Qorkz.com – For Hidden Wine Gems

Do you wish you were in Napa or Sonoma right now? (Don ‘t we all?)

Want to find that winery that is a hidden gem that is off the beaten path? The ones that have such a small production you have the upper hand with your friends and family? Especially when they rave about the wine you are serving?

Well, I, your VinoVerve Editrix has been working secretly to bring these kinds of wines to you. Welcome to Qorkz Wine.

These wines are made by passionate winemakers who want to share their craft with you.

We are scouring California (for now and eventually around the country and maybe even the world) to find these treats for you!

You all know how much I enjoy looking for these treats… so please, enjoy!

We will have more choices to come!

 

 

Walla Walla AVA

A town so nice, they named it twice!

Well, not so much the town in this scenario as the entire appellation. This seems only fair as the this AVA is located in two separate states – Oregon and Washington. The justifications for the establishment of the viticultural area are historic, geologic, geographic and climatic.

Walla Walla translates at “rapid stream” or “many waters” in the Sahaptin language that is shared by the Walla Walla, Umatilla, Yakama, Nez Perce and Tenino peoples. Western settlers moved into the area beginning in the 1830s when Marcus and Narcissa Whitman came as missionaries to the Walla Walla people but were murdered by the Cayuse following outbreaks of measles that the indians believed were caused by the whites (they were, but they didn’t do it on purpose as no one was aware of germ theory quite yet).  Viticulture began informally with French fur trappers in the 1840s in an area previously known as Frenchtown, now called Lowden.

The geologic basis of the creation of the appellation is based in part  on the similarity of the river plain of assorted wind blown loess soils well drained by smaller streams that cut through the area.  Being located  between the Cascades and the Blue Mountains along the Washington, Oregon and Idaho border means that the area is blocked from the moderating temperatures nearer the Pacific but also in a rain shadow as well.  This means that the climate is more intense with warmer days with cool evenings and semi-arid which requires irrigation for cultivation.

Modern viticulture (i.e. post-(the dreaded) Prohibition) began with Leonetti Cellars in the 1970s with Woodward Canyon Cellars and L’Ecole 41 coming along in the 1980s .  The Walla Walla AVA was established in 1984 and amended to extend the territory in 2001.  Varietals produced in the area include:

  • Barbera
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Carmenere
  • Chardonnay
  • Cinsault
  • Counoise
  • Dolcetto
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Grenache
  • Malbec
  • Marsanne
  • Merlot
  • Mourvedre
  • Nebbiolo
  • Petit Verdot
  • Pinot Gris
  • Pinot Noir
  • Riesling
  • Rousanne
  • Sangiovese
  • Semillon
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Syrah
  • Tempranillo
  • Viognier
Oh, and I have actually been to this viticultural area!  The Wine Bloggers’ Conference in 2010 was in Walla Walla.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Umpqua Valley AVA

One man’s basin is another man’s valley.

The Umpqua is formed by three mountain ranges:  The Cascades, the Coastal Range and he Klamath, but often the area is often known as the 100 valleys of the Umpquas.  The Umpqua River runs through the valley but is no way responsible for the formation of this appellation.  The soils are a diverse mixture of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks with alluvial and clays dominating the valley floor and clays.  In fact, the contains at least 150 separate soil types.  The climate of the region is also varied with the northern areas being cool and  moist, the southern being warm and dry and the central area transitional.

Viticulture has been active since the 1880s when German settlers left California and headed north.  In the modern era winemaking was established in the early 1960s and has grown to at least 60 vineyards and 12 wineries.  The appellation also distinguishes itself by being the first place in the U.S. growing Grüner Veltliner.  Other varietals being produced include:

  • Albariño
  • Baco Noir
  • Barbera
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Dolcetto
  • Gewürztraminers
  • Grenache
  • Grüner Veltliner
  • Kadarka
  • Malbec
  • Marechal Foch
  • Merlot
  • Muller Thurgau
  • Muscat Canelli
  • Petite Sirah
  • Pinot gris
  • Pinot noir
  • Pinotage
  • Riesling
  • Roussane
  • Sangiovese
  • Semillon
  • Sauvigon Blanc
  • Syrah
  • Tannat
  • Tempranillo
  • Valdiguie
  • Vermentino
  • Viognier
  • Zinfandel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Southern Oregon AVA

While over time the focus has been on smaller and smaller wine regions, in 2004 the TTB went completely the other way, creating a super-AVA in the form of the Southern Oregon AVA. This region consists of the Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate Valleys and Red Hill Douglas County, Oregon AVAs as well as additional territory linking the regions together. The idea for the super-sized AVA was that of H. Earl Jones of Abacela and his son, associate professor of geography, Gregory V. Jones of Southern Oregon University. (editor’s note: See? I am not the only person with a degree in geography!) They evidence cited to justify the designation includes historical, cultural, climatic, geologic and geographical justifications for the creation of the viticultural area.

Historically, the region has been a wine producing area since the 1850s with modern viticulture restarting in the 1950s. From a cultural perspective, they cite the “physical and cultural” divisions of the state of which Southern Oregon is an example. The region is located south of Eugene to the California border largely within the Umpqua, Rogue, Applegate, Illinois and Bear Creek Valleys. The petition indicates that the soils in the area, while varied are older than those in the Willamette to the north or the coastal zones to the west and contain fewer silts from ancient oceans and lakes. The temperatures in the area are on average the warmest in the state which allows for the cultivation of warmer climate grapes as well as allowing for select microclimates that are perfect for colder acclimated varietals. Additionally, the elevations in the region are higher than the surrounds areas and it receives less rainfall.

The appellations is home to over fifty (50) wineries and produces wines from varietals including:

  • Albarino
  • Bastardo
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Dolcetto
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Grenache
  • Malbec
  • Merlot
  • Muscat Canelli
  • Petit Verdot
  • Petite Sirah
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Pinot gris
  • Pinot Noir
  • Riesling
  • Sangiovese
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Semillon
  • Syrah
  • Tempranillo
  • Viognier
  • Zinfandel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Taking Wine Making Up A Notch

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

GrenacheYes, those were crates of grapes, but I am not making jelly. I am making wine. With real grapes. Do we know what we are doing? Kinda sort.

In the meantime it has been an adventure.

Making wine the hard wayKevin and I headed off to Caputo’s Market and found the grapes. Boxes of grapes piled up. Sorted by varietal. Plastic pails of juice were also there. So now we had to decide what we were going to try. Which isn’t as easy to decide as you think. We decided to go with a blend of grapes and red grapes at that. So we walked up and down the aisle and finally decided on two varietals. Alicante, which is also (and more commonly in the US) known as Grenache and Carignan which is often found in Catalan and Languedoc wines.

Ready to crush the CarignanNow there is a problem with our plan. We do not own a fruit press and we were not prepared to shell out $800 for one of the ones that they had at Caputo’s. So we decided to wing it. We brought the grapes home cracked into the crates and started squeezing them by hand. It was a messy process. But getting that up close and personal with your grapes teaches you something. The Grenache are really, really red. The Carignan, have black skins but green pulp and were sweeter than the Grenache. And they are really, really sticky.

Making ProgressWe have left the skins in contact with the juice and will punch them down into the mix twice a day to enhance the color and the tannins. And we learned that it is trickier getting a sugar and potential alcohol readings with the skins in the way too. But now we are just waiting.

An you shall too.

Cross your fingers!

Cellardoor Winery ~ The Wines

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Logo from Cellardoor Winery's website

I took my time over the tasting menu, and it was hard to settle on just six.  Some of the choices I passed up this trip included Celladoor’s Pinot Gris and Syrah, and some interesting red blends.  But I decided to go for wines that I, perhaps, don’t encounter quite as frequently, starting with the

Viognier Pale yellow in color, with a lovely, rich honeysuckle nose.  In the mouth the wine is dry and crisp with a really nice bite of acid on the finish.  Initially the wine is very smooth on the tongue, with light notes of peach in the front.  The wine is lightly oaked, providing a slight smokiness that gives it just a bit of bitterness with subsequent sips.  The smokiness should mellow slightly when paired with food, and this should be a very versatile wine for pairing.

Cellardoor’s website features a wine & food pairing section, providing some very specific suggestions and featuring recipes for some of those suggestions.  For the Viognier, they suggest pairing it with “wild mushroom risotto, mussels in white wine sauce, spicy Thai peanut chicken, or camembert cheese topped with apricot morstada.”  An interesting range…

Vino DiVine I only chose 2 whites that afternoon, and for my second selected Cellardoor’s Vidal Blanc, Vino DiVine.  The color is also a very pale yellow, although it is slightly darker than the Viognier.  The nose surprised me a bit – very light, very subtle with the barest hints of citrus.   Unoaked, the wine, while dry, was a bit sweeter than than the Viognier, which is what one would expect from a Vidal Blanc.  Citrus notes predominate across the palate with light sweet/tart notes of grapefruit and the rich, but slightly bitter, notes of orange zest/orange pith.  There’s a higher level of acid in this wine, and I found it hit the tongue in the middle rather than in the back, where I’m more used to finding it.  As a result it gives the wine a bit of tanginess that worked well with the citrus notes.  There also were subtle notes of earthiness from some light mineral content that balanced the wine, toning down slightly the brightness of the citrus.  A very interesting wine, and of the two whites, my favorite.

Cellardoor’s recommended food pairings include “fresh chilled shrimp dipped in a spicy pepper sauce, lobster salad with a mango dressing, soft goat cheese with tarragon, or fish and chips.”

Prince Valiant My first selection from among the reds was a blend of Zinfandel (46%), Mouvedre (23%), Tempranillo (23%) and Malbec (8%).  I was as intrigued by the grape combination as I was caught by the name.  The color is a medium purple, and the nose is fruity and lightly peppery.  In the mouth, the wine is definitely fruit forward with notes of black raspberry hitting right on the front.  There are strong notes of pepper and spice on the finish, and over time the pepper’s heat starts to dominate.  I found this to be an interesting wine, and I don’t think a 1 oz tasting does it justice – although one could say that about any wine.  But in this case, I think the wine is more complex than I was able to appreciate from just a tasting.  Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me to bring a cooler and ice packs with me on this trip.  I think the fact that I was staying overnight threw me, and I didn’t pack as I would for a normal day on the wine trails.  As the day was pretty warm, I didn’t want to ruin the wine by buying a bottle only to have to leave it in the car on a hot afternoon, so I’ll just have to make the sacrifice of making another trip to Maine in the future.

Cellardoor’s suggested pairings: bbq pork ribs, aged cheeses, and hard salami.

Artist Series Grenache Each year, Cellardoor crafts one limited edition wine and pairs with a local artist who produces the painting featured on the label for their “Artist Series.”  20% of the proceeds of the sale of this wine is donated to the Bay Chamber Concerts, a music festival and school in nearby Camden, Maine.  This year, the Artist Series wine is a double-gold award winning Grenache.

The color is a lovely rich ruby color.  The nose is fruity with rich notes of plum and black raspberry.  In the mouth, the wine is medium-bodied, smooth on the front and strong tannins on the finish.  More lush than the Prince Valiant, the wine opens up in the mouth.  There are light berry notes and some earthiness on the front, and smoky pepper on the finish.  The heat of the pepper starts at the back of the mouth and actually extends into the chest, and one of the things I noted is that the finish hits the back of the nose as well as the throat.  It might not be to everyone’s liking, but I found the wine to be a more fully sensory experience than I often experience.  I really liked this wine, and will definitely be going back for seconds, or perhaps ordering a bottle or two from Cellardoor’s website.

Recommended pairings: “rich cheeses, duck, wild game, and salmon.”

Monti al Mare “Mountains & Sea,” my final wine of the day was a Chianti-style blend of Sangiovese (70%), Malbec (24%) and Syrah (6%).  The color is a dark, bright ruby, and those is fruity, rich, and lush with notes of black currant.  Medium-bodied, the wine has the smoothest finish of the three reds I tasted that afternoon, and lovely notes of dark berries, black cherry and plum.  The finish has light notes of pepper which provide a bite of heat, but note enough to overpower the wine or the smoothness of the finish.   I liked this wine, and if I had brought a cooler, would definitely have picked up a bottle for more leisurely sampling later.  But I still found that Grenache calling to me; I don’t know if I would say it was my favorite of the afternoon, but it was definitely the one I was most intrigued by.

Cellardoor’s suggested food pairings for the Monti al Mare include “baked pasta, herb-encrusted rack of lamb, and aged cheeses.”

With only one selection remaining, I left the reds and moved on to the dessert wines.  I’m a sucker for dessert wines, loving their lush, silky sweetness – and if there’s a dessert wine on the menu, it will usually find it’s way onto my tasting menu.

Serendipity Of Cellardoor’s several “Maine-inspired” wines, I opted for a dry Riesling infused with 20% pure Maine maple syrup.  To date, or at least as well as I can remember, I have only tried one other maple wine, the Sapling Vermont Maple Liqueur which I found at last year’s Vermont Wine Festival.  While, obviously not as rich or concentrated as a liqueur, Cellardoor’s Serendipity is a lovely dessert wine.  Pale gold in color, the nose is almost vidal-like with a rich, sweetly fruity nose similar to an ice wine.  In the mouth, the wine is rich and smooth with a touch of apricot from the riesling balancing the dominant, but not overpowering, note of the maple syrup.  The result is very interesting – in my notes, I likened it to fruit pancakes in a glass.  Definitely worth inclusion among anyone’s tasting selections.

With my tasting finished, I made a mental note to stop again on a future Maine trip, although perhaps next time at the vineyards themselves.

Connecticut Valley Winery ~ The Reds

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Connecticut Valley leads off the Reds with their Chianti, the only wine produced in the Northeast that’s allowed to be called a Chianti.  In 2004, the United States and the European Union reached an agreement prohibiting the use of wine labels, such as Chianti, that had become “semi-generic” to only those wines produced in specific regions within the European Union.  Also included in the agreement are “Champagne,” “Madeira,” “Port,” among others.   Certain US wines, such as Connecticut Valley’s Chianti, were grandfathered in, thus allowing this to be one of the few non-European wines allowed to be called a Chianti.

Chianti Connecticut Valley’s Chianti is a blend of 7 different grapes, 4 grown locally, including Grenache, Sangiovese, Chianti and Chardonel grapes.  The result is delightful: rich, medium garnet color with a lovely, fruity nose with rich plum notes.  In the mouth, the wine is very smooth and fruity with notes of both cherries and summer berries.  The wine is dry and lighter-bodied, with very low tannins, producing a nice smooth finish.  This is a great summer sipping wine and would pair well with grilled meats and fish.

2010 Ruby Light A rosé style wine, the Ruby Light is a 50/50 blend of Frontenac and Chardonel. Deeper and richer than the Chianti, the wine has lovely notes of plum on the palate and a touch of pepper on the finish which provides some complexity.  The nose is bright and fruity with a slightly floral citrus note.  Like all the Connecticut Valley wines, the Ruby Light is smooth with low acidity.  I found I would have liked a bit more acid on the finish to open up the wine.

2010 Deep Purple An estate-bottled Chambourcin, the 2009 vintage was completely sold out on my previous visits, so I looked forward to this with great anticipation.  The nose is quite strong with lovely notes of cherry.  On the palate, the notes of cherry predominate, bordering on overwhelming the wine.  The cherry notes add a strong sweetness, and despite being a dry wine, it borders on the semi-sweet due to the strength of the cherry.  The couple next to me at the tasting really liked this, and those who prefer sweeter wines should really like this.  The Deep Purple should hold up well when paired with meats such as beef and pork.  Overall an interesting wine, but not one of my favorites.

2010 Midnight An estate-bottled Frontenac, this is one of my favorites among Connecticut Valley’s wines.   The nose is soft and rich, with lush cherry notes, although thankfully not as strong as those in the Deep Purple.  Like the Deep Purple, the cherry notes are very strong in the mouth, but the Midnight has a slight finish of chocolate/mocha, which likely comes from the dark french oak barrels in which the wine is aged, that smooths out the wine and balances the cherry.  The result is less sweet and more interesting than the Deep Purple.  This would pair well with drier, richer foods.  Judith Ferraro also uses the Midnight as the base for a mulled wine, combining it with cranberries and mulling spices.  She always keeps a batch going during the winter and offers it at the end of a tasting.  The result is absolutely divine – and the perfect wine for those cold northeastern winter evenings in front of the fire.

2009 Black Tie Cabernet Franc This is Connecticut Valley’s most awarded red wine.  75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Geneva 7 (GR7), a hybrid grape produced by Cornell University and first released in 2003.  A hardier grape designed for colder-weather climates, the GR7 is used primarily as a blending component.  Connecticut Valley’s Cab Franc is a smooth, dry wine, the driest of Connecticut Valley’s wines.   In the mouth, the wine is soft and silky with notes of cherry and a peppery finish that doesn’t linger overlong.   This should age very nicely, and I imagine it will really open up if allowed to cellar for a couple of years.   Each time I taste the wine, I find myself more and more intrigued, and after the third tasting have added it to my list of favorite Connecticut Cabernet Francs with Gouveia‘s and Chamard‘s.

The tasting finishes with Connecticut Valley’s one dessert wine, the

Black Bear A port-style wine, the Black Bear has a strong, rich deep nose with notes of both cherry and chocolate.  As with the Black Tie and the Deep Purple, the strongest notes present on the palate are those of cherry, although there are slight notes of raspberry and dark chocolate both of which provide a slightly tart bitterness to balance the cherry and keep the wine from being overly sweet and cloying.  The finish is smooth with light, lingering notes of chocolate.

That concluded the tasting, and as I didn’t have another winery on my list for that afternoon, I indulged, ordering a glass of the Chardonel a plate of crackers and cheese and settled into a comfortable chair on the patio for an hour in the sun.

In addition to the wines, Connecticut Valley also hosts wine-pairing dinners featuring the cuisine of local chefs paired with Connecticut Valley wines.  Their most recent dinner was Valentine’s Day.  If interested in future dinner, check out their website and/or send them an email and Judith will put you on her watch list and contact you once they’ve scheduled the next dinner.

The winery is open all year round Saturdays and Sundays 12-5 or by appointment.  They also have extended hours during the summer wine season, call 860-489.WINE for details.

The Inevitable Red Hills Map

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

I am nothing if not predictable. After discovering that there was a Lake County in California, it was all but certain that I would have to prepare a map of it….

So… Voilà

The Red Hills Lake County is one of five AVAs located in Lake County, California including Clear Lake, High Valley, Benmore Valley and Guenoc Valley. Red Hills is located on the southwestern shore of Clear Lake. It is located at the foot of Mt. Konocti, an extinct volcano between Excelsior Valley, Big Valley and the Mayacamas Mountains. The appellation was designated in 2004 and consists of 31,250 acres of which 3,000 are under cultivation. The soil is volcanic and is full of shards of obsidian that was formed as the magma from the Mt. Konocti cooled quickly due to the waters of the lake. The elevation of the area is betwen 1,400 and 3,000 feet and receives between 25 and 40 inches of rain per year. The region is perfect for Bordeaux and Rhone grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Mourvedre and Zinfandel.

Wineries and vineyards located within the AVA include:

Sol Rouge
Fortress Vineyards
Ferrel Ranch Vineyard
Red Hills Winery
Obsidian Ridge Vineyard
Fore Family Vineyard
Becht Vineyard
Eden Crest Vineyard
Roumiguiere Vineyards – Red Hills Ranch
Snow Lake Vineyard

The Final Four

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

We could easily have stopped with the Réserve Personnelle, and I would have felt I had gotten more than my money’s worth from the seminar, but there were four more wines lined up in front of me.

Change le Merle Vielles Vignes 2007, Bosquet des Papes, presented by Nicolas Boiron, proprieter and winemaker.  Blend 88% grenache, 8% Mourvèdre and $% syrah grown on three parcels, Gardioles, Montredon and Cabriéres.  The vines are 90+ years old, and the wine is aged 14 months in a combination of demi-muids and foudres.  Only 750 cases were produced.

The Chante le Merle Cuvée was first produced in 1990 by Maurice Boiron, the third generation of the Boiron family to helm Bosquet des Papes, and since then he, and now his son Nicholas who took over the winemaking in 2000, produces the Cuvée only in those vintages that he feels deserve it.

The color is a dark ruby color with some lovely deep red notes when the wine catches the light.  The nose is very soft with light notes of fruit, particularly cherry.  In the mouth, the wine is soft, lush, lightly fruity and very spicy with strong notes of pepper and cumin.  This is a very big, robust wine, a “steakhouse wine,” if you will.  The finish lingers with the warm toasty spiciness of the cumin.  Soft tannins help give the wine a nice balance and complexity.  Overall this was another one of the eyes-rolling-back-in-the-head, wish-I-could-afford-these-wines moments and I immediately texted Kevin, who, I am sure, was heartily sick of my taunting him with “you should be here” texts.

Vielle Vignes 2007, Domaine de la Côte d l’Ange, presented by John Junguenet.  Blend 90% grenache, 5% syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, grown on the parcel for which the domaine is named: Le Coteau de l’Ange.  the age of the vines is 95 years, and the wines are aged for 12 months in foudres and 2-3 year old barrels.  600 cases were produced.

The Vielle Vignes gave the Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Cuvée du Mon Aïeul a run for it’s money for the top spot as my favorite of the day.  Even revisiting the Cuvée in a back-to-back tasting, I was hard pressed to choose between the two.  I’d call it a tie, but as I tasted and compared, I realized if I was going to recommend one wine to Kevin from the entire group, this would be it.

The color is a dark garnet, not as bright as the previous wine, but still a lovely color.  The nose is soft and very light with notes of sea air – that bright salty crispness you often find in sea air.  In the mouth, the wine is smooth and fruity, although I found it difficult to isolate particular notes.  The finish is also smooth and lightly fruity and while another robust wine, it lacks the spice found in the Chante le Merle.  It was a very interesting contrast to taste the two back to back.

Cuvée du Quet 2007, Mas de Boislauzon, presented by Daniel Chaussy, proprieter and winemaker.  The blend is 80% grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, grown on the Bois Lauzon parcel.  The wine is aged for 16 months in a 50/50 combination of foudres and 3-year old barrels.

Daniel Chaussy, who runs the winery with his sister Christine, first produced the Cuvée in 2000 as a showcase for the Mouvèdre, with the base of the wine (60-70%) being old-vine Mouvèdre.  In 2007, he flipped that and increased the percentage of grenache.  The result earned the Cuvée 100 points from Robert Parker.

The color is a deep ruby/garnet.  The nose is earthy, rich and almost loamy – a really lovely nose with a much stronger presence than that of the previous few wines.  In the mouth, the wine is dry, earthy and elegant – lovely notes of grass and a lot of spice, particularly the sharper heat of pepper.  The finish lingers on peppery notes.  The wine still has the feel of a young wine, and while definitely drinkable now, I very much felt the potential, and think that this will really transform and blossom with aging.  Overall, while not a bad wine, I found it not as strong or as interesting as some of the other wines in the selection.

Les Petits Pieds d’Armand 2007, Domaine Olivier Hillaire.  Presented by Olivier Hillaire and translated by John Junguenet.  Blend, 100% grenache grown on a single parcel, Le Crau.   The vines are just over 100 years old, and the wine is aged 14 months in demi-muids.  330 cases were produced.

The color is a dark ruby, with a dense opaque tone.  While a lovely color, the wine doesn’t catch the light in quite the same way as a number of the other wines.  The nose is absolutely gorgeous – soft but complex; earthy, spicy and notes of dark berries.  In the mouth the wine is smooth with lovely, soft, rich notes of dark plum.  The sharp spicy heat of pepper comes with the finish providing an interesting complement to the soft plumminess.  Very, very nice wine, and like all the wines I tried that day, will definitely grow in depth and complexity as it ages.

That concluded the seminar, 10 Chateauneuf-du-Papes from the remarkable 2007 vintage, that near-perfect year.  Since returning from the seminar, I’ve been doing some hunting via Google to see if I can pick up at least a couple of bottles to cellar for a few years.  Even as young as they are, these are not cheap wines – most start in the low $100s and move up from there.  They also are not widely available, due both to the relatively low number of cases produced and limited distribution here in the US.  Luckily I live on the East Coast, near New York, and am sorely tempted to head down to the city, cruise the wine shops, and see what I can find.