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Drxeno

Location: Napa, CA

About Me: Ward Kadel – @drXeNo is the West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for WineLog.net and Le Wine Buff for Bordeaux.com (CIVB), as featured in their documentary short film. He was named a “key influencer” and a “strong community manager” in the seminal white paper on wine + tech, VinTank’s “WE ARE HERE: The State of Wine Industry Social Media.” Raised in and residing in Napa, he is a proud Vintage High Crusher and has been around wine virtually all of his life.

He has published the long-running wine blog Vinopanion since May 2007. Ward has also composed content and media as Influencer for Crushpad and Brixr.com’s TinyBottles, as Community Manager for Northern California Wine on Lunch.com and has consulted for wineries, PR firms and wine organizations for web content and social channel strategy and monitoring.

His freelance articles have appeared in Palate Press and Mutineer Magazine and his content is syndicated on the mobile apps Wine By the Bar and Hello Vino, rated #1 by Mashable on “Apps for Wine Lovers.” Ward is also one of the founders of the “Wine Badge” movement with his WKBadges and is a member of the VinTank Tasting Panel. In 2011 he worked harvest at the iconic Stags Leap District estate Chimney Rock Winery, during which he posted in real-time for his Man Falls in the Vines - #MFITV media campaign.

In his varied, hectic past and present he has hosted and produced the long running radio show TeK-IndUced EuPHoriA, worked as an assistant for the internationally renown progressive house label Loöq Records and its decade+ long DJ weekly Qoöl, in San Francisco. Ever the avid investment addict, he was also a featured social investor for Covester.com and interviewed about the biotech business sector by The Wall Street Transcript.

Ward lives in the Napa Valley, very lucky in love with his wife, food and travel blogger Beth Fontaine of Rollerskating With Scissors. When not imbibing and/or tweeting, posting, filming, consulting or writing about wine, Ward can be found researching cancer, DJing at his monthly The Winchester, training for his next triathlon…or, just relaxing with friends and family with a tasty bottle of vino.

View Ward’s WineLog, follow him on Twitter or Like Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: “Ward at WineLog.net”.

Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.

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Aug. 22, 2014 Bonny Doon Vineyard Arroyo Seco Beeswax Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc 2011

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from the winery, 04/29/14.
Drank during dinner with the family in Napa, 08/17/14.
BDV: "Vital Statistics
Varietal Blend:
62% grenache blanc, 38% roussanne
Vineyard: Beeswax
Appellation: Arroyo Seco
Alcohol by Volume: 12.5%
TA: 6.3 g/L
pH: 3.58
Production: 1,650 cases
L
Region
Arroyo Seco,
Monterey County
Bonny Doon Vineyard
Los Angeles



San Francisco
Santa Cruz
2011 Le Cigare Blanc Beeswax Vineyard
Sensitive Crystallization
Strong, integrated aromatic potential
is evinced in the crystallization of this
wine. Central, overlapping vacuoles
show the integration of the roussanne
and grenache blanc aromatics
and fruit characteristics. Even,
symmetrical, fully extended crystals
display this wine’s balance and close
connection with its soil.
Beeswax Vineyard
e Cigare Blanc is the white analog of Le Cigare
Volant, our homage to the complex blended wines of
Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The great white Cigare is not
unlike the great white whale; rarely seen, difficult to
catch, yet its name is legend. It’s a rich, savory wine with
greater power and extraction than one typically finds at
Bonny Doon.
Tasting Notes
Pale gold with green-gold highlights, the grenache blanc
dominant blend has a somewhat different aromatic
profile from the 2010 vintage. A very strong impression of
melon, along with Asian pear, pineapple and grapefruit
pith, and in the mouth, very rich, sporting a certain
modicum of tannin; this bodes exceptionally well for great
longevity. The wine’s unique flavors will pair exceptionally
well with hard cheeses, seafood (lobster especially), roasted
poultry, and savory vegetarian strudels or gratins. Paired
with sushi served with freshly grated wasabi will also be a
profound revelation.
Vineyard | Production Notes
Since 2003, we’ve produced this blend of grenache and
roussanne has derived from a single vineyard source, the
Beeswax Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey
County. Farmed biodynamically, surrounded by wilderness,
and shielded from the cool Pacific Coast winds by the
Santa Lucia Mountains, Beeswax Vineyard grows complex,
concentrated and mineral intensive grapes from deeply
rooted vines. The ‘11 vintage was a particularly cool growing
season, allowing us to produce an intensely flavored wine
at a relatively modest degree of alcohol; the ‘11 Cigare
Blanc underwent a complete malolactic fermentation.
Ingredients
Grapes, tartaric acid, and sulfur dioxide.
In the winemaking process, the following were utilized:
Indigenous yeast, cultured yeast, yeast nutrients, bentonite,
and French oak barrels.
At time of bottling, this product contained:
75 ppm total SO2 and 30 ppm free SO2"

  x $28
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Deeper golden in tone, with some gold on the edges, as well.

Nose: Some oxidization here in the fore, with dried nectarine and lemon, along with a fair bit of wax beans and hay.

Palate: While somewhat fruitier than its Réserve brethren, this wine shows a fair bit of oxidation, as found in the nose. All of the dried, almost aged pitted and lemon fruit from the nose is here as well, but without as good of acidity found in the Réserve. Hay abounds in the dried, oxidized finish. - 08/22/2014


Aug. 22, 2014 Bonny Doon Vineyard Arroyo Seco en bonbonne Réserve Le Cigare Blanc 2011

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from the winery, 04/29/14.
Drank during dinner with the family in Napa, 08/17/14.
BDV: "Vital Statistics
Varietal Blend:
62% grenache blanc, 38% roussanne
Vineyard: Beeswax
Appellation: Arroyo Seco
Alcohol by Volume: 12.5%
TA: 6.7 g/L
pH: 3.43
Production: 480 cases
Optimal drinkability:
Drink now-2020
age wine in demijohns/carboys/bonbonnes. Some of it has come
from my fascination with oxidation/reduction chemistry,
an aspect of wine art/science not well understood and its
importance greatly unappreciated. Years ago, as a young pup
I tasted wine from carboy with Dan Wheeler of Nicasio
Cellars in his do-it-yourself-hand-dug cave in Soquel, and was
astonished at how youthful were the wines, twenty plus years
later, almost as if they had been placed in suspended animation.
At about the same time, I also happened to taste the wines
from Emidio Pepe in Abruzzo, who also aged his product
in demijohns, likewise evincing extraordinary youthfulness
and vitality.
Tasting Notes
The “nose” of the ‘11 Réserve bottling shares some of the
unusual qualities of its normale counterpart, to wit, an unusual
suggestion of citrus (grapefruit), which upon closer inspection
morphs into plum or peach skin. If you sniff deeper, you get
a hint of crème brulée and butterscotch. And while in many
quarters there is still a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the
term “minerality,”—and I do rather literally mean “cloud,”
because for me a “mineral” nose is one that sort of gathers like
a storm cloud (there is electricity in the air)—the wine has a
certain quality that I always associate with the Old World, a
stony flintiness. In the mouth, there’s a recap of the stone fruit,
but you get more of an intimation of the stone itself. That is to
say, a certain astringency, austerity… and salinity(!) in non-trivial
measure. This is definitely a meditation wine that summons the
taster to attention, and will reward the unregenerate seeker of
truth and soul/soil.
Vineyard | Production Notes
We did some small encouraging experiments years ago, then
more or less forgot about them until relatively recently, at
which point we began the carboy ageing project with red Cigare.
It wasn’t until ’09 that it dooned on me that perhaps there were
even more interesting things to discover with the white. The ’11
Cigare Blanc Réserve, our third vintage of this wine, is absolutely
amazing, an advance over the ’10. To refresh everyone’s memory,
this wine is more or less the same blend as our standard issue
Cigare Blanc, apart from the fact that we’ve allowed it to undergo
malolactic fermentation, and at that point, we gave it a light
SO2 addition, racked it to glass demijohn (bonbonne), where it
reposed for a year and a half, getting anaerobically stirred more
or less fortnightly. The wine derives entirely from the Beeswax
Vineyard, located at the mouth of the Arroyo Seco.
Ingredients
Grapes, tartaric acid, and sulfur dioxide.
In the winemaking process, the following were utilized:
Indigenous yeast, cultured yeast, yeast nutrients, French oak
barrels and bentonite.
At time of bottling, this product contained: 75 ppm total
SO2and 30 ppm free SO2
Sensitive Crystallization
Strong, integrated aromatic potential
is evinced in the crystallization of this
wine. Central, overlapping vacuoles
show the integration of the roussanne
and grenache blanc aromatics
and fruit characteristics. Even,
symmetrical, fully extended crystals
display this wine’s balance and close
connection with its soil."

  x $54
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Medium yellow/green in tone, with cloudy sediment and golden undertones.

Nose: Very grassy here, with wax, tons of dried hay, hints of lemon citrus, and some dried floral notes.

Palate: Not quite what I usually expect from this wine, in this case the usually vibrant citrus fruit is very subdued, with only dried lemon lurking. Tons of dried hay and grass abound however, and dominate this wine. There's good lemon acidity in the finish, but the wine just seems somewhat unbalanced. - 08/22/2014


Aug. 19, 2014 Hiriart Cigales Crianza 2010

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from ARGOS Consulting, 05/17/14.
Drank on a warm summer evening in Napa, 08/17/14.
BH: "14.2% ABV"

  x $19
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Very dark garnet here, almost opaque in the core, with darker garnet edges.

Nose: Dark and earthy red and black plums here, softer toast, charred earth, but some heat also shows through.

Palate: Big, full, and round, with dry coating tannin hit the palate immediately, then some chalky mouthfeel adds some minerality components. Then all black, nicely ripe fruit comes softly in, with juicy acidity, char, and anise out into the alternating savory, peppered, and deeper blue/black fruited finish. Good. - 08/19/2014


Aug. 19, 2014 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Black Label Cabernet Franc 2011

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from the winery, 06/14/14.
Drank at a family dinner at home in Napa, 08/18/14.
CC: "Cabernet Franc;; a cantankerous variety, often blended with other Bordeaux
reds, is a late ripener, preferring cooler climates which makes ripening this
variety to perfection a challenge. However, find the right locations and
something very special emerges.
Sourced from four outstanding vineyard sites, each adds a unique
personality to the wine. Balanced with the structure and mid-­palate richness
from our Oakville Merlot for harmony, our Stepping Stone by Cornerstone
2011 Cabernet Franc Napa Valley is a beautiful example of this variety and
showcases how spectacular Cabernet Franc can be from the Napa Valley.
Elegance and balance best describes the wines from 2011. Numerous
challenges were provided to viticulturists and winemakers throughout the
2011 vintage. Mother Nature was throwing curve balls at us left and right.
What began with a wet winter and spring continued with rainfall into June
that delayed bloom and disrupted fruit set. The mild, steady warmth of the summer months lacked any
significant temperature spikes allowing the fruit to ripen slowly, but uniformly with fantastic flavor development.
Unusually cool and wet weather returned September and October pushing the vintage even later, but we were
rewarded in the end with weeks of amazing weather that provided needed ripening time. The commitment to
quality runs deep in this valley so with our patience and the precision farming of our fantastic growers we were
rewarded once again with elegant, well balanced wines.
Our Stepping Stone by Cornerstone 2011 Cabernet Franc Napa Valley opens with alluring aromatics
displaying lifted red berry, lavender and sweet basil notes with a touch of dried herbs, tobacco leaf and barrel
spice playfully effusing from the glass. Beautifully balanced and supple, the palate is filled with bright flavors of
red cherry and raspberry. Ripe tannins, round and plush flow through and grow with energy through a long and
expansive palate with tobacco, herb and floral notes lingering on the finish. A pretty wine with plenty of textural
elegance and finesse, its vibrant character makes for early enjoyment, but the rich structure and natural acidity
will allow this wine to evolve beautifully with age.
Composition: 89% Cabernet Franc: Talcott Vineyard, St. Helena, Oakville Station, Truchard Vineyard, Carneros,
Carrefour Vineyard, Coombsville Appellation -­ 11% Merlot Oakville Station
Harvest: Each of the vineyards was harvested early to late October, 2011 in perfect conditions
Aging: 18 months in French Bordeaux oak barrels 50% new Bottling Date: May 14th., 2013 Cases Produced: 1012
cases, Bottling Analysis: Alcohol 14.5 % v/v, pH 3.64, T.A. 0.550 g/100mL"

  x $45
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Darker garnet and violet in the core, with medium violet edges.

Nose: Very good here, with deep, earthy black fruit in the forefront, quickly followed by dark and ripe black cherry, loam, and charred meat.

Palate: Also very good here, with round and cool mouthfeel, courtesy of this Right Bank Bordeaux blend's cab franc and merlot, that is perfectly ripened, but not too ripe. All of that earthy, ripe, and dark red/black fruit is all here too, with fine, dusty tannin, good acidity and more savory charred meat into the finish. Quite good: OldWorldWK. - 08/19/2014


Aug. 17, 2014 Hiriart Cigales Lágrima Rosado 2013

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from ARGOS Consulting, 05/17/14.
Drank on a warm summer evening in Napa, 08/17/14.
BH: "13% ABV"

  x $14
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Dark coral and ruby here, with some strawberry highlights.

Nose: Huge juicy strawberry here, one note, but still enjoyable.

Palate: Medium bodied, with medium acidity, this has that same big, slightly sweet strawberry from the nose, and a lightly white peppered finish. Simple, but quaffable. - 08/17/2014


Aug. 17, 2014 Prinz von Hessen Rheingau Royal Kabinett Riesling 2012

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from Folio Wines and Five.comm PR, 07/09/14.
Drank on a hot summer evening, 08/15/14.
PvHW: "A truly “royal” Kabinett with “royal” characteristics.
This “royal” “Kabinett“ is a true interpretation of its origin and
quality classification, as defined by the PRINZ VON HESSEN Estate. Under the careful
guidance of ambitious Winery Director Dr Clemens Kiefer and the young winemaker
Sascha Huber, this vibrant Kabinett is a new addition to the wine range that successfully
unites the house style of the Wine Estate and epitomises Riesling, lifting the Kabinett
category. Above all however, it exceeds the expectations of the consumer."

  x $25
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Very light greenish/yellow here, with clear edges.

Nose: Good nectarine and citrus aromas here, followed by some kerosene and white floral notes.

Palate: Very light in body as anticipated in this Kabinett German riesling, and almost completely dry in RS. Good citrus and tarter pitted fruit abound, with the same light notes of white flowers and kerosene from the nose, out into the refreshing finish. - 08/17/2014


Aug. 17, 2014 Mirabeau Côtes de Provence Classique Rosé 2013

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from YC Media, 07/29/14.
Tasted at an industry BBQ with #Napa friends, 08/10/14.
MW: "The wine
Our signature wine, Mirabeau Rosé is an AOC Côtes de Provence made from the beautiful hillside vineyards around the village of Pourcieux, to the south-east of Aix-en-Provence.

A vibrant Provençal Rosé full of raspberry and cherry fruit with great concentration and a wonderfully lingering finish. Made predominantly from Grenache and Syrah with a dash of Cinsault, the grapes are grown in high altitude vineyards in the heart of the Côtes de Provence. With its creamy notes and refreshing acidity, this wine is elegant yet full-flavoured. Perfect as an aperitif whilst watching the sun go down or drink it as they do in Provence – with almost everything!

What it goes with
One of the reasons that Provence rosé has seen such a resurgence in popularity is due to it’s flexibility with food. Mirabeau pairs really well with seafood dishes, Asian food, BBQs and many cheeses. It’s also great by itself before a meal (i.e. as an apéritif).

This wine should be served at between 8° and 10°C.

Reviews
“With fresh herb and floral notes inter-sprinkled with raspberry and strawberry flavours, this is a heart-achingly beautiful rosé from the finest region in the world for this style of wine. Effortlessly classy and eminently affordable, this is a must-have wine for refined entertaining”.
Matthew Jukes. Daily Mail Magazine

“A lovely, juicy, peardrop and peach-fresh wine, youthful yet creamily soft.”
Oz Clarke’s 2012 Best Wines Guide

“Fragrant, fresh, vibrant, bright, crisp and lip-smackerous. Here’s to many more.”
Olly Smith, Mail on Sunday

“Mirabeau really stands out from the crowd.”
David Williams, The Observer

“Firm and scented with a satin texture. Good fresh, well integrated acidity.”
Jancis Robinson MW

“A lovely, balanced rosé … excellent …”
Terry Kirby, The Independent on Sunday

“This is a seriously good dry rosé”
Tom Bruce-Gardyne. Glasgow Herald
"

  x $16
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: A brilliant, light coral pink in tone, with almost clear edges.

Nose: Very good here, with wonderful bright red fruit of cherry, red currants, and raspberry, followed by some fresh rosemary and light floral notes by the rim.

Palate: Also quite good here as well, with brilliant acidity to brighten the red fruit medley from the nose, along with some slight roundness to the palate for balance, finishing with those same fresh rosemary herbal notes, and pretty floral tones. Well done: OldWorldWK. - 08/17/2014


Aug. 14, 2014 Robert Mondavi Central Coast Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2013

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from Nike Communications, 06/13/14.
Sipped while watching the hilarious #ForReal web series by Robert Mondavi Winery, 08/01/14: http://wkwine.us/1t4PGEU

  x $11
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Light canary yellow, verging on clear, with slight green highlights and a clear rim.

Nose: Good bright lemon peel here, with some gooseberry, and then rounder tropical fruit, mixed with bell pepper notes.

Palate: A solid SB here, with those same initial lemon citrus notes from the bright acidity, then rounder melon comes in, mixed with bell pepper and light herbal notes (in a good way), like a less acidic ceviche marinade: tasty. - 08/14/2014


Aug. 5, 2014 Domaine Chandon Napa-Sonoma étoile Tête de Cuvée 2003

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Personal Notes

Tasted during our free étoile Prestige Tour hosted by Elena on 03/15/14, courtesy of the winery.
DC: "Winery Exclusive
New Release

Chandon is proud of this shining star of its portfolio. This opulent brut represents the very best of its wine. This new release is made from the best grapes from the 2003 harvest and offers unprecedented luxury and character.

Aging Profile: Seven years on the lees (yeast)
Appelation: Napa County 52% - Sonoma County 48%
Composition: 70% Chardonnay - 30% Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2003
Winemaker: Tom Tiburzi
Accolades
90 points Wine Spectator, December 2012 (2001 Vintage)
"Offers distinctive aromas of baked apple and rubber, with rich, luscious flavors of Meyer lemon, raspberry and yeasty spice notes. Features a long, succulent finish."

Philosophy
Chandon is proud of this shining star of its portfolio, étoile Tête de Cuvée. Similar to traditional Champagne houses, Chandon offers étoile Tête de Cuvée to represent the best of its wines — literally the “head blend.” To craft this sparkling wine, Chandon’s winemakers blended the best grapes from the 2003 harvest and allowed the wine to age gracefully for a minimum of seven years on the lees. This aging results in a wine with rich flavors, layers of complexity and a luxuriously creamy mouthfeel. étoile Tête de Cuvée is ready to enjoy upon release, but will continue to develop for years when suitably cellared. The attractive bottle is designed to reflect the elegance of the wine in the bottle, foretelling great expectations.

Tasting Notes
Honey, dried apricot and lightly toasted hazelnut aromas mingle with notes of citrus blossoms and lemon curd. On the palate there are distinctive honey and dried apricot flavors that broaden to reveal nectarine and candied ginger all wrapped in a texture that is defined by elegance and refined complexity.

Food and Wine Pairing
Like all sparkling wine, our Tête de Cuvée is extremely enjoyable with a range of food, from oysters and potato chips to fresh cracked crab dipped in lemon butter and eggs benedict. Chicken or trout stuffed with lemons and tarragon would make a great match during the main course of a meal as would a stir fry of mixed vegetables."

  x $100
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Lighter canary here in color, with a very fine bead and a good mousse.

Nose: Very bready and yeasty here, a much toastier style, with dried lemon and nectarine fruit and some earthy notes from its age.

Palate: Lighter in body, this still has good creamy vanilla, bread, almond flavors, with crisp lemon underneath. There is also some baking spice notes intermixed with the toast and crispness of the finish. - 08/05/2014


Aug. 5, 2014 Domaine Chandon Napa-Sonoma étoile Brut Rosé NV

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Personal Notes

Tasted during our free étoile Prestige Tour hosted by Elena on 03/15/14, courtesy of the winery.
DC: "Combining the forward fruit of a red wine and the elegant structure of a white this wine is coveted by the most passionate connoisseurs for its unique character and limited availability.

Aging Profile: Aged sur lees since 2003, for a minimu of 5 years
Appelation: Napa and Sonoma Counties
Composition: 49% Chardonay - 45% Pinot Noir - 6% Pinot Meunier
Style: Brut Rosé
Winemaker: Tom Tiburzi
Accolades
92 Points Wine Enthusiast, December 2010

Philosophy
étoile, French for star, embodies our commitment to crafting the finest sparkling Rosé in America. The winemaking team has absolute freedom to break from traditional limitations and commonly accepted rules in sparkling winemaking. Not bound to a specific appellation, we source grapes from regions that we think will produce the best wine in any given vintage. With an extensive library of reserve wines, and no vintage requirements, our winemakers blend the current vintage with the perfect complement of reserve wines to build layers of depth and complexity in the finished wine. This is the concept of sur lees dating. We subscribe to no predetermined varietal blend or style; we simply reflect the best style the vineyards have to offer. étoile Rosé combines the forward fruit of a red wine and the elegant structure of a white. It is coveted by the most passionate connoisseurs for its unique character and limited availability.

Tasting Notes
In keeping with the traditional rosé winemaking method, we add a small amount of red wine (Pinot Noir) prior to tirage to create the distinctive salmon color with copper hues. The wine is elegant and restrained with fresh aromas of plum, raspberry and nutmeg. These aromas follow through on the palate and are layered with subtle and delicate flavors of cocoa powder. The wine finishes with excellent length and richness that will stand up to a variety of foods.

Food and Wine Pairing
The understated power of this wine with its bold but elegant character is an excellent match with the richness found in foie gras. It would be a natural accompaniment to salmon or trout dishes or for the adventurous chef – duck confit with plum salad. For even more fun, try this elegant wine on a romantic picnic."

  x $50
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Medium orange/coral, with a nice fine bead and a medium mousse.

Nose: Good orange spice here to start off, then earthier tones come in, with breadiness. Deeper dried raspberries follow, alongside good, dusty strawberry notes.

Palate: This shows off a robust mouth, more full than the Brut, with orange citrus and bright raspberry fruit along with some good floral notes. The bubbly finishes with earthier raspberry, and zesty clean acidity. Good: OldWorldWK. - 08/05/2014


Aug. 5, 2014 Domaine Chandon Napa-Sonoma étoile Brut NV

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Personal Notes

Tasted during our free étoile Prestige Tour hosted by Elena on 03/15/14, courtesy of the winery.
DC: "Elegance and grace personify this prestige cuvée with its classically crafted apéritif style.

Aging Profile: Aged sur lees since 2003, for a minimum of 5 years
Appelation: Napa and Sonoma Counties
Composition: 48% Chardonnay - 46% Pinot Noir - 6% Pinot Meunier
Winemaker: Tom Tiburzi
Accolades
92 points Wine Enthusiast, December 2009
"The refined texture recommends this brut, which is mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with a splash of Pinot Meunier. It’s an elegant wine, rich in citrus fruits, green apples, raspberries, smoke and creamy yeast..."

Philosophy
étoile, French for star, embodies our commitment to crafting the finest sparkling wine in America. The winemaking team has carte blanche in creating this wine. They have absolute freedom to break from all traditional limitations and commonly accepted rules in sparkling winemaking. For example, we impose no appellation requirement and allow the winemaking team to source from the very best vineyards in any given vintage. With no vintage requirements, we have the freedom to blend the current vintage with the perfect complement of library, or reserve wines, to build layers of depth and complexity. This is the concept of sur lees dating. We subscribe to no predetermined varietal blend or style; we simply reflect the best style the vineyards have to offer.

Tasting Notes
Tiny bubbles elevate an attractive bouquet of ginger and brown spice. Appealing baked apple, honey and cinnamon flavors meld seamlessly with nutty caramel flavors gained from extended sur lees aging. The creamy and seamless structure combined with balanced acidity carries these flavors through the lingering finish.

Food and Wine Pairing
Pair étoile Brut with delicate, sweet or even aromatic flavors. Enjoy it with seafood dishes like grilled scallops prepared with a lemon beurre blanc, or on its own before the start of a meal."

  x $40
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Medium canary yellow in the core, with a medium mousse and small, tight bead.

Nose: Good yellow apple here with medium toastiness, followed by some lighter bready notes and drier lemon alongside some vanilla, at the rim.

Palate: Very crisp citrus acidity here, with a nice vibrant mouthfeel, in the fore. Then the good nutty and light vanilla flavors come in alongside great nectarine fruit and finishes with light toast, almond-vanilla, and very fresh and clean. Good. - 08/05/2014


Aug. 1, 2014 Tercero Santa Barbara County Mourvèdre Rosé 2013

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Personal Notes

Tasted at the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference in Buellton, California, 07/11/14 - #WBC14.
TW: "100% mourvedre from vogelzang vyd in happy canyon; foot stomped and left on skins for an hour; cool fermented in stainless and then aged about 5 months in older french oak; alcohol is 13.0; pH about 3.4."

  x $25
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Light to medium coral in tone, with almost clear edges.

Nose: Good raspberry here, brightened with strawberry, and then some deeper, but still bright, Bing cherry notes near the rim. A tinge of fresh garden herbs and florals, as well.

Palate: Very clean and fresh, this has the great acidity that I love in a dry rosé, featuring all of that bright, red fruit medley from the nose. The finish is juicy and longer than many rosés, with just a tinge of those interesting herb and floral notes from the nose. Good. - 08/01/2014


Jul. 30, 2014 Pertinace Langhe Roero Arneis DOCG 2012

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from Creative Palate, 02/17/14.
Drank on a hot summer evening, by the pool with friends, 07/27/14.
P: "HAIL, PERTINACE!
The Little Piedmontese Co-op that Could – and Does

In Italy, a pertinace is a tenacious person who holds on to his or her principles. The word originates from Publio Elvio Pertinace, an Alba native famed for his honesty and civic-mindedness, who was assassinated 87 days after becoming Roman emperor by the corrupt Praetorian Guard. The small Piedmontese Pertinace co-op lives up to its namesake, making trustworthy wines that reflect with integrity the local terroir and traditions – and at killer prices.

Pertinace is a feel-good story. Back in the 1970s, no longer able to prosper, Italian farmers were deserting the countryside and their ancestral farmlands in droves. So it was that in 1973, faced with the decision to leave, Mario Barbero, a tenacious man, opted instead to organize 12 neighbors, pool resources and band together to form a co-op. Today, Mario’s son Cesare is Pertinace’s lead winemaker, and a thriving Pertinace has earned a sterling reputation as a source of fine Piedmontese wines at very competitive prices. “As a matter of principle, our growers should also be able to afford the wines they make,” Barbero observes.

If for some wine-drinkers “co-op” implies “large, corporate, impersonal, mass-market wines,” Pertinace is the antithesis. It is, however:

• A community enterprise created from the ground up, by the growers, for the growers
• Decisions are reached by consensus
• Small -- just 15 (originally 13) growers, cultivating a total of 75 hectares/185 acres
• Of those 15 growers, 11 are full-time farmers, while four work their land on the side
• A real world, successful solution to keeping family farms sustainable and economically viable
• Home to classic-style, limited-production wines from the best growers, working some of the finest vineyard sites

Those sites include the crus of Marcarini and Nervo, whose Nebbiolo grapes formerly supplied such marquee names as Ceretto, Pio Cesare and Bruno Giacosa. Identified with small properties making benchmark, costly, red wines from a finicky grape, Piedmont has been compared to Burgundy. Building on that analogy, Pertinace offers Premier Cru sourcing at Villages prices. But Piedmont differs from Burgundy in one notable respect: it is home to multiple indigenous grape varieties and Pertinace is proud to support that tradition.

Pertinace is located in Treiso (pop. 800), one of the larger communes in the Barbaresco appellation. Treiso is known for its steep slopes with soil that is primarily calcareous marl, producing long-lived, structured wines. Most of Pertinace’s 75 hectares/185 acres of vineyards (around 80%) are located around the village, with additional holdings in nearby Barbaresco, Alba, Magliano Alfieri and Neviglie.

In Treiso are found the lovingly-tended, Guyot trained, low-yield vines for making DOCG Barolo, DOCG Barbarescos (classic and single-vineyard) and a mouthwatering “Weekday” drinking Langhe Nebbiolo. Treiso is also famous for its Dolcetto and Pertinace, at 200,000 bottles, is its biggest producer. Barbero makes a traditional Dolcetto in the grapey, minerally style beloved by Italians. This is true Dolcetto, Barbero says with a smile, “not fancied up with oak or other new techniques.” Other Piedmontese favorites made by Pertinace: a fruity Barbera from some of the group’s oldest vineyards, a nutty, un-oaked Arneis and a lively Moscato d’Asti made from Malvasia. All of these offerings add up to approximately 400,000 bottles annually.

Growers use only copper and sulphur in the vineyard. Pertinace is not certified organic, but there is as little intervention as possible. Pertinace typically pays more for grapes than most other local buyers and the price paid is, of course, predicated on quality. All the Pertinace wines made from that fruit reflect the past and the character of the area. For winemaker Cesare Barbero that means wines in which you physically feel the acidity and, if red, the tannin. He doesn’t favor super-soft, super-round wines, nor barrique-aged ones. So, at Pertinace the smallest aging vessel is 500 liters (over double the size of a barrique) and the largest is 10,000 liters! For Nebbiolo, for example, Cesare believes only large casks bring out the classic bouquet of tar, licorice and cherries. Indeed, Pertinace is the new proud owner of 10,000-liter Slavonian oak barrels, good to last 30 years if you scrape them every decade.

But, over the years, there have been changes, including:

• Introducing white wines to the line (1982), the first being a Chardonnay
• Abandoning concrete tanks in favor of stainless steel for improved temperature control and worker safety (1997)
• Enlarging and adding temperature control to the cellar filled with its large tonneaux and Slavonian oak casks (1990)
• Restricting light (which damages wine when in glass) and adding temperature control to the cellar in which wines in bottle are matured and stored (1985)

Pertinace’s most ambitious project of late is targeted for completion in 2014. Pertinace bought an old building formerly used to house a trophy-making factory. Gut-renovated from top to bottom, the building, encased in a new coat of insulation, will house a larger bottling line, provide more storage space – bottles downstairs, cartons upstairs – plus a retail store open to the public. In true small co-op spirit, this has been a do-it-yourself project. Winemaker Barbero, for example, turned construction worker, pouring and laying down the white, red, brown and black resin floor.

This hands-on, understated style is part-and-parcel of what Pertinace is and stands for, even as it has become successful, selling in 13 countries around the world and winning recognition for its unparalleled price/quality ratio. Pertinace has found success making honest, distinctive, expertly crafted traditional wines and, in the process, has provided a decent living for its community of growers.

Forty years on, Pertinace, unlike its namesake Emperor, has a happy, ongoing story as second and third generation members are able to remain and prosper on their family farms. Hail Pertinace!

Pertinace wines are imported by Mionetto USA/MW Imports. The portfolio features: Moscato d' Asti DOCG, Roero Arneis DOCG, Barbaresco Cru Macarini DOCG, Barbaresco Cru Nervo DOCG, Barbaresco Normale DOCG, Barbera d'Alba DOC, Barolo DOCG and Dolcetto d'Alba DOC."

  x $18
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Medium golden in tone, with green highlights.

Nose: A bit of honeyed floral notes, then the rounder tropical fruit comes in, with just a tinge of citrus.

Palate: This medium bodied wine starts with those same honeyed floral and tropical fruit, lightly flavored, then moves into a brighter finish of light citrus flavors. - 07/30/2014


Jul. 29, 2014 Artéis & Co Champagne Premier Cru Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs 2002

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from IT PR, 05/08/14.
Drank with a light seafood dinner prepared by the Lady, 07/06/14.
A&C: "Blend :
100% Chardonnay from Cuis (Côte des Blancs)
-
100% Premier Cru
-
- Dosage : 3 g/liter
- Ageing : 10 years (tirage in March 2003)
- Disgorged in August 2013
- Ageing after disgorgement : 5 months
TASTING NOTES
- Sight :
A lustrous gold color, fine and lively mousse
- Nose :
An elegant nose dominated by the scents of fresh butter, warm viennoiserie, blood orange, grapefruit and honey; a fresh and fine minerality paired with outstanding white floral aromas
- Palate :
Elegant and complex palate with a fine acidity and bright mousse ; a perfect showcase of a refined chardonnay grown in the heart of the Côte des Blancs during an exceptional 2002 year
TASTING SUGGESTIONS
- Temperature : 8 to 10°C
- Garde : 2 to 10 years
- Food pairing suggestions :
perfect wine for apéritif or to be paired with shellfish, lobster, oyster or white fish"

  x $108
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Deeper golden in tone, this shows a still impressively robust mousse of a very fine bead of bubbles, despite its longer bottle age.

Nose: Very toasty and with plenty of aged lees yeasty notes, this has a more savory nose at this age, but still shows off good tarter, dried lemon citrus, and sautéed butter.

Palate: With its Extra Brut level of original dosage combined with all chardonnay fruit, this is a lean and elegant bubbly, but one that still displays some lees-driven richness to balance its tart, cleansing citrus acidity with good toasty, breaded notes. The palate shows off good pinpoint control of minerality, as well. - 07/29/2014


Jun. 18, 2014 Villa Maria Marlborough Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2013

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Personal Notes

Received as a sample from Tatu Digital for the "First to Sip 2014 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc" Twitter tasting, 06/18/14. #NZsavvy
http://wkwine.us/1oI1CgY

VM "AWARDS & ACCOLADES
Silver – New Zealand International Wine Show 2013 (NZ)
Gold – Michelangelo Awards 2013 (NZ)
Silver – International Wine & Spirit Competition 2013
Silver – Avenues International Aromatic Wine Competition 2013
Gold – Marlborough Wine Show 2013 (NZ)
WINEMAKER’S COMMENT
A pure expression of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, bursting with aromas of passionfruit, melon and wild nettle. It is powerful and juicy, displaying vibrant grapefruit notes with fantastic mid-palate weight, and an integrated acidity. Enjoy now and until 2015.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Fresh pan fried fish or sautéed scallops with grilled seasonal vegetables.
VINEYARD & WINEMAKING
The 2013 vintage was warm and dry and fruit was harvested in pristine condition from the last week of March until late April. Due to the warm days, regular tasting in the vineyard was ensured to capture the flavours at their peak.
FRUIT HANDLING: Machine Harvest, Destemmed and crushed.
YEAST: Neutral and aromatic
FERMENTATION: Temperatures were cool between 10-14c
VINEYARD: The Awatere and Wairau valleys offer a variety of mesoclimates & different flavour profiles - essentially a 50% blend of the valleys, capturing the spectrum of Marlborough..
VARIETIES: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
ALCOHOL: 13% pH: 3.25 TOTAL ACIDITY: 7.4gL
RESIDUAL SUGAR: 3.6gL"

  x $30
Tasting Notes
& Comments

Color: Light hay in tone, with clear edges.

Nose: Lighter lemon on top, then deeper hay and grapefruit beneath, with a touch of woody herbs.

Palate: This rounder, almost medium-bodied wine features great acidity, and tons of juicy citrus fruit of grapefruit and lime. Some hay and fresh woody herbs come into play into the very juicy finish, as well. - 06/18/2014


Statistics for Drxeno

Total wines logged: 2637

Varieties: 336

Number of wines in cellar: 109 (113 bottles)

Number of Notes: 2480

Number of Comments: 2493

Average rating: 3.5

Favorites: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay

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