June Pick 24, 2013

Welcome to Schramsberg Vineyards – America’s House of Sparkling Wine”.

The Schramsberg estate is tucked into the densely forested slopes of Diamond Mountain and is home to the oldest hillside vineyards in Napa totaling 218 acres. The estate is a registered historic landmark that dates back to the 1860’s and has entertained many famous guests including Robert Louis Stevenson, with this local scenery providing much of the eloquent detail for his book Treasure Island. Schramsberg has also played a role in world history. Schramsberg_Visit_Historical_SignThe Blanc de Blancs was used for President Nixon’s 1972 “Toast to Peace” with China Premier Zhou Enlai, and Schramsberg’s sparkling wines have been served at official State functions by every U.S. Presidential administration since. This vineyard is truly America’s House of Sparkling Wine, and we are featuring two in this month’s Pick 24: the Schramsberg Brut North Coast Mirabelle and the 93-point Schramsberg Brut North Coast Mirabelle Rosé. Unlike the vintage bottlings, Mirabelle gains unique depth from the additions of lots aged in barrels and tanks from prior vintages, adding significant palate richness and aromatic complexity to the wines

We continue to tip our hat to the Americas in this month’s Pick 24 as we head south of the equator and feature four wines from South American producers who offer great values in wine. There are two from Chile that have our attention right now.  Carmen Petite Sirah 2010, from Chile’s oldest and most historic winery, offers a full expression of fruit and terroir, with big juicy plum and blackberry flavors and complex tannins. The Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 is a classic production from its winery, made famous by their exceptional production of the Cab Sauv grape. The vintages all share a mature and fruity quality with silky mouth-feel and great structure, which is exactly what you want from a great cabernet. We also have two intriguing wines from Argentina that have captivated our wine staff. The first is The 2009 El Enemigo Malbec. El Enemigo, the result of an ambitious collaboration between the winemaker and an Argentine historian, the name translates as the enemy. The wines of El Enemigo are alluding to the fact that at the end of any journey, most remember only one battle — the one fought within. This heady notion directly translates into the wine’s contradictory characteristics of savory, saddle leather, tobacco integrated with delicate violet florals and vanilla, a palate paradox that only the Malbec grape can pull off so directly. The other Argentine is also made with the Malbec grape, Durigutti Malbec Clásico 2011.  From the Mendoza wine region in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, this is a wine bursting with black fruit and sporting great generosity… rich, ripe and round.

A second theme you might notice in this month’s selection is the assortment of out-of-the-box grape varietals. Summer is our time to bust out of the typical and really seek out wine made from the lesser-known grape styles. Why in the summer? Well, we suppose it is a bit like the quintessential summer family reunion. Although we love to see the family members we’re closest to and see all year round, there is something fascinating about eyeballing the “lesser-known” and the “three-times removed”.  We may not have a strong bond with them, but summer just wouldn’t be the same without the potential rousing opportunities our eclectic brood might bring. So what will you see in this collection? The first is Hirsch Grüner Veltliner, a light, creamy, elegant, serene wine that is full of sweet grain and roasted corn, all with a feather-weight touch… just like cousin Michael. And roaring onto the scene not unlike that biker cousin of yours, is Rib Shack Pinotage 2011, it screams out to be enjoyed at the picnic table with a huge plate of ribs. This wine is juicy red with generously wooded guts and is definitely a not-to-be-missed! Falling not far from the tree is this fruited Martin Codax Albarino 2011. It showcases flavors of ripe apple, peach, apricot, melon and lemon, making it the perfect food-friendly refresher. And finally, just like that jolly, magnanimous uncle that everyone loves, Ferrari-Carano’s Italian Sangiovese-based blend is an easy-going and perennial favorite that is sure to delight at every appearance. So, don’t miss out on summer’s best, this year circulate around the family reunion, and mix up your wine selection with some of these distinct and lively characters.

Consider joining us for our Pick 24 Release Party the first Wednesday of the month, when we’ll crack open all 24 wines and give you the opportunity to ‘Try Before You Buy’ so you can discover which of these great wines are your new favorites.

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 Vine & Table #301