My pick this week is a wonderful Pinot Noir from the Brittan Vineyard, located in the McMinnville AVA of the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The Brittan vineyard is comprised of roughly 28 acres of hillside vineyard on fractured basalt soils. The Gestalt block is a tiny section of southwest-facing vines that bear the brunt of the wind that comes in from the Van Duzer Corridor, resulting in small, concentrated berries, and a yield of only 1 ton per acre. I tasted this wine for the first time last week and it was a revelation. A medium ruby in color, the wine has expressive aromas of black raspberry and plum, with truffle, dried sage and anise. It is on the palate that this Pinot Noir really expresses itself, with deep fruit and a distinct volcanic minerality, enveloped by a gorgeous, velvet mouthfeel and very fine-grained tannins. This is at once intellectual and sensual. A truly outstanding wine that is drinking perfectly now and will cellar for up to 10 years. Only 370 cases produced. Congratulations to winemaker Robert Brittan for this great effort.
Available only in 3-Packs for $185 (with free Bay Area delivery) ORDER TODAY
DouxVin Wine Strategies presented a Best of Italy Wine Dinner at Old Vine Kitchen and Bar last Tuesday (March 12), and the sold out event was a huge success. I presented and spoke about 10 wines spanning the length of the Italian peninsula, with accompanying cuisine by Chef Mark McDonald.
The highlights included a beautiful seafood salad with the best octopus I have had outside of Italy, with a flight of white wines that ranged from Monchiero Carbone Arneis to the great Terlano Pinot Bianco Vorberg, always a favorite of mine. The next dish was a deceptively simple Tuscan bean preparation, that, accompanied by a La Pederzana Lambrusco Puntamora 2007, might have been the hit of the evening. For good measure we also poured the 2013 Fossacolle Brunello di Montalcino which provided a full-bodied counterpoint to the dish.
Braised short rib in Barolo wine was next up, with a flight of red wines that included an outstanding 2011 Mastroberardino Taurasi Reserva, the always crowd-pleasing 2014 Orma Toscana, and of course a Barolo, the 2014 Ceretto. That Mastroberardino just might have won the round.
A cheese plate including teleggio and pecorino romano was accompanied by the 2012 Secondo Marco Recioto della Valpolicella, a beautifully sweet wine with incredible depth and length. A great way to end an epic evening of Italian food and wine.
Thanks to Chef Mark McDonald, co-owner Kate Perry, and their amazing staff for helping to make this a wonderful evening.
We are looking forward to another great dinner at Old Vine Kitchen and Bar on April 9th, where I will present 10 wines that I call “The New California.” (Reserve your place)
DouxVin welcomes you to a new standard in a Wine Club, personally curated by Master Sommelier Peter Neptune. Once a quarter, experience a unique wine adventure through a six bottle selection of wines from around the world. Our philosophy is reflected in each club; from Enjoy or Explore to Indulge – We feature diligently sourced, small production, interesting and special wines, mostly from family-owned wineries, their artisanship and passion reflected in each bottle. Regardless of which level you choose, each club is designed to ensure value and includes sales tax and shipping/delivery.
$150 quarterly. Partnering with a prominent chef who provides us with a favorite recipe, Peter curates six different wines to pair perfectly with that dish. These selections are wonderful, accessible wines for everyday drinking that over deliver for the price.
$500 quarterly. Based upon a theme, be it varietal, region or wine style, Peter curates six wines to take you on a global journey of discovery. This club includes boutique wineries and low production wines drawn from Peter’s extensive travels and experiences, wines that you will be proud to serve with that special dinner, whether for two or ten!
$1000 and up quarterly. Peter will personally connect with you to customize the perfect selection of world class, distinctive and interesting wines. Indulge your passion for the best wines from around the world, from exceptional examples to drink today, or collectables to age in your cellar.
One of our favorite discoveries has been the Pestoni Family winery, and their Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Founded in 1892 and now managed by brothers Andy and Greg Pesonti. The Pestoni Howell Mountain Cabernet is 100 percent estate grown on organic vineyards, at elevations that ranges from 1,600 to 2,400 feet. The rocky volcanic soils and weather conditions are challenging, but worth the extra effort as the vineyards produce wines with outstanding flavor, intensity and aging properties.
Susan King, Sommelier, tasting notes:
This 2013 vintage wine is aging exceptionally. It has a deep and concentrated dark bramble and dried blueberry notes with mocha and earthy qualities. No guess work as to where this Cabernet Sauvignon was grown. The structure and body of this wine speak of the Howell Mountain Appellation. This is an age worthy wine but also drinkable today. Pair with Prime Rib, or Filet Mignon with Black Pepper. This is a special bottle of wine, that celebrates a special evening.
The Finger Lakes region of New York State is, without question, the premier growing area in the United States for the noble Riesling grape. Forge Cellars' first vintage was in 2011, and they have amassed a litany of positive press since then, making the Top 100 List of Wine Spectator last year with their Riesling Classique (Winemaker Louis Barruol had the distinction of landing two wines in the Top 100 – the Forge Riesling at #31 and his Ch. de St. Cosme Gigondas at #5!)
Forge Cellars is made up of three like-minded and passionate friends with a common goal: to grow grapes and handcraft wines of interest and value that perfectly balance minerality, aromatics and fruit to reflect the exceptional Finger Lakes terroir. Each vintage is viewed as an opportunity to express the region — to reflect its soils, its cool climate and hillside lake terroirs.
Forge Cellars represents everything I and DouxVin love about wine – family owned estates, meticulous winegrowing and winemaking; organic farming and every single aspect is performed by hand – harvesting, sorting, pressing…everything.
The winery produces three Dry Rieslings. The Classique is their most important wine, and speaks of the terroir of East Seneca Lake, the style of Forge and the pure expression of each vintage. The Single Vineyard wine is a selection of a specific barrel lot where the vintage and the vineyard come together to express something special. The Les Allies is the result of meticulous barrel selection, where individual wines have evolved under natural, slow fermentation to reveal a unique personality and character.
2016 Forge Cellars Riesling Classique: bright medium gold. Lime zest, peach and fresh pear aromas segue to beautifully crisp, clean palate that focuses on ripe lime and mandarin flavors. This is indeed dry, with a refreshing minerality and lots of back-end depth. An outstanding Riesling that would pair well with Asian flavors and smoked salmon or trout.
2015 Forge Cellars Riesling Sawmill Creek Vineyard: only 100 cases produced of this terroir-driven wine. Medium gold, this has notes of dried honey and hazelnuts, with apricot and lime on the palate. Again, absolutely dry, with a rich mouthfeel framing steely minerality. This would pair well with fish dishes like trout or swordfish.
2015 Forge Cellars Riesling Les Allies: bright gold, with yellow highlights. This has notes of golden apple and tangerine, with an nice almond blossom overtone. This is brilliantly focused, with lime and tangerine flavors and a hint of nectarine. Again, bone dry, and that racy minerality lasts throughout the long finish.
These wines are stunning examples of Dry Riesling made with meticulous care. They are eminently drinkable today and will reward 3-5 years of cellaring, where their complexity and depth will emerge even further.
DouxVin is running a special offer on these wonderful Rieslings from Forge Cellars. There are very limited quantities of these wines available. We have a 3 pack available at one bottle of each wine - $75.00. Tax included and free shipping in the Bay Area. (buy here)
Having recently been the invigilator at a number of wine exams for both the Court of Mater Sommeliers and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), I have noticed that in the blind tasting section of the exams that many students continue to make a crucial error. They take one sniff of the sample, decide that they know what the wine is, then proceed to create a tasting note for the fictional wine in their head, usually missing key components of the wine that are in the glass.
One of the hardest things about blind tasting is to ignore this tendency. It is important to explore the wine with a clear, unbiased approach that lets you identify the key components in a wine’s aroma and structure to help you come to a deductive conclusion as to what the wine could be.
I think that this approach is also important to the wine consumer. We all have a tendency to see a wine superficially, almost imposing upon a wine the qualities that we expect it to have. One of the great joys of wine is the exploration and discovery of different aromas, flavors, textures and styles, from potentially thousands of different grape varieties and sources.
Keeping an open mind will take you down paths that you perhaps never thought you would go – and you may end up finding that you were stuck in a “wine rut” and that there is a way to get out of it – by freeing your mind and letting wine speak to you.
Have a question for our Master Somm? Write Peter: Peter@DouxVin.com
Every year, it is our pleasure to host Paolo Scavino in January, on their annual trip to Northern California. This year, we enjoyed the company of Elisa Scavino herself, and her new Worldwide Ambassador, Andrea Ostorero.
Before we even begin to share our experience with the new 2015 vintage of Paolo Scavino wines, we just have to share what a joy it is to work with Elisa and her team. Thoughtful, kind, knowledgeable, fun, authentic – these are only a few of the adjectives that describe the Scavino family and team. Paolo Scavino is what we love at DouxVin, family owned estates and winemakers, putting their pride and passion in every single bottle.
Enrico Scavino together with the daughters Enrica and Elisa, fourth generation, run the family Estate.
The Barolo wines of Scavino are world class. Elisa shared their philosophy of selling wine to the BULK market for anything that does not meet their standards – including from every single Cru, and Rocche dell’Annunziata as well. That is a commitment to quality that is unparalleled.
The 2015 vintage is excellent, and every Barolo lover will be delighted with this vintage. It is fruitier and more expansive than the 2014 vintage. All the wines were stunning, and especially the Cannubi and Bric del Fiasc vineyards. The Bricco Ambrogio and Monvegliero vineyards have a softer, gentler style. One of Susan’s favorite Barolo vineyards is Ravera, and it was wonderful to have this in the Scavino line up for the first time. To say it was amazing, would be an understatement.
Paolo Scavino Cru wines sell out every year, and these are limited quantity wines. If you are interested, subscribe to DouxVin down below so we can send you the limited time pricing on these wines.
DouxVin is pleased to welcome Peter Neptune, Master Sommelier, to our team. Peter is one of only 274 Master Sommeliers in the world. Our private clientele, be they everyday consumers or serious collectors, stand to benefit from Peter’s involvement in DouxVin’s personalized wine strategies. As one of the world’s foremost wine education professionals, Peter will lead enjoyable and educational programs for DouxVin’s consumer and corporate clients.
DouxVin specializes in wine experiences from unique events and wine discovery tastings, to educational programs, featuring diligently sourced, small production, interesting and special wines. With the expertise of Neptune, DouxVin plans to broaden its procurement of these highly-regarded, hard-to-find wines from around the world, enhance its client wine experiences and further develop its wine education and seminar programs.
Peter aims to apply his talents in Wine Education, consulting, training, buying strategies and more for our DouxVin clients. He believes that joining DouxVin presents a wonderful opportunity to expand our wine experience offerings, support clients in developing custom cellars and add more to the mix and help expand our Corporate Customer Appreciation and Team Building Programs.
DouxVin expects to leverage Peter’s knowledge, exuberance and skills to further build upon our high-touch, customized wine consulting services and events. Peter will curate wine selections to suit everyday wine enjoyment as well as special occasion and investment wines. Few have the ability of Peter to entertain and educate our customers through amazing experiences that will add to their wine enjoyment.
To reach Peter to learn more about how he can curate a unique wine experience or provide guidance for what to drink or collect, contact Peter directly 📩 Peter@DouxVin.com
Media Enquiries: Katie Calhoun/CALHOUN & COMPANY COMMUNICATIONSemail@example.com
I had the distinct pleasure this week of having lunch with Chris Forbes of Taylor Fladgate who was in San Francisco to promote their excellent portfolio of Port from: Taylor Fladgate; Croft, Fonseca and Wiese & Krohn. This was a wonderful afternoon at Boulevard on San Francisco’s Embarcadero and I was amazed at how well these wines paired with our food—Port is clearly not only for dessert!
We began with the lovely and lively Taylor Fladgate Chip Dry White Port. As pleasant as it was alone as a sipper, it took on new life in the PortoTonica (1 part white port, 2 parts tonic water and a sprig of mint) such a refreshing and enjoyable aperitif.
We dived right in with the Croft Ruby Porto. This full fruit flavored wine was the perfect beginning to our Port journey while we waited for our food. We quickly moved on the Fonseca Bin 27 Port, a luscious wine that I learned is the most popular Ruby Port sold in the U.S. I can taste why. Our final wine before the food arrived was the slightly drier, more delicate 2012 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Porto which clearly benefited from waiting for its time in bottle.
The Snake River Farms Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with porcini aioli, pickled shiitakes, marcona almonds, porcini tuille & parmesan arrived just in time to embrace the Croft 7 Year Old Reserve Tawny Porto, full of dried fruit, fig and nutty flavors that matched perfectly with the ridiculously tasty Wagyu. Next up was the Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port somewhat drier than the Croft but with similar nutty characteristics that complemented the earthiness of the porcini flavors.
At this point my duck confit arrived. Unfortunately, I was now so enthralled by the wines I became lax in my note taking about the food and order of the remaining wines. I just relaxed to enjoy the food, wine and company. I do remember the duck was terrific and paired exceptionally well with the next flight of wines. These included: the 2016 Fonseca Vintage Porto that presented the deepest garget color and was vibrant and lively, still tannic with food-pleasing spiciness; the Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny, which was superb and a lovely progression from the earlier tasted 10 Year Fladgate; the Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny, with 13-14 years of ageing, whose gorgeous 18th Century replica one-liter bottle was almost as impressive as this splendid wine.
We concluded the meal with espresso and caramel candies complemented perfectly by the 1982 Wiese & Krohn Porto Colheita which demonstrated a lovely caramel color and nose. I love dried apricots and found an essence of them in this gorgeous wine experience that I described to Chris as “Dancing on the Tongue™️.” I told him he could use this description for a small licensing fee!
While I love Port, like most lovers of sweet wine, I usually indulged in Port with dessert or as an after dinner libation. Today, especially now that modern science has medication to prevent gout, it was such a pleasure to discover that Port is entirely appropriate and quite enjoyable as a midday accompaniment to a flavorful lunch.
Drink up-next year they’ll make more.