Closet, Clos de papillon, Savennieres, 2002

Deep golden color, slow-forming legs. On the nose bruised and baked orchard fruit mingles with butterscotch, toasted almond, honey and ginger. Quite botrytis-forward in appearance and aromatics. The wine is full-bodied and just melts on the palate; creamy, borderline decadent but balanced by a long, slightly bitter finish. Incredible texture, this wine should be enjoyed with rich, earthy dishes. It can even hold its own with gamey meats and stews. Definitely comes with a price tag, but a real beauty in its prime. Will hold up nicely for another 8-10 years but it’s hard to imagine this wine ever drinking better than it does right now. W.M.

Kumeu Village Chardonnay 2014

This is some of the best New Zealand has to offer for serious, food-friendly Chardonnay at an “everyday drinking” price point. The flinty, Chablis-esque nose entices with subtle aromas of crisp green apple and wet stones; as well as not-so-subtle aromas of aged sheepsmilk cheese. Concentrated but mineral-driven and bone-dry. Slightly spritzy feel on attack indicating lees contact and unoaked ageing environment, but balanced otherwise. Drink right away with oysters and cream sauces. W.M.

Les Dionnieres Hermitage 2015

Decant this one for an hour or two before drinking; at this point in its development it needs time. Complex bouquet of blueberry/blackberry jam, cured meat, violets and dark chocolate. New oak is evident. Medium-full-bodied, velvety and spice-laden. Dark, brooding and tightly knit on the palate. Drinks great in its youth but will cellar very nicely. W.M.

Barbaresco Moccagatta 2011

Medium-concentrated garnet color with long, slow-forming legs. This is as “modern” as it gets in stately Barbaresco. Intense aromatics, dominated by sweet oak, coffee and cedar, but also showcasing raspberry jam, morello cherry, anise and moss. Big, rich and mouth-coating, with grainy tannins and a long warming finish remeniscent of mint and bitter herbs. This is wine meant for slow-roasted meats and cream sauce pasta. This definitely puts the lie to the myth that Barolo is always the bolder of the two famous Piedmont Nebbiolo appellations. W.M

Lustau Palo Cortado, Sherry

Palo Cortado Lustau

The rarest and most mysterious style of Sherry, this Palo Cortado from the esteemed Bodega Lustau weds the elegance and dryness of a Fino with the beautiful salted caramel aromatics and viscous mouthfeel of an Oloroso. 19%abv and bone dry; pale amber fading to gold with bright reflections in the glass. Fig, dried apricot, cola, and toasted almond on the nose. Mouth-filling and dry with a fresh acidity and a long, salted nut finish. Disclaimer: This is NOT a dessert wine, unless (like this taster) your favorite dessert is cheese. Insanely versatile. In the past week I’ve paired this wine with everything from chicken liver mousse crostini with fig jam, to roasted chicken with stringbeans almondine and garlic potatoes, even a light meal of miso soup with edamame. #fortifiedtilidie  W.M

Chablis Villes Vignes 2016, Domaine George

The Estate’s Petit Chablis is made from a plot with Portlandian soil of aged limestone that lies in the shadow of the great Montmain vineyard. The Chablis, Vieilles Vignes and Montmains ‘Butteaux’ wines are grown in Kimmeridgian soils comprised of limestone, clay and marine fossils (from the area’s history as a sea floor). 
VARIETAL: 100% Chardonnay
VINEYARD: 50 year old vines; in Courgis, considered one of the most mineral areas of Chablis, with Kimmeridgian soil (Jurassic period)
WINEMAKING: Traditional fermentation with native yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks
AGING: 12-18 months in stainless steel
TASTING NOTES: Pale yellow color with green reflections. Clear and pure nose that develops as the wine ages. The mouth is well balanced with the typical minerality of Chablis well represented. 

Groth Sauvignon Blanc 2017

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Valley Floor Sauvignon Blanc from one of Oakville’s top grower/producers. Medium straw and star-bright. Mandarin, lime and grapefuit aromatics intermingle with tropical fruit, grass, wet stone and asparagus. Very energetic on the palate. Full-throttle citrus attack, followed by a seemingly soft midpalate leading to a crisp, herbaceous and bitter finish. Lipsmackingly fresh and DYING for food. Think goat cheese, halibut and beef stroganoff. W.M.

L’Ermitage Brut 1997

Top bottling from Roederer Estate’s Mendocino property in the Anderson Valley. 50/50 Pinot/Chard topped with a “reserve dosage” aged at least 5yrs in French oak before an additional five months of bottle ageing before release. A gentle layer of fine bubbles appear upon pouring but quickly dissipate, revealing a medium-concentrated gold wine showing its maturity with rather dull reflections. True to the hot ’97 growing season, ripe, even baked bartlett pear and golden apple abound on the nose, along with hazelnut, brioche, butterscotch and toffee. Rich, full and broad on the attack, but cut nicely with a brilliant acidity that makes for quite an energetic finish for such a seemingly developed wine. Surprisingly complex, definitely enjoy this sparkler with rich dishes. Entrées, ideally. W.M

The Mendocino Ridge AVA is coastal with cool climate and high altitude located in the Mendocino County. It goes from the Pacific Ocean inland to the Anderson Valley.

Chateau Haut Brion 2003

The Bordeaux wine region is located in the southwest of France, with the city of Bordeaux as its business center. The success of Bordeaux are its geological foundation of limestone with a lot of calcium, the soil is composed of Gravel (left bank), sandy stone and clay (right bank) and the affluence of the Gironde river and its tributaries, the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers bringing with their waters an Oceanic influence.

These rivers define the areas where Bordeaux is made:

  • The Right Bank: is located right of the Dordogne river close to the city of Libourne. The main grape here is Merlot and the most famous communes are St.Emilion and  Pomerol.
  • Entre-Deux-Mers: between two seas (meaning the rivers).
  • The Left Bank: located on the left of the Garonne river and south of Bordeaux can be divided into 2 sub-regions: Graves and Medoc, the main grape is Cabernet Sauvignon and the most famous communes that produce First Growth Chateauxfrom the 1855 Classification are: Margaux, Paulliac, St. Estephe, St. Julien, Haut-Medoc and Pessac-Leognan the latter producing some quality Sauvignon Blanc blended with Semillon. South of Pessac-Leognan is Sauternes, famous for the botrytise wines made with Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscatelle
Haut Brion
This historic first growth Bordeaux (Thomas Jefferson’s favorite) is developing quite nicely, reaching its prime. The wine is nearly black and turbid in appearance. Very musky aromatics; picture drying black fruits being rolled down a dusty gravel road. Surprisingly round and lifted on the palate as the tannins feel mature and considerably soft; dark, brooding midpalate comes to a finish dominated by bitter, damp earth minerality. Probably best to enjoy with a ribeye steak within the next five years.W.M