Just in from Jersey, $22.00 no tax free shipping. Buy it by the case all day long. Skip the Bevan & buy this
There’s a sweet-spot for domestic Sauvignon Blanc found in a special part of Bennett Valley that experiences a strong maritime influence as it flows through the Petaluma Gap to Sonoma Mountain. Within that funnel of cooling coastal air, the Dry Stack Vineyard is in a prime location at 550 feet elevation at the base of Mt. Taylor. I’m continually drawn to Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Stack and the vineyard produces fruit with detailed notes of fresh guava, rocky minerals, ripe tangerine and mineral infused citrus. You might be familiar with Russell Bevan’s version from Dry Stack, and Grey Stack has been a pillar on our tasting list in Yountville.
With Grey Stack, everything begins in the Vineyard with exceptional quality fruit, but from there, the wine is given a voice by winemaker Patrick Sullivan, whose experience includes making wine at Peter Michael, Paul Hobbs, Lewis Cellars and Rudd. This is absolutely one of the finest examples of California Sauvignon Blanc with its superior focus and incredibly vivid, distinctive flavors. If you love Sauvignon Blanc, or better yet, even if you don’t… Try this one and you’ll probably never look back. — a month ago
Well...this was one hell of a week. There is only one way to wind it down. Reach for an excellent bottle of vintage Champagne.
My first thoughts are how delicate this is on the palate. Further, how unbelievable it will be with another 8-10 years in bottle.
The nose shows; slightly sour lemon, the good parts of lemon Pledge, lemon meringue, white stone fruits, pineapple fresh with lots of juice, grapefruit, lime pulp, honeysuckle, soft, haunting caramel, brioche, limestone & slightly, dirty, grey volcanics, saline, sea fossils, sea spray, bread dough, vanilla, white spices-light ginger with spring flowers, mixed floral greens & lilies.
The body is light on its feet and dances on the palate. Delicacy abounds. Its soft, gorgeous mousse right there with the best money can buy. Slightly sour lemon, lemon meringue, green & with more bruised golden apple, white stone fruits, pineapple fresh with lots of juice, grapefruit, lime pulp, touch of apple cider, honeysuckle, soft, haunting caramel, ginger ale into cream soda, brioche, nougat, toffee notes, lighter nuts without skin, limestone & slightly, dirty, grey volcanics, saline, sea fossils, sea spray, bread dough, vanillin, marzipan, white spices-light ginger with spring flowers, mixed floral greens & lilies. The acidity is mellow yet lively, gorgeous and as good as it gets. The finish is all luxury. So well knitted & balanced, elegant, rich but not overpowering and gently persisting several minutes.
Photos of; The House of Taittinger, their caves so chalky white and built on the famous Crayères Cellars of Reims: 2.5 miles of tunnels (they own 1/4 to 1/3 of it) cut out of chalk by the Romans, the portrait of Thibaud IV who was a king, lord, manager, singer, conqueror, explorer & 11th century Crusader all rolled into one from which, this Cuvée was the catalyst creation and part of the 600 plus hectares they own in Champange.
Some producer notes; Taittinger's history can be traced back to 1734, when it was originally known as Forest-Fourneaux, founded by Jacques Fourneaux who worked closely with local Benedictine monks to learn how to produce wine. They were just the 3rd Champange house.
The estate was bought by the Taittingers – a family of wine merchants – in 1932, and thanks to the great depression and subsequent low land prices, the family also picked up huge swathes of vineyard. From 1945-1960, Francois Taittinger established the cellars in the Abbey of Saint-Nicaise, and after his death in 1960 his brother Claude took over, pushing the estate into a Champagne house of world renown. Such was the status of the label that the Taittinger family soon expanded its business into other luxury goods. However, this eventually led to financial difficulties, and in 2005 the Taittinger brand – including the Champagne house – was sold to the American owned Starwood Hotel Group. The sale was badly received by the Champagne industry, with many fearing the new owners – unfamiliar with the culture of Champagne – would put profit ahead of quality.
Just one year later, Claude’s nephew, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, who had always been opposed to the sale, negotiated a €660m deal with the Starwood Group, and the Taittinger family resumed ownership of the company.
In 2017, Taittinger planted its first vines in England, near a village in Kent, for its venture into English sparkling wine. The first bottle will be ready in 2023.
1/8/21 — 17 days ago
First, Central Otago is Gods country. Especially, in April. As well, amazing soil structure & climate for Chardonnay & Pinot Noir.
Then, if you like good White Burgundy that is clean, round with good viscosity and acidity for days, this is for you. If you fit that criteria & haven’t had a good Felton Road Chardonnay, you should.
You could put this in anyone’s hand, including some Master Sommeliers blind, they would call Burgundy. I would as well.
Felton Road was the highlight of our 2017 visit to Central Otago. Rippon was a close second. Jo Mills at Rippon has more passion for wine and making them completely biodynamic than anyone I’ve met & we have met a shit-ton of producers around the world.
The nose shows; mashed, sour lemons, lime zest & candy, just ripe pineapple, grapefruit with pith, touch of white stone fruits, butterscotch notes, beautiful chalkiness, some smokiness, saline, grey volcanics, vanillin, just a touch of maple with caramel, soft side of white spice, honey to marmalade quality, graham cracker with white & yellow florals.
The palate/ body is round, medium full, gorgeously sexy with excellent viscosity. Wire to wire steady & brilliant. Mashed, sour lemons, lime zest & candy, just ripe pineapple, grapefruit with pith, touch of white stone fruits, beautiful chalkiness, saline, grey, powdery, volcanics, limestone, vanillin, just a touch of maple with caramel, butterscotch, mint, eucalyptus, touch of fresh herbs, soft side of white spice, honey to marmalade quality, graham cracker with white & yellow florals & jasmine. The acidity is stunning & like a summer shower. The finish is; gentle, elegant, so well knitted & balanced and persistent for days.
Important to decant & let warm to just below room temp. 62-65 degrees.
The perfect pair is Jasper Hill Farms new Harbison Prosecco washed soft white cheese. Creamy on steroids.
Photos of our 2017 visit to Felton Road, the long view front the property, their front gate, outdoor concrete tanks and our property walk & talk with Owner Nigel Greening.
1/15/21 — 10 days ago
This is spectacular and built for the future. Needs a 2 hr decant, but once it has breathed it punches you square in the face with strawberry compote, earl grey tea, earth, and dusty fine tannin. Exceptional balance. Integrated. In 10 yrs this will be monumental. — 17 days ago
Opened a 2011 bottle for NYE 2020. Perfect way to finish a dumpster fire year. Sooooo smooth. Like velvet. The Grey Goose of wines. Wow. Just wow. — 25 days ago
Very serviceable Blanc Champange & in 375ml for $18.99.
The Franck Bonville Grand Cru Blanc De Blanc Brut is about 60% oxidative & 40% reductive.
Nose shows; lemon meringue with crust, white citrus blend, slightly bruised apple, Bosc pear, somewhat overripe pineapple, touch of honeycomb, white stone fruits, baguette crust, grey volcanics, saline, dry yeast, yellow lilies, spring & white florals.
The palate is even wire to wire. It’s ripe and a little rich. Lemon meringue with crust, white citrus blend, slightly bruised apple, Bosc pear, somewhat overripe pineapple, touch of honeycomb, white stone fruits, ginger ale, some butterscotch, vanillin, baguette crust, brioche, dry yeast, volcanics, white spice with heat, pleasant, grainy chalkiness, limestone dust, yellow lilies, spring & white florals. The acidity is crisp & lively. The finish is; well balanced & knitted, elegant and persists minutes and falling onto white spice & minerals.
12/26/20 Happy Boxing Day! 🎁 — a month ago
Congratulations to TB12 on going to his 14th Conference Championship.
The nose shows; more macerated green & golden apple, pineapple than usual. Touch of apple cider, bruised pear, some dried apricots, nougat, melted, salted caramel, alluvial limestone minerals, chalk, sea spray, roasted white spice, dry yeast, rising bread dough, baguette crust, ginger ale with withering lilies and some spring flowers.
The palate has softer mousse & less lively acidity than previous bottles. Still nice but, it’s giving cause to wonder when this bottle was disgorged. Macerated green & golden apple, yellow peach, pineapple juice. Touch of apple cider, bruised pear, some dried apricots, nougat, melted, salted caramel, alluvial limestone minerals, grey volcanics, gritty chalkiness, sea fossils, saline, roasted white spice, nuts, dry yeast, rising bread dough, baguette crust, ginger ale that has the high notes of root beer, vanillin with withering lilies and some spring flowers. The acidity is ok but, seems off a bit. Change in base wine for this bottling? The finish still rich, elegant, well balanced persisting minutes.
Bottle is off slightly from the many others we’ve enjoyed.
Photos of; the House of Bollinger, branded cave with resting bottles, their Cooper making barrels and one of their Grand Cru vineyards.
1/17/21 — 8 days ago
All in at $50.
The nose shows; ruby, floral & candied fruits of; mulberries, gooseberries, ollallieberries, boysenberries blackberries, black raspberries, both plums, black cherries with raspberries hovering across the top. Grilled, savory meats, black pepper, dark spice, dark cola, dark chocolate, anise to black licorice, dark expresso grounds, sweet tarriness, older tobacco, very used leather, limestone minerals, crushed rocks, incense, ambers, dry tree sap, dry herbs-sage, bat leaf, eucalyptus notes, moist, forest floor, moist, grey clay with withering, fresh & candied florals that are; purple, dark, blue and red set in pronounced lavender & violets woven in.
The body is; full, lush, rich, round, juicy & velvety. It glides across the palate in total gorgeous elegance. The structure, tension, balance & length are at their high point with another 5-8 years of solid drinking with a few years beyond if you enjoy that later stage. I am one who doesn’t protest that part of the life cycle. The tannins are round, pulpy and are still meaty. Fruits are; ruby, touch jammy, floral & candied fruits of; mulberries, gooseberries, boysenberries, ollallieberries, blackberries, black raspberries, both plums, black cherries, blueberries with raspberries hovering across the top. Grilled, savory meats, black pepper, notes of Worcestershire sauce, dark combo of Indian & some Asian spices that bring heat, dark cola, dark chocolate, caramel, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, anise to black licorice, dark expresso grounds, sweet tarriness, older tobacco, oak barrel shaving dust, somewhat card toast, very used leather, limestone minerals, crushed rocks, incense, ambers, dry tree sap, dry herbs-sage, bay leaf, eucalyptus notes, moist, forest floor, moist, muddy, grey clay with withering, fresh & candied florals that are; purple, dark, blue and red set in pronounced lavender & violets woven in. The acidity is round & excellent. The finish is stunningly well knitted, balanced fruit & earth, elegant, gorgeous, that loads lush & juicy and falls on to deep spices persisting for days.
Photos of our April 2017 visit; the walk up to Two Hands, waterfall in their courtyard in the back, utility building & their stand up tasting bar right as you walk in.
Stunning example of what Australian Shiraz can be with the right patience.
1/9/21 — 16 days ago
Wolf Blass Grey Label shiraz 2002. — a month ago