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.
Opolo’s estate vineyards were established in 1995, with sites on both the west and east side of Paso Robles. The topographically diverse, coastal landscape of the westside vineyards provides for an intense and unique flavor profile. The heat and dryness of the east side vineyard make it an ideal microclimate for growing Bordeaux varietals. Home to a wide range of varietals, the estate vineyards help allow the team at Opolo to create many unique single varietals as well as award winning blends.
Most important in making high quality wine is starting with high quality grapes. Opolo’s vineyard team carefully monitors each lot of grapes throughout the season in order to produce the highest quality fruit possible. From taking leaf, petiole, and soil samples, to monitoring water uptake in the vines, all aspects of viticulture is carefully notated and examined with the intent of producing only high quality fruit for our winery. The entire Opolo production team works together every year to provide the best quality product possible.
At Opolo we believe a strong, cooperative relationship with the land and our environment is crucial. We practice sustainable methods in both the winery and vineyard operations in order to preserve our environment, water and local wildlife. Opolo is a “SIP” Certified operation as well as certified organic by “CCOF” in our 64 acre walnut orchard. We continue to be great stewards of the land and invite you to come to our vineyards and see our operations!
Opolo Vineyards has a long established reputation of growing and producing award winning wines in Paso Robles, California. With nearly 300 acres of vines on the east and west side of Paso Robles, Opolo Vineyards is privy to a wide range in climate, soil and growing potential—allowing extensive range of varietals to flourish. This variety combined with the passion behind the brand has made Opolo a favorite of wine enthusiasts everywhere.
(Click on each wine to learn more about the wine and pricing)
A proud native of Chicago, IL. Jeff Faber grew up on the North Side of the city and moved to California in 1993. He spent many years in Broadcasting working behind the microphone for CBS and ABC radio before launching his own start-up company. Like so many people whose breath is taken away when they visit the California Central Coast, Jeff fell in love with the area and quickly learned that almost everyone you know either owns or a winery or an olive oil ranch.
"The most beautiful part about this area is how willing everyone is to share their knowledge of their craft. You work a few harvests, turn off your cell phones and lose yourself in the magic. You literally feel yourself decompress. What compelled Jeff to give up his company and start working for Opolo was that he wanted to learn the business from the ground up. “I literally knew very little about wine and wanted to stomp grapes, pour yeast into the tanks, experiment with blends, see the effect dry farming has on the flavor of grapes, etc"…At Opolo, they encourage you to do everything which is the very best way to learn a skill set.
For the past 12 years, Jeff has been the National Sales Manager for Opolo meeting people in city after city acting as a full-time “palate hunter” and helping folks have fun and learn a little more about themselves and of course, wine!
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.
Reddy Vineyards was founded in 1997 by acclaimed viticulturist Dr. Vijay Reddy. His vast expertise in both soil chemistry and farming led him to plant grapes along with other pioneering farmers in the Texas High Plains. His passion for the vineyard turned into a lifetime pursuit to perfect and cultivate fine wine grapes from this unique growing region. Dr. Reddy’s son Akhil launched the first Reddy Vineyards 100% authentic estate-grown and bottled wines in 2019.
The Texas High Plains American Vitcultural Appellation was established in 1993 in the West Texas High Plains. The region is the foundation of Texas winegrowing, including more than 8 million acres and encompassing 22 counties. The region’s major cities include Lubbock, Brownfield and Amarillo. 85% of the wines made in Texas come from the Texas High Plains AVA.
Reddy Vineyards winery is located in Brownfield, Texas, just outside of Lubbock in the Texas High Plains. State-of-the-art equipment is configured to produce high-quality fine wines. Reddy uses a super-efficient Pellenc harvester that picks and destems the clusters and sorts the fruit right in the vineyard, saving fuel and personnel hours while delivering very high-quality fruit and eliminating the need for a sorting table and separate de-stemmer. The winery is fitted with stainless steel tanks including small lot two-ton fermenters, and single bins for micro fermentations, hand punch downs and pumpovers provide winemaking options for the diversity in the vineyard. All tanks are temperature controlled for heating and chilling. The wines are pressed with a bladder press and is moved to barrel by pumps. The winery is also equipped with its own lab.
Reddy Vineyards has the pick of the best fruit from the vineyard giving its winemakers a fantastic selection to create blended and single-varietal wines. The Reddy Family decided to focus on what its vineyards and Texas can do best—warm-climate varietals expertly crafted and blended to showcase richness, forward fruit, body and succulent soft tannins in the red wines, and clean varietal character in the white wines.
As in our previous tastings, simply do an advance purchase on two or more of these featured wines and you will be invited to join us on the Zoom call with Eric Sigmund from Reddy Vineyard. Pick up at the bar prior to the tasting on the 16th.
Or simply stop in and pick up a few in person.
Eric Sigmund’s path to wine came somewhat unexpectedly and at the expense of a lucrative career he spent years training for. Three years out of law school, working in international law in Washington DC, he took a weekend job at Total Wine & More stocking shelves and hand-selling wine to help pay off his student loans. As a law career began to look less and less fulfilling, he made a dramatic shift and took a full-time job at Total as a sales associate at one of the chain’s largest stores. He eventually became a supervisor, then wine manager for the company’s flagship store in Maryland where he was handling foundational wine training for 30 sales associates, overseeing 70 staff members and managing 50 million in annual sales. He was promoted again to the corporate office where he built partner relationships and import agreements with wineries in Europe as the assistant French fine wine buyer.w
A friendly introduction from a law-school classmate who grew up with Akhil Reddy connected Eric with Reddy Vineyards as they planned to launch the estate-grown Reddy Vineyard wines and build a new state-of-the-art winery. With his extensive on-the-job wine experience, studies and mind for business and law, he was a good fit. In February 2019, he moved his family to Texas to work full-time with the Reddys.
Eric saw the potential of Reddy Vineyards before he moved to Texas, and since then he’s become even more bullish on the future of Texas wineries like Reddy who are steadfastly focused on raising the state’s quality and reputation as a fine wine producer dedicated to growing and producing 100% authentic Texas estate-grown wines. “One of the reasons I was really attracted to coming to Texas was that I believe Texas is on the verge of being a major national force in the wine industry,” he added. “I believe in 10-15 years Texas will be right up there with California, Oregon and Washington.”
As Chief Operating Officer, Eric’s responsibilities include “whatever it takes to run a winery— from soup to nuts,” he says. He helped build out the winery, was involved in winemaking, from blending and tasting trials to topping, racking and lab analysis of the first vintages of the Reddy Wines and he’s responsible for the winery’s legal, human resources, business planning, sales and distribution strategies.
Eric spends a lot of time tasting with both wine industry trade and consumers in the Dallas area to share the Reddy Vineyards wines along with his passionate belief in the future of Texas wines. He holds a Wine & Spirits Education Trust Advance Level certification, is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the American Society of Wine.
It’s been a while since we last hosted a virtual wine tasting here at Steve’s, so it’s about time to get another one on the calendar.
I’m excited to have one my favorite wineries from Washington for this next tasting event. Joining us will be Winemaker, Andrew Januik. We have been enjoying the Januik wines for many years, well before they were even distributed in retail or restaurants here in the Texas region. We first tasted the Januik wines while visiting friends in Houston and they raved about the wine. After drinking through a few bottles, when we arrived back home, we called up the winery and joined their wine club.
Andrew, the son of Mike Januik who started the winery, will be our featured speaker for this tasting event.
Mike and Carolyn Januik established Januik Winery in 1999. It was the realization of a dream that took hold in 1980 when the couple sold their Ashland, Oregon wine shop for Mike to study winemaking at UC Davis.
After graduation, the Januiks moved to Washington to be closer to family. California friends thought it was a risky move. Washington wines were largely unknown. But over the ensuing decades, Mike proved them wrong. He crushed his first grapes in Washington in 1984 and quickly developed a reputation for quality winemaking just as the state’s reputation for world-class wines began to take hold.
The Novelty Hill and Januik partnership began in 2000, shortly after Mike began consulting on the planting of the Alberg family’s Stillwater Creek Vineyard on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills in Washington State’s Columbia Valley. Though an uncharted growing region at the time, Mike liked what the site offered and was intrigued by the Albergs’ interest in planting a diverse selection of clones. He encouraged the family to consider making wine from the site; they agreed, provided Mike serve as winemaker. Novelty Hill was born.
From the start, it has been a family-run operation. In the fall of 2009, Andrew Januik joined his dad in the cellar full-time. Today, he collaborates with Mike and winemaker Scott Moeller on all aspects of production in addition to crafting his own label, Andrew Januik Wines, launched in 2011.
2017 Bacchus Vineyard Riesling - at Januik Winery, they believe single vineyard wines should only be made when a particular site yields an exceptional wine that reflects the unique character of the vineyard. Bacchus Vineyard is located outside Pasco on a southwest facing slope which overlooks the Columbia River. Planted at Bacchus Vineyard are two of Germany’s best Riesling clones, Geisenheim 198 and Neustadt 90, from which our Riesling is made.
Bright and refreshing, the Bacchus Vineyard Riesling is brimming with apricot, peach and grapefruit flavors and aromas. Punctuated with mineral notes, the finish is crisp, balanced and lingering.
2017 Novelty Hill Chardonnay – Stillwater Creek Vineyard (Ten Vintage have been rated 90+)
91 pts. Wine Enthusiast, Editor’s Choice - “Beautifully balanced flavors.”
Round and generous, this barrel-fermented Chardonnay offers fresh pear and crisp apple aromas and flavors that echo across the palate and wrap around a rich, creamy finish. Sur lie aged for added mouthfeel and richness.
Novelty Hill’s Stillwater Creek estate vineyard is located on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills in Washington State’s Columbia Valley. The fractured basalt found throughout the site imparts an appealing mineral character to Chardonnay planted here. Innovative clonal selection distinguishes the vineyard as well, including Entav clone 95, a relative newcomer to the Columbia Valley.
2017 Novelty Hill Royal Slope Red Blend
A delicious Merlot-based blend from top Columbia Valley vineyards
From Novelty Hill's Stillwater Creek estate vineyard and other top Columbia Valley sites comes this delicious, medium-bodied red. It is an aromatic wine with mouth-watering layers of wild berries, sweet cherry and black currant. Balanced and lively across the mid-palate, with a fresh, fruit-forward finish that lasts.
Blend: 46% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc
2017 Novelty Hill Syrah Columbia Valley - 91 pts. Jeb Dunnuck - "This is classic Syrah all the way."
A classic Washington State Syrah with aromas of coffee bean, smoked meat and dark fruit gaining focus on the palate. Wild blackberry, dark plum and savory notes of olive and black pepper are woven throughout, with refined tannins adding dimension across a long, flavorful finish.
Planted in 2000 on a steep, south-facing slope with one of the most elite grape clone selections in Washington State, Stillwater Creek quickly earned a reputation as one of the Columbia Valley’s top vineyards. Clones 1, 99, 174 and Joseph Phelps are grown here, making Stillwater Creek home to one of the most diverse Syrah clone selections in Washington.
2016 Januik Merlot Klipsun Vineyard - 90+ pts. 12 years running
Among the great vineyards of Washington State, Klipsun ranks right at the top. Wine & Spirits Magazine has named it one of the 25 greatest vineyards in the world. Located in the Red Mountain appellation, it produces wines with great power, depth, and concentration. The wines from this vineyard tend to be very long-lived.
An intensely dark ruby red color is followed by notes of raspberries, blackberries, and spice. On first impression, it becomes apparent that this wine is one that will age beautifully for many years to come. The nicely proportioned palate shows tremendous length as well as an abundance of spice and fruit as it evolves in the glass.
2016 Januik Cabernet Columbia Valley
98% Cabernet Sauvignon; 2% Merlot
This supple, bold Cabernet Sauvignon is loaded with red and black fruit flavors as well as plum, mocha and cedar notes in the nose. Its texture is quite refined and shows great structure across the palate, imparting a long, ample finish that was developed in part from the use of new French Oak barrels.
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.
Our hours this week:
2pm - 7pm Tuesday - Saturday
Sunday 2pm - 6pm
Order and Pick-Up number - 940-514-1852
WE WILL BE CLOSED TO TABLE SERVICE STARTING TODAY JUNE 26TH.
With the new mandate from Governor Abbott, we will be open for to-go business only.
Our hours during this period will be 2pm to 7pm Tuesday – Saturday and 2pm – 6pm on Sunday.
Our online store is open for business and we invite you to place your orders online for pick up here at Steve’s Wine Bar.
Additionally, you may call in your order and club members can place their order for their club wines and To-Go Tasting. (940) 514-1852
Thanks for your support, encouragement, and understanding.
From all of us here at Steve’s, Thank You!!!
Stay safe and well and we hope to see you soon.
Cigar Tasting: We will push this new event out a month and hope we can deliver a fun Sunday afternoon of cigars and wine the last Sunday in July.
July 26th, Micah Walker, our in-house cigar guy, will be working with me to craft a different pairing of select cigars, wine and beer which we will enjoy on the patio. We will do a special priced pairing during Sunday afternoon and early evening. Plan to join us for our first cigar special event.
Wine Club: Wine Club Wine Info is online on our blog.
Wine online – If you are looking for a great deal, purchase one of our Dealer’s Choice cases for a mix of really tasty wines. Or simply place your order for your favorite wine(s) and we will have it ready for you to pick up.
Check out our Facebook page – Brian is doing a daily write up on our wines. If you would like to learn more about what we have in stock or on special, visit our page at https://www.facebook.com/steveswinebar/
Join us for a virtual tasting with owner Doug Filipponi. Doug is a longtime local winegrower and Paso Robles native who oversees all vineyard operations for Ancient Peaks Winery. Doug was named “Wine Industry Person of The Year” by his wine industry peers at the 2006 California Mid State Fair in Paso Robles. He is also the president of Filipponi & Thompson Drilling, the current president of the Paso Robles Cab Collective, a past president of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, and a past chairman of the Paso Robles Wine Festival. Doug is the co-owner of Margarita Vineyard and Ancient Peaks Winery.
We will have a great opportunity to learn more about Paso Robles, the wine industry in California, the winery, and of course the wines from one of the leaders in the industry.
As in previous virtual tastings, we will have five featured wines to consider for your enjoyment during the tasting.
Choose two or more of the wines to participate in the Zoom Virtual Tasting.
The Chardonnay presents exuberant aromas of tropical fruits with notes of honeysuckle, caramel and hazelnut. The palate is smooth and resonant, unfolding with beautifully integrated flavors of pear, pineapple, peach and citrus. Touches of lively acidity linger on a lengthy, seamless finish. Recommended pairings include grilled citrus chicken, fettuccine alfredo, butter-poached scallops, and shrimp pasta in white wine sauce.
The Merlot opens with dusty aromas of boysenberry, black cherry, vanilla and toasted oak. A soft, rounded texture delivers mouthfilling flavors of blueberry, blackberry, cinnamon, dark chocolate and cola. Velvety tannins are finely integrated into a rich, chewy finish. The full-bodied character of the Merlot is a fine match for rich, flavorful fare. Recommended pairings include beef tenderloin, pasta with lamb ragu, mushroom risotto and red wine-braised brisket.
The Zinfandel offers deep, savory aromas of black cherry and plum with notes of vanilla, tobacco and dusty spice. Bright, brambly flavors of red raspberry and boysenberry unfold across a juicy texture with hints of cedar wood and black tea. Fresh acidity adds lift and structure to a sleek, peppery finish. The bright fruit and juicy texture of the Zinfandel make this wine a fitting match for fine comfort foods, including barbecued chicken, grilled sausage, Santa Maria-style tri-tip and vegetarian flatbread.
The Cabernet Sauvignon presents an enticing bouquet of black olive, leather, caramel and coffee. The palate is smooth and layered, revealing prodigious flavors of cherry, plum, blueberry and cassis with trailing hits of mint and toasted oak. Juicy acidity and sumptuous tannins add length to a resoundingly elegant finish. Enjoy with richly textured dishes, such as veal roast with mushrooms, rack of lamb with rosemary butter, and filet mignon with black olive sauce.
Each year, we craft the limited-edition Oyster Ridge cuvée to exemplify our finest winemaking efforts. The name Oyster Ridge is a tribute to the large white oyster fossils that are abundant in our estate Margarita Vineyard, fostering the type of calcium-rich soils coveted by winemakers worldwide.
Cabernet Sauvignon 80% Petit Verdot 10% Malbec 5% Cabernet Franc 4% Merlot 1%.
The 2017 Oyster Ridge exemplifies Paso Robles’ growing renown as an elite region for Cabernet Sauvignon. The aroma profile presents a captivating intermingling of red fruits, blueberry and black currant with accents of mint, forest floor and toasted oak. An extravagantly deep palate cascades with luxurious layers of blackberry, boysenberry, black olive, chocolate, tobacco and cedar, all underpinned by hints of eucalyptus and baking spice. A plush, seamless texture exhibits a sleek sense of minerality, while firm, chewy tannins add a powerful touch to a seemingly endless finish.
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.
We are excited to have an opportunity to share some more amazing wines, and a very cool Winemaker, with you on this episode of Virtual Wine Tasting at Steve’s. You may have tasted his always popular Trainwreck Cabernet Sauvignon served here at the bar. I respectfully tell people that it is Chris’ entry level wine, and it’s a damn good entry level wine. 😊
We will be discussing several wines during this tasting event and we have 5 of his many wines available for you to choose from for this event.
You can read more about each of these wines further down in this post.
All are available online at Steves Wine Bar Products and Merchandise for purchase today and pick on Friday.
Chris Dearden has been crafting fine wines in Napa Valley for over 25 years. Wine has been a part of his family life since childhood, where it was served regularly at dinner as a celebration of everyday meals. The third generation Californian was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley town of Porterville and always had an aptitude and love for agriculture and life sciences.
After several internships with wineries and research positions at UC Davis, he came directly to the Napa Valley and has never looked back. He held winemaking positions with William Hill, Madonna Estate, and Beaulieu Vineyard/Inglenook/Christian Brothers, and he spent three years at Seguin Moreau Cooperage where he credits learning more about winemaking than in the previous years as a day-to-day winemaker. Representing the company, he traveled to the finest winemaking regions in France, South America and California, Oregon and Washington State helping winemakers make better wines and learning how the best wines are made around the world.
He began a fourteen-year journey developing a Napa Valley winery from the ground up. He established the vineyard, brand, wine style and identity. During this period, he also developed the North American branch of the highly respected Gamba Cooperage, Costa Del Sol Consulting Company, luxury wine brands Chanticleer and Sleeping Giant, and a premium Pinot noir vineyard estate in the Carneros district of Napa Valley, which is a cornerstone of Chris’s great wines today.
2010 marked the beginning of a new chapter for Chris when he established the Dearden Wines Portfolio which today includes flagship Sleeping Giant Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir and Chardonnay; Little Giant Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay; Argus Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Rosato; One-Iron Red Blend; Two-Iron Cabernet Sauvignon; Three-Iron limited production Zinfandel; Train Wreck Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon blanc; and Costa del Sol Red Blend.
Dearden’s Carneros vineyard property, which is fondly referred to as “Las Amigas Partners,” is planted to five different clones of Pinot noir and a small amount of Chardonnay on an 11.6-acre parcel. The residence and an historic water tower were refurbished and are an outward sign of the Dearden family’s respect for the past and loyalty to the future. To round out the vineyard, residence and newly restored historic water tower, plans are in the works for development of a boutique winery that will include the renovation of an existing barn. The Dearden family invites you to share the experience of this beautiful setting with them.
Chris lives in the beautiful Napa Valley with his high-school sweetheart wife Paige and their two children, Sam and Addie.
The “Sleeping Giant” is the section of mountain range of the Mayacamas that runs from the Northern edge of Mount Veeder in Napa almost up to the Yountville Veterans Home. It becomes the focal point of conversation as the sun sets on the Western hills. Chris Dearden has lived and produced fine wines in Napa Valley since 1986. A trained enologist from UC Davis, with an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, Dearden has pursued single vineyard wines for Shibumi Knoll, V Madrone and Benessere in St. Helena and Chanticleer in Yountville. His Cabernets, Chardonnays and Italian varietals have garnered both critical and consumer acclaim since 1995.
A delicious, full-bodied Chardonnay with just the right amount of buttery, fresh notes of lemon, green apple, caramel custard and almond nuances.
94 pts. Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis
Rich, deeply fruity, silky and sweet-tart with notes of raspberry, clove-studded ham, dried oregano and cocoa powder.
Everyone has a ‘train wreck’ of a day once in a while. This wine is meant to get your day ‘back on track’ with its broad appeal and approachability. Even if your day is going smoothly you will enjoy savoring our Train Wreck wines with your favorite meal or just your favorite person. Keep your ‘train wrecks’ on the table and in the fridge!
Chris Dearden loves to play golf and is pretty good on any course, but he can’t hit his low irons no matter how hard he tries. In fact, not many people can! The Iron Series wines were created so anyone could enjoy the pleasure of swinging an iron with ease. This collection of wines includes varietals that are food friendly, delicious, and delightfully better to drink than to swing!
Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of red wines and the Napa Valley is world-famous for producing big, bold wines of outstanding character. Merlot was judiciously blended to produce a wine of structure, flavor and balance.
Meritage is a term used to describe wines made from the Bordeaux varietals in California. A full-bodied red wine with tantalizing notes of berries, sage, dark chocolate and cherry cola.