Special Reports

IDELLA WINES: INAUGURAL RELEASE

Idella Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

NAPA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $95
Full-bodied boysenberry fruit masterfully balanced with complex flavors of licorice, violets, black cardamom, cacao and tar. A big, muscular wine, inky deep ruby-red, with forward fruit, savory mid-notes and firm, chewy tannins. Grand proportions, indeed, yet presented with a satin-smooth texture and a refreshing counterpoint of delicate natural-fruit acidity. We have not merely a symphony; we have a grand symphony; we have The Choral — LVB’s Symphony No. 9. A very good wine. Wine provided by Idella Wines. (Reviewed 11/16/14)

Idella Syrah 2010

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY | CALIFORNIA | $65
Easy blackberry with roasted plum and orange peel, plus notes of clove, crème de cassis, leather and forest floor. A satisfying and exceptionally balanced wine, medium-full bodied, superbly integrated, with complex flavors coaxed gently on the palate by a luxurious, soft-grain texture. I’d suggest this a Syrah for Cabernet lovers — really — absent the glossy, fruit-forward nature common in Central Coast Syrahs, this wine shows excellent fruit-savory proportions that allow organic notes to sing to the heavens. 93% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 2% Petit Sirah. An excellent wine. Wine provided by Idella Wines. (Reviewed 11/8/14)

Idella Pinot Noir Mendocino Ridge Vineyard 2012

MENDOCINO RIDGE | CALIFORNIA | $55

Lush strawberry fruit with ripe red cherry, watermelon and rhubarb, plus notes of wet clay, leather, cacao and grapefruit pith, notably on the finish, with just a hint of allspice. A sublime balance of well-integrated fruit and savory flavors — complex, yet easily approachable. Beautifully translucent in the glass, medium-light on the palate, silky texture with a bare whisper of grain. She’s gentle, quiet, soft-spoken, wicked smart — doubt her not; in the dimmest of light, she knows where your eyes are looking. A very good wine. Wine provided by Idella Wines. (Reviewed 11/1/14)

MONOPOLE WINES: CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE TASTING

Chateau de Beaucastel Blanc 2007

CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE | FRANCE | $96

Crisp minerals greet the nose with melon and pear on the palate, accented by grapefruit pith, honeysuckle, stoney minerals and a hint of oak. Fresh, clean and slightly weighty satin mouthfeel. Complex and well-integrated with exceptional balance — one note leads to many others with soft grace. She wears layered white linen this early Spring day, the sun still low in the sky and the air impossibly both warm and cool, and seemingly created anew for just this morning. 80% Rousanne, 20% Grenache Blanc. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 10/28/12)

La Bastide Saint Dominique 2009

CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE | FRANCE | $54

Medium-bodied cherry, raspberry and rhubarb supported with earthy flavors of forest floor, redwood and camphor, and a slight chai-spice back note. Chamois-like, slightly grainy texture offers a hand-hewn feel to this well-crafted bottling. An intriguing muscularity-and-agility counter-play captures attention and holds interest. He’s a slight fellow, of lean, sinuous muscle, firm sun-baked features and a cerebral tenacity; quite strong for his build, his focus and grip are solid and nearly unyielding, but to a point. 100% Grenache, fermented in tanks. A very good wine. (Reviewed 10/28/12)

Bouvachon Nomine 2008

CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE | FRANCE | $34

A savory wine, firm and balanced, showing dark berry fruit integrated with organic notes full of rich soil, cedar, bay, cardamom and tar. And some very pleasant barnyard. On the light side of medium bodied with forward mid-tones and a silky mouthfeel. Fruit and soil are nearly indistinguishable here, and the result is a wine of wonderfully even proportions. This pleasant and social guest blends perfectly with others, interrupts with such grace the repartee astonishes — it must be scripted, no? — and holds the interest of all without ever seeming to control or influence the conversation. A very good, nearly excellent wine. (Reviewed 10/28/12)

Clos du Mont-Olivet 2010

CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE | FRANCE | $48
Pepper tickles the nose with firm blackberry, red cherry and plum filling the palate, then flavors of cedar, dark-roast coffee and loamy soil, and then it’s back to a peppery finish. A beautiful song circle, repeated throughout. Unctuous on the palate and smooth with a glossy, silky texture giving way to a persistent finish. Stout in build as well as character, this loyal friend shoulders the load and returns again and again, never asking a thing in return. A very good wine. (Reviewed 10/28/12)

L’AVENTURE: 2012 MEMBER PREVIEW

L’Aventure ‘Optimus’ 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $45

Ripe purple plum, blackberry and cassis hints of cocoa, nutmeg and epazote. Lovely fruit bolstered by a foundation of earthy soil. Full-bodied and large on the palate, well balanced, satin and suede texture, finishing long. This complex soul is a deep thinker, and yet an extrovert who easily charms. 55% Syrah, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Petit Verdot. A very good wine. (Reviewed 3/3/12)

L’Aventure ‘The Sibling’ 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $75

Forward, glossy blackberry and cherry fruit with cedar, camphor bay and hints of thyme. The mouth feel is silky with a substantial weight. A robust wine with a firm finish. You get action from the start, and like the final “Sopranos” episode: it’s a thrilling drama, then the screen goes black. 70% Syrah, 15% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre. A good wine. (Reviewed 3/3/12)

L’Aventure ‘La Suite’ 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $75

Wild brambleberry and loganberry with plum, redwood, loamy soil and dried mushroom. Wonderfully gamey with some earthy charm. Soft, substantive texture displays a little chew. Vintage instruments perform this suite, delivering a rustic old world timbre. 43% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre, 17% Syrah. A very good wine. (Reviewed 3/3/12)

L’Aventure ‘Le Grand Verdot’ 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $75

Concentrated dark berries with plum, chalk and violets. Notes of forest floor, cedar and a hint of wild game tease interest. Focused and complex, integrating lush fruit with firm structure. Regal and in control, yet there’s a suppleness at play. She is the Queen, you know, maneuvering her Range Rover through the outreaches of the country estate, her affectionate hounds along for the ride. 70% Petit Verdot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 3/3/12)

L’Aventure Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $80

Forward blackberry, pomegranate and purple plum with notes of cocoa, cardamom and earth. Complex, balanced and structured, with up-front fruit, satisfying umami and firm, chewy tannins. Muscular and agile, graceful and focused — she’s a panther eyeing her menu. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. A very good wine. (Reviewed 3/3/12)

L’Aventure ‘Cote a Cote’ 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $85

Vibrant black- and blueberry fruit integrated seamlessly with aged wood and tobacco. A bold wine with nuanced back notes bringing complexity and interest. Firmly structured, fine tuned and slightly rough — a racer, equipped for the circuit, a little jarring on the streets. 42% Grenache, 34% Syrah, 24% Mourvedre. A very good wine. (Reviewed 3/3/12)

L’Aventure ‘Estate Cuvée’ 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $85

Mature dark berries and plum with woody spice, cocoa and forest floor notes and a slight suggestion of pomegranate and blueberry. Elegant and forward with uncanny balance, a lithe silky-velvety texture and soft tannins. Worldly, assured and contemporary — grand yet sublime, this is the confident prima ballerina without attitude. 42% Syrah, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16%Petit Verdot. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 3/3/12)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s