. 

 

Platinum Wines

Il Borro ‘Lamelle’- IGT Toscana- Italy

Frankly, I had not had a Tuscan Chardonnay that wowed me until this one; and did it ever wow me.  The Lamelle, completely unoaked, strikes the perfect balance between Chablis-esque structure and focus and the beautiful fruit found in new world examples.  The nose is clean and fragant, with green apple, citrus oil, and a slight flinty character.  The palate shows off mouthwatering acidity cutting through a surprising amount of fruit for this style of Chardonnay.  If you are a California Chardonnay-lover looking for an introduction into the wide, intimidating world of Burgundy, this is an excellent steppingstone. 

Pedernales Viognier Reserve- Texas High Plains AVA- Texas

Viognier, unlike some of the other notable white varieties, can thrive in warm climate growing regions.  Though some of the most noted Viognier-growing regions like Condrieu and Chateau-Grillet suffer from adverse conditions such as the Mistral, they rely on warm summers in order to facilitate optimal ripeness.  Though no one will be mistaking the Pedernales for its Northern Rhone companions, the Pedernales shows off the grape’s potential for richness and affinity for warm climates.  This is made with richness in mind, as some amount of new French oak is used.  The nose offers subtle orchard fruits cut with citrus peel, beeswax, and aromatic floral notes.  The palate is quintessential Viognier, with a creamy mouthfeel and comparatively lower acidity enveloping ripe, spice-accented tropical and orchard fruit. 

Tenuta della Terre Nerre Etna Rosso- Etna Rosso DOC- Sicily

Though not necessarily an unknown wine for the region, Sicily as a wine-producing region remains a fairly large enigma in the US market.  One of the gems of Sicily, well-known among those in the profession, is Etna; a small viticultural region (On an active volcano!!!) producing incredible red and white wines.  The reds are made primarily from a grape called Nerello Mascalese; whose closest analog would be an incredibly savory Pinot Noir.  This wine pours a medium red color with some garnet hues.  The nose offers aromas of tart red berries, dried herbs, and a slight hint of ash (variety-typical for Nerello Mascalese).  The palate is medium-bodied, with woody tannins and zippy acidity accenting a mixture of fresh and dried red fruits.  High-acid red wine pairs with equally acidic foods, so a tomato-based dish would be excellent with this. 

Stella Bella Shiraz- Margaret River- Australia

Shiraz from Australia?  What’s weird about that?  When we think about the premier Syrah-producing regions in Australia, we likely think of South Australian regions like Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, or maybe some of the areas in the Limestone Coast.  We probably don’t think of a region that is most well known for Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Margaret River is the westernmost wine growing region in Australia, and as such experiences the most maritime influence of any region.  This is a characteristic that makes for unique expressions of Australian Shiraz, which the Stella Bella displays extremely well.  This wine looks the part, with a deep ruby color with purple hues.  The nose offers plum, red currant, black cherry, licorice, and hints of oak via baking spice and cedar box.  The palate is medium-bodied, with light-plus acid and medium tannin.  The fruit profile is fresher than you would expect from Australian Shiraz, with bright plum, cherry, and orange peel notes.  The finish is toasty and lengthy.  This is a much more quaffable style of Shiraz for Australia and dispels the notion that Australian is only known for massive, alcoholic expressions of various red varieties. 

Time Posted: Sep 1, 2021 at 8:58 AM Permalink to September Wine Club Permalink
Steve Severance
 
August 14, 2021 | Steve Severance

Rodney Strong Wine Tasting

Time Posted: Aug 14, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to Rodney Strong Wine Tasting Permalink
Brian McGoldrick
 
August 6, 2021 | Brian McGoldrick

August Wine Club Notes

August Wines - Wine Club Fan Favorites

We looked back on the last two years of our wine club wines and found several wines that were heavily favored on certain months. As we are in our Anniversary Month (5 years) since Steve's Wine Bar opened, we thought it would be fun to pick a few of these wines and revisit them with our club members. Since the re-opening back in March, our club has regained many members and grown with many new faces. We hope these wines will be equally as liked by all of our new members as well as those who had a chance to taste these wines in the past.

Cheers to a fun month of wine tasting!

Gold Wines:

Orchard Lane 2020 Sauvignon Blanc- Marlborough-NZ

Once maligned for being a style known for an abundance of asparagus and other unsavory green flavors, Marlborough is the undisputed king of Sauvignon Blanc in the US market.  Orchard Lane provides an approachable style showcasing delicious soft citrus and herb aromas.  The light body is carried by bright acidity and quintessential peach and grapefruit flavors.

Aviary 2019 Chardonnay-California- US

A longtime staple of Steve’s, Aviary is a great representation of California’s most popular white variety made in its most popular style: oaked and rich.  It pours a medium yellow with gold hues and offers aromas of baked tropical and orchard fruits cut with vanilla and butterscotch.  The creaminess of the mouthfeel blends well with the rich baked, but bright, apple and sweet baking spice notes.

Chateau Nozieres 2016 Cahors- Cahors AOC-FR

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 is a modern example that pays homage to traditional wine-making methods (No oak and extended maceration).  As the vernacular would suggest, the wine pours a rich, opaque purple.  The nose is filled with lovely fresh blue and black fruits, with pepper, roasted coffee, and cured tobacco.  Supple tannins and acidity balance well with the tart plum and other black fruits on the palate.

Ben Glaetzer 2014 ‘Heartland’ Shiraz- Langhorne Creek-AU

Though not quite as famous as its counterparts in McLaren Vale or Barossa Valley, Langhorne Creek has merit all its own when it comes to style-appropriate Australian Shiraz.  The oppressively hot and dry climate suits Shiraz well with its hardy nature and high amount of anthocyanin (The compound that gives red wine a purple tint when exposed to sun).  Heartland’s example displays all of the quintessential notes of AU shiraz sans the sky-high ABV.  The wine pours a medium ruby with purple hues, and offers a medley of plum and reduced cherry accented with a slight hint of leather brought on by the age.  The palate is medium-plus bodied with time-softened tannins lower acidity.  A plethora of plum jam is accented by notes of cinnamon, black pepper and tobacco.   

Platinum Wines:

Legend Vineyards Exclusive (LVE) 2020 Rose- Vin de France- FR

Once made from fruit sourced from Provence, the LVE has shifted its focus to Languedoc.  This has resulted in a fresh, but fruity style that is sure to pair well with the Texas summer.  Pouring a light pink hue, this wine offers aromas of cherry and cotton candy.  The high acidity cuts through bright notes of watermelon, cherry, and strawberry.

**Sleeping Giant Pinot Noir 2018- Carneros AVA- US

This wine draws its name from both the range of the range of the Mayacamas the vineyard overlooks, and the two beautiful Newfoundland’s roaming the Dearden Estate.  It pours a rich ruby with purple hues.  The nose is intense, with black cherry, boysenberry, cola, and Chinese five spice.  The palate is equally as intense, with the same rich fruit cut with vanilla; all being housed within velvety tannins and a silky texture.  This has the heft to be put away for a couple of years, but it is delicious now. 

*Hedges ‘Descendants Liegeois Dupont’ Red Mountain Syrah- Red Mountain AVA-US

This is a 100% single-vineyard Syrah from the Red Mountain AVA; an area producing some of the highest quality red wines in both Washington and the US.  While being heavily-oaked, this wine showcases characteristics of both the New and Old worlds.  The dark ruby color gives way to an inviting medley of red and blue fruit aromas cut with vanilla, smoked meat, and black pepper.  The palate is full-bodied with robust tannins supplementing macerated blackberries, plum, and toasted oak. 

Trainwreck 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon- North Coast AVA- US

No favorites list would be complete without arguably Steve’s most prominent cult classic.  The Trainwreck is a classic rendition of a California Cabernet.  This wine pours a medium ruby color with purple hues, offering aromas of red and black fruits, toasted oak, and crème brulee.  The palate is velvety and creamy, with notes of crème de cassis, blackberry, and vanilla enveloped by medium, woody tannins and restrained acidity. 

*="Baby Big Dog" - If you choose this wine you are able to pick one other non-"Dog" wine as a second bottle.

**= "Big Dog" - If you love it, it's the one you can pick to take home for your club wine. It's that special!

Time Posted: Aug 6, 2021 at 11:40 AM Permalink to August Wine Club Notes Permalink
Steve Severance
 
July 27, 2021 | Steve Severance

District 7 Wines and Fender Guitars

VIBRANT AND DELICIOUS

Family-owned, Certified Sustainable and 100% estate grown wines from beautiful and diverse Monterey, California.
CALIFORNIA HAS 17 GRAPE GROWING DISTRICTS; MONTEREY COUNTY IS DISTRICT 7

Surrounded by coastal beauty and rich farming heritage, Monterey is recognized as one of the most beautiful and diverse winegrowing regions in the world.

Monterey County is a good place to call home for District 7. Their wines are thoughtfully crafted to reflect the best of what Monterey has to offer: vibrant fruit, complex flavor and excellent structure. We are serving their Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. And what’s additionally special is that we are doing a raffle in the near future on a special guitar hand painted guitar. More details on the instrument to come in future communications, but for every bottle, or 5 glasses you consume of District 7 wine, you will have a ticket put in for the drawing. We plan to sell 40 cases of District 7 wine before we will do the drawing. So stop in and enjoy by the glass or buy a few bottles.

Cabernet - A big, fruit-packed wine with aromas of blackberry, raspberry and cassis. Smooth and balanced with a lingering black fruit finish.

Pinot Noir - Smooth and silky, with aromas of raspberry and cherry, a palate of bright red fruit and subtle notes of toast on the finish.

Chardonnay - A bright wine with a lively array of melon, passion fruit and citrus flavors and refreshing, crisp acidity.
District 7 Wines

Time Posted: Jul 27, 2021 at 4:18 PM Permalink to District 7 Wines and Fender Guitars Permalink
Brian McGoldrick
 
July 2, 2021 | Brian McGoldrick

July Wine Club Wines - Keeping it Local with Texas Wines

This month we decided to stay close to home and choose wines made in Texas. We have a fun line up from 8 different wineries with some great summer sippers, wines for your summer BBQ, and we'll show off a little of what Texas has to offer.. We tasted through a broad selection of wines from a variety of wineries to choose these 8 select wines. We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do.

GOLD CLUB WINES

Lewis 2019 ‘High Plains’ Rose- Texas High Plains AVA

This blend of Cinsault, Carignan, and Mourvèdre is a dead ringer for the quaffable, playful roses of the Languedoc and Roussillon.  It pours a light pink with white hues, and offers aromas of ripe cherry, cherry blossoms, and a hint of cotton candy.  The body is just above light, with medium acidity with a clean medley of cantaloupe, red berries, and a touch of minerality.  This would be beautiful with an array of light charcuterie and fruit. 

McPherson 2018 Chenin Blanc – Texas High Plains AVA

McPherson’s Chenin Blanc draws inspiration from the coastal-influenced version of the Western Cape.  Seeing slight skin contact, this wine pours a light yellow to medium straw color and offers aromas of orchard and tropical fruits with fun tertiary notes of honeycomb and honey blossom.  The palate displays a light-plus body, high acid, and an approachable medley of similar fruit as the nose accented with slightly yeasty notes and a tart finish. 

Becker 2019 Reserve Tempranillo- General Texas Appellation

Tempranillo typically is not vinified and bottled this young due to the famous tertiary flavors that are often developed with extended age in the bottle.  This is not to say, however, that Tempranillo cannot stand on its merit as a younger wine, and Becker gives a great example of what that looks like.  This pours a medium red color with slightly purple hues and offers a very ripe nose filled with red berries cut with a slight dill and brown sugar influence from the American oak.   The palate is medium bodied, with medium acidity and features a medley of macerated red and blue fruit.

Pedernales 2018 ‘Six Generations’ Malbec- Texas High Plains AVA

Pedernales truly leans into a decadent style of Malbec with the ‘Six Generations’ line.  This wine pours a dark ruby with blue and black hues, and offers aromas of mocha, plum, and baking spice accented by sweet oak.  The palate is full boded with low acid, and features supple, soft tannins enveloping ripe blue and black fruits followed by a sweet finish. 

PLATINUM CLUB WINES

William Chris Vineyards 2020 ‘Pet Nat’ (Petillant Naturel)- Texas High Plains AVA

We are so excited to finally have a ‘pet nat’ at Steve’s.  For the uninitiated, petillant naturel is made via methode ancestrale, one of the oldest and minimalistic styles of sparkling wine production.  The key difference from other styles of sparkling wine (Champagne, Crémant, Franciacorta, etc.) is that ‘pet nat’ does not go through a second fermentation.  Rather, the first fermentation is interrupted, the wine is transferred to the bottle, and the fermentation is allowed to finish in bottle.  While this sounds slightly volatile, ‘pet nat’ generally features half the bottle pressure found in Champagne.  This style of bubbly is made from Australia to Slovenia to, as it happens, Texas!  This version features Mourvèdre, Sangiovese, Cinsault, and Trebbiano Toscana.  This pours a medium pink hue, with aromas of mineral-laden red fruit, fresh blossoms, and a trademark yeastiness.  The bubbles in ‘pet nat’ are less refined and wilder, making for a fun, quaffable beverage featuring delicate flavors of red berries, bread, and a refreshingly mineral quality. 

Reddy Vineyards 2019 ‘Grand Vitis’- Texas High Plains AVA

This easy-drinking blend of Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache is reminiscent of the red blends found in the Corbieres and other areas of Languedoc and Provence.  The color is a pale ruby, and offers very delicate aromas of bing cherry, bramble, and earth.  The body is medium minus to light, with mouthwatering acidity and little to no tannin.  The flavor profile centers around juicy red fruits and earthy, herbaceous accents.  Try this at cellar temp or below. 

Marker Cellars 2019 Texas Blend- Texas High Plains AVA

This blend of Malbec and Ruby Cabernet (ask us about this grape!) features Boredaux-esque structure with the approachability of the warm-climate reds we associate with Texas viticulture.  Following time in 100% new French oak and extended maceration post-fermentation, it displays an inviting rich character that permeates everything.  This wine pours a dark ruby with mulberry hues, and offers mocha, black pepper, and vanilla-enveloped red and blue fruits.  The palate is rich, with dense but well-integrated tannins and medium minus acidity.  This all supports a plethora of ripe blue and black fruits accented by oak-driven notes of crème brulee; all followed by a lengthy finish. 

Llano Estecado ‘Winemaker’s Reserve’ Bourbon Barrel Aged Tempranillo- General Texas Appellation

Aging wine in spirit barrels is a dangerous game.  Though complimentary, the bold flavors of your favorite spirit can quickly overshadow any redeeming feature of the wine and turn it something closer to a dessert beverage than a balanced glass of wine.  However, there are more than a couple successful examples, and we definitely have one here.  This Tempranillo pours a medium ruby with purple and blue hues, and offers macerated cherry and strawberry accented tastefully by notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and malt.  This understandably rich-bodied wine features soft tannins and low acid, doubling down on a rich, ripe combination of red fruits, bourbon-driven notes, and notable vanilla. 

 

Time Posted: Jul 2, 2021 at 7:22 AM Permalink to July Wine Club Wines - Keeping it Local with Texas Wines Permalink
Brian McGoldrick
 
June 4, 2021 | Brian McGoldrick

June Wine Club - Blind Tasting

This month we challenge you to a blind tasting!

We have 8 wines from different regions you will be tasting. Your challenge is to identify the region and the grape you have in your glass. It's a fun and tasty experience. We hope you are up for the challenge!

Gold Club Wines

#1: This wine displays a light pink color with white/orange hues.  The nose offers a delicate blend of tart red berries, light smoke, and slate.  The palate is light-bodied with mouthwatering acidity, with raspberry and cherry throughout followed by a brief tart, minerally finish.  Hint:  You might want to think of the grapes before the region on this.

 #2: The wine displays a medium pink color.  The nose is filled with various minerally notes interwoven with tart, crunchy raspberry.  The palate displays considerable heft for a rose, with fleshy cherry notes and a touch of blue fruit cut by hints of tannin, medium acid, and tons of savory minerality.  Hint: The grape will be hard on this one, think to the region first instead and go from there. 

#3: This medium ruby wine displays garnet and orange hues.  The nose is intensely savory, with notes of black pepper, cured meat, anise, and dried cherry.  The palate is deliciously quaffable, with a medium body and zippy acidity enveloping juicy cherry and raspberry notes.  Hint:  This might be the first “gotcha” wine.  Where does it get cold enough to make a red like this? 

#4: This wine pours a medium-dark ruby with purple hues.  The nose offers a medley of red and blue fruits accented by fresh herbs.  The palate displays present, but supple tannins and medium-low acidity.  Jammy plum and raspberry meshes well with the notes of earth, bramble, and warm baking spices.  Hint:  There are very few winegrowing regions in Europe that get hot enough to produce big, juicy reds like this.  What are they and what are their native varieties?

Gold Club Members may taste through the Platinum Wines for $15 a person.

Platinum Club Wines

#5: This wine pours a medium straw-yellow color with green hues.  The nose is very complex, offering notes of beeswax, aromatic herbs, and minerals.  The palate is light-plus bodied with racing acidity accenting fleshy stone and citrus fruits, honey, wet stone, and a hint of yeast.  Hint:  This wine has some years on it.  Which regions make for long-lasting, acid-driven white wines?  What varieties do they like?

#6: This wine pours a deep ruby with purple hues, offering aromas of reduced cherry and plum accented by sweet baking spice.  The palate is medium-plus bodied, with medium acidity and spicy, sweet tannin.  The macerated fruit continues to the palate, with notes of licorice, hay, thyme, and earth accenting it all. Hint:  This is a rich version of one of the most widely planted grapes in its native country. 

#7: This wine pours a strikingly deep purple color with ruby hues.  The nose is filled with new leather, cassis, blackberry, and intense floral notes.  The palate is full-bodied, with fine-grained tannins and medium acidity.  Fleshy blueberry and plum notes are accented by baked earth, slight tar, black pepper, and Chinese five spice. Hint:  There is only one grape can get this kind of extract and fruit, and it has its home in a relatively new winegrowing country.

#8: This wine displays a deep ruby color with lavender hues.  The nose offers black cherry, cassis, graphite, and cigar smoke.  The palate is rich in body and tannin, with restrained acidity.  Cherry and cassis are blended with subtle plum notes, in addition to the heaps of savory baking spice, oak, and vanilla.  Hint:  This might be the easiest wine for some of you….or will it?      

Time Posted: Jun 4, 2021 at 6:03 AM Permalink to June Wine Club - Blind Tasting Permalink
Brian McGoldrick
 
May 7, 2021 | Brian McGoldrick

May Wine Club Wines - A Paso Robles Experience

This month we dive into some incredible wines from the fastest growing wine region in California. With over 200 different wineries in the Paso Robles AVA, we picked some very fun 8 wines from 8 different wineries. 

Typically people hear that Cab is King in Paso with over 49% of all planted acerage is Cabernet Sauvignon. But there are some great varities other than Cab to consider. We will taste two Cabernets this month along with a Sparkling wine, a Chardonnay, Merlot, Red Blend, Cab Franc, and a tooth staining Petite Sirah. So join us for a fun month of California wines.

Gold Wines

1 (4) Opolo Sparkling Wine- General California Appellation- CA (First for Gold, Fourth for Platinum)

Sometimes, simplicity is a virtue.  This is the case with the Opolo Sparking Wine.  This 100% Colombard is put through the Charmat or ‘Tank’ Method and results in a clean, playful aperitif.  This wine pours a pale straw color with green hues.  The nose offers almond, lemongrass, gravel, and green apple.  The palate features fine-grained bubbles with an off-dry collection of apple, peach, and almond supplemented by high acid a medium-sweet finish.  This is an excellent palate cleanser prior to jumping into a tasting of larger reds. 

2 Callaway Cellars 2018 ‘Ely’ Chardonnay – Paso Robles AVA- CA

Warm climates like Paso Robles are oft maligned in the eyes of Old-World Chardonnay afficionados, as the results often are anything but subtle.  For lovers of rich, fruit-driven renditions however, Paso Robles represents a budding force in their production.  Given the amount of sun and general lack of rain the region receives, Chardonnay-based wines from Paso are plump and often oaked to double-down on the richness factor.  Callaway’s ‘Ely’ is no exception, being a 100% variety wine put through 100% Malolactic Fermentation and time in 50% new oak.  The result is a medium gold-colored wine with yellow hues.  The nose offers ripe tropical fruits supplemented by notes brought on by the oak such as vanilla and Crème Brule.  The texture is creamy, with notes of baked orchard fruits, caramel, butter, and toast.  This would do well with fish or poultry accompanied by a cream-based sauce. 

3 Broadside 2018  ‘Margarita Vineyard’ Merlot- Santa Margarita Ranch AVA-CA

The Santa Margarita Ranch is likely a familiar name to many of you, as it is the AVA popularized by one our favorite Paso producers: Ancient Peaks.  This southern-most growing region of Paso features a , comparatively, cool growing season given its proximity to San Luis Obispo and its surrounding bodies of water.  That doesn’t take away from the fact that these indeed Paso-grown Bordeaux varieties in this case, which means you are getting some ripe and rich.  The Broadside ‘Margarita Vineyard’ Merlot is 78% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, pouring a medium ruby color with black-blue hues.  Aromas of reduced black cherry, plum, mocha, and sweet tobacco make up the nose, while the palate features supple tannins enveloping plush blue and black berries.  This could be a steak wine, but a more decadent version (short ribs, braised renditions) would be preferable. 

4 J & J Cellars 2019 ‘Two Tradesmen’ Cabernet Sauvignon- Paso Robles AVA-CA

Paso Robles’ historical significance lies in its emphasis on Rhone varieties and its part in introducing them to the California viticultural scene.  It’s current significance, however, rests in its high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon.  Virtually every part of Paso Robles’ climate, from the abundant sun exposure, diverse soils, and winemaking precedent (Napa, Sonoma, Lake County, etc.),  Generally, Cab’s from this area are characterized by heavy extract, sweet tannins, and profiles centered around fruit and baking spice, much like the ‘Two Tradesmen’.  This Cabernet is blended with small amounts of Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot, both of which add to a lusciously dark ruby color with blue and black hues. Aromas of vanilla, cherry, crème de cassis, and sweet baking spice make up the nose.  Sweet velvety tannins and low acid outline the full body, with cherry and blueberry cobbler notes throughout.  This wine might be best as a rich accompaniment to a rich red meat-based dish, or as the pairing to a selection of various chocolates. 

Platinum Wines

5 Hearst Ranch 2018 ‘Lone Oak’ Cabernet Franc-Paso Robles AVA- CA

Cabernet Franc, perhaps more than any other red variety, can vary heavily based on the terroir.  As a blending grape in St. Emilion and the rest of the Right Bank, it offers acidity, structure, and earth tones.  As the star of the show in Saumur, Chinon, and Bourgueil, it’s a nuanced, acid-driven bomb of savory flavors.  As for the new world, it becomes something else entirely; something displayed expertly by Hearst Ranch’s rendition.  This Cab Franc is supplemented by Merlot and Petit Verdot, pouring a medium ruby color with purple hues.  Aromas of dark chocolate, cherry, raspberry, espresso and forest floor arise from the glass.  The palate is medium+ bodied, with elegant, dusty tannins and medium acid supplementing mineral-driven notes of graphite, tobacco, and reduced red fruits. 

6 DAOU 2018 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon- Paso Robles AVA-CA (Big Dog)

Daou has experienced a meteoric rise to being one of the faces of Paso Robles in the last decade, competing with other monster Paso Robles brands for market visibility.  The impressive thing about this rise is that it has largely been done with a concealed hand, as the vast majority of the wines in their catalog never see retail.  Having had personal experience with the winery and the reserve lot, most of these wines represents a different member of their family or a significant piece of history with names such as ‘1740’ (After the bell on the logo) or Soul of A Lion (After the Daou brothers’ father).  However, the most tamely named reserve wine might showcase the winery the best of all.  This Cabernet is blended with Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc to add structure, and is aged in 50% New French Oak for 15 months.  The result is a deep ruby-colored wine with purple hues, offering aromas of humidor, baker’s chocolate, anise and cassis.  The palate is full-bodied with present, subtle tannins and restrained acidity.  Globs of dark chocolate and dark berries dominate, supplemented by subtle spice, minerality, and vanilla. 

7 Vina Robles 2018 Petite Sirah- Paso Robles AVA-CA

Though perhaps not quite as notable and accomplished as Zinfandel, there are few grapes quite as synonymous with California as Petite Sirah.  Petite Sirah, or Durif, is a cross of Syrah and Peloursin that often displays an intense inky-dark color, black fruit flavors, and ferocious tannins.  As such, they often face elongated stays in oak in order to encourage softening of said tannins, much like Vina Robles’ example, which sits in oak for 20 months.  This wine pours a near impassable purple with blue and black hues, offering aromas of cassis, savory baking spice and smoked meat.  The palate is full bodied, with intense, dusty tannins surround a savory blend of soy sauce, blueberries, and roast game, finishing with a lengthy sweet finish of coffee and vanilla.  Petite Sirah is difficult to pair with food, but one of the classic pairings is chicken mole. 

8 Nelle 2017 ‘Bedlam’- Central Coast AVA- CA (Baby Big Dog)

A decadent multi-AVA blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Petite Sirah, this small production red from Nelle expresses all the hedonistic, rich tendencies of its varieties.  Pouring a deep ruby with black/blue hues, this wine offers aromas of bacon fat, macerated berries, black pepper, and herbs de Provence.  The palate is rich, with formidable tannins and balanced acidity.  The monstrous 15.8 ABV is obscured by the wine’s structure and fruit, consisting of reduced raspberry, cassis, and blueberry, earth, and spicy, concentrated oak. 


Paso Robles Wine Country

Since 1986, Paso Robles Wine Country has experienced a true renaissance. From boutique wineries producing less than 1,200 cases per year to high-production facilities boasting 100,000 cases or more annually, Paso Robles winemakers are cultivating distinct, high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux wines that earn national and worldwide recognition each and every year.

Working alongside well-respected Central Coast winemakers, many of whom boast multiple generations of rich, winemaking and wine grape growing heritage,  this new crop of rebel rousing vintners share an independent spirit, dedication to quality and immense passion for crafting the best Cabernet Sauvignon and red Bordeaux varietals in the world.

Creating the best wines in California

When it comes down to it, Paso Robles Cabernet producers are indeed preoccupied with a lofty goal: Capturing the terroir, or specific sense of place, within each bottle. When carried out successfully, Paso’s bold Bordeaux wines reflect the land — and no two Paso Robles vineyards are the same. In Paso Robles Wine Country, geological diversity abounds, and a single vineyard block may contain a multitude of soil types. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varietals flourish, as the climate, long growing season and soil work together to promote consistent physiological ripeness season after season.

Time Posted: May 7, 2021 at 7:08 AM Permalink to May Wine Club Wines - A Paso Robles Experience Permalink
Brian McGoldrick
 
April 2, 2021 | Brian McGoldrick

April Wine Club Wines - New Zealand and Australia

Join us for a trip through New Zealand and Australia with 8 different wines from the region.

Australia, the land of surfing, kangaroos, and Christmas barbie (barbeque) and New Zealand, known for its wool and sailing prowess as two time winners of the America’s Cup, are also home to some of the world’s best vineyards. Despite the friendly rivalry between these two southern hemisphere countries they can both boast of an increasingly more prominent role in producing some of the world’s finest wines.

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Gold Club Wines

1) Babich Sauvignon Blanc- Marlborough-NZ

The one and only, NZ Sauvignon Blanc has been, and continues to be, among the fastest growing wines in the US market.  This is primarily based on its combination of value mixed with characteristics of some of the world’s luxury Sauvignon Blancs like those found in Bordeaux and Sancerre.  That being said, it has suffered from oversaturation, with many examples doubling down on ripe, uncharacteristically one-dimensional version of the grape.  Babich is a true throwback, focusing on delicate aromas and clean, bright flavors.  The wine offers aromas of gooseberry, grapefruit, and mango cut with hop-like herbal notes.  The palate is light bodied with high acidity, mixing juicy citrus and stone fruits with clean minerality.  This is unequivocally a grilled seafood wine but would also find success with light charcuterie. 

2) Nugan ‘Third Generation’ Chardonnay-Australia (General Appellation)

Made from fruit sourced in South Australia, unoaked and fruit forward in style. Though not entirely sourced from here, the ‘Third Generation’ brings much of its crop from this region.  The wine pours a medium gold color with white hues, offering aromas of vanilla, honeycrisp apple, pineapple, and fresh-cut herbs.  The palate is medium-bodied with medium acid laced among ripe pear, kiwi, and green apple notes.  This would go with a plethora of seafood dishes, from sushi to seared snapper. 

3) Orchard Lane Pinot Noir- Marlborough- NZ

One of the pervading unsung gems in the world of Pinot Noir, New Zealand is responsible for some of the most delicate and nuanced current examples of the variety.  Largely planted to the cooler regions on the South Island, Pinot planted in this region benefits from largely temperate weather mixed with ample sun exposure and the protection the Southern Alps provide from winds that blow in form the West.  The Orchard Lane is a style-specific version of NZ Pinot, and displays typical characteristics.  The wine pours a delicate pale ruby hue with pink hues, offering aromas of bing cherry, rhubarb, potting soil, and spice box.  The palate displays a medium-minus body with medium plus acidity, blending fresh juicy red fruits with a balanced astringent medley of cedar and cinnamon.  This is an extremely delicate red, and is a prime candidate for salmon-based dishes.

4) Heartland ‘Langhorne Creek’ Shiraz-Langhorne Creek-South Australia

Though not quite as famous as it’s counterparts in McLaren Vale or Barossa Valley, Langhorne Creek has merit all its own when it comes to style-appropriate Australian Shiraz.  The oppressively hot and dry climate suits Shiraz well with its hardy nature and high amount of anthocyanin (The compound that gives red wine a purple tint when exposed to sun).  Heartland’s example displays all of the quintessential notes of AU shiraz sans the sky-high ABV.  The wine pours a medium purple with ruby hues, and offers a medley of black cherry, blackberry, and cassis cut with pronounced earthiness, peppercorn, and bramble.  The palate is medium-plus bodied with medium acidity.  A plethora of blackberry jam is accented by notes of cinnamon and black pepper.  You could certainly pair this with steak, but it might be more advisable to go with venison in this instance.    

Platinum Club Wines

5) Huia Pinot Gris- Marlborough-NZ - Vegan, Organic, SIP

We have served warm climate NZ Pinot Gris at the bar before, but this is the first time we have had Marlborough Pinot Gris in some time.  Huia’s example displays an Old World hands-off approach, using native yeasts and no fining prior to bottling.  This wine pours  a light gold, with aromas of white blossoms and brown pear, which leads into a delicate palate of peach, mandarin orange, and spice box.  This is an exquisitely aromatic and delicate wine that would work best with a medley of spiced nuts and cheeses. 

6) Tellurian GSM- Heathcote-Victoria - Vegan, Organic, SIP

While GSM’s can be found in every imaginable appellation at this point, Australia, in my humble opinion, is on the shortlist of regions you should look out for.  Everything points to success, especially when in one of the cooler regions, as that is necessary to bring structure to what can otherwise be a flabby, over extracted mess.  Tellurian’s example might be slightly lighter-bodied than you would expect, but it is a style-appropriate example of what the region can offer.  This blend of Grenache, Shiraz, and Mourvedre pours a medium ruby with plum hues, and offers aromas of various red fruits grounded by earth and herbal notes.  The palate is medium-bodied, with medium acid accenting plum, tart cherry and strawberry.  This is very much the requisite BBQ wine on the list.

7) Mollydooker ‘The Scooter’ Merlot- McLaren Vale-South Australia

There are not many names in viticulture more synonymous with larger-than-life, hedonistic wines than Mollydooker.  Famous for their “Marquis Fruit Weight” measurement (mindset?) system, Mollydooker is famous for their massive ABV reds, which often translate into decadent, delicious wines named after various Avatars (The Boxer, The Blue-Eyed Boy, Carnival of Love, etc.).  ‘The Scooter’ is no exception, offering a massive rendition of Merlot while incorporating the style-appropriate characteristics found in cooler climates.  This wine pours a medium ruby with purple hues, and offers aromas of blackberry, plum, and herbs de Provence.  The palate is full-bodied with a surprising amount of structure, balancing fresh tea leaf and black pepper against a medley of blue and black fruits.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, Merlot has become my new favorite steak wine, so that is what I would go with here. 

8) Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz - Barossa Valley - South Australia

Seeing that this is an Australia-focused month, it would not be right that we did not visit what is largely considered to be its preeminent growing region.  Barossa Valley displays a Mediterranean climate, which lends itself to high-quality new world-style Syrah production. This wine reflects the up and coming Shiraz vineyards of the Barossa, rather than the battle hardened old vines that make up the core of our other cuvées. But like all Torbreck wines, Woodcutter’s Shiraz receives the very best viticultural and winemaking treatment. Fruit is sourced from hand-harvested and hand-tended, low-yielding vines, then open fermented and gently basket pressed before ageing on fine lees for 12 months in large format seasoned barrels and foudres. Although this wine is constantly praised for its succulence and richness, there is also a complexity and texture.


Located 1250 miles southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand is comprised of two main landmasses (North Island and South Island) and numerous small islands. The latitude and position of the islands and their distance from any land mass provide moderate to cool but variable maritime climate. The central ranges of mountains that run through the length of both main islands generate marked contrasts between higher rainfall, cloudy, windward west and the milder, sunnier, leeward side.

Most of the vineyards in the North Island are located on the eastern side of the mountains where there’s a drier, sunnier climate. The South Island possesses about two thirds of the vineyard area, with the Marlborough area alone growing 52% of the country’s vines.

Sauvignon Blanc, the country’s best-known variety, makes up nearly 40 percent of New Zealand’s 60,000 acres of producing vineyards, as well as 78 percent of its exports to the United States. Practically all of the best Sauvignons come from Marlborough, a region on the northeastern tip of the South Island. The vast majority of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is fermented in stainless steel tanks at very cool temperatures, which preserves maximum vibrancy and highlights freshness. However, a growing number of estates are making small lots of Sauvignon fermented at least partially in oak barrels, some of which are new. Although styles vary according to vintner preferences and vineyard location, Marlborough Sauvignons tend to be especially crisp, aromatic and food-friendly, with baseline flavors of tart lime and grapefruit, along with grass, fresh herbs and crushed stone. Some wines have tropical guava and passion fruit character, and riper versions can feature peach and apricot.

Recently New Zealand Pinot Noir is grabbing a lot of attention. It’s the second most widely planted variety in New Zealand, with 11,000 acres currently in production. In general, New Zealand Pinot Noirs have more affinity with the wines of Burgundy than those of California. Cooler growing conditions impart bright acidity and taut tannins, and the wines show a wide range of lively fruit flavors, including berries, plum and cherry, with the better versions often featuring intense spiciness as well as crushed stone and mineral accents. Nearly all of the top bottlings come from three regions: Central Otago, in the southern third of the South Island; Marlborough; and Martinborough, near the southern tip of the North Island. Red wines other than Pinot Noir deliver mixed results. The most promising variety is Syrah, which, along with Cabernet and Merlot, does best in Hawkes Bay.

Australia produces an amazingly diverse range of wines, from mass-market wines to dessert-style nectars that wow you with their richness and refinement. Recent export figures place Australia as the fourth largest exporter of wine, selling to more than 100 countries around the world. With more than 2,000 wineries spread across a landmass that’s nearly the size of the United States. 

A wide range of climatic conditions, from the cool highlands of Tasmania to the hot and arid Murray Valley provides many opportunities for producing distinctive wines from premium European cultivars. Viticulture is concentrated principally in the southeastern portion of the continent, with some vineyards located in the southwest and the island state of Tasmania.

South Australia produces about 50 percent of Australia’s wine. The area includes both high-profile appellations and vast interior vineyards that make more anonymous bottlings. The warm region of Barossa Valley typically makes rich, dark, full-bodied Shiraz and is gaining a reputation for Grenache as well. Nearby Eden Valley is a bit cooler and is one of the best spots for Riesling. Clare Valley, a charming string of hills north of Barossa, also makes some of the very best Riesling, along with delicious Shiraz, and McLaren Vale, to the south, produces distinctive Grenache and Shiraz. Coonawarra, where Cabernet does particularly well, is the best known of the cluster of cooler regions near the border with Victoria that includes Padthaway and Wrattonbully.

Victoria, with 15 percent of Australia’s vineyards, contains some of the coolest appellations in the country. Located near Melbourne, the regions of Yarra Valley, Macedon and Mornington Peninsula make some high-profile Chardonnays and, increasingly, Pinot Noirs. Central Victoria, closer to the hot interior of Australia, does better with Shiraz. The other prime zone for Australian wine is Western Australia. Although it makes only 4 percent of Australia’s wine, several of the country’s best Chardonnays come from the coastal region of Margaret River. The vineyards of New South Wales, including Hunter Valley, owe much of their popularity to their proximity to Sydney. The wines generally do not compare favorably to those of South Australia, Victoria or Western Australia. The southern island of Tasmania is gaining a reputation for Pinot Noir and sparkling wine.

Time Posted: Apr 2, 2021 at 11:37 AM Permalink to April Wine Club Wines - New Zealand and Australia Permalink