In the Archives section you can still find great deals on great wines that were offered in recent months. The wines listed below change often as the stock is depleted so get your sampler discounts while you can!
Double Cross everyone you know
this Holiday Season...
$39.99 with FREE Engraving!
Father Philip Florio
Frank D. Pagliaro
The Big 5-0!
Yo... Don't Touch My Shit!
I'm not one to tout the gimmicky vodka flavors here on North Union Street. You'll never find ridiculous concoctions like Peanut Butter & Jelly, Whipped Cream or Fruit Loops at FranksWine, sorry. I think that segment of the business is just wrong... it's totally marketed for the just-at-21-year-old-if-not-younger demographic. I'll leave that to the big-box stores.
Call me a purist.
Double Cross Vodka starts with spring water drawn 200' below the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia and blended with estate-grown organic Winter Wheat. It's distilled 7 times and then filtered 7 times. Talk about a smooth... this one is smoof as butta!
Dr. Jan Krak is the master distiller behind Double Cross which gets it's name from the ancient double cross symbol in the Slovak coat of arms.
"Everybody is always looking for the next innovation in vodka that creates that boutique product," says Krak. "In the '70s it was Smirnoff and Absolut in the '80s. Now it's Grey Goose. But as these brands grow in size they begin to become too commercial. They have to make so much of it and move to so many different distilleries they lose that uniqueness. We think we have a real opportunity, while we're still small enough, to be a real boutique brand in the next few years."
Krak chose FranksWine to be the first in Delaware
to offer FREE ENGRAVING on your own bottle!
Engraving text is limited to 20 characters and 2 lines.
Now how awesome will it be when you walk into your office on Christmas Eve with a black gift bag for everyone on your list with their own personalized bottle of Double Cross!
Order 12 or more bottles and get a $100 FranksWine
Gift Card for you to spend anyway you wish...
It's best to pre-order to guarantee delivery! FranksWine DOUBLECROSS! FREE Engraving for Pre-orders!!
(specify 20 characters in "comments" section of order form) $39.99 per bottle
Steals Wine for his Girl
on Valentine's Day!
Yes, you read it right! On Valentine's Day this now-famous - at least among my 3,520 facebook friends - assclown walked into Frank's Union Wine Mart on North Union Street to find a nice bottle of wine for his sweetheart. Scott and I both greeted the Phillies fan as he entered the shop and strolled into the wine room like countless others that day. Usually we'll give folks a few minutes to browse before we ask if they need help, but this classy wine aficionado had already picked out a bottle of Tuck Beckstoffer 2010 Est 75 Cabernet Sauvignon... nice selection, Mr Assclown! He proceeded to the counter with the bottle in his hand. Scott and I were both occupied with other customers at the time and we were not near the check-out counter. Mr Assclown waits impatiently for about 20 seconds, but decides that was too long... so he walks out with his girl's gift! How romantic. He didn't even stick around for his free Valentine's Day gift wrap. Scott followed him out only to see him hurriedly pulling out of the lot in his shiny white Volvo SUV.
This obviously irked the hell out of us especially after reviewing the surveillance video. Hmmm, what to do? Well, I posted a picture of Mr Assclown on Facebook and within 24 hours it was LIKED by 64 friends, hilariously commented on by 66 and passionately shared by 46 AND the story was picked up by DelawareOnline.com where 195 others shared it from that site. This guy is certainly getting around town!
Impressed and amused by everyone's interest I pulled out my iPhone the next morning and made a video and posted it to YouTube which so far has been viewed by 502 people... oh boy! I'm sure that number will double by the end of the day today!
Poorly-dressed Assclown Steals Wine!
So, what about Mr Assclown's wine of choice? How is it? I popped a bottle in his honor Saturday night... glad he has good taste in wine! So good in fact that I decided to buy a bunch of it and slap a nice discount on it. The Tuck Beckstoffer 2010 Est 75 Cabernet Sauvignon will be our featured wine for the week... If we can track down Mr Assclown he'll be at the shop pouring it all weekend!
Tuck Beckstoffer 2010 Est 75
Cabernet Sauvignon (Affectionately now known as "Assclown Cab") (Regularly priced at $24.99) $19.99 until it disappears!
The 2010 is a blend of vineyards from Lake and Napa Counties. Beckstoffer finds these diverse, high quality vineyards to compliment one another perfectly. The high altitude rocky vineyard sites in Lake County deliver angularity, complexity and austerity while the Napa Valley fruit provides deep concentration and focus.
This wine is dense and tremendously focused, with a wonderful nose and palate of cedar, blueberry, saddle leather and white pepper. The finish showcases a perfect balance of acid, tannin and sweet toasted oak. Meticulous, detail oriented winemaking and complete attention to detail has produced a wine of tremendous presence and complexity that must be tasted to be believed... just ask Mr Assclown!
AssClown Cab $19.99 per bottle!
Regularly priced at $24.99!! You Save $5.00...That's 20% Off!!!
Peter was just a young boy back in the late 80’s when his parent’s decided to purchase the 220 acre ranch just north of Santa Barbara that would later be known as Stolpman Vineyards. Peter and the developing vines have practically grown up together these past 20 years, and it is no stretch of the imagination that Peter’s life pursuits would eventually lead him back to his namesake roots-as Director of Operations of Stolpman Vineyards.
Having 220 acres as your own private playground inspired dirt wars and quad racing. When the boyhood rabble rousing finally wore off and Peter found himself in his teenage years he became involved in the more serious side of wine production, participating in pre-bottling blending sessions & punch downs (pictured below).
After high school, this astute young man found himself on the opposite coast, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown University. He immediately entered into management at an industrial supply company back in Los Angeles, always feeling the lure of his family’s vines just a couple hours away. Pete felt compelled to spend his weekends on the Central Coast soaking up as much knowledge of the industry as he could with Winemaker Sashi Moorman and Vineyard Manager Ruben Solorzano.
Peter awakened to the magic of the wine industry and informed his parents of his yearning for a career within the family business. Both hesitant and delighted by Peter’s growing passion in wine, Tom Stolpman was weary about just handing over the reigns of the vineyard to his hardworking son. Peter was encouraged to learn the ins & outs of this heart run industry - from production to sales. This propelled Pete on an adventure of a lifetime - making Shiraz in the Barossa Valley, Sangiovese in Chianti Classico and returning to California to work under Master Sommerlier Peter Neptune at the Henry Wine Group, one of the largest wine distributors on the West Coast. It was here that Peter was awarded Fine Wine Specialist of the Year in 2008 at 26 years old, the youngest salesman to receive this award to date. More importantly, he also met his fiancé, Jessica Simmons, here during training!
Today, leading with youthful passion and dedication, Peter is partner of Stolpman Vineyards, with his parents, Tom & Marilyn. He manages the day to day happenings, all wholesale markets and coordinates Sashi, Ruben and the Tasting Room, inspiring the pursuit of extraordinary vineyard crafted wines specializing in Rhone varietals... these are about as close to Rhone Valley that you’ll find outside of France, in fact, they’re more Rhone-style than California-style!
Stolpman 2010 Estate Syrah
Regularly Priced at $29.99 $19.99 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
2010 was one of Stolpman’s most challenging vintages (the most challenging, being the 2011!). A long, cool growing season over Spring and Summer was abruptly upset by a heat storm that pushed the mercury into the triple digits for consecutive days at the end of September. It was a real test of their dry farming, and fortunately, the vines passed the test with flying colors. The vineyard experienced some sun burn on the berries and a few scorched leaves, but the vines pulled from their very deepest roots to find water and keep themselves hydrated. It was miraculous to behold!
Glass-staining purple color! Deeply pitched aromas of black and blue fruits, incense, olive tapenade and fruitcake, with smoke and violet notes gaining power with air. Rich and broad but almost shockingly energetic, offering sweet, liqueur-like blackberry and boysenberry flavors and exotic spice and floral pastille qualities. Intense and focused on the extremely long finish, which strongly repeats the floral and spice notes. Although this wine will be enjoyable upon release, Peter is confident it will continue to give pleasure for 10+ years. 5,000 cases produced.
Stolpman 2010 La Cuadrilla
Regularly Priced at $24.99 $16.49 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
This 2010 vintage is a beautiful wine for early drinking... yum! 42% Syrah, 34% Grenache, 22% Petit Syrah and 2% Viognier are blended to tank before bottling to make this extremely versatile and delicious offering. Classic Southern Rhone aromas of sage brush, red & black fruits, fresh tilled earth and hint of summer jasmine.
It delivers a classic array of bright black cherry, black currant, violets, garrigue, and licorice on the nose. Beautifully intense and rich aromatically, it doesn’t lose a beat on the palate and is medium to full-bodied and loaded with fruit, showcasing notable purity, a voluptuous texture, and big, mouth coating tannin that emerges on the finish. 1,200 cases produced.
Stolpman 2010 Golden Point
Regularly Priced at $19.99 $13.49 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
This is Stolpman’s first release of Golden Point, an really cool blend of 64% Roussanne, 21% Chardonnay and 15% Sauvignon Blanc from their Estate vineyards. Inspiration for this wine comes from the white wines of the iconic
Domaine de la Grange des Peres in the South of France. This French winemaking estate was started just a few years before Stolpman, and shares many similarities: limestone soils, maritime climate and luminous sunlight filled days in the summer.
Laurent Vialle, the proprietor of Grange des Peres, and another fellow pioneer like Tom Stolpman, sums it up perfectly, “Nature gave us a partition of land. It is up to us to interpret it.” At Stolpman, this wine is one of the best interpretations of terroir - abundant sunlight (golden fruit), cool nights (vibrant acidity) and concentration with restraint (limestone soils).
This beauty is bright and fresh, displaying a classic profile of white peach, mineral, lime peel, and hints of flowers to go with a medium-bodied, pure, focused palate. This continues to build in the glass, and while there is beautiful richness and depth, it stays very classy and overall elegantly constructed. Copious notes of tangerine oil, ripe melon, honeysuckle and caramelized grapefruit jump from the glass of this wine with zesty acidity as well as purity... a gorgeous white! 380 cases produced.
Pat, Susan and I recently tasted through a lineup of insanely delicious Minervois reds with Jeff and Debra from one of our smaller wine suppliers - Lanterna.
I know when I see Jeff Sarfino walk through the door with a wine bag we're gonna taste the good shit! He doesn't waste our time - ever - with mediocre wines of which I have no interest.
Minervois is my new favorite wine region for big, gutsy reds that you want to drink in the Fall and Winter months. This area which is part of Languedoc - Roussillon is located in the countryside west of Montpellier. To enter this wine country choose to drive through the beautiful fortified town of Carcassonne. Going north you will feel like as if you were in Tuscany with wide open landscapes filled with olive trees and vines in a limestone soil.
The winery is Chateau Sainte Eulalie located near the Canal du Midi. Here the sun, exposure, climate and soil types have come together to give life to these unique wines.
Minervois red wines are deep and rich. Most of the time Syrah prevails, but when old Carignan are found there they can be the prominent grape. Blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, a light barrel aging will let them soften their tannins.
If you like licorice you will enjoy Minervois wines. I like to say that they remind me of those black sticks that I loved as a kid. I think it's so cool when you can put your nose into a glass and childhood memories shoot into your head!
Chateau Sainte Eulalie 2012
Minervois Rouge Plaisir Regularly Priced at $19.99 $14.99 with 6pack Sampler Purchase!
Pebbled top soil, with a high percentage of clay and limestone, rich in manganese. Exceptional "terroir" due to the nature of its soils and its exposure (terraced vineyard at 600' in altitude, facing south and sheltered from northwinds).
Beautiful color, deep and honest. Nose straight and precise, with notes of black fruit and licorice. The palate is dense with silky smooth tannins. Elegant with notes of black licorice and slightly spicy.
Long maceration of 15 days then maturing in new oak barrels for 12 months
A beautiful intense and deep color. Delicately oaky with ripe fruits and toasted nose. A fat attack that evolves a fine and powerful tannins, full-bodied. Lingering finish... full, rich and fleshy.
Chateau Sainte Eulalie 2011
Minervois Rouge Grand Vin Regularly Priced at $69.99 $49.99 with 6pack Sampler Purchase!
Cuvée from old vines (80-100 years) Carignan 40%, with 35% Syrah and 25% Grenache
20 days of fermentation, bottling in the Spring to preserve the flavor of the fruit. Aging in barrel for 18 months then in the bottles for 12 months.
Beautiful dress with purple highlights. Explosive nose of black fruit (blackberry, black cherry) and spices. Great mouthfeel with silky tannins and warm. Good persistence on the finish. Racy wine, very harmonious of black licorice and slightly spicy.
You'll want to put these in your cellar and just forget about them... OR you can decant the hell out of them for hours on end until they open up. We're the only shop in Delaware to get these... so scoop them up soon!
Sandrone 2010 Le Vigne Barolo
$179.99 per bottle ~ Limit One
100 Points ~ Antonio Galloni - Vinous "Sandrone's 2010 Barolo Le Vigne is one of the wines of the vintage, hands down. Rich, layered and utterly impeccable, the Le Vigne boasts stunning depth and richness. This is the second year in which Le Vigne includes fruit from Baudana which gives the wine a sense of volume and pure breadth it has never had before. Dried rose petal, tar, mint, wild flowers and cinnamon flow through to the multi-dimensional finish. The 2010 is a blend of fruit from Vignane and Merli, two historic sites for Le Vigne, while Cerretta and Conterni have been replaced by Baudana, a site in Serralunga that confers a level of depth, darkness and masculinity that has not been present in the past. Villero is the next vineyard that will appear in Le Vigne, starting in 2011. In the meantime, readers will not want to miss the 2010 Barolo Le Vigne, an epic achievement from the Sandrone family."
96 Points ~ Robert Parker - Wine Advocate
"The 2010 Barolo Le Vigne is composed from an assembly of fruit sourced from the townships of Barolo, Novello and Serralunga d'Alba. It reflects Barolo tradition in which, years ago, this noble wine was made from a wide assembly of fruit instead of single cru sites (as is the custom today). Bright cherry fruit, blackberry and creme de cassis segue to profound layers of licorice, spice, cola and anisette. It feels strong and tonic in the mouth with a pleasingly velveteen texture and a fresh dose of zesty acidity. Drink: 2017-2030."
Sandrone '10 Cannubi Boschis Barolo
$199.99 per bottle ~ Limit One
99 Points ~ Wine Enthusiast "Structured but extremely elegant, this magnificent Barolo opens with an intense fragrance of violet, rose, wild berry, leather, underbrush and balsamic notes. The delicious, focused palate delivers crushed black cherry layered with notes of exotic spices, licorice, sage and black pepper, perfectly balanced by assertive tannins and vibrant energy. It already boasts gripping depth, but this has serious aging potential."
97+ Points ~ Antonia Galloni - Vinous
"Tar, smoke, licorice, incense, blood orange and sweet spices are some of the many notes that emerge from the 2010 Barolo Cannubi Boschis. Today the 2010 is firing on all cylinders. The flavors are broad, rich and ample, with fabulous delineation, energy and class. A creamy, resonant finish laced with exotic floral and citrus notes only adds intrigue in this drop-dead gorgeous Barolo."
97 Points ~ Robert Parker - Wine Advocate
"The single-vineyard 2010 Barolo Cannubi Boschis speaks in confident tones at high volumes. First produced in 1985, Cannubi Boschis is among the first single vineyard cru expressions made in Barolo. Thirty-five-year-old vines enjoy south and southeast exposures at 250 meters above sea level. The long 2010 growing season has favored optimal tannin ripeness and fine complexity on the bouquet. This is one of the standout wines of this celebrated vintage. It is well worth putting this wine at the back of your cellar where it will be untouched for years. Drink: 2017-2030."
Sandrone 2012 Valmaggiore
$59.99 per bottle ~ Limit Three
Valmaggiore is the product of Luciano's incredible passion for the Nebbiolo grape variety and the desire to show just how its expression can vary depending on the soil in which it is cultivated. Just 15 miles away from Barolo, in the Roero region, Nebbiolo produces a lighter structure and ripe, smooth tannins that are not unlike those of Pinot Noir. The wine drinks well from about age 6 to 12 but will easily last longer in the best vintages. This is not a "baby Barolo" or a second wine at all - it is a distinct interpretation of a completely different geographic winemaking zone. The wine shows delicious floral elements and red fruits, wrapped around a medium-weight structure with a long, delicious finish and modulated, ripe tannins.
You may be dreaming of pumpkin spiced lattes, apple cider donuts and hayrides now that September is here. But before you start preparing for sweater weather, get in your last taste of Summer this weekend here on North Union Street with a Kermit Lynch Summer lineup of 2 whites and 2 reds from Italy and France!
Scott Biggs and I chose a cool foursome to transition your tastebuds from Summer to Fall. That takes some doin'! We're not just gonna throw random wines your way... Scott and I took the time to taste through dozens of whites and reds to come up with the perfect selections for the FranksWine KERMIT 12-pack to end your Summer!
Scott Biggs will be pouring this foursome on North Union Street on Saturday from 11am - 3pm! As usual there will be a nice spread of cheeses and charcuterie from our DiBruno Bros section and some dark chocolate from our Ethereal Confections cabinet to pair with the wines. The FranksWine Crew will pour the same lineup on Sunday from 12noon - 4pm!
Azienda Santa Barbara 2014 Verdicchio
Regularly Priced at $14.99 $11.09 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
For those long familiar with Kermit's French portfolio, I'll call this wine the Muscadet of Italy. With its inviting aromatics of yellow fruits, cut grass, and sea breeze, its dark straw yellow robe, and its pleasant roundness coupled with bright acidity, briny salinity, and invigorating finish, this checks all my boxes for well-made, traditional Melon de Bourgogne from the Sèvre et Maine. But it's not. It is Italian to the core, from a region with a centuries-old tradition of growing the great Verdicchio grape, and makes an excellent apéritif or a tasty and fitting accompaniment to seafood and light pastas. Buon appetito.
Benevelli 2013 Dolcetto d'Alba La Costa
Regularly Priced at $19.99 $14.79 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Though Dolcetto often takes a back seat to Nebbiolo in Piemonte's grape hierarchy, it would be a mistake to overlook its virtues. For starters, its versatility in the vineyard makes it a godsend from a grower's point of view: it ripens pretty much anywhere, allowing vignerons to reserve their best sites for the late-ripening Nebbiolo. Additionally, Dolcetto is always drinkable upon release, giving producers a source of immediate revenue while more so-called serious wines complete their barrel aging regimen. Finally, it provides locals-as well as we overseas Italian wine fanatics-with a delicious, unpretentious red whose excellent value and total versatility at table make it a great everyday gulper. Winemaker Massimo Benevelli might enjoy his Dolcetto with a Piemontese specialty like
carne crude (thinly sliced raw veal), but its juicy blackberry tones and soft, gratifying finish make it perfect for anything from pizza to hot chorizo.
Henri Perrusset 2014 Macon Village
Regularly Priced at $19.99 $14.79 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Thanks to a fateful chance encounter, Kermit began importing Henri Perrusset's delicious Mâcons, like this old-vine bottling from his cru village of Farges. The fossil-strewn limestone soils here give a Chardonnay with rich flavors of ripe white fruit, backed by a wiry mineral feel. It is a definite crowd-pleaser-perfect for kicking off an evening among friends-that delivers considerable value for such a fulfilling and refreshing white Burgundy.
KL 2014 Cypress Cuvee Cotes du Rhone
Regularly Priced at $16.99 $12.59 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
When a wine is labeled "Blended by Kermit Lynch" or "Cuvée Selectionnée par Kermit Lynch", it can mean a couple of things. Kermit might arrive at a winery that has wines in barrel, in foudres, in stainless steel or cement, that has old vine cuvées and young, that has cuvées of different grape varieties to choose from etc. He tastes everything and then begins blending to try and come up with something special. Blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. Delicious and versatile, it over ows with spice and smokey aromas. Loaded with character and sports great structure. Blackberry and cherry dominate this medium-body, old-fashioned Côtes du Rhône. Pairs well with just about anything, and is sustainably farmed.
Bill Green, Lisa Short and Karen Stauffer on a sunny Sonoma
day during a wine-buying trip in June
Many of you have seen Karen here on North Union Street and she's likely recommended one of her favorite beverages to you: Champagne! She's been a long-time part-timer at FranksWine which nicely compliments her full-time job at the Delaware Restaurant Association.
A few months back she asked me if I'd be able to hook her up with some tasting appointments for her first visit out to wine country with her friend Lisa who she worked with at Dogfish Head back in the day. I put her in contact with Bill Green who manages trade hospitality for a group of wineries under the Wilson Artisan Wineries umbrella - including deLormier, Pezzi King, Mazzocco Sonoma and Jaxon Keys which I wrote about last week.
Well, it looks like Karen now has some new favorites to recommend after spending 4 days out there... her top pick is Mazzocco Sonoma. I hadn't tasted their wines for many vintages, so I requested some samples, popped the corks, and I 100% agree with Karen's assessment... well done, Karen, thanks for the re-introduction!
Mazzocco Sonoma is a labor of love for Ken and Diane Wilson. When the opportunity arose for them to take over this undulating vineyard and winery sitting on a saddle between Dry Creek and Alexander Valley, there was no turning back.
Once again Ken's passion for vineyards and growing grapes brought him to this place. It was Ken's wisdom and vision that created the diversity of vineyard sources over the years and this was another piece of property not to be missed. The Lytton Springs vineyards (made famous by Paul Draper at Ridge Winery) provide premium quality fruit that allowed for the growth of single-vineyard Zinfandels to be created.
Winemaker Antoine Favero has a colorful personal history. He was born in the Champagne region of France (maybe that's why Karen likes these wines so much?!), but at an early age moved with his family to a Peruvian coastal fishing village in South America. When Antoine was nine years old, he and his family relocated to Northern California's wine country.
While attending the University of California at Davis, Antoine discovered enology and quickly developed a passion for the art and science of creating exceptional wines. He further honed his winemaking skills by working at several premier wineries, specializing in Bordeaux and Rhone varietals and Zinfandel. Over the last five years Antoine has made Mazzocco literally the talk of the town for his flavorful and unique Zinfandels.
Mazzocco 2012 Dry Creek Zinfandel
Regularly Priced at $29.99 $17.99 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Brambly flavors of blackberry, boysenberry and raspberry with a drop of spice greet the nose while the palate is loaded with dark berry fruit, cherry cola, and a smidge of pepper. At a whopping 15.5% abv this Zinfandel's core is framed with ripe tannins, accented with toasted almonds and cacao. It's blended with 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged in French Oak for 17 months. 1,700 cases produced.
Mazzocco 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Regularly Priced at $27.99 $16.79 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Deliciously balanced even at 14.5% abv! Essence of black currant and Bing cherry with dabs of chocolate truffle excite the nose while blackberry, raspberry and leather embrace the palate. This fruit-driven Dry Creek Cabernet is packed with fleshy tannins finishing with hints of French vanilla, cardamom, and vanilla notes. The wine is blended with 5% Cabernet Franc and barrel aged in French Oak for 18 months. 1,000 cases produced.
Mazzocco 2013 Chardonnay
Regularly Priced at $24.99 $14.99 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
100% Chardonnay from Alexander Valley aged in both stainless steel and French Oak. Vibrant flavors of pear, honeysuckle and vanilla bean lead the way to melon, key lime and French oak notes in the mouth. This delightfully crisp Chardonnay finishes with tropical fruit, kiwi and hints of lychee. 2,150 cases produced.
Frank, Jason Mantis of Bacchus, Chris Laveglia of Brassfield and Pat
If you want to be entertained free of charge Take a Drive over to North Union Street on any Tuesday and pop in on our weekly 2pm blind tasting.
Don't expect a quite and sterile setting with glasses lined up on a white table with us seated in classroom fashion. Here at FranksWine we're all about multi-tasking... in between customers, phone calls, and deliveries you'll find in-house somm Patrick Travis, long-time staffer Michael Marsh, myself and any other of our brave crew (Siobhan Gannon and Lori Amada have been known to join in on occasion) in our back receiving room swirling and sniffing our solid black Riedels holding yellow sticky pads to write down our guess. You'll hear raunch, expletives, razzing and a lot of name-calling going on.
23-year industry veteran Jason Mantis from Bacchus Importers is our staple wine rep who gets things going as he walks in with his bag-ful of wine. It's pretty amazing how at times I'm trying to make an initial determination whether the wine is white, red or pink. You think you know your shit until it's poured in a black glass!
We've had some customers and crew hang out to see and hear the raucous. I hear is pretty entertaining to watch and hear us hypothesize. I mumble to myself:
"it's not Cabernet, it's not Merlot, it's not Zinfandel, it's not from California or Australia. It's earthy, it's leathery, it's European. It's not Sangiovese, it's not Nebbiolo, it's not Italian. It's French. It's definitely not Burgundy, it's not Bordeaux. It's Syrah from the Rhone Valley... Northern Rhone...
So I throw my Sacagawea on the table (oh yeah, did I skip that part? Of course we're gambling here... GREAT, now we'll likely get busted!) and scribble down a producer I know Jason sells and assume it's current vintage: "Nicolas Perrin 2012 St. Joseph" goes on my post-it note and I hand it to Jason. He shakes his head and says "fuck, thought I had this one!" I collect my $3.
This usually goes on for a good 1 ½ to 2 hours. It drives Susan crazy because she's the only one working. Pat says she's afraid to participate, but I just think she doesn't want to embarrass us. There's a lot of love here.
As Jason leaves he says "get ready for Thursday, I have a supplier with me." Thursday arrives and he walks and introduces us to Chris Laveglia from Brassfield. We have no idea what Brassfield is... a winery? a importer? a wine broker?
Turns out he's from Brassfield Estate Winery in Lake County CA. We taste through his entire lineup of 4 wines. The first was his 2012 Pinot Gris... Pat and I both guessed it as a Pinot Gris from Alsace. Next was the Brassfield 2013 Serenity Reserve (a blend of Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Riesling)... again we both agreed (separately mind you!) on Alsace white blend.
Then we realize he's likely an importer with some stellar European wines. Chris pours us his third wine 2013 Pinot Noir and we both scribbled "French Burgundy"... I furthered my guess by noting "Gevrey Chambertin". Last in the bag was the 2013 Eruption (a blend of Malbec, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Mourvedre)... Pat guesses Vacqueyras and I guessed Cahors. It was was draw.
When he finally showed us all 4 bottles Pat and I were utterly blown away that they were from California... and then I guessed them to be in the $30 - $50 price point.
They're not $30 - $50.
These are likely the most well-made and undervalued California wines that grace our racks here at FranksWine.
Brassfield Estate 2012 Pinot Gris Regularly Priced at $19.99 $12.59 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
100% Pinot Gris from Brassfield Estate's home ranch, on the west side of High Valley Appellation, has been known as "High Serenity Ranch" for over one hundred years. The fruit from their 2012 Pinot Gris comes from two vineyard blocks on the valley floor of High Serenity Vineyard. Both of these blocks are comprised of gravelly, sandy loams and are located in one of coolest vineyard sites in all of Lake County.
These Pinot Gris grapes were harvested during the night, so they arrived to the winery cold and were processed using minimal handling. After a gentle whole cluster pressing, the Pinot Gris juice was fermented with native yeasts in a combination of neutral French oak barrels (50%), stainless steel tanks (20%), small stainless steel barrels (15%), and concrete tanks (15%). The barrels and tanks were then aged sur lie with battonage (lees stirring) every 2-3 weeks to create additional body, texture and viscosity in the wine. This wine was bottled unfiltered.
The 2012 Pinot Gris gushes with aromas of sweet honeydew melon, Gravenstein apples, apricots, and spice box. A long and elegant mouthfeel balances bright flavors of green figs, golden raisins, Bartlett pears, and a touch of tangerine zest. The wine has brilliant minerality and a refreshing finish. This Pinot Gris is capable of pairing with grilled quail; ricotta stuffed ravioli, or seared salmon.
Brassfield Estate 2013 Serenity Reserve Regularly Priced at $24.99 $15.69 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
68% Pinot Gris 20% Riesling 12% Gewürztraminer
The 100% certified Alsatian clones that produce these grapes are planted in the gravelly loam soils on Brassfield Estate's valley floor at 1,800 feet above sea level. The grapes are harvested at night or in the very early morning and arrive in the cellar cool and pristine. Fermentation in small lots in a combination of concrete, stainless steel and neutral oak barrels creates the full, rich mouthfeel that is the hallmark of consulting winemaker, David Ramey.
The grapes are harvested into late September at night when the fruit is the coolest. The grapes are then whole-cluster pressed and fermented separately to maximize varietal character. The wine was aged on the lees in stainless steel tanks and concrete vessels. During this time on lees, they are mixed weekly to add body and texture.
The 2013 Serenity Reserve is a distinctive proprietary blend that displays bright fruit-forward aromas of dried apricots, apples, and star jasmine with a touch of minerality. The flavors are rich and deep, showing Anjou pears, white nectarines, honeydew melon, and lime zest on the finish. The wine is balanced, leaving a long, clean and well-textured finish.
Brassfield Estate 2013 Pinot Noir Regularly Priced at $24.99 $15.69 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Fruit for the 2013 Pinot Noir (100%) was grown from three estate vineyard blocks, planted to a mix of Dijon and Pommard Burgundy clones. The location of each of these blocks was chosen because they are the coldest sites on the High Serenity Ranch vineyard. The low gap in the ridge above the vineyard allows cooled lake air from Clear Lake to spill into High Valley producing Pinot Noir with more intense varietal character, better color extraction and excellent acid retention.
The 2013 Pinot Noir was harvested at the peak of ripeness, hand-sorted, and fermented with 15-20% whole clusters to enhance varietal complexity. Each separate lot was then cold soaked for 3 days, in order to extract more color and flavor. Then, each vessel of Pinot Noir underwent a native yeast fermentation with twice-daily pump-overs. Once fermentation is finished the wine is aged in 30% new French oak barrels and 70% once-used French oak barrels for 8 months sur lie aging.
Aromatically the wine offers seductive notes of Bing cherries, pencil shavings, dried red plums, and a hint of hay. The mouthfeel is classic David Ramey: plush, round and silky-smooth. The forward fruit character of red raspberries and bright cherries are well supported by a finish of toasted bread, walnuts, and vanilla. The balance of all these components, along with its refreshing acidity, shapes this Pinot Noir into an exceptional hedonistic experience. This wine behaves equally well when paired with roasted chicken; seared salmon, mushroom risotto; pan-fried lamb chops with rosemary garlic; or pasta alla vodka.
Brassfield Estate 2013 Eruption Regularly Priced at $24.99 $15.69 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
38% Malbec 36% Syrah 16% Mourvèdre 10% Petite Sirah
Volcano Ridge Vineyard is located on the steep slopes of an extinct cinder cone at 2,200 feet above sea level on the eastern end of High Valley. The pure volcanic soils are ideal for vine stress, restricting crop yields, and making wine that has both intensity and elegance.
David Ramey and his winemaking team is fanatical about quality and the use of traditional handcrafted techniques. It creates wines with both style and finesse. Fermented in small lots using native yeast, the wine is then aged in French and American oak barrels (30% New) for 8-10 months before being blended and bottled without filtration.
The 2013 Eruption is rich and intense. The wine exhibits aromas of blackberries, fresh baked bread, stewed plums, and a touch of tar, giving way to flavors that are jammy, ripe and unctuous. The palate explodes with ripe blueberries, mixed berry tart, fresh tobacco leaf, and toasty vanilla notes. The texture of Eruption is perhaps its most distinguishing trait - mouth-coating with an endless finish. Be certain to have a second bottle on hand, the first won't last very long. Assuming you have to pair this wine with food, it will enhance slow-roasted lamb with cinnamon and fennel, filet mignon, or pasta alla puttanesca.
I've never been one for camping outdoors. Actually, truth is, I've never camped... ever. Nope, never pitched a tent. This boy scout since the age of 13 always had a job that consumed weekends, so earning that badge never presented itself. The closest I ever got was when I was dating my now wife, Nina, and we went to Oshkosh Wisconsin to meet her Dad and brother at the annual air show. We slept in a Winnebago for 2 nights and I got the top bunk which was about 3 inches from the ceiling... it was pretty miserable. Since then I've opted for hotels.
So when my sales rep Scott McBride came in the shop last month and said "hey Frank, wanna go camping?" I politely declined. Then he pulled the Camp Wines from Sonoma out of his wine bag... now THIS is my kind of camping!
Camp Wines were created by the Hobo Wine Co. in 2011 to showcase the quality and value of Sonoma County wine. Winemaker Kenny Likitprakong works with top growers and vineyard managers in very high quality and responsibly farmed, though lesser known, vineyards throughout Sonoma County to produce delicious, approachable, and affordable wines.
The Camp wines employ native yeasts and malolactic bacterias for the primary and secondary fermentations without the use of commercial fermentation aids or additives. The wines are aged in real oak barrels and/or stainless steel tanks vs. alter natives or flavoring agents.
The question always comes up, "Why Hobo?" A friend in the wine industry once told Kenny that he figured the hobo name came from the fact that he was about the dirtiest winemaker he knew. The part about Kenny being the dirtiest winemaker might be true, but it is not where the name came from. It's partly a trip he's on about a dead American era and partly about the fact that he doesn't own a winery or any vineyards.
Hobo is Kenny Likitprokong's tribute and homage to a freedom and an era that he grew up romanticizing. After tasting the lineup with Scott I was so impressed by the pureness of the wine that I gave the winemaker a call and we chatted...
"I think I spent a lot of my late teens and early twenties chasing the rambling ways of the American Hobo. When I was seventeen I started traveling around, listening to Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen and the likes, seeing the different parts of the country and other countries, writing in journals and taking photos and didn't really stop until I was twenty-three or twenty-four. As the experiences racked up, I found out that the hoboes had disappeared. The hobo had become a relic in the story of our expanding country. Like all good heroes, I figured they deserved their place in history and on wine bottles."
Instead of becoming a hobo, Kenny became a "Hobo Winemaker." Of the two ways to make wine - with and without money - the first should probably be the only, but a few lucky guys like Kenny slip through the cracks and do it on the skinny.
No winery, no vineyards, no truck, no warehouse, no employees... nothing. "There are advantages. Making small lots comes naturally, the flexibility to pick and choose grape type, vineyard, appellation, and winery on an ongoing basis, and a larger circle of people involved which means more ideas and expertise."
If I were to ever get into the winemaking biz I would choose Kenny's model for sure. Now where's that corkscrew? I'm ready to CAMP. I'll have the Smores ready... really, I will!
Camp '14 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon
Regularly Priced at $24.99 $18.49 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, and 4% Malbec, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Kenny sourced fruit from Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Sonoma Valley for this assemblage. Each lot was individually fermented then blended and aged in French barrels. 1,611 cases produced.
Spicy, cedary, berry-blueberry aromas. Solid fruit and firm tannins. Round mid-palate with blueberry, blackberry, licorice, dry cocoa and spice. Well-structured and balanced. Blue cheese and bacon burgers, steaks and roasts will all pair nicely with this solid, balanced, full-flavored Cabernet Sauvignon. Great value!
Camp '13 Sonoma Cabernet Franc
Regularly Priced at $24.99 $18.49 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
The 2013 Cabernet Franc is 50% from the organically farmed Mojon's Bench Vineyard in Alexander Valley and 50% from the biodynamically farmed Puma Springs in Dry Creek Valley. Combined, the fermentations had about 20% whole clusters and the blend was aged in French barrels. The resulting wine is light to medium weight with a bright fruit side and some classic green olive and black pepper Cab Franc character. Only 199 cases produced.
About as close to Loire Valley Cabernet Franc I've had in CA offering up a fine and quite youthful bouquet of dark berries, gravelly soil tones, cigar ash, a touch of tree bark, gentle meaty tones, espresso and a topnote of fresh herbs. On the palate the wine is deep, full- bodied, nicely structured and quite soil-driven in personality, with a lovely core, moderate, ripe tannins and excellent length and grip on the focused. This wine is crying out for a juicy rib-eye steak!
Camp '14 Sonoma Zinfandel
Regularly Priced at $19.99 $14.79 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
The 2014 Zinfandel is 91% Zinfandel and 9% Petite Sirah picked on the same day and co-fermented. It is 100% from the Ceja Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. Aging was in a combiation of older French and American barrels. Very juicy and bright. 826 cases produced.
Sweet ripe berries and cherries flirting with spice and oak in the initial aromas. Blueberry, tangy sour cherry and bittersweet chocolate on the palate. Moderate tannins and a nice, tangy acidic lift make this balanced wine a go-to with tomato-based sauces, or hearty roasts and braises that include a bit of tomato paste. Argentinian or Texas-style dry-rub barbecue would also be great choices!
Camp '14 Sonoma Chardonnay
Regularly Priced at $19.99 $14.79 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
The 2014 Chardonnay is 95% from the Lloyd Vineyard in Alexander Valley off of Soda Rock Road and 5% from the Prior Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. The Lloyd portion was harvested in 4 picks, two were early for acid, one in the middle for bright flavors and the fourth was a few weeks later to add some lusher flavors. All lots were whole cluster pressed and then fermented together in stainless steel then transferred to neutral oak barrels for 10 weeks before being racked and prepared for bottling. 1,873 cases produced.
I love a Chardonnay that possesses beautiful brightness, acidity and sophisticated mineral notes! In both the aromas and on the palate, this is a vivid and energetic wine, with lovely layers of pear, apple, green summer melon, Muscat, lavender and toasted hazelnut. Seamlessly integrated oak adds a hint of butterscotch that finds an intriguing counterpoint in the wine's minerality, and in a salty sea spray note that lingers on the long, fresh finish. It screams for oysters!
How is it that some wines get the blood pumping more than others sending that aura of well-being to your entire body? Amarone just does that to me.
Better than sex?
Eh... maybe, maybe not. Guess that kinda depends on who you're hangin' with. But this luscious Italian elixir - her name is Amarone - definitely brings my o-face to the table. Add some chocolate to the mix and the fireworks will really start flying. It's just science... google "wine and chocolate aphrodisiac" and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Okay, so even if Amarone doesn't your mojo goin', a few glasses will surely help push things along. Yeah, I can pretty much guarantee that.
At first sight the sexy, inky black color will have you playfully swirling this bombshell of a wine while gazing aimlessly deep into your glass. Your mind will start to wander. Get it out of the gutter.
Just make sure when you stop you take a deep breath and enjoy those viscous legs oozing down the side of your goblet tempting you for that heart-pounding explosion of flavors that will soon engulf your tongue.
Next, stick your nose deep into the glass to take in every second of that musky, floral, port-like bouquet. It's tempting you to take that first sip... go ahead, bite the apple.
Once your mouth is filled with this amazing juice, swish it around - what the hell, gargle it - to allow every molecule of our kisser to be soaked. Savor it.
I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a cigarette...
Okay... some boring stats instead
What is Amarone? Amarone is a style of red wine produced in the Valpolicello area of the Veneto in northeastern Italy. While great diversity certainly exists, typically the wines are dry, fresh, full-bodied with lots of extract, high alcohol (15-16%), and complex with great depth and flavor concentration. The 2 main grapes used to make Amarone are Corvina and Rondinella with an occasional splash of Molinari and Corvinone.
How the wines are made Key words that come up again and again when talking about Amarone are 'selection' and 'drying'. Amarone wines are made from carefully selected bunches of the best grapes. These grapes are then dried (or dehydrated) before fermentation. Traditionally the grapes were dried on wooden racks at ambient temperatures. Today many producers use special temperature and humidity-controlled rooms for this process to ensure that mold does not attack the grapes.
This drying process, which lasts between three and four months, is critical to the unique character of Amarone. As the grapes shrivel, sugars, acids, tannins, flavors, extract and other grape compounds concentrate. Additionally various reactions occur within the grapes themselves creating more complexity. Once dried the grapes are crushed and then fermented until dry.
Most wines undergo an extended maceration on the skins, just to make sure that all of the complexities and goodness from the shriveled skins ends up in the wine. Then the wines are matured in oak for at least two years for 'normale' Amarone and four years for Riserva.
(Left to right: Frank, Susan, Vanio Tezza, Lori, Scott McBride)
Last month local wine rep Scott McBride from Regal Wines stopped in with Winemaker Vanio Tezza. Susan and Lori were totally woo'ed by Vanio's good looks, tight pants and Italian accent... I was woo'ed by his corkscrew and bottles of Amarone.
Saturday from 11:30AM - 3:30PM Scott McBride will here at FranksWine on North Union Street pouring Vanio's A-Z lineup of Valpolicello wines. The FranksWine Crew will do the same on Sunday from 12noon - 4PM. On both days we'll have a nice spread of Italian wedges from our DiBruno Bros section and dark chocolate from our Ethereal Confections cabinet... pop in and taste with us!
Tezza 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella
Regularly Priced at $59.99 $44.39 with 10-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
A beautiful blend of 50% Corvina, 30% Rondinella, 15% Corvinone, and 5% Molinara from the hillside vineyards in the historical Valpolicella Classico region. The grapes are dried for 5 months before being gently pressed and then spends 36 months in Slavonian oak. The ruby red color is densely opaque. It is warm and ripe on the nose with great intensity and refinement... even with it's 15%+ alcohol. On the palate it is complex, velveted, rich and full-bodied with lots of black cherry notes and spice-laden plum. Ridiculously great wine.
Corte Majole 2011 Amarone
Regularly Priced at $39.99 $25.59 with 10-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Corte Majoli is Vanio's 2nd label to his Tezza wines. This one is 60% Corvina and 20% Rondinella and 20% Corvinone. A quintessentially Italian wine, this is classic Amarone. It was aged 24 months in Slavonian oak barriques, then an additional 6 months in bottle before release. It offers delectable aromas of chocolate, coffee bean, oak, and black cherry fruit. Medium bodied, dry and perfectly balanced with notes of chocolate, spice and a fruity core and finish. Juicy purple plums and cherry liqueur. Huge concentration and extraction with a super long finish.
Tezza 2012 Valpolicella Ripasso
Regularly Priced at $24.99 $18.49 with 10-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella and 10% Corvinone make up the blend for this wine. After fermentation it is refermented on the Amarone grape skins with the method "Ripasso" then aged 18 months in Slavonian oak. The intense ruby red hue releases a spicy black pepper nose with a hint of raisins. On the palate it's full-bodied with great depth of spice and balanced sweet cherry flavors.
Corte Majoli 2012 Valpolicella Ripasso
Regularly Priced at $19.99 $14.79 with 10-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Corte Majoli's Ripasso blend is exactly the same as their Amarone: 60% Corvina and 20% Rondinella and 20% Corvinone. But for every liter of Amarone, 2 liters of Ripasso are produced. The wine is aged for 12 months in barriques and 6 months in bottle prior to release. Purple plums and juiciness like zinfandel. Full-bodied and smooth. This is delicious and forward, with aromas of ripe plum, spice and raisin. The rich palate delivers opulent black fruit flavors along with black licorice and white pepper notes.
Guiliano Rosati 2014 Valpolicella
Regularly Priced at $16.99 $12.59 with 10-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
The Giuliano Rosati wines are a colaboration between Regal's owner and visonary Charlie Trivinia and the famed Tezza family in Veneto. Giuliano Rosati is in remeberance of Charlie Trivinia's Italian heritage. Their family originially hails from the Marche region, and when Charlie's father Giulano arrived at Ellis Island they gave him the name 'Charlie' and thus 'Giulano' was quickly forgotten. Rosati is the maiden name of Charlie's grandmother.
A blend of 60% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella with no oak aging... this luminous ruby gem has fragrant cherry and violet notes. Fruity and refreshing on the palate with subtle mineral impressions. The ultimate crowd pleaser that pairs well with all of your favorite appetizers... charcuterie, olives, bruschetta, and more!
From the heart of their domaine on the Corton hillside, Maison Louis Latour have witnessed more than two centuries of Burgundian history.
Founded in 1797 Maison Louis Latour has survived the ages and has become a natural custodian of Burgundy's ancient traditions. Authentic and determinedly independent, the House has always made it a point of honor to remain family owned. It is now run by the seventh Louis Latour - Louis-Fabrice - who represents the 11th generation of the founding family, who like each generation before him, has worked hard to preserve the heritage of the winery.
Louis-Fabrice Latour - 11th generation owner
In 1997 Maison Louis Latour celebrated its bicentennial becoming a part of a select circle of companies around the world who have remained in founding family ownership for at least 200 years and still bear the name of the founder. Since then they put another 19 years under their belt... that's kinda mind-boggling to me.
Looks like FranksWine has another 171 years to hit that mark.
Latour 2013 Marsannay Rouge
Regularly Priced at $29.99 $17.99 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Marsannay 2013 reveals a beautiful ruby color. The nose is floral with notes of peony, iris and clove. The mouth is round and nicely balanced with great elegance... this is no Meomi Pinot Noir! This 100% Pinot reveals blackcurrant and spicy aromas with supple tannins on the finish. Open it, decant it for an hour or so, then enjoy...
Latour 2013 La Grande Roche Montagny 1er
Regularly Priced at $29.99 $17.99 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Montagny is a 100% white wine appellation originating solely from Chardonnay grapes and gives us a fresh white wine that is an uncomplicated representation of its parent grape variety. No oak influence at all with this crisp, aromatic and pure Chardonnay. It has bright apply and peach aromas with a touch of minerality with same flavor profile on the palate... best deal in a white Burgundy here at FranksWine!
Latour 2013 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Regularly Priced at $24.99 $14.99 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
100% Pinot Noir grapes from the lesser-known yet well placed vineyards of the southern Côte-d'Or, harmoniously united with small parcels of superior Santenay or Auxey-Duresses grapes. This gives an overall result startlingly reminiscent of a fine Côte de Beaune wine... but it's just "generic" Bourgogne Pinot Noir. Bright ruby in color, this wine reveals aromas of fruits on the nose such as raspberry and blackcurrant, accompanied by a touch of black licorice. On tasting, it is round and aromas of cherry emerge. A beautiful finish with nice mellow tannins.
Latour 2013 Bourgogne Chardonnay
Regularly Priced at $24.99 $14.99 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Of a bright color with pale yellow and green highlights, Latour's Bourgogne is 100% Chardonnay and has a very fresh nose with nice aromas of white fruits and almonds. It's round in the mouth with bright nectarine flavors, and fresh almond notes on the finish which are followed by a beautiful minerality to wrap it all up.
Latour 2013 Valmoissine Pinot Noir
Regularly Priced at $19.99 $11.99 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Head south from Burgundy, make a beeline for the Mediterranean and eventually you'll end up in Provence. It's a region known for truffles, rosé and hearty red wines - NOT Pinot Noir, the heat-shy varietal that is Burgundy's calling card. But Burgundy stalwart Louis Latour has established a Pinot Noir beachhead in the Var, on a remote site that was once a monastery called Valmoissine. Situated in rugged hills at 1,600 feet above sea level, the vines get plenty of southern sunshine but also benefit from cold mountain nights. This medium-bodied wine offers silky mouthfeel with cherry and raspberry flavors and a pleasant mushroom note. It's a vibrant and lightly earthy take on Pinot Noir that combines generous fruit with Burgundy finesse.
Latour 2013 Grand Ardeche Chardonnay
Regularly Priced at $19.99 $11.99 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
The climate in the Ardèche, to the west of Rhône, certainly suits Chardonnay. Couple this terroir with Louis Latour's Burgundian expertise and the result is in the style of Meursault. It is treated as if it were grown in one of the Grand Cru vineyards of the Côte-d'Or. Yellow-green in color with a subtle nose of vanilla this value Chardonnay is one of my favorites in the lineup... mainly because it's only 12 bucks! On the palate there are ripe apple and peach fruits with a nutty, buttery creamy texture and notes of vanilla and spice. A powerful and complex wine.
Most of you know this guy as the winemaker at Chaddsford Winery. You also know that I've always been a huge supporter of local wines... mainly because of thisguy. I've known him for 28 years and he's tops on my list of really cool people in this great wine industry.
Eric Miller's lifelong career in wine has covered the spectrum from winemaker and grape grower to winery owner and wine personality. He pioneered two important East Coast wine regions, and co-founded New York State's first farm winery, Benmarl Vineyards, and later, Pennsylvania's largest and best known winery, Chaddsford Winery. Along the way he and his wines have been acclaimed by every major national and international wine writer and publication, and he has been awarded numerous awards and distinctions, including the American Wine Society's prestigious "Award of Merit" - given to just one American wine professional annually.
In 2011 Eric and his wife Lee Miller sold their interest in Chaddsford Winery and he expanded his career into consulting, teaching, and writing about wine, including his book, The Vintner's Apprentice. In 2013 Eric began his latest wine venture, the production of the [Ee'z] Napa Valley Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, in partnership with his step-son eric Stauffer.
Back on March 6th of this year I got an email from long-time customer Mike Schubert:
Rumor has it that Eric Miller and his winemaking son are going to release a small batch of zin from grapes grown on Howell Mountain (I think that's correct). Maybe 40 cases. Are you getting any of it?
So I quickly shot Eric and email and this was his reply:
The Zin project is one we are doing with number 2 son, eric, who went to UC Davis, got his eno-degree and decided to stay. Got a job as cellar master at Domaine Carneros, where his wife is a big cheese. But he complained that he only makes bubbles and Pinot Noir, so we decided to make some Zin. I love mountain Zin (but I really love any kick ass Zin) and found some Howell Mt stuff; thus a small winemaking partnership and tax deduction for visiting the west coast kids came into being. For him it's building a brand. For him and me it's inhaling the drug of Zin we both love. For Lee it's doing the horrible, miserable, shoot-me-now office stuff. For eric's wife, Erin - or Bubbles O'Grady as we call her - it's a way of keeping him out of trouble. So how about if we get together for lunch and drink some?
Obviously I jumped on Eric's lunch offer, so we met at Xavier Teixido's Harry's Savoy Grill with wine writer Roger Morris and their better halves. We geeked out on the details of his Zin over a 2 hour lunch.
(Left to Right: wine writer Roger Morris, his wife Ella, Lee & Eric Miller,
restaurateur Xavier Teixido, and Frank Pagliaro)
So 9 months and 13 days later 15 cases - total production was a mere 74 cases - of Eric's wine rolls through my door on North Union Street!
I'm happy to say that my good friend Eric Miller chose FranksWine to be the exclusive retailer of his [Ee'z] 2013 Howell Mountain Zinfandel.
Here's what Eric has to say about it:
To make the 2013 vintage, we started with perfectly ripe, beautiful fruit from 80 year-old Zin vines at the Beatty Ranch on Howell Mountain. They smelled of fresh fig and blackberries. This vineyard produces surprisingly high acid fruit at peak ripeness, so no acid additions were needed. We started the fermentation with a non-saccromyces yeast to enhance the fruitiness, then at 10° brix we added a special saccromyces to finish the wine up to the higher alcohol we desired. Malolactic fermentation was performed in new French oak barrels to integrate the fruit, alcohol, oak, acid and tannins together over the 18 month period of aging. The result is this rich, powerful, juicy wine, with just the balance we wanted to achieve to be able to call it a truly "Slutty Zin".
[Ee'z] 2013 Howell Mountain Zinfandel Regularly Priced at $49.99 $33.33 with 6-pack Purchase!
Even Dorothy knew good wine... once she got outta Kansas and away from Auntie Em.
Anthony Terlato, a wizard in the wine industry for over 50 years, is a particular devotee of red Bordeaux blends and has been cellaring and enjoying those wines since the early '50s. When he began producing his own wine in California he wanted to pay tribute to some of his favorite Bordeaux families and their wines with a special selection of Bordeaux varietal blends. In 2008 he walked down the yellow brick road and the Peak Series of wines from Terlato Family Vineyards were born to honor some of the great Grand Crus of Bordeaux in Pomerol, St. Emilion, and Margaux.
Anthony and his team put together a Peak Series 3-bottle set packed in wood from the stellar 2010 vintage. Unless you take a hot air balloon back to Napa Valley, you won't find these anywhere else than at FranksWine here on North Union Street... nope, not even in Oz.
There's no fairy tail ending here, just damn good wine all boxed up and ready to go.
Terlato 2010 Angels' Peak Regularly Priced at $59.99 $39.99 with 3-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Angels' Peak is the first blend in the series, following the traditions and methods of Pomerol which is known for its wines dominated by the Merlot varietal. This wine is a rich, lush tribute to Pomerol. 450 cases produced.
90% Merlot ~ 5% Cabernet Franc ~ 5% Petit Verdot
Aged in French oak barrels for 22 months.
COLOR: Deep garnet red
AROMA: Black fruits, tobacco, smoke, and mocha.
TASTE: Soft and fleshy on entry, showcasing fine depth, focus, purity and a range of flavors, with crushed rock, red berry, spice and mineral notes that turn elegant and silky on the finish.
Terlato 2010 Devils' Peak Regularly Priced at $59.99 $39.99 with 3-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Devils' Peak is the second blend in the Terlato Family Vineyards Peak series, following the traditions and methods of the St. Émilion region, which is dominated by Cabernet Franc, some Merlot and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a multi-faceted wine, with vibrant acidity and understated spices. 500 cases produced.
71% Cabernet Franc ~ 19% Merlot ~ 5% Malbec
5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Aged in French oak barrels for 22 months
COLOR: Ruby red
AROMA: Blueberry and floral notes with hints of jasmine tea.
TASTE: Firm, with a mix of spice, fresh-turned earth, dried berry and sage. Maintains focus and fine balance, ending with crushed rock and tobacco.
Terlato 2010 Cardinals' Peak Regularly Priced at $59.99 $39.99 with 3-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Cardinals' Peak is the third blend in the Terlato Family Vineyards Peak series, following the traditions and methods of the Margaux region, focusing the blend principally of Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot supporting. This wine is full-bodied, rich, has intense and delicious flavors, and has the most structure and deepest color of all the Peak wines. 490 cases produced.
68% Cabernet Sauvignon ~ 13% Cabernet Franc
13% Merlot ~ 6% Petit Verdot
Aged in French oak barrels for 22 months
COLOR: Intense, concentrated ruby
AROMA: Black currant, black cherry, and cedar.
TASTE: Complex, with a mix of spice, loamy earth, dried herb and berry accompanied by a touch of sage and chicory.
The conventional wisdom nowadays is that most people are unwilling or unable to age wines for long periods of time. They no longer have the money, the storage or the patience to wait years. Nor do most restaurants. As a result, many wines are made differently today than they were 30 to 40 years ago, partly so that they will not require prolonged aging to become enjoyable.
But Barolo, made entirely of the nebbiolo grape from Italy's Piedmont region, still demands years in the cellar. In its youth, it is classically tannic and austere, but given time - often a decade or more - the tannins soften, releasing a gorgeous perfume and flavors often described as licorice, tar, truffles, violets and roses. Back in the 1980s and '90s, a stylistic war ensued between traditionalists who sought to preserve time-honored methods for making Barolo and innovators who explored ways to make a softer, more approachable wine, sometimes at the cost of what made Barolo distinctive.
In the last 15 years, many producers including Scarrone have gravitated toward a middle ground, making wines in a range of styles that are still distinctively Barolo. Regardless of style, one thing is clear: Good Barolo still require many years of aging, at least to my taste.
Scarrone has taken it one step further for all you impatient wine drinkers out there! They have aged the wine for you and put together a 6 pack sampler casepacked in wood of 2 bottles each of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintages... and just wait until you see the price!
The following are notes from Antonio Galloni of Vinous, formerly of eRobertParker/Wine Advocate
Scarrone 2006 Barolo
Regularly Priced at $69.99 $34.99 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
The 2006 Barolos are big, powerful wines the best of which reveal extraordinary balance as well as significant potential to improve in bottle. There is no shortage of fine bottles - reveal a modern expression of ripeness married to a firm sense of structure that readers are likely to find immensely appealing, although many of the top wines will require cellaring.
Scarrone 2007 Barolo
Regularly Priced at $59.99 $29.99 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
The 2007 Barolos are some of the most exciting, electrifying and viscerally thrilling wines I have tasted in over a dozen years of visiting Piedmont. The 2007 Barolos will be immensely appealing on release due to the relatively low acidities and sheer density of fruit.
Scarrone 2008 Barolo
Regularly Priced at $49.99 $24.99 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
2008 Barolos are utterly magnificent, profound wines that represent a new paradigm for Italy's most famous and collectible red. Simply put, today's Barolos no longer require decades of cellaring to deliver the fireworks that make Nebbiolo such a singular grape. The late harvest in 2008 yielded a set of beautifully perfumed, sensual wines that are all about finesse.
The excitement over esoteric wines is equivalent to the special feeling when you find a four-leaf clover or hear the growl of an Alfa Romeo driving by. It's not that they're pricey, in fact, many of these bizarre wines are comparatively cheaper because they fly under the radar. Their benefit is that they taste so unique from the norm that they'll often give you an 'Aha' wine moment. An 'Aha' wine moment is when you taste something so different, it changes the way you think about wine.
These 4 Italian beauties did that to me when I tasted through a dozen wines here at FranksWine with Franceen Kahng from Vias Imports who knows her shit more than anyone else peddling Italian wine on the street.
Anyone can sell me Amarone, Barolo, Chianti but Franceen comes in with the coolest lineup of Italian juice and I settled on her Frascati, Negroamaro, Sagrantino and Aglianico for this promo... check 'em out!
Pallavicini 2014 Poggio Verde Frascati Regularly Priced at $17.99 $12.19 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
50% Malvasia di Candia ~ 20% Malvasia del Lazio
20% Greco ~ 10% Trebbiano Toscano
I can destroy a glass of this Frascati like it's no one's business. I'm down with anything that tastes like a lightning bolt in my mouth. Crisp, minerally, aromatic and bright this white from Lazio has a zesty citrus backbone framed by flavors of fresh peach and green apples. It's 1/2 the price of Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio and at least twice the wine!
Cantele 2011 Salice Salentino Riserva Regularly Priced at $14.99 $10.19 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Salice Salentino is literally found in the "heel of the boot," and it's certainly one of the value wine regions in Italy - Apulia. It's a juicy, spicy red chock full of red fruits with a tangy acidity that makes it the perfect foil for grilled foods, pizza, pasta and "Sunday Gravy." The Cantele is 100% Negroamaro which translates to "black and bitter"... the color is dense like a California Zinfandel but the it's certainly not bitter! Once the 15 day fermentation is completed, the wine is aged in barriques for approximately 6 months. Candied cherry fruits and grilling spices that evolve into clean underbrush, tea, and amber scents. Soft tannins and fresh acidity work together to create a balanced wine.
Terredora Di Paolo 2012 Aglianico Regularly Priced at $19.99 $13.59 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Some wines are built for the cellar, and some wines are built to enjoy now. This is one of those "Enjoy Now" wines! It's a wine you can and should serve anytime. The grape is Aglianico, ("Alee-on-icoh") the "Noble Grape of Southern Italy." Sourced from historic vineyards in the region of Irpina - near Naples; it's a medium-bodied beauty that shows spicy aromas of wild cherries, dark raspberries, violets, leather and licorice. Supple red berry fruit flavors and refined tannins. Its delightfully persistent finish showcases the flavors of the volcanic soils and vanilla notes from the French oak. A young, easy drinking wine that has fresh berry flavors and a soft, subtle oak character. Enjoy this wine with traditional Mediterranean dishes including sliced meats, soups and pasta dishes, lasagna, white meats and light main courses.
Colpetrone 2009 Montefalco Sagrantino Regularly Priced at $34.99 $23.79 with 12-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Sagrantino is an indigenous red grape variety unique to the Montefalco region in south central Umbria. It is a sturdy, thick-skinned and late-ripening variety that produces dark-colored wines with prominent tannins and acids. Intense ruby red in color with an ample nose of red fruit with spices and a subtle hint of vanilla. Well-structured with concentrated tannins in its youth.
Critical Acclaim JS | 93
James Suckling - "Lots of chocolate, hazelnut and dried berry on the nose. Full-bodied, tangy and chewy but there's a bright fruity finish. "
Bruce and Barbara Neyers have got to be two of the most genuinely appreciative winery owners in the biz. At least once a year they both visit the FranksWine Crew here on North Union Street simply to thank us for their business... and to taste us through their current releases.
No one does that.
I recently tasted a dozen or so of their wines and was blown away by 4 in particular. I've put together an 8-pack Sampler Case that'll be perfect for your holiday weekend drinking!
Neyers Vineyards is a winery to watch. Bruce and Barbara Neyers have been growing grapes for about 20 years. In 2000 they expanded significantly, adding a second location. The Sage Canyon Winery is in (surprise!) the Sage Canyon area east of Rutherford near Lake Hennessey. The winery was completed in 2000 with the first full crush in 2001.
The older Conn Valley Ranch vineyards are in the hills east of St. Helena. Those vineyards are mainly devoted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The "Neyers Ranch" designation refers to grapes grown in those vineyards. The winery is very up-front about the French influence in the wines. Bruce and Barbara both have strong roots in the food industry. Bruce still works part-time for Kermit Lynch, while Barbara's resumé features a stint at Chez Panisse in Berkeley CA.
Neyers 2013 El Novillero Chardonnay Regularly Priced at $49.99 $37.99 with 8-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
El Novillero is one of the highest vineyards in the Carneros district, and sits in a foggy amphitheater facing southeast, towards the San Francisco Bay. The soil is crushed gravel and loam, mixed with granite and basalt. The yields are low, as are nutrient levels, and this rocky sub-soil gives the wine an intriguing mineral component.
The combination of butterscotch and hazelnut makes the 2013 El Novillero an even more fascinating wine. With its high natural acidity, it will last for a decade or more.
Robert Parker writes: "Neyers' Chardonnay El Novillero reminds me of some of the glory days of Louis Latour's Corton-Carlemagne. Smoky bacon fat, poached pear, honeysuckle, peach and earth all combine in a full-bodied, minerally yet authoritatively flavored Chardonnay that is part California and seemingly part French. This beauty, from a cool-climate vineyard, is just that loaded. 94 Points."
Neyers 2012 Conn Valley Cabernet Sauv Regularly Priced at $59.99 $45.59 with 8-pack Sampler CasePurchase!
This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon made from the grapes grown on the Neyers Ranch is wonderfully aromatic with a touch of cassis with hints of blackberry and crushed violets. There's a strong mineral component and an element of pencil lead and cedar... classic Bordeaux style! Although it's rich and dense there is a plush softness to it; its flavors are more lush than lean. It finishes with a reminder that this is serious Cabernet Sauvignon with great aging potential.
1,139 cases produced
Neyers 2014 Sage Canyon Red Regularly Priced at $29.99 $22.79 with 8-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Bruce and his winemaker Tadeo had talked about Rhône varietal blends ever since Daniel Brunier broached the subject with them during a trip to Vieux Télégraphe (Chateauneuf-du-Pape) in 2005. Finding the right grapes was always the underlying concern. Seven years ago, Tadeo and Bruce first visited the Mourvèdre vineyard planted by Greg Adams at the old Rossi Vineyard in the central Sonoma Highlands.
About that same time, Markus Bokisch introduced them to his Grenache vineyard in the Sierra Foothills. Along with Frank Evangelho's old-vine Carignan vineyard in Oakley, Bruce & Tadeo had all the elements for their version of a Rhône Blend. They named it Sage Canyon Red, after the location of the winery. It's my favorite Neyers wine. You'll think you're drinking a Chateauneuf-du-Pape when you sip this wine... and it's 1/2 to 2/3 the price of one!
Neyers 2014 Vista Luna Zinfandel Regularly Priced at $24.99 $18.99 with 8-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
The Vista Luna Vineyard sits on an outcropping of quartz, a unique phenomenon that is important to the development of the vines, their maturation, and the flavors developed by the grapes. As a result the grape clusters and berries are small. Ripening is even, and the alcohol levels in the finished wine are low.
The wine is 100% 'heirloom' Zinfandel fermented using native wild yeast and aged 10 months in neutral French oak barrels. This wine was bottled without being fined or filtered. It's not one of those big jammy in-your-face Zins... this one is elegant and balanced. Love it!
Being an obliging and productive old fruit he has fallen in with some rather undesirable types. She's been compared to the Coors Light of the wine world. I like to say that Pinot Grigio is the Coldplay of white wine - blandly industrial stuff with an inexplicably wide appeal.
When it comes to Italian white wines, if Pinot Grigio is the first thing that you think of, you are not alone. It's that country's most popular white, and understandably so. Millions of cases are imported into the United States each year and they range in quality from just so-so to some pretty freakin' bangin' juice... like these below.
The most polite thing we could say of the wines as a group is that they are "delicate." I have nothing against delicate wines. Actually, I'd venture to say that I probably drink more delicate white wines than anything else. Enough with the rich, warm, dense and heavy fruit bombs that round up the highest point scores and the most lavish praise among the more influential wine critics. They also tend to win the highest awards at competitions. "Delicacy" merely suggests a wine of restraint and refinement; it doesn't mean you have to sacrifice vigor and character.
Here at FranksWine we tend to seek out wines of varietal integrity. I've had Pinot Grigios that have been sweet & fruity, dry & fruity and dry & minerally. These 2 gorgeous wines are on the dry and minerally side of the spectrum. The Pinot Grigio from Lis Neris are without a doubt the best I've had in quite some time. They are explosive with beautiful fruit and minerals and perfectly balanced.
Lis Neris 2013 Gris Pinot Grigio
Regularly Priced at $29.99 $21.99 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
The 2013 Gris is a single-vineyard Pinot Grigio from wind-swept vineyards near San Lorenzo in Friuli. It is barrel fermented and matured in the same barrel on the fine lees for almost one year with frequent battonage (stirring of the lees). One sip and your opinion of Pinot Grigio will be changed forever!
Very unusual aromatics. Apricot, peach, melon, papaya, spice. Silky palate and full-bodied. Very intense texture and body. Sweet fruit and lots of citrusy acidity. This is a BIG Pinot Grigio and would probably be hated by many PG lovers - atypical. Has real freshness and life with tons of mineral and a mouthwatering long finish. Finishes, eventually, with a touch of spice and minerality. Like a concentrated Pinot Grigio. Aging potential is 6 - 10 years!
Lis Neris 2014 Pinot Grigio
Regularly Priced at $24.99 $18.29 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Pale lemon color with lots of aroma - a very different style. Very floral, with pink peppercorn spice - almost like a restrained Gewürztraminer with all those pink grapefruit and lychee notes. Full-bodied, well balanced, with good acidity to back it up. Intense mineral, too. A stellar wine, but is it a great Pinot Grigio? I'd say it's closer to a Pinot Gris. Lively, rich, and pretty damn good. Lots to enjoy here for the next 4 - 6 years!
In the world of wine there are compelling LOCATIONS that exist where soil, climate and vines interact to produce grapes that uniquely express their LOCATIONS through wine. Our love of wine recognizes the nuances of time and place that combine and interact to represent LOCATIONS. These LOCATIONS exist individually within appellations of the new and old world, but are seldom combined acrossappellation, in the art of blending due to laws and restrictions that make it near impossible to express true winemaking freedom.
In Champagne, across appellation blending is a time honored and respected tradition - a tried and true method for producing a premium and consistent wine that represents the best aspects of the Champagne region. Why can't this concept be taken wider - across country? Why do the rules not allow this? Why are these rules accepted?
But what if it could be done. What if one could blend across all of the major appellations, to produce a wine that represented a country of origin? What if one could do this across all of the major wine producing regions of the world. What if there were no rules? What if one had complete freedom to express whatever one believed.
Could it be done?
The question is - do you break the rules, and thousands of years of history and tradition, in pursuit of expressing freedom?
WINEMAKER DAVE PHINNEY THINKS SO!
You may know this guy from Orin Swift Winery - the producer of The Prisoner. His story is the result of a young winemaker's vision to blend whatever the hell he wanted together because the finished product was the ultimate goal. Cab and Zin? Throw in some Petite Sirah and who knows what else? Sure...why not?
Well, guess what? It's like a band being told that they're nuts for throwing a trumpeter into a rock act and all of a sudden they're selling out stadiums. No one can deny what Dave Phinney and his team have accomplished with LOCATIONS. Great wines. Great band.
Regularly Priced at $24.99 $19.19 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Blend of Syrah, Merlot and Petite Sirah from Washington State barrel aged for 10 months in French and American Oak. Deep purple in color, the wine brims with aromas of wild blueberries, cassis, and pleasing notes of forest floor. _e palate is initially treated to dense flavors of plum, milk chocolate and framboise. Following, a delightful interplay of violet, anise, black tea, and brown spices soon emerge giving further character to the wine. Silky tannins encapsulate things with a very pure and true finish.
Regularly Priced at $19.99 $15.39 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina. Garnet in the glass, the wine exudes aromas of brambly boysenberry complimented by hints of antique rosewood and lavender. Immediately, the wine presents a rich entry of ripe red currant, hints of dark berries, and subtle minerality which transitions into an elegant and lingering finish of thyme and sage.
Regularly Priced at $19.99 $15.39 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
Blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Roussane from California. Immediately, a nose of lemon zest, citrus, and a touch of honey lead to a bright and crisp entry complemented by an encompassing nectar mouth feel. A ripe stone fruit mid palate of apricots and peaches combine with an evolving crème custard coating. It finishes with a subtle minerality and a lychee texture.
~ Immigrants ~
Where would the wine biz be without 'em?
As a young boy, Ron Donati grew up in South San Francisco, the son of a first generation Italian-American family. One of his fondest memories was the sights and smells of his grandfather making wine in his basement. I can relate to that because my Dad is right off the boat from Italy, and my Mom from Brazil. Like most Italian immigrants, Albino Donati made his own wine for the family dinner table. As an adult, Ron became a successful entrepreneur with a penchant for making quality products that were attainable to all, not just a select few. This same passion serves as the foundation and guiding mission of Donati Family Vineyard today. These guys make some pretty stellar wine at prices way below where they should be. A lot of that has to do with the fact that they're not from Napa or Sonoma.
Paicines is located in the center of coastal California, a little over an hour from San Jose to the north and Monterey to the west. Years after the early Mission vineyard plantings were long abandoned, the Paicines growing region was rediscovered 35-40 years ago by Almaden (one of the many crappy jug wine producers of the early 80's, ew!) It was again deserted as a bulk brand growing region for more lucrative areas, and is now being reclaimed, this time as a high-end grape growing region. Donati Family Vineyard is the only brand located in the Paicines appellation, although there are approximately five other vineyards located in the appellation, growing primarily Bordeaux varieties. Neighboring appellations are home to Calera Wine Company, Chalone Vineyard, Leal Vineyards and DeRose Vineyards.
The quaint town of Paicines, population 204, consists of a country store, restaurant, and post office, all in one convenient building. Sounds like the Donati's have a lot of time on their hands... maybe that's why they're making such great wine?!
Donati 2012 Ezio Cabernet Sauvignon Regularly Priced at $29.99 $25.49 with 4-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in French, American and Hungarian oak for 23 months. Black cherry, leather, and toast aromas explode from the glass, but not in an over-the-top Napa way. So incredibly balanced with a rich mid-palate, lush tannins and soft acidity. If this Cab was from Napa Valley it would easily be twice the price! 1,246 cases produced.
Donati 2014 Cabernet Franc Regularly Priced at $24.99 $18.79 with 4-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
82% Cabernet Franc ~ 11% Merlot ~ 7% Grenache
Aged 20 months in French & American Oak. It has a bursting bouquet of boysenberry and dark chocolate and those flavors come right through on the palate of berry, tannins and not even a hint of green-ness that you get in a lot of Cab Franc. I don't know how they do it?! 535 cases produced.
Donati 2013 Claret Regularly Priced at $17.99 $13.49 with 4-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
48% Cabernet Sauvignon ~ 30% Merlot ~ 9% Malbec
12% Cabernet Franc ~ 1% Petit Verdot
2,816 cases produced.
Critical Acclaim 91 Points
Wine Enthusiast - "All five Bordeaux varieties are blended into this wine that offers boysenberries, violets, black pepper and sweet tar on the nose. The palate is decorated with a complex mix of blackberry, purple florals, dark chocolate and espresso bean, proving meaty and well spiced. Editor's Choice"
Donati 2015 Pinot Blanc Regularly Priced at $19.99 $14.99 with 4-pack Sampler Case Purchase!
100% Pinot Blanc (not to be confused with Pinot Grigio OR Sauvignon Blanc!) fermented in stainless steel. Aromas of banana and honeydew melon prep your palate for the tropical notes... BAM, Springtime in a glass! It has a creaminess to it which cleans up nicely with a crisp, crunchy-acid finish. 248 cases produced.