2018 Merry Edwards
Meredith Pinot Noir
2018 Merry Edwards Meredith Pinot Noir: Merry Edwards has a long legacy of achievements in winemaking within the Russian River Valley. In her 5th decade of winemaking, Merry is one of the leading women in the industry with many accolades to her name. The Meredith Estate is among her proudest achievements and a project that began in 1998 addressing every detail in the vineyard from the ground up. Floral notes of rose petals and purple violets reveal a rich and exotically structured Pinot Noir. There are savory notes of earth and mineraity woven between complex layers of warm, mixed black fruits and ripe tannins. It is laced with a hint of dark cocoa and freshness at the end. The finish is long and youthful, rewarding those that are patient.
2018 Merry Edwards Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc: This late harvest wine is the first from the Maefield Vineyard planted by Merry in 2015. The bright pale yellow color is deceiving as this unctuous wine reveals grandiose aromas of apricot blossom, beeswax and caramelized ginger. On the entry the wine soars from the glass with dried white peach layered with almond paste. As you turn the corner, the wine finishes refreshing with a touch of acidity making it seem like you had an out of body experience.
2018 Paul Hobbs
Russian River Valley
Paul Hobbs has built his winery’s portfolio from the ground up on a foundation of strong, collaborative relationships with the growers of some of Napa’s and Sonoma’s most historic properties. Minimally invasive winemaking techniques is his approach for producing wines that express their vineyard origins with utmost finesse, complexity and authenticity.
Initially hired by Robert Mondavi for his advanced understanding of oak aging, Paul was soon promoted to the inaugural Opus One winemaking team. Afterwards, Paul joined Simi Winery as winemaker before going on to consult for Peter Michael and Lewis Cellars. He continues to be a leading source of information on viticulture and advisor to winemaking around the globe. During this time, nearly 30 years ago, Paul had a vision to craft vineyard designated wines from compelling sites in California. As so the adventure began with the debut release of the 1991 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2018 Russian River Valley Chardonnay from Paul Hobbs leads off with a pearlized golden hue in the glass. The nose has a bouquet of caramelized pineapple, orange peel, honeysuckle, spicy notes and there is a hint of toasted almonds. The palate is rich, layered that carries some weight but still has incredible balance. This gorgeous chardonnay finishes with acidity that is vibrant, has freshness and long. An amazing Russian River Valley Chardonnay.
By Perry Miroballi
From master craftsman David Ramey, this red blend is a composite of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon,20% Merlot, 14% Malbec, 12% Petit Verdot and a touch of Syrah and Cabernet Franc from various appellations in Napa Valley and Sonoma. The Ramey Claret follows the Bordelaise model of blending different Bordeaux varietals to achieve one distinctive goal. The color is deep cherry with plum edges. The aromatics combine blackberry, ripe cherry, violets, cedar and saddle leather with an earthy edge. There is a whisper of nutmeg and vanilla. The palate is medium-bodied with layers of ripened fruit that adds to the Claret’s complexity. The tannins are there but finely grained and juicy. The fresh acidity and minerality help the finish remain long and caressing. This has been one of my staple California reds going back to the 2007 vintage. The quality year after year is mostly consistent regardless of the vintage. This is the mark of great winemaking by David Ramey. It shows well young but will age beautifully 3 + years.
By Perry Miroballi
2017 Calera deVilliers
Vineyard Pinot Noir
Calera’s Mt Harlen Vineyards are located in the Gavilan Mountains 25 miles east of the Monterey Bay. The site was chosen for its limestone soils and ideal climate. At an elevation of 2,000 feet it is among the highest and coolest vineyards sites in California.
Made in 100% French Oak, the color is dark black cherry, which persists in the aromas out of the glass along a bouquet of currant, cranberry, tea and cassis, that is rare in a pinot noir but which I found very pleasant! The body is medium but layered and juicy. The journey in the palate of this complex and wonderfully crafted pinot noir continues with accents of pepper and tobacco. The tannins are fine-grained and the finish is elegant and long.
By Perry Miroballi
2018 Alloro Vineyard
Chehalem Mountains, Oregon
Alloro is the Latin and Italian word for laurel, the evergreen plant that is said to symbolize immortality in ancient times and a symbol of peace and victory today. Alloro Vineyard is situated on Laurel Ridge, in the Chehalem Mountains, just north of Newberg in Sherwood. David Nemarnik is the founder and vineyard manager. Established in 1999, the 78 acre property (28 acres of vines) is planted to Pommard and Dijon clones of Pinot Noir Dijon. Located in the western reaches of the Chehalem Mountains, the summer days linger leading the wines to have a more generous fruit profile. The wines are rich in color and textured.
The color in the glass is bright ruby. The wine reveals wonderful aromas ripe cherries, red raspberry, freshly picked flowers, cinnamon, clove and a hint of mint. This wine is not a shy Pinot Noir. It is full-bodied, well-crafted and very expressive. What is remarkable is that this wine reveals a silkiness and acidity that is mouthwatering on the finish and makes you want more. It will age up to 5 years in the bottle but why wait!
By Perry Miroballi
2019 Aperture Chenin Blanc
2018 Sonoma County Red Blend
Aperture Chenin Blanc: Jesse Katz, named by the Wine Spectator as a “rising star,” is winemaker and owner of Aperture Cellars. Jesse has been influenced by Bordeaux-styled winemaking as he sets his sights on success making wines from Sonoma County. His winery rests on a 32-acre parcel in Healdsburg, California. The vineyards for this Chenin Blanc were originally planted in the 1940’s in Clarksburg, California. This barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc is a floral Loire Valley look-a-like. The vibrant bouquet of white flowers and honeysuckle pulls you in after the first sip. The wealth of orange and apple blossom fruit is richly crafted but not weighty and impeccably balanced with freshness. Had this style been produced years ago, it would have become the megastar of white varietals. There is a lot of happiness in this bottling.
Aperture Sonoma County Red Blend: This blend of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 22% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot is sourced from clay-loam hillside vineyards in Alexander Valley. It is overly generous with a ripe red fruit-driven style infused with cassis, sweet baking spices and graphite. This sensuous wine reveals a mid-palate that is lush and velvety. This Right Bank-styled wine is bestowed with a long and memorable finish.