Here we have compiled for you a collection of the e-newsletters that we distribute every 4 to 6 weeks to our client list. Please note that prices, vintages and availability of the wines in these newsletters may have changed, but please feel free to contact us if you see something that piques your interest.
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May 31, 2019
Here Comes the Sun!
As the days grow longer and warmer I find myself in a sunny, California-inspired state of mind. Naturally this gets me thinking about one of California’s great exports…wine, and specifically bright tropical Sauvignon Blancs; creamy, golden Chardonnays; aromatic, juicy Zinfandels; and the lush, fruity Cabernets that California is renowned for.
With these wines in mind, I have for you here a selection of wines that are available now, by-the-case. Keep in mind though that we have over 40 suppliers from California, which is why we’re known as THE California agency in Ontario.
With such deep offerings in California alone you may have many questions and I would be happy to chat anytime.
Do you need delivery to your cottage? We have trucks heading up now that the season is under way!
If you would like help making a selection, or you just want to ‘talk wine’, call me anytime: 647 955 8872 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patio season is Sauvignon Blanc season! So, if your table and chairs are out and the patio lanterns are hung, you should have some wine ready to go. And what better varietal than one that brings refreshment, tropical fruitiness balanced against notes of pithy citrus, a dry yet satisfying finish, plus food friendliness. A perfect choice!
“Green tea and chamomile, gentle, yet with verve, and it’s intriguing. Long, almost teasing finish: I say this merits an extra special grade and thus platinum!” 94 points “Platinum”, Critics Challenge International Wine Competition, 2018
Duckhorn Wine Company was born out of inspiration by Bordeaux’s best wines. Their Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t stray. It is composed of 84% Sauvignon Blanc and 16% Sémillon, in the Bordeaux model.
Ten percent of the Sauvignon Blanc was barrel-fermented in new French oak. This technique, along with the addition of Sémillon, produces a deep and complex bouquet and a silky palate, enhancing the ripe citrus and tropical flavours of the Sauvignon Blanc.
“One of a small handful of benchmark producers of the variety brings us another solid vintage — their 40th harvest, in fact. Some Semillon adds depth to the crisp Sauvignon Blanc fruit, mixing to provide aromas and flavours of melon, citrus, herbs and a touch of oak aging adds creamy texture and a hint of papaya. Add a crisp finish that brings you back to the rim and you know that your trust was well placed. Looking forward to 41!” 91 points, Rich Cook, Wine Review Online, June 2018
“Elegant peach, melon and citrus flavours are juicy and plump, with a pretty floral vein and a sleek, crisp frame. A note of lemon verbena lingers. Drink now. 90 points, Wine Spectator, Aug 2018
Winemaker Bruce McGuire scours western Santa Barbara County to select warm- and cool-climate vineyard sources for this Chardonnay. Warm vineyards provide tropical fruit flavours, richness and weight; cooler, coastal sites provide fruit with racy acidity and more citrus-family fruitiness. A masterful hand can balance it all and combined with an array of ageing vessels, create this bright, charming, friendly, gulpable Chardonnay. A staff favourite!
“One of the original bottlings from the region, this is always a reliable and classic coastal Chardonnay. Tangy aromas of grapefruit, orange and chalk lead into a tense palate where racy acidity frames apple rind and lime flavours.” 90 points + Editor’s Choice, Wine Enthusiast, Dec 2018
“You know you’re doing something right when, after 45 years of Chardonnay winemaking, they name a California Chardonnay style after your winery, the “Montelena style.” In short, it means a non-malolactic, minimally oaked Chardonnay. This estate has long made one of the best examples of a quiet, restrained Chardonnay that ages for 20 or more years.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate on Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, Oct 2014
In the above quote the term ‘non-malolactic’ is used. To clarify; during the production of many whites and nearly all reds is the conversion of malic acid, completely or partially, into lactic acid. This changes the mouthfeel, interplay of flavours and textures, and affects ageability. Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay has always been non-malo, which is one of the reasons it drinks like white Burgundy when young and ages far slower, better even, than many Napa Chardonnays.
“Just bottled, the 2015 Chardonnay is shaping up to be a gorgeous wine. The warmer vintage has resulted in a slightly richer style of Chardonnay, although the house style built on energy and tension is still very much in evidence. Candied lemon, white flowers and mint are nicely textured. Soft, enveloping and gracious, the 2015 will drink well with minimal cellaring.”
Martin Ray is located in the Green Valley of Sonoma County. Named for the man who founded Mount Eden Vineyards (another of our winery partners), who was a forefather of the modern Californian wine industry.
This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and the fruit comes from two vineyards – Simpson Ridge and McCoy. Harvesting and sorting is done by hand, the fruit is destemmed and a four day cold soak follows. The wine macerates for 2 weeks and the wine is basket pressed into 45% new French oak barriques to age for 14 months.
It is a harmonious, velvety Cabernet Sauvignon with loads of fruit and a lush mouthfeel. It’s a perfect barbecue wine. Try it with dry-rubbed baby back ribs.
Paul Hobbs is a superstar winemaker who owns and operates multiple wineries around the world. He has a style that permeates all his wines – full throttle fruit with a generous use of oak for balance – creating rich wines that are poised to drink anytime.
Very much in the style of Paul Hobbs’ flagship wines, the “Crossbarn” Pinot Noir is quite rich and textured, yet still fresh and fruity. A measured use of oak barrels adds further complexity, tannin and aromatics and adds the vanillin, pastry and bakery nuances.
“The fruit pops out here with lots of crushed-strawberry and floral character. Full-bodied yet bright and focused. Hints of vanilla, fruit and cream. Flavourful finish. Drink now and enjoy.”
92 points, JamesSuckling.com, May 2018
“Medium to deep ruby-purple coloured, the 2016 Pinot Noir offers lovely baked raspberries, black cherries and mulberries notes with touches of chocolate box, earth, menthol and dried herbs with a waft of violets. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with red and black berries flavours plus earthy/herbal undertones and a plush frame, finishing with great freshness. 13,940 cases were made.”
91 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, June 2018
For more on Paul Hobbs Wines and CrossBarn click here.
There are two schools of thought on Zinfandel. One is the common, supermarket style of 16% alcohol, gobs and masses of black fruit and residual sugar. That’s fine for some.
Then there is the old-school style, often celebrated in Sonoma County, and by a few special wineries in Napa Valley. At Frog’s Leap they sit in camp number two.
Theirs is made in the classic field blend style including co-fermenting old-vine dry-farmed Zin with significant portions of equally old-vine Petite Sirah, Carignan and Valdigue. Ageing in mature American oak for 14 months allows the wine to gain its strength through complexity and character rather than brute force.
On the nose you’ll pick up dried cranberries and wild assorted berries dappled with darker cinnamon and clove spice notes, on the mid-weight palate layers of cherries and boysenberry play with subtle oak nuances while the juicy acidity and soft tannins round out the finish. Perfectly balanced and remarkably drinkable, this wine also ages really well. Having drank one at 20 years, I can attest!
Grown all at the Buehler Estate which is in a sub-appellation of Napa called Conn Valley, the 2015 “Estate” Cabernet is a beauty and a true steal. This is 100% Cabernet – a rarity in Napa Cabs, which are often a “Bordeaux blend”. The only problem with 2015 from the winery’s perspective is that there wasn’t a much larger crop of this pristine fruit.
The wines is aged for 18 months in oak barriques, 35% new French, 5% new American and the rest French oak of varying ages.
“The aromas hint at ripe black cherries and black plums. Enticing barrel qualities of cola and spice complement the fruit aromas. On the palate, the wine shows layers of deeply extracted flavours that only mature hillside vineyards can render. Our Estate Cabernet is the most age-worthy wine we produce and may be enjoyed anytime over the next 15 years. For those who seek youthful fresh cabernet fruit aromas and a more structured wine, drink it from 2017 through 2021. If you prefer the less fruity, more developed bottle bouquet aromas and a softer, more velvety wine on the palate, drink it from 2022-2032.”
winemaker David Cronin
“Dark cherry, plum, mocha and licorice are all amped up in the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate. Ripe, unctuous and supple, the Estate offers lovely depth and textural richness from start to finish. This silky, pliant Cabernet will drink well with minimal cellaring. 2020-2025”
In 2014 Shafer introduced us to TD-9, and laid to rest their mono-varietal Merlot. The blend of TD-9 is still predominantly Merlot, but it is enhanced and complimented by Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec in whatever proportion produces the finest wine. In 2016, they’ve crafted the best one yet, and the critics agree!
“The winery’s proprietary blend of 58% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Malbec is hugely impressive and memorable, with a smoky, toasted oak character. Plush flavours of blackberry and cherry jam meld with spice on the rich, round mid-palate. It offers plenty of grip and concentration, finishing on a handful of dried herb.”
95 points, Wine Enthusiast, Jan 2019
“The 2016 TD-9 is just as impressive from bottle as it was from barrel. Bright floral notes and a rush of red cherry/red plum fruit give energy to this pliant, super-expressive wine. The 2016 has firmed up a bit since it was bottled, so a few more months should do the trick. The blend is 58% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Malbec.”