The first offering is this section is also the first of two wines that are exclusive to the Wine Club. We have kept the tradition of being able to offer at least one wine to Club members that is not available to the general public. Feel free to grab one as part of your selection, the next time you dine in, or if you need a bottle to take home.
The number preceding the NV indicates how many Notebook blends that have been produced. This offering is their 8th go at this wine which can and typically does change in varietals used. For over 30 years the J. Bookwalter Winery has been crafting wines that are more compelling and interesting than single vintage and varietal wines by employing the centuries-old practice of blending wine lots from multiple vintages, or vertical blending, along with multiple grape varieties, also known as horizontal blending. Each lot of wine is carefully selected each year for Notebook Red Blend based upon the mature flavors of the older vintages and the vibrant fruit characteristics of the younger vintages. The resulting wine is one that offers, fruit, structure, and approachability.
This wine is made up from 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah. These grapes have been sourced from the 2014, 2015, and 2016 vintages. Half of the lot is aged in French oak with only 5,000 cases produced. While not the lowest amount of cases, it is still small enough to be handmade in small lots.
The eighth Notebook wine is a delicious, fruit-driven blend of several traditional red varieties that flourish in a hot, dry climate. Aromatically rich and delicious, this is an easy drinking dry wine. Unlike so many sweet offerings available today, this dry wine is ready to drink from summer barbecues through winter meals. The wine’s aromatics display savory 2- and 3-year barrel-aged complexity. There’s heaps of red fruits like black cherries, plums, red currants and figs, caramel, cedar, and hints of fresh and dried herbs. Succulent smooth fruit begins, with flavors of baker’s chocolate, pomegranate, toast, dried herbs, tobacco and cola finish. The combination of long-aged powerful Cabernet and fresh, fruity, young Merlot fill the bottle.
Our next wine comes from a region that is quite small, but Portugal produces a great variety of wines ranging from light and fizzy Vinho Verde to hearty and tannic Port. Portugal is Europe’s fourth-largest wine-producing region, and has been exporting its wine since the 14th century.
Casal Garcia is no exception. Vinho Verde is a well-known DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) in the Minho region of north-western Portugal. Each year it is responsible for vast quantities of straw-yellow, light-bodied, tangily tart wines produced from many thousands of small farms throughout the region.
A quantity of the wines made here are so fresh and youthful that they earn the moniker verde (‘green’), which applies even to the reds. Although not sufficiently effervescent to be officially classed as sparkling wines, many white Vinho Verde and rosé have a low amount of carbonation. While no vintage is listed the wine is made up of Vinhão, Azal, Borracal varietals. This is a light and spritzy rosé, with red berry and watermelon flavors that carry through to the crisp finish and can be used to accompany slightly heftier dishes, or as a wonderful partner to fruit at a picnic.
Yalumba Christobel’s Moscato is the second Wine Club only offering this quarter and is pale gold straw color with a slight green that exhibits floral aromas of white rose and an underlying hint of musk. On the palate it is light and fresh, bursting with tropical fruit flavors of lychee and mango. The residual fruit sweetness is delicately balanced by a refreshing acidity and subtle spritz on the finish. This would be a great wine to enjoy on a summer afternoon with a platter of fresh seafood, mixed sashimi or kofta with a mint and yoghurt dip.
The growing season across South Australia was drier and warmer than average, resulting in vintage starting about two weeks earlier than usual. Rainfall in January provided the vines with a much needed recharge and was followed by warm, dry conditions during the final stages of ripening through to the end of January and February. Despite the warm season, the final wines had good levels of natural acidity and fresh fruit aromatics that help make this a more balanced Moscato than most.
The fruit was picked in the coolest part of the evening and the juice handled reductively in order to preserve fruit freshness and aromatics. Cool fermentation with aromatic yeast strains retains the lovely varietal flavors of the Muscat grape. The fermentation is stopped early to maintain the perfect balance between natural acid and grape sugar in the final blend.
The next offering comes in part from Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey, Scarpetta Pinot Grigio. This is a blend of four of the best vineyards for Pinot Grigio in Friuli. The first vineyard is on the rolling banks of the Isonzo River, the second is in the hills of the Collio, the third is in the hills of the Collio Orientali del Friuli and lastly with a stone filled vineyard in Greve. The grapes are planted in cooler sites resulting in a wine of balanced acidity and alcohol. The wine shows that Pinot Grigio can be light and dry with veins of minerality and floral aromatics.
The grapes are fermented in stainless steel after being de-stemmed and left on the skins for approximately 12 hours, resulting in a wine with clear and bright aromas and flavors. This wine settles in tank with the lees contact for six months. After that period the wine is gently racked to a blending tank and bottled.
Light straw color with just a hint of salmon. Aromas of white flowers, stone fruits such as apricots and peach and hints of minerality. On the palate, the wine is crisp and dry with medium high acidity and tastes of stone fruits, lavender, honey, pear, white flowers and minerals.
Poderi dei Bricchi Astigiani Barbera d’Asti is our first wine selection in the all red category. This wine comes from Piedmonte. To be more specific, the vineyard is in Isola d’Asti in the Asti region. The vineyard sits on 12 acres, of the 50 total acers owned by the estate, situated 600 feet above sea level with a western exposure. The harvest from the clay soil came by hand at the end of September. Barbera is the most widely planted grape variety in this part of Piedmont, and here it finds its finest expression. Original and versatile, it can produce – with careful fermentation and aging – both fresh and fragrant young wines or rich, full-bodied, and long-lived offerings. There is a 14 day fermentation process followed by six months of aging in stainless steal.
Visually, the wine shows ruby red with a nose of cherry, plum, and dark berries with a spicy floral note to finish. The freshness gives this wine a jammy tone with a slight earthy character. At first taste this is a full and warming wine that continues to finish balanced with the right amount of acidity.
The final wine offering comes to us from Germany,. Peter Brum is 100% Dornfelder grape drinks wonderfully on a hot day. He enjoys this chilled Vino Noir for its easy drinking, velvety texture. This is a fruit forward wine with notes of cherry and wild berries. Another reason this unique red makes the cut is that it can pair well with a variety of meats from the grill. The Dorenfelder grape is Germany’s second most planted grape since its creation in 1956. This was achieved by crossing two other well-known grapes, Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe, which themselves find ancestry from a slew of other German grapes.