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2000 Labégorce, Margaux $39.99

A great value in Bordeaux! This bottle is mature enough to drink now, but has time in hand if you want to keep it in the cellar for the future. We love it for its laid back elegance and classic balance. A must try for your next nice steak dinner.

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Entries in Acorn Winery (2)

Monday
May062013

Blasting Through Sonoma: A Euro Palate's Perspective

Euro wine geek Eric Story puts Sonoma to the test, with surprising results!

By Eric Story | K&L Alsace, Austria, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary & Loire Valley Wine Buyer

A European Palate in Sonoma?

Let's start off by getting one thing straight, I DO NOT HATE CALIFORNIA WINE. In fact, it is just the opposite. One of the best wines that I have ever had was from this great state. What I am adverse to is the utilitarian recipe, gimmicky marketer style of wine which--let's face it--exists in all wine regions, but is a trend born largely from California and its influence on the industry in recent times. You know the wines that I'm talking about - wines that lack all individuality, presence of place and, worst of all, a complete disregard for integrity and pride. Get 'em fruity, a dash of this, a dash of that, make some friends in the right places and you got yourself a 92 pointer. Mmmm, well done!

But enough with my ranting.

When I found out that I would be included on the Sonoma tour along with one of our domestic buyers, Michael “Lead Foot” Jordan, Patrick “I’ll Hang In There” Cu, and Scott “Can I Have a Nap” Beckerley I was pretty fired up to say the least. I have been a fan of Sonoma for quite a long time and was excited to get my teeth purple and make my gums sore. Many asked why one of the import buyers was going on such a trip. This answer is simple: my name was the first to be pulled out of a hat. But, there is a more serious purpose: I have deeply immersed myself into the belly of European wines for the last 10+ years, crudely ignoring my own back yard. Pretty weak on my part. It was time to step up the game.

So, we were off, bulgey eyed and full of coffee, up the 101 corridor. We made our appointments in a timely manner, for the most part did our thing, grabbed a few tacos from a truck on the side of the highway – a must do for any occasion – went to sleep and did it all over again the next day. We tasted A LOT of wines, but the purpose of this trip was getting to know the faces behind the labels, getting your shoes dirty in the vineyards -  the bigger picture kind of thing. I was curious about the back story behind these producers and the whether the wines were points-driven or a product of passion.

This is just a starting list of highlights of the many wines tasted that to me reflect this intimate relationship between the land and farmer, all are currently in stock at K&L:

2011 Cyprus Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($21.99) K&L Notes: The 2011 Cyprus, from our friends at Brack Mountain Wine Company, is made from fruit grown at Dutton Ranch Mill Station Vineyard in Green Valley. Entirely barrel-fermented in a combination of new and neutral French oak, this viscous, nutty Chardonnay rewards with pear, citrus and green apple fruit on the nose and palate. Long and satisfying.

2010 Copain "Tous Ensemble" Anderson Valley Chardonnay ($19.99) K&L Notes: As with his Pinot Noir, Copain founder Wells Guthrie aims for a Burgundian expression with the 2010 Tous Ensemble Anderson Valley Chardonnay. Very limited use of oak and "hands off" winemaking results in a clean, bright Chardonnay that is balanced, food-friendly, and made for immediate enjoyment.

2010 Porter Creek Mendocino County Old Vine Carignane ($22.99) K&L Notes: In addition to the lovely range of wines made from the Porter Creek estate in the Russian River, the winery makes a small amount of old vine Carignane from an organically-farmed, 60-year-old vineyard in Hopland, Mendocino County. The juice is aged in half large wooden tanks and half small barrels for 11 months, rounding out the grape's rustic edges while imparting just a little bit of spice on the nose and palate. None of the wood character overpowers the pretty red raspberry and strawberry fruit, anise qualities or peppery elements that make this surprisingly elegant wine and a joy at the dinner table.

2009 Acorn "Medley" Russian River Valley Red Wine ($34.99) (Blend of 44% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Franc, 13% Sangiovese, 11% Cinsaut, 7% Viognier, 5% Muscats, 3% Zinfandel, and 3% other varietals) K&L Notes: Field blended, food-friendly wines are the specialty at Acorn Winery and the "Medley" exemplifies this philosophy - a blend of field blends that sings in harmony. Winemaker Bill Nachbauer co-ferments 18 different varieties including syrah, cinsault, mourvèdre, viognier and black and white muscats, zinfandel, sangiovese and cabernet franc in two lots with different yeasts. After fermentation the lots were pressed into 50% new oak barrels for aging. The lots were then blended after three months and aged further prior to release. The 2009 is a crowd-pleaser, with lots of plum and black fruit, pepper, and chocolatey oak spice.  To learn more, check out Patrick's post about our visit to Acorn Winery here.

Here are a few snapshots...  

Porter Creek is a family-owned and operated winery located alongside Porter Creek, one of the Russian River's major tributaries. To showcase their unique hillside terroir, this father and son team focuses on Rhone and Burgundian varietals, which they farm organically to produce primarily vineyard-designated wines,but the make some killer Zin and Carignane!

K&L's Michael "lead foot" Jordan (left) with Porter Creek winemaker Alex Davis.

Wells Guthrie founded Copain in 1999 with the intent to produce Pinot Noir and Syrah in styles inspired by his travels and experiences in France, where he was influenced by producers in Burgundy and the Northern Rhone.It took ten years for Copain to release a Chardonnay, the first vintage of which was 2009.

Tasting at Copain.

In a nutshell, the wineries visited included Iron Horse, Porter Creek, Ridge, Copain, Acorn, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Stonestreet, Preston, Bella, and Brack Mountain Wine Co. Overall, as a native to the area,  I experienced a great sense of pride and a vision for a fantastic future by the end of those two days. We are surrounded by ton of the “recipe” wine in California but if you look deeper you will find wines and producers with a great sense of being and a story to tell. Every winery we visited had real people with a passion behind the wine.

These are the people that are making, not only each other better but everyone else better too. These are the men and women who are setting new standards each and every year and lending inspiration to those who are looking to become the best at what they do, because they are the best at what they do. These are the people who think Sonoma is a special place, care about the land they are farming, the people that they work with and ultimately the quality of wine that goes into the bottle which gives them their identity. We have to remember that most of these wineries are typically first, maybe second, rarely third generation. Hopefully this type of commitment and passion will be passed down another ten of fifteen generations, and I think that it will.

Thank you to all who opened their doors and took the time to share all of this with us. It was and is appreciated many times over. And, to those of you who we missed, don’t worry, we’re out there and on the prowl.

-Eric

 

Monday
Apr222013

Blasting Through Sonoma: Acorn Winery

 

Winemaker Bill Nachbaur of Acorn Winery.

By: Patrick Cu | K&L Staff Member

A Vist to Acorn Winery

This quaint, family owned winery is tucked away from view on the Old Redwood Highway in Healdsburg, making it easy to miss from the road. This was the last stop on our first day traversing through Sonoma, and we had to do a few loops around the area to find the entrance.

Owners Betsy and Bill Nachbaur warmly welcomed us into the tasting room upon our arrival and were gracious throughout our visit. They’ve been married for 42 years and have owned Alegria Vineyards, the location of Acorn Winery, since 1990. The site itself has had vines on it since the late 1800s and currently has over 60 varietals growing on it. Yowza! That caught us off guard, but it speaks of the willingness of the Nachbaurs to experiment with grapes on their soil and the blends in their wines. What sets them apart is their focus on estate-grown, sustainably farmed field blends. They originally sold all their grapes to other winemakers, but have since decided to save some for their own wines.

We tried a handful of reds they had on hand. Each wine was from 2009 and their estate Alegria Vineyards in the Russian River Valley.

We started with the 2009 Axiom Syrah (98% Syrah and 2% Viognier). Rich dark fruit notes immersed the palate, along with toasted mocha and a hint of savoriness. It was full bodied and fairly expressive.

The 2009 Cabernet Franc (96% Cab Franc, 2% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot) had aromas of cherries and light vanilla. There was nice spice accompanying the blackberry and oak flavors.

The 2009 Medley ($34.99) (Blend of 44% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Franc, 13% Sangiovese, 11% Cinsaut, 7% Viognier, 5% Muscats, 3% Zinfandel, and 3% other varietals) made for an enjoyable and easy drinking red wine. Taste-wise, there were lots of plum, currant, and some slight pepperiness to accompany a bed of chocolate and oak. This expression has been a mainstay at the San Francisco K&L store for the past few years. People often have come in seeking this blend.

The 2009 Sangiovese (98% Sangiovese from 7 different clones, 1% Canaiolo and 1% Mammolo) showcased a ton of raspberry on the nose and palate. Flavors of blueberry, vanilla, and a pleasant mineral note lingered into the finish.

The 2009 Alicante Bouschet (98% Alicante Bouschet, 1% Petit Bouschet, 1% Grenache) had an intriguingly aromatic nose of spice and earthiness. We were fairly keen on bringing this to the store as the varietal itself is not all too common in the States. Plus it was pretty tasty!

Also coming soon to K&L is more of the elegant 2007 Acorn "Alegria Vineyards Heritage Vines" Russian River Valley Zinfandel. Based in 82% Zinfandel, this includes 8% Alicante Bouschet, 8% Petite Sirah, and according to the folks at Acorn the remaining 2% of the field blend includes Carignane, Trousseau, Sangiovese, Petit Bouschet, Negrette, Syrah, Plavac Mali, Tannat, Muscat Noir, Peloursin, Beclan, Cinsaut, and Grenache. Decanting is recommended to draw out the aromatic and flavor complexities of bottle age.

Cheers!

-Patrick

 Acorn specializes in estate-grown, sustainably farmed field blends from their Alegria Vineyards.

 Acorn's gnarled 63 year-old Zinfandel vines!

Cabernet Franc vines at Acorn.