Menu for october
Nicolas Potel 2004 Côtes du Nuits-Villages Vieilles Vignes 29.99
Named one of the 10 great negociants in 2005 by Decanter magazine, Nicolas Potel puts a modern face on the staid region of Burgundy. Make no mistake, Nicolas has Burgundy running through his veins. He was born, raised and continues to work in Burgundy, developing relationships with growers, setting strict standards and insisting on organic and biodynamic growing techniques. The Côtes du Nuits-Villages is an elegant, feminine wine full of delicate floral elements balanced with an unexpected amount of power and richness.
Anne Amie 2004 Pinot NoirCuvee A 24.99
This is a newwine in my Oregon Pinot portfolio. Anne Amie is the former Chateau Benoit winery, bought in 1999 by Dr. Robert Pamplin, a well-known Oregon philanthropist. (How do you make a small fortune in the wine industry? Start with a large fortune.) Cuvee A is their entry level wine and is just dripping with juicy, cherry fruit and an astonishing amount of complexity for the price. It’s perfect with lighter meat and fish dishes or after a long hard day. Sip in front of the fireplace and at this price you can have a few glasses.
Tortoise Creek Pinot Noir 8.99
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the value priced line Les Jamelles. This brand was started a number of years ago by Englishman, Melvyn Master and his wife Janie. In 1996 they sold the brand and have since created Tortoise Creek wines from the Languedoc and an Italian line, Tiamo. I know, most inexpensive Pinot Noir taste like cheap cherry soda, but please give this wine a chance. It’s loaded with dark cherry flavors and a hint of smokiness. Sure, it’s on the lighter side but one sip and you’ll make no mistake…this is a French wine. P.S. The entire lineup of wines is solid, but I particularly enjoy the Chardonnay/Viognier blend.
Robert Sinskey 2002 Pinot Noir Four Vineyards 55.99
“Working with Pinot Noir is like walking a tightrope without a safety net. You have to trust your instincts and work with what nature gives you. It’s a humbling experience. Arrogance can prove fatal. Terroir speaks of the interrelationship.” That quote comes from Robert Sinskey. Some of the best wines made domestically are produced at Robert Sinskey. Again, another organic, biodynamically made wine from, you guessed it, four vineyard sites. He calls his Four Vineyards Pinot a “macro wine,” a wine that exhibits all the qualities of the Carneros site from which they’re grown. I think of this as a substantial, elegant wine. Jammy, strawberry flavors are on the forefront with silky tannins and a white pepper finish that extends on and on and on and on…
Bethel Heights 2004 Pinot Noir Casteel Reserve 45.99
In the sixties and seventies, Oregon was a new frontier of wine making. The first winemakers that settled there, Ponzi, Sokol Blosser, Elk Cove, Amity, Adelsheim and Bethel Heights were true pioneers and in that spirit, learned to collaborate instead of competing with each other. Producing some of the best wines anywhere, these wineries put Oregon on the international Pinot Noir map. Now days there’s scarcely a wine list that doesn’t include Oregon Pinot Noir. A few summers back when I was at Oregon Pinot Camp, I met the twin Casteel brothers of Bethel Heights. What a team they make. Ted is vineyard manager and Terry is the winemaker. The Casteel Reserve is a rich, silky wine with concentrated flavors of black fruit and subtle baking spices. See why Stephen Tanzer rated this wine 92 points and called it “really sexy pinot.”
François Raquillet Mercurey Les Veleys 25.99
As someone who has followed these wines the past few vintages, I cannot say enough about their consistent quality. The Les Veleys is loaded with red fruit flavors…red raspberries, red currants and tart strawberries with light aromas of mushrooms and forest floor. The real distinguishing characteristic is the stony minerality that fits tightly with the fresh fruit crispness. This is a wine looking for a fish dish to pair up with…I would choose salmon but I’m open to suggestions.
Anne Gros 2003 Bourgogne 29.99
With so many wines around, I almost forgot I have a few cases of this delicious beauty left. I keep hoping the ultra hot 2003 European vintage will go away and we can get back to more traditional wines, but I am quite fond of some of the less stingy, juicy 2003 Burgundies. I know it’s probably not a good thing for a wine geek to say, but hey, I have my “Snicker Bar” moments, too. This medium-bodied wine is full of sweet dark fruit and a sexy, silky mouth feel. Like I said, I only have a few cases and I don’t care if I sell it, what’s left will just go home with me.
Waterstone Winery 2004 Pinot Noir 19.99
Waterstone winery is quickly gaining a reputation for affordable, elegant Napa wines. The Pinot Noir is grown in the Carneros region, long known for producing the finest Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The wine is full-flavored with delicate sweet red fruit, cherry and strawberry flavors. Waterstone’s style is an appropriate integration of oak, using it as a flavoring component rather than a starring element. This is a lot of wine for the money.