As I put this column together, I am preparing for a buying trip to Spain! Look for an update in the May newsletter! 2004 Las Rocas de San Alejandro, Garnacha, Calatayud ($7.99) 89 points Stephen Tanzer: “...Perfumed aromas of liqueur-like dark berries and black cherry, licorice and spicy oak. Smooth, ripe, fat and full, with an enticing dark cherry flavor. This is wonderfully lush and pliant for a red wine under $10. Finishes with big, mouthdusting tannins and lingering sweetness. Exceptional value.” 2004 Bodegas Y Vinedos Maurodos Prima, Toro ($14.99) Wow! An awesome wine for an awesome price! Made by famous Spanish winemaker, Mariano Garcia, this tempranillo packs a punch with loads of ripe cherry/blackberry fruit, a lush mid-palate, and a long spicy finish. The plush mouth feel is balanced with bright acidity and a little kick of tannin. Enjoy this red with grilled leg of lamb! 2003 Celler de Capcanes Mas Donis Barrica ($10.99) 92 points Robert Parker: “...aged ten months in both American and French oak. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by sumptuous aromas of blueberries, black currants, cold steel, and minerals. Evocative of a baby Priorat, it possesses an amazing fragrance, considerable nobility as well as complexity, medium to full body, and a long, concentrated, heady finish. Enjoy it over the next 5-7 years.” 2003 Bodegas Castano Solanera, Yecla ($11.99) 91 points Robert Parker: “...a beautiful blend of 75% Mourvedre and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. A dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by a smoky, scorched earth-scented nose displaying notions of black cherry jam, licorice, and truffles. Ripe and medium to full-bodied, with wonderful sweetness, it possesses purity, suppleness, and balance…another example of why Spain is beating virtually every other viticultural area in the world when it comes to high quality wines that sell for a song.” Saludos! —Anne Pickett, email@example.com
Woodenhead Winery? If you have read my article before, you might remember me mentioning them in the past. In March, they released their long-awaited zinfandels. I’m a big supporter of this winery and great wines are just part of the reason. Owners Nikolai and Zina are wine lovers and have a great passion for making the best wine possible. They are also very nice people who always have a smile for everyone. They continue to have “day jobs” and can be found at the winery most weekends. If you’re planning a trip to Sonoma, give them a call (707) 887-2703 and maybe you can drop by. We currently have the following wines in stock: The 2003 Zinfandel, Martinelli Road Old Vine, Russian River Valley ($36.99) is a big, bright and attractive with a little chocolate and soft tannin, which adds great structure. That structure sets this wine apart from other wines from this vineyard. It's like biting into a big slice of berry pie. 182 cases made. The 2003 Woodenhead Sonoma Zinfandel ($26.99) shows dark raspberry and cherry in the mouth with hints of clove and vanilla. 333 cases made. The 2003 Woodenhead Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($44.99) is a super smooth, plush and powerful pinot. This wine shows great balance and is one of the best Anderson wines you could ever try. 310 cases made. See you in the City… —Mike Jordan
Last month I spent a few days in the Napa Valley, attending the Premier Napa Valley Auction. Premier Napa Valley is a mid-winter barrel auction for the trade. This is one of the two auctions put together by the Napa Valley Vintners Association. The other auction is the Napa Valley Wine Auction, which is held in the summer. The weather was perfect, the food was great, and the 2004s showed surprisingly well. The auction itself is actually on Saturday, but many of the wineries have open houses, tasting events and parties on the days that lead up to the auction. One nice thing about the events that the wineries have is all the older vintages that they pour. Corison had a vertical tasting of 1989 through 1994. Shafer was pouring Hillside Select from ’86, ’91, ’95 and ’02. Duckhorn poured the oldest wine of the day, an ’83 Three Palms Merlot, which was served from 6 liter. The main event is on Saturday. First there is a barrel tasting. Here you get a chance to taste the lots that will be auctioned off later in the day. Every winery does something special. The lots they auction off are unique and come from a specific barrel that will be bottled separately for the individual who buys it. So when you taste Silver Oak at the tasting, it is not the wine that will be released in a couple of years. It may be a component of or something totally different. It is still a good chance to get an idea of the fruit that 2004 produced. One thing for sure is that it was a small crop, and production will be down on most wines. I have heard mixed things about 2004’s quality but the wines showed pretty well across the board. Everyone we talked to was very excited about 2005s. After the tasting the auction starts. It is held in a packed room, there is very little oxygen, and it is loud. The bidders who are smart get pre-orders from their customers and bid accordingly. However, if you want to get a lot from a big name, Lewis, Shafer or even Rombauer, be prepared to pay for it. These lots can sell from $30k to $80k. For five cases that could be around $1000 per bottle! The good news is it all goes to charity. —Trey Beffa
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