Robert Mondavi Winery’s Oakville Wines

Robert Mondavi’s remarkable terroir-driven Oakville wines are classic examples of Napa’s best. Near the heart of Napa valley, and between the Mayacamus and Vaca mountain ranges, Oakville is home to some of Napa’s finest fruit.

Robert Mondavi Winery’s 2015 Fume Blanc,Oakville was one of Mondavi’s brilliant creations–both marketing and wine making. Clean, crisp citrus acidity and depth of fruit.  20.00

Robert Mondavi Winery 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville carpet bombs the senses with lush dark fruit. Elegant tannins and nuanced oak complete this picture perfect Napa gem.  58.00

Robert Mondavi Winery 2015 Fume Blanc, Oakville & Robert Mondavi Winery 2014 Caberent Sauvignon, Oakville

Clos du Val Wines: Masterful Wines

Clos du Val winery goes back to the early days of Napa wine making when CdV made a name for itself–and the California wine industry early on by impressing French wine experts at blind tasting in 1976–in what is now known as “The Judgement of Paris”. American wines stunned and surprised the French wine pros–and Clos du Val was one of the small handful of Napa wines to be featured. Simply said, The Judgement of Paris put California wines on the map–and the world stage.

It’s safe to say that Clos du Val has gone about its business of producing serious, quality wines in the decades since Judgement Day in Paris–but business-as-usual at Clos du Val is changing. New leadership at the winery has chosen to take the business back to its roots–literally–by choosing to focus entirely on estate-grown fruit. Using only their own fruit means cutting back production by about 50%–not the sort of thing business men are famous for.

Still, Clos du Val CEO Steve Tamburelliis confident that concentrating on making their wines strictly from their own premium fruit will bring the label back to its roots–in every sense of the word.

2015 Clos du Val Estate Three Graces–Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot–100% Estate fruit in 100% new French Oak.  175.00

2015 Clos du Val Estate Hirondelle Cabernet Sauvignon–100% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon in 100% new French oak.  105.00

2015 Clos du Val Hirondelle Cabernet Sauvignon, left & 2015 Clos du Val Three Graces

2015  Clos du Val Estate Cabernet Sauvingon  (below) brings in a bit of Merlot and Cabernet Franc for a rich, classic casis/blueberry Cab. Clos du Val’s Estate includes some of the finest vineyards in Stag Leap, Yountville, and Carneros. Eighteen months in French oak puts the crowning touch on this beautiful Cabernet. 50.00

2015 Clos du Val Estate Cabernet Sauvignon & 2017 Clos du Val Estate Pinot Noir Rose

2017 Clos du Val Estate Pinot Noir Rose is made from 100% Estate Pinot–its refined citrus notes and crisp acidity make the perfect match for salmon or other seafood.  30.00

2016 Clos du Val Estate Pinot Noir get nine months in French oak and comes across with robust red fruit character–especially cherry. rich on the palate and long and smooth on the finish. A beauty.  40.00

2016 Clos du Val Estate Chardonnay & 2016 Clos du Val Estate Pinot Noir

2016 Clos du Val Estate Chardonnay is 100% barrel fermented. Layered aromas of citrus, apricot and spice lead to beautifully balanced acidity on the palate. This is a Cab drinkers Chard.  40.00

2017 Band of Roses Rose–a Cool Wine

Band of Roses Rose comes from Charles Smith Wines–out Washington–a venerable producer of quality wines at affordable prices. Band of Roses Rose is no exception. For twelve to fourteen bucks you get a dandy rose built from 100% Pinot Gris and loaded with heady aromas and fruit. Perfect summer party wine at a cool 12.00-14.00.

2017 Band of Roses Rose

Cremant d’Alsace–French Bubbly Without the Champagne Price

Cremant is a style of French sparkling wine made in several regions of France (outside the Champagne region itself) using the Champagne method (secondary fermentation in the bottle, etc.) Cremant d’Alsace is Cremant made in the Alsace region–a small region on the eastern border of France–right up against Germany.

Geography lesson aside, Cremants are a great way to drink French bubbly without paying Champagne prices. Cremant tend to less than half the price of Champage–sometimes way less. Cremant does differ from Champagne in several ways: Cremant does not have restrictions on the type of grapes used, and those grapes do not have to come from  Champagne. Cremant is meant to be drunk young and does not benefit from aging like Champage.

So, if you are okay with popping the cork  sooner, rather than later, you will be rewarded with excellent French bubbles from a range of wonderful grapes–and you won’t have to hit the credit card hard at all. Time’s a-wasting, drink up!

Willm Cremant d’Alsace Blanc de Noirs NV: Blanc de Noirs means “white from black”–in this case, sparkling white from Pinot Noir grapes (accomplished by crushing the grapes but running the juice off with almost not skin contact–hence the white color.) Moderately dry, majorly tasty.  15.00

Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose NV: another Cremant made entirely with Pinot Noir–but this time more contact time with the skins produced a nice coral/pink color. Flavor follows color with notes of strawberry and cherry in a crisp, dry style. Creamy and long in the finish.  22.00

Jean-Baptiste Adam Cremant d’Alsace Emotion Brut Reserve: Chardonnay dominates with just a touch of Pinot Noir. full-bodied and textured with citrus and strawberry features. Mouthwatering.  22.00

Gustav Lorentz Cremant d’Alsace Brut NV: a cool combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir. Being a “brut”, the Lorentz is relatively dry, just not bone-dry. A classy sparkler for an aperitif.  25.00

Adam, Willm, Albrecht, & Lorentz Cremant d’Alsace wines, 15.00-25.00

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhones Shine

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhones are probably one of the most familiar French wines in American wine shops. There is good reason for that. Guigal CdRs some consistently reliable for quality and value. Cotes du Rhones covers a vast area–with wines are overwhelmingly red: Grenache, Syrah, Cinsaut, Carignan, and Mourvedre. Part of what makes CdRs popular is that they tend to be relatively light and fruity. The three CdRs below range from the standard CdR Rouge to sub-appelations of the Rhone valley.

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge, 2015, is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre-great aromas and structure.  17.00

E. Guigal Saint Joseph Rouge, 2015, is 90% Syrah blended with a touch of Marsanne/Roussanne. The fruit is sourced from a distinct sub-area on the Western bank of the Rhone–the heart of the appellation. 17.00

E. Guigal Crozes-Hermaitage, 2015: “Hermitage” translates into: Syrah, a grape synoymous with the Rhone. Lots of red and dark fruit prevail–along with pepper and spice. Classic Rhone-style Syrah. Two years in oak leaves the wine layered in flavor. 27.00

2015 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhones