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Brian K Miller


Passionate Arboisphile




Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:05 am


Northern California

Weekend Wines-Including a Stellar Negroamaro!

by Brian K Miller » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:10 pm

At a Thursday Night party at Fuso.

Jeremy Quastana "L'Insurge" Loire Valley Gamay. Imported by Selection Massale, so you know what you are going to get! 8) Delicious, funky Loire Valley Gamay made by a 31 year old shaved head dude who works in the low sulfur/natural side of things. I found this delicious. Bright cherry berry fruit. Quite a bit of funk, but not overwhelming in any way (stored very cold since I bought it a year ago). A good deal of CO2 spritz, which added to its charm. This is a very more-ish wine as my palate seems to be evolving more along these lines. The big California Cab drinkers at the table were less enthralled, though :( More for me!

Corison 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet. This bottle was a little closed down, imho. Not as expressive as the last bottle. But...who's fault is that, for drinkling such a young Corison? And, you know what, it was STILL delicious in a classic, pyrazine-freshness way. Some people's wine of the night.

2008 Ahnfelt Merlot. A big, bold merlot from near Silverado Country Club (on the knoll above Silvrado Trail). Still...this was a pretty classic wine. Sure, there was some big bold plum fruit, but also quite a bit of freshness in acidity and, again pyrazines. Which I enjoy. This was a consensus favorite.

2010 Stags Leap Wine Cellars Artemis. Way too young. Even so, could be classic.

Winery Tastings

2010 Trefethan Cabernet Sauvignon The standout wine of the tasting lineup. Very Bordeaux-esque. Dark cherry fruit, earthy. Not as "green" as the Corison right now. Impressive wine.

2010 Cade Howell Mountain. Dark fruit. Plentiful acid. Definitely tannic...needs time. What stood out was a distinctive iron minerality which I quite enjoyed. The Plum Pack Group purchased the former Steltzner winery on Silverardo Trail and is converting the facility into the "Odette Estate". No estate grapes yet, but their temporary purchased grape lineup included a delcious, soft blueberry and herbs Petit Sirah. Not much tannic structure, so this is a drink-me-now wine. But lively and lovely nonetheless.

2012 Donkey and Goat 513 Rhone blend. Jarred was closing up shop Sunday evening, but he let me taste a couple of bottles. The 513 is really showing well for such a young wine. Dark plum and cherry fruit with a tough of herbal notes that was delicious! He gave me the remnant of the 2011 Fernaughty Syrah from the day. Pretty tight right now and not showing a ton of rich fruit, as one might expect from a 2011. But, I loved the minerality and the brilliant acidity. I shared the 2/3 bottle with a friend who enjoyed it even as he normally prefers big zins and other Californiaesque wines.

2012 Campovida Mendocino Negroamaro. Wow. Just wow. This may be wine discovery of the weekend! The Campovida crew specalizes in organic and biodynamic Mendocino (Hopland/Russian River Valley) Italian varietals, and this was a new release from them. It blew me away. A disticntive dark plum/mulberry note on the palate. Delicious "Italianesque" bitter note on the finish that was palate cleansing in a very fine way. Great acidity...bright and more-ish. I also love their Arneis, which is to me much brighter and cleansing and less flabby than some of the Italian versions I have tried, and their Nero D'Avola which is a classic pizza wine. This Negroamaro may beat these other varietal bottlings, though!

2003 Sutton Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Made in a warehouse winery in Dogpatch between Pac Bell Park and Hunters Point, at the foot of Potrero Hill. Very mature in color, with some bricking. Mature flavors of forest floor and earth, but the lovely Pinot fruit is still there, especially on the finish! I really enjoy his wines, and Sutton Cellars is located right along one of my favorite "urban cycling" bicycle routes(Illinois Street/Third Street). I need to drive and park there to start my ride, so I can pick up a bottle.
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach

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