Wine Club Newsletter - September 2022
Wine Club Newsletter - September 2022
These animals are very tough, very destructive. While staying in Chianti, we were driving home after dinner through the winding, hilly, narrow roads. Our friends in the car in front of us hit a hog while going about 45 miles per hour.
We pulled over to help. The front of the car was heavily damaged, and the hog was unconscious, sprawled out on the side of the road. As we were waiting for a tow truck to arrive, we heard a grunt from the animal, then another. A couple of seconds later, it was on its feet, shaking its head, and then darted off into the woods. GP
Wild Boars Pull Off Mega-Heist!
In Colli Euganei, Italy, feral hogs devoured 10.5 metric tons of wine grapes.
Feral hog - a term used in Untied States English to denote the cinghiale or wild boar that we love so much in our pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale - have increasingly become a nuisance and even safety hazard in Italy as hot temperatures, dwindling water resources, and scarcity of their natural foods have increasingly led them to venture into the human sphere.
Earlier this year the Smithsonian Magazine published an article entitled – no joke – Wild Boars are Ransacking Rome.” You’ll see a brood of the beasts strolling down a heavily trafficked street in Italy’s Capital.
Beyond the neighborhoods of the Eternal City, where the biggest concern is that they will spread disease or physically harm residents, the animals have come to represent an existential threat for small wine growers.
Enrico Selmin had used electric fences to protect his 12.5 acres of organically farmed grapes – his first commercially viable crop “All my property was completely eaten,” he told the local newspaper. My winery opened just this year and will remain closed and unused because I don’t even have one cluster to make wine.”
For large scale growers, the animals which have little fear of humans, represent a growing problem in terms of crop loss. But for someone like Enrico, it means starting all over from scratch. He also lost his investment in the electric fence.
Last year, Italy’s national daily La Repubblica reported that the Chianti Colli Fiorentini appellation lost 30% of its crop to the feral hogs.
Tuscany’s regional government has allocated over four million to build “double fences” in an effort to keep the beasts out of the vineyards, farm and ranch land,
Efforts to curb the damages have been underway since 2015 when it became clear that the problem needed to be addressed. But programs to hunt and kill the animals were put on hold during the pandemic. As a result, the boar population continued to grow during 2020 and 2021.
Italian wine growers are already contending with one of the hottest and driest vintages on record. The last thing they need is to contend with ungulates easting their already diminished crop.
Do Bianchi, Word Press
Provence Wine Producers Weigh in on Losses After Deadly Wildfires in France.
Wildfires that swept across the hilly region close to the French Riviera are now under control, firefighters said on Monday. The blaze claimed two lives and scorched more than 18,000 acres of land. Some 12,000 acres were lost in the Var region, which produces the Côtes de Provence rosé wine that is particularly popular in the United States.
Two hundred of the region’s 4,000 producers are believed to have been badly affected. Winemaker Pierre Audemar lost all his equipment and half of his grape harvest to the flames. “It’s not possible,” he told France Info television three days after the fire, gazing at the charred remains of his Domaine de la Giscle winery and the stock of 2019 wine stacked up in metal crates now burned to a cinder. He hopes insurance will cover the economic blow of between “1.5 million and 2 million euros”.
Even winegrowers who were fortunate not to lose their estates are concerned that the proximity of the fires will have tainted their grapes with smoke. "We are only a few days away from the harvest, which is bound to be damaged,” said Guillaume de Chevron Villette, owner of the Reillanne winery. “We produce a quality rosé wine, so the challenge will surely be to eliminate the risk of a burnt taste in the wine," he told AFP.
Gary Parker, Owner
The WineSellar & Brasserie
2021 Bocce Ball, Kiss the Jack, White Blend
Growing Region Santa Ynez Valley, California
Varietal Composition 50% Viognier, 47% Chardonnay, 3% Sauvignon Blanc
Fermentation Stainless Steel Fermentation
Alcohol Content 14.1%
Suggested Retail $32.00
WineSellar Club Price $26.99
From the winery: Sometimes our winemaking pals have barrels of wine that need a home. That’s where Bocce Ball comes in. Sprouting from humble beginnings as rogue barrels shared with friends, Bocce Ball wine has since evolved into a fun, fully-fledged wine brand. Each barrel of wine is sourced from the highest quality winemakers and vineyards in California.
Bocce Ball combines all the essence of a locally crafted wine with the joy inherent in sharing a bottle with friends. Its playful nature provides each wine lover with rich, palatable flavors that will linger long after their last sip. This wine is perfect for those who want to experience all the beauty that a California wine offers.
Bocce Ball’s sport lends itself to sharing stories, wine, and friendship; That’s why we chose the name. Bocce Ball wine pays homage to the loveable, age-old yard game. It’s competitive and fun while remaining cordial, making it a genuinely delightful game. Plus, it is one of the few sports where you can enjoy a glass of wine while you play. And who doesn’t love that?
The whimsical name and image on the label . . . I just love it! The concept of establishing a brand around a leisurely game that has the concept of socializing and relaxation is genius.
Exuding a fresh, floral aroma, it has clean and straight forward charm. Grapey, petrol. Light curry, honey dew melon, cantaloupe, persimmon, pumpkin seed.
The wine has a smooth, refreshing feel in the mouth. Careful, it is totally quaffable! But know, it is very fine drinking. Expanding middle palate is followed by the clean, complete finish.
A bit of citrus emerges: Mandarin orange, Meyer lemon, mostly in mid-palate. Entry brings white flower component that Viognier grape is always hoping to achieve. Well, it did here! Chardonnay is not oaked, supplying weight to the wine. The Sauvignon Blanc adds a touch of herb to the flavor profile.
This is a great sipper/cocktail wine that is also excellent with a variety of foods!
2017 Pomar Junction Cabernet Sauvignon
Growing Region El Pomar District, Paso Robles, California
Varietal Composition 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Fermentation Barrel Fermentation
Alcohol Content 14.4%
Suggested Retail $36.00
WineSellar Club Price $28.79
The Merrill Family’s agricultural heritage and grape growing history dates back at least 8 generations on California’s central coast. After nearly 30 years of growing grapes for many of the finest wineries in California, ranging from ultra-premium small producers to the largest international brands, the Merrill’s decided to produce their own wines. In addition to the family estate, the finest blocks of grapes from Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties are selected from vineyards managed by a sister firm, Mesa Vineyard Management, Inc. I had a visit to the winery last year and was blown away by the quality and wide range of wines made by Pomar Junction. Nice people too!
The packaging and looks of the Pomar Junction wines are so unique, so much fun, so very cool. They stand out very well, down to the embossed title. Referencing their location near the Junction. The wine shimmers with a very dark red hue, laced with black, it is still very youthful looking.
Solid California Cabernet Sauvignon dark fruits, without the somewhat typical green bell pepper you may find in some Cabernet Sauvignons. Black fruits, smoke, a nice dollop of fresh vanilla oak and spices. I loved the scent of fresh leather strap. something you don’t usually find in younger wines.
The even and balanced palate entry is medium full in body and weight. There is youthful acid present, but it is well integrated. The tannic acids are starting to back off after a couple years in the bottle, yet the finish is still tight and crisp.
Dark red fruits of plum, mulberry, and dark berry are forward on the palate. There is a nice spiciness to this wine, with notes of red and black licorice, vanilla oak, and freshly chopped herbs.
Break out the grill! Delicious with steaks topped with a slice of bleu cheese or try a mushroom sauce!
2019 Mignanelli Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Growing Region Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Varietal Composition 100% Pinot Noir
Fermentation Eleven Months in Barrels
Alcohol Content 13.4%
Suggested Retail $36.00
WineSellar Club Price $28.79
Broad Strokes: 91 Points BurgHound
Mignanelli Family Wines has become known for crafting with distinction only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Unique soils, climates, and topography, coinciding with our dry farming practices define the character expressed in each wine. The Mignanelli Family has partnered with long-term notable growers in the most sought-after appellations to artfully compose wines of impeccable quality and true varietal character. Our vineyard focused philosophy can be credited with the elegance of our wines. Using the terroir to express the varietal, allows the growing season to define the vintage.
With great passion and commitment towards perfection, quality, and the environment we continue to expand our winemaking journey throughout California’s Central Coast, exploring new vineyards - from the mountain tops to the valley floor.
Kind of a busy looking label, but you can pretty much read what it has to say in short notice. Looking perfectly like a Pinot Noir, sporting a lovely dark strawberry skin hue going to clear on the edges.
Pure and elegant come to mind when the nose gets to the glass. Pinot Noir is well-defined here. Cherry fruit and black plum coming through, with lavender, ripe strawberry, black tea, and mushrooms in wet earth.
Medium in weight, the entry is smooth and elegant. A beautifully restrained, yet firmly structured wine, mouth-watering, as the satin like textural sensations glide exotically through your mouth.
Solid black plum and Bing cherry fruit are ringing the bell for me. Touches of wood oak add striking complexities, further enhanced by the notions of mushrooms and dark soil. Tastes of coffee, pine and lavender emerge as well. The combined flavor profile of this wine, along with its magical texture, makes for a delightful drink!
Easy to see why this Pinot Noir garnered 91 Points. It is very hard to find a Pinot this good for this price!
2014 Chosen One, Seven Angels
Growing Region Paso Robles, California
Varietal Composition 42% Each Grenache & Mourvedre, 16% Syrah
Fermentation 28 Months 50% New Barrels
Alcohol Content 15.8%
Suggested Retail $42.00
WineSellar Club Price $35.09
Broad Strokes: Gold Medal OC Wine Society
Seven Angels Cellars is a family owned, boutique winery located in Templeton, CA. We began making wine in 2009 with a small production of Petite Sirah. Since then, we have increased production to around 3,000 cases per year. Greg Martin is the owner/winemaker and Pamela Martin is the other owner and handles social media, food pairings, wine club and club events and the website. The story behind the name came from our passion for family. We have seven children in our blended family, our 7 angels.
We believe in the “less is best” approach to winemaking. Less manipulation and more natural methods of making our wine. Greg likes to play with using different kinds of oak in our barrel program. Our wines are food friendly, approachable in both flavor and price point. 260 cases made.
Upscale bottle with a deep punt. Nice touch having angel wings on the label . . . wish they were better defined. Nice comments on the back label. The wine has a softer look to it from bottle age. Looks like a red-strawberry hue with hints of grey and black.
Classic Rhone blend notes from these grape varietals, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah: red licorice, strawberry/raspberry fruit with fresh herbs and black pepper. Nice sweetness to the aromatics, with chocolate and truffle. Tar and tobacco noted.
This rich, robust wine is medium in body and weight. The initial entry is fruit strong, vibrant, zesty and assertive. There is a solid line of acid and tannins to keep the fruit in check, leading to a mouth-watering, juicy feel through to the long finish.
Solid red cherry fruits are luscious and quite appealing. Meat of dark/black cherry, plum, fresh herbs with a hint of tar and tobacco as well. Look for Indian spices on the lovely, long, sweet fruit finish. Vanilla oak.
Here we have a wine that has some bottle age on it, yet it is still in the hunt for a few more years to cellar. Would be lovely with grilled lamb
2017 Red Stitch Cabernet Sauvignon
Growing Region Napa Valley, Ca.
Varietal Composition 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Fermentation 21 Months in Barrel
Alcohol Content 14.7%
Suggested Retail $125.00
WineSellar Club Price $112.49
From the Winery: Passion for classic, world-class wines drives Labyrinth's winemaking goal to craft
Drawn together through a blind tasting group, our families (the Aurilias, Miceks and Roberts) have become close friends and devoted wine enthusiasts. Beginning in 2007, we have enjoyed incredible tastings in our homes and at our favorite restaurants across California and around the world. As our love for wine brought us closer together, our relationships across Napa and Sonoma grew deeper as well. After the 2008 baseball season ended for Rich and Dave, we started to lay the groundwork for our venture into the wine business. Enjoying one incredible tasting after another across the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, visits with Rolando Herrera of Mi Sueño Winery, and the story of his passion for the art of fine wine, led us to friendship and an ultimate partnership. Rolando's knowledge, relationships and enthusiasm for Red Stitch have given us the opportunity to source incredible grapes from some of the finest vineyards in the Napa Valley.
That Darth Vader “I am a big, noteworthy Cabernet” images define the tone precisely. A warming, soft touch is the back label story, which I found heart-warming as well as a connection. The wine is opaque at the center, cherry skin coloring on the rim.
Very dark red fruits, red and black raspberry and ripe cherries. A lovely whiff of vanilla oak overlays a handsome scent of oak richness. Black currant and Chambord, black pepper.
Medium full in texture and weight. Surprising hints of youthful acids and tannic acids are quickly resolved by the rich and well-rounded fruit. The wine shows firmness and approachability at the same time.
Classic Napa Valley fruits, featuring dense blackberry, raspberry, and even some blueberry fruit. Notes of curry and cumin. Gotta love the way this wine makes you stop and think about it. One taster noted sandalwood, which you have to assume is an oak driven flavor. Excellent!
Another very well-made Cabernet Sauvignon for our GP Club members which will age gracefully for 15 years. Caution, it is throwing sediment, so decant or be careful.
Ocampo BBQ Grilled Oysters
One of the best oyster experiences I have ever had, I mean ever, was this August with good friends Rosemary & Adolfo Ocampo. This is Adolfo’s recipe, and they came off the Bar-B-Que succulent, plump and juicy. We just sat around the grill eating one or two at a time, as they came off hot.
- 36 Fresh oysters, larger the better, Pacific Northwest/cold water origins preferred.
- 3/4 Yellow Onion, quartered
- 4 Jalapeno Peppers
- 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon Oregano, finely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon Cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon Pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon Salt
- 3 Cloves Garlic, peeled
- 6-8 ounces Salted Butter
- Oyster Shucking Knife
- Hot Pad Glove
- Small bucket or large bowl to soak Hot Pad Glove
In a medium size bowl, place onions and chili peppers and fill with water.
Seal top of bowl with microwave safe cover.
Microwave for 8-10 minutes or until onions and peppers are tender.
Place onions, Jalapeno peppers, Fresh Oregano, ¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro, Cumin, Black Pepper, Salt and 3 cloves of garlic in blender. Do NOT add the water from microwave. (Save water for another day for soup or stock).
Blend until semi thick sauce consistency.
Place in bowl to spoon on oysters later.
In a small pan, add butter, and 8 Cloves of pressed garlic. Gently warm until garlic is softened. Leave in pan to spoon on oysters later.
Place oysters in sink and gently scrub the outsides to remove sand and solids.
Heat Bar-B-Que grill to just below highest level.
Soak hot pad glove in bucket of water.
For the first round, place four oysters on the grill.
Once heated enough, they will crack open on the grill.
Remove with soaked hot pad glove and remove top of the shell with shucking knife.
Add the garlic butter to each oyster (still in the shell), and then add the green blended sauce.
Serve and repeat until they are gone.