April 09, 2014
FEATURED: Mondeuse Master
Jean-Yves Peron has amassed a cult following by devoting himself to making radically natural wines from the Mondeuse grape, a rare native to Savoie. Peron takes natural to the max—organic farming, wild yeasts, minimal interventions, no fining, filtering, or sulfur. He vinifies the whole cluster, and uses no temperature control. His vines are as old as 130 years, and his cellar is the basement of his family farmhouse.This is back-to-roots winemaking that is deeply connected to Savoie, and the result is a wine with a personality you won’t find anywhere else.
April 04, 2014
Paradigm - Small Batch Grower Napa
Paradigm Winery continues to shine with their expressive offerings of estate-bottled reds. Located in the Oakville AVA inside Napa Valley, the winery is owned and managed by Ren and Marilyn Harris who have been growing grapes in Napa since 1964. They purchased Paradigm in 1976, and their wines are a rich expression of the vineyard they’ve been farming now for almost 40 years. They bottled their first estate wine in 1991.
Marilyn and Ren Harris purchased Paradigm Vineyards in 1976, and began producing their small batch, estate wines with the 1991 vintage. Since that first vintage, renowned winemaker, Heidi Peterson Barrett, has made the wines. A Napa Valley native and a graduate of U. C. Davis, Heidi is the winemaker for some of Napa Valley’s most highly-regarded wineries including Screaming Eagle and Dalla Valle.
Considering some of Paradigm’s neighbors (Harlan, Dominus, Martha’s Vineyard, Far Niente and Opus), Paradigm’s wines exemplify extraordinary value. About thirty percent of thier grape production at Paradigm is used by the winery, and the balance is sold to other premium Napa Valley wineries. The 2010 Cabernet was aged in French oak for 20 months and in bottle for 20 months. The fruit is 100% estate.
“Heidi Barrett has created a beautifully structured wine with intriguing dark fruits and a freshness that lifts the flavors away from being dense and overbearing.” - Catherine Seda is the Star’s tasting panel writer.
April 02, 2014
Huck Am Bach - Schiava Goodness
St. Magdalener—a small DOC from Alto Adige—probably isn’t on many people’s radar, but it should be, and will be once they try the 2012 ‘Huck Am Bach’ from Bolzano. With a beautiful cherry red color in the glass and a texture like rose petals, it hits aesthetic high notes from the outset. It’s juicy and soft, with distinctive strawberry, raspberry, and mineral aromas. The tannins are smooth and the acid provides structure, so there’s a lovely yin-yang between seriousness and play, especially when served with a slight chill.
Bolzano is the joint venture of two historical wineries dedicated to vintifying native grapes that don’t see much light elsewhere: Vernatsch (AKA Schiava) and Lagrein. Bolzano’s St. Magdalener is 90 percent Vernatsch and 10 percent Lagrein, which adds a bit of structure. The Vernatsch grapes are sourced from the loose, sandy soil on the warm slopes at the foot of Renon. They employ green cultivation methods and rigorous selection of the best quality grapes. The juice is aged in large oak barrels after fermentation.
Framed by the Tyrol mountains, this Italian wine zone shares much of its cultural and winemaking traditions with Austria, its neighbor to the north, and their wines go perfectly with the Italo-Austrian fare. The medium-body St. Magdalener is a refreshing companion to potatoes, cabbage, smoky mushrooms and sausages, apples, dumplings, and cheeses. In fact, a plate of gnocchi next to a glass of ‘Huck Am Bach’ just might send you yodeling through the mountains in happiness.
April 01, 2014
A Sancerre Great - Domaine Gerard Boulay
Gerard Boulay’s wines are gorgeous, ageworthy bottlings that should be regarded in the top ranks. Boulay’s wines hail from the village of Chavignol, which is already home to the Cotat cousins and the Vatan estate. Gerard’s a truly gifted winemaker who knows how to get every drop of flavor out of each grape. If you love Sancerre, you owe it to yourself to try Boulay’s wines.
Boulay Praise “The Boulay style is a world away from the regular refreshing but forgettable norm…….[it] should really be compared with a white burgundy in terms of its rewards and complexity.” Jancis Robinson MW
“A conscientious grower with a growing collection of old vines; Boulay’s wines - while delicious in youth - can be riveting after 7-12 years.” David Schildknecht, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate