The Wines of Navarra Revisited

ART Navarra LogoNavarra is Spain’s northernmost political region, bordering France, with which it shares the Pyrenées mountains. It’s a diverse region with a highly varied topography that includes snow-capped mountains, the plains of the Ebro River valley, and even Europe’s only desert. It offers an incredible diversity of growing conditions, which explains in part the relatively large number of varietals that can be grown well. We traveled to Navarra for our Report #18 Wines of Navarra, which we published several years ago. Recently, the Navarra D.O. initiated an effort to improve the marketing of Navarra wines in the US (see www.navarrawine.us) .  It thus seems an opportune time to reacquaint ART Navarra Mapourselves with some of the wineries that we visited a few years ago. The wines we review here are popularly priced wines of extremely good value. In addition to these wines, Navarra produces wines that compete with the best in the world, as we showed in our earlier report.

Wineries and Their Wines Continue reading

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Gary Farrell Winery: More New Releases from the 2014 Vintage in Russian River Valley

GFW_CREST_HIRES__2_Here are more stunning releases from the 2014 vintage by Gary Farrell Winery.   The 2014 vintage in Russian River Valley was one of the finest in recent memory, notwithstanding the continuation of drought conditions.  Many of the vineyards experienced lower yields, smaller berries and concentrated flavors.  Mild spring and summer weather provided ideal growing conditions that are reflected in the freshness and balance of many of the wines, both the Chardonnays and Pinot Noir.

Gary Farrell 2014 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay Russian River Valley ($60) 93  The 2014 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is a delicate wine that reveals light tropical aromas and flavors. Beautifully focused and precise, it is refined and elegant with crisp acidity on the palate and a long  lasting finish.   Gary Farrell 2014 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard Sonoma Valley ($60) 91   The 2014 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard exhibits a straw gold color and  aromas of  ripe orchard fruit and light toasted oak. Aged 14 months in 40% new French oak, it is rich-tasting with baked yellow fruit flavors and reveals good acidity on the finish.   Gary Farrell 2014 Chardonnay Westside Farms Russian River Valley ($50) 93  This is an opulent Chardonnay rich in tropical fruit and toasted oak aromas and flavors. It reveals a beautiful texture on the palate and is mouth filling with hints of stone fruit. Aged 8 months in 40% new French oak, it is a gorgeous wine with a long elegant finish.  Gary Farrell 2014 Pinot Noir McDonald Vineyard Russian River Valley ($65) 90 The Pinot Noir McDonald Vineyard offers ripe red berry fruit on the attack. Light-bodied with high acidity on the mid-palate, it reveals moderate fruit flavors and good concentration with a persistent finish. Aged 16 months in 40% New French oak.  Gary Farrell 2014 Pinot Noir Martabella Vineyard Russian River Valley ($60) 92 The Pinot Noir Martabella Vineyard is endowed with pure and ripe dark red berry fruit and pan grillé aromas. On the palate it is nicely balanced with a rich mouth feel, good acidity and notable freshness. Aged 16 months in 40% new French oak, it is beautifully balanced and long on the finish.  Gary Farrell 2014 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($75) 93+  The 2014 Pinot Noir Gaps’s Crown displays an attractive light ruby color and is pleasantly aromatic with fresh red berry fruit flavors. It has high acidity and freshness on the palate with good density and a long finish.  Gary Farrell 2014   Pinot Noir Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley ($60) 92+ The 2014 Pinot Noir Bacigalupi Vineyard exhibits ripe cherry aromas and flavors with a hint of pan grillé. Sourced from one of the Russian River Valley’s classic vineyards, it is endowed with a silky texture and elegant mouth feel and is long on the finish, aged 16 months in 40% new French oak.

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Dutton Goldfield New Releases from the 2014-2016 Vintages

Green Valley Vineyard

Green Valley Vineyard

The Spring 2017 new releases from Sonoma County’s Dutton Goldfield winery include a sumptuous Pinot Blanc, vibrant Riesling, and spicy, very appealing Gewürztraminer from the 2016 vintage; a classic Green Valley Chardonnay and Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from the 2015 vintage; and 2014 single vineyard bottlings of Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel. The 2016 vintage was excellent with exceptionally clean and flavorful fruit; yields were low overall but fruit quality was very high, and that’s reflected in the white wines we review here. The 2015 vintage was the fourth year of the drought and one of the earliest seasons on record, but fruit quality was outstanding once again. We reviewed several other 2014 Dutton Goldfield wines in an earlier article. Continue reading

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Enkidu Winery: New Releases

Enkidu Enkidu is a small artisanal winery owned and operated by Phil Staehle.  It produces a wide variety of handcrafted wines of high quality and originality from its custom crush facility in Sonoma,  sourcing grapes from top vineyards such as Bedrock and Alder Springs, and following minimalist wine making techniques. A student of the late Dick Graff of the Chalone Group, Phil honed his wine making craft at Carmenet Vineyards from the mid-1980s to the mid-90s before launching Enkidu in 2003. Continue reading

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Utiel-Requena: New Releases from an Historic Spanish Wine Region

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Utiel-Requena, located west of the city of Valencia, is one of Spain’s up and coming wine regions. It has 35 thousand hectares (86 thousand acres) under vine, almost double that of California’s Napa Valley and over one hundred producers. Long … Continue reading

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China Replaces US as Chile’s Top Wine Market

CHILE ExportsAs we noted in our recent report on Chile’s Premium Wine Revolution, Chile’s wine exports have grown at a phenomenal rate. Rapidly increasing exports to China is one of the reasons. Now, Wines of Chile reports that the value of wine exported to China in 2016 exceeded that of wine exported to the US for the first time ever. As recently as 2014 the value of Chile’s wine exports to the US was 75% higher than that to China. The growth in Chilean exports is partly due to the 2005 free trade agreement with China that eliminated duties on Chilean wine as of 2015. The Montesecano winery (publicity shown here) is just one of Chile’s many wineries benefiting from the expanding wine trade with China.

CHILE Montesecano China

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Saget La Perrière: New Releases from Pouilly, Sancerre, Chinon, and Muscadet

Saget LogoWe recently sat down with Arnaud Saget of Saget La Perrière to taste the latest releases of the wines his firm makes from estate vineyards at La Perrière in the Loire Valley and from long-term growers in Languedoc and elsewhere. Originally from Pouilly-sur-Loire, today the family’s estate vineyards run from Pouilly in the Centre Loire to Anjou [see map]. They produce a wide range of wines from entry level Vin de France wines to single vineyard wines from the Loire’s best growing areas. Le Château de la Mulonnière in Anjou is a relatively new domaine, acquired by the Saget family in 2003. Those wines are now being imported to the US for the first time, and we will review them later. Continue reading

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Chile’s Viña Tres Palacios: New Releases from Coastal Maipo

ART Tres Patricio Palacios

Patricio Palacios

Tres Palacios is a boutique family winery established by Patricio Palacios near Melpilla in Chile’s coastal range just 35 km from the Pacific Ocean. It is the only winery in the small Valle de Cholquí, a sub-valley of the Maipo with alluvial clay soils. It’s a 250 hectare estate with 100 hectares planted to vines. The winemaker, Camilo Rahmer, has been with Tres Palacios since its inception; he previously made wine at Cono Sur in Chile and in California. About 80% of the Tres Palacios production is exported, with the US as its principal market. The wines are good quality and exceptionally good values. The Cholquí icon wine shows outstanding quality. The US importer is William Skurnik. Continue reading

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Wrath Wines: New Releases from Monterey and the Santa Lucia Highlands

ART Wrath LogoSabrine Rodems (shown below with ceramic dolium) makes the excellent Monterey County wine at Wrath with the assistance of grower Steve McIntyre. Wrath Wines is located on the bench land overlooking the Salinas River and just across the river from the hometown (Salinas) of John Steinbeck, who, of course, wrote The Grapes of Wrath. Read more about Wrath in our earlier review articles on this blog and, also, in our Report # 29 The Wines of Monterey. Continue reading

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New Releases from Down Under: Zonte’s Footstep, 3 Sisters & A Brother, and Wakefield

A Wakefield Vineyard

Kangaroo Among the Vines (Wakefield)

Zonte’s Footstep

ART AU Zonte LabelZonte’s Footstep was established in 2003 in Langhorne Creek, located on the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide. We recently met up with Brad Rey, Director and Winemaker, to taste several of their new releases. Brad studied studied winemaking at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales. The US importer is Artisans & Vines. Continue reading

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