Casas del Toqui Barrel Series Merlot

Polenta (boiled cornmeal) with meat-based sauce -  ragù alla bolognese.PARMESAN POLENTA WITH SAUSAGE RAGU

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup finely chopped basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 1⁄4 cups polenta (not quick-cooking)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high; add sausage and cook, breaking it into small (almost meatball-like)pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes and boil; simmer until thick, 30-40 minutes. Add basil, vinegar, kosher salt, and pepper; keep warm.
  2. When sauce is nearly ready, bring sea salt and 5 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; slowly add polenta and cook, stirring constantly, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, 1⁄2 cup Parmesan cheese, and kosher salt. Divide between bowls and top with ragù; garnish with more Parmesan cheese.

© Recipe courtesy of Pedroncelli.

MAY WINE CLUB:

Mellow style logoToqui-Barrel-Series-Merlot-wine-bottleCasas del Toqui
Barrel Series Merlot
Cachapoal Valley D.O., Chile

MELLOW WINE STYLE

This Barrel Series Merlot has an intense ruby red color with hints of violet. The nose is complex and intense with notes of tobacco, chocolate and spices. It has nice tannins on the palate with interesting volume and good persistence.

Varietal: 100% Merlot
Analysis:
13.5% alcohol / volume
Region: Cachapoal Valley D.O., Chile
Viticulture: Vertical espalier
Vinification: Fermentation at 80.6ºF-84.2ºF, post fermentation maceration and aged in oak barrels for 8 months.
Closure: Natural Cork
Serving Suggestion: Serve between 60.8ºF-64.4ºF
Food Pairing: Serve with game meats and casseroles.

ABOUT CASAS DEL TOQUI:
Casas del Toqui Winery was created with the intention to develop and produce high quality fine wines, to be shared both domestically and internationally. They are committed to excellence by continuously managing their quality, labor safety and environmental sustainability; allowing them to be a role model for the Chilean wine industry. Their philosophy is to achieve maximum balance, quality and identity to each of their wines, to ensure they are a direct reflection of their terroirs. Learn more about the winery here.

Casas-del-toqui-barrel-cellar


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March Premium Wine Club

Bold wine Style logoMaterra Cunat Family Vineyards
Midnight Red Blend
Oak Knoll District

Napa Valley, California

BOLD WINE STYLE

The Midnight Red Blend is deep purple in color with aromatic notes of cranberry, red currant, and vanilla cola.  Up front, there is a zingy acidity with a bit of nice spice on the palate.  The wine is medium-weight, but finish is powerful and persistent.

Analysis: 14.7% alcohol / volume
Varietal: 46% Malbec, 31% Petit Verdot, 23% Merlot
Appellation:
Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California
Oak Aging: 45% new French Oak for 19 months
Production: 802 cases
Serving: This wine will drink beautifully upon release, or will age well up to 7 years in your cellar. It is incredibly versatile with food pairings.

ABOUT MATERRA:
Proprietor Brian Cunat, grew up on a Midwest farm, developing a passion for agriculture and farming. He and his wife, Miki, found themselves traveling extensively, touring wineries and enjoying the cuisines of the local countries. In 2007, Brian and his brother purchased a 50-acre property in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. By 2014, they hired an expert team of vineyard managers and winemakers and transformed their property into a state-of-the-art winery capable of producing 150,000 gallons of wine. The Materra winery maintains ongoing efforts to improve their sustainability and since 2017, they have been Napa Green certified. Learn more about the winery here.


Mellow style logoWorks and Days Pinot NoirCoursey Graves Winery
Works and Days
Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, California

MELLOW WINE STYLE

This Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is elegant and refined. There are notes of fresh cherry, a hint of strawberry, star anise, dried flowers and crushed stone. The long, persistent finish makes the second drink next to impossible.

Analysis: 14% alcohol / volume
Varietal:
100% Pinot Noir
Production:
252 cases
Serving: Drink now or regularly over the next 12 years.

VINEYARD:
This wine is a blend of Dijon, California Heritage, and Swiss clones from two Sonoma Coast vineyards planted in 1999 and 2007. Spring Hill is located near the Pacific Ocean on light, sandy soils in western Sonoma County; while the Hill Justice Vineyard is located 5 miles inland on volcanic soil, 1200 feet above sea level. 

VINTAGE AND WINEMAKER NOTES: 
A warm winter with good rainfall led to slightly early bud-break. Early shoot growth was normal and excellent weather encouraged flowering. This led to a larger-than-average crop with great fruit uniformity. 2018 avoided the heat spikes of years prior, meaning even ripening and developed tannins. Vineyards were handpicked and clusters were pressed whole. Wine was native yeast fermented and sur lie aged 12 months in Terracotta Amphora vessels. An additional 5 months of stainless steel barrel aging occurred on lees. The wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered, and free of additives. Minimal amounts of SO2 preserve freshness.

ABOUT COURSEY GRAVES WINERY:
The Coursey Graves Winery operates under the philosophy that farming and winemaking are one practice. Their vineyards are organically farmed without any herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides. They are dedicated to preserving their estate with a clean eco-conscience and nurture the essence of the fruit to reflect the time and the place in which it was made. Learn more about their winery here


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March Wine Club Pairing Recipe

Short-Rib-Mac-and-CheeseShort Rib Mac and Cheese

INGREDIENTS:

  • Short Ribs:
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
    • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 cups red wine
    • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
    • 1 1/4 cups beef broth
    • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
    • Salt and pepper
  • Mac and Cheese:
    • 8 ounces of Penne
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, freshly grated
    • 4 ounces gruyere cheese, freshly grated
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • Salt and pepper
    • Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  • FOR THE SHORT RIBS:
    • *Keep in mind the short ribs will take about 8 hours in the slow cooker. Prepare overnight or in the morning.*
    • Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and add the ribs to the skillet. Sear the ribs on all sides for about a minute. Remove, then place the ribs in the crockpot.
    • Add the onion, garlic, red wine, tomato paste, beef broth, and thyme sprigs to the crockpot. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 6 hours.
    • Once the short ribs are done cooking, they should easily fall off the bone. Remove the ribs from the crockpot, discard any of the fat and the bones, and use two forks to shred the ribs into pieces. You can either put the shredded short ribs back into the crockpot to keep warm, or transfer them to a bowl while you prepare the mac and cheese.
  • FOR THE MAC AND CHEESE:
    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a bowl, and cook the pasta. It is recommended to undercook the pasta by 2-3 minutes, because it’s going to cook more in the oven. Drain the pasta and set aside.
    • In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour, and whisk until well combined to create a roux, until golden and fragrant.
    • In a large pot, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour, whisking until combined to create a roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it’s golden and fragrant. Pour in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, and cook about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add in the all of the cheddar and 2 ounces of the gruyere cheese, stir until the cheese melts. Season with chili powder, paprika , salt and pepper. Stir in the cooked pasta and the shredded short ribs.
    • Transfer the mixture to a cast-iron skillet or a baking dish. Top with the panko breadcrumbs and the remaining gruyere cheese. Bake until the top is golden and the cheese is melted, about 15-20 minutes. Garnish with fresh thyme!

© Recipe courtesy of Michelle of The Secret Ingredient Is.

MARCH WINE CLUB:

Reguta_Pinot-Nero-wine-bottleMellow style logoReguta
Pinot Nero

Friuli, Italy

MELLOW WINE STYLE

The Reguta Pinot Nero is ruby red in color, reminiscent of mixed berries. The nose is delicate with notes of blueberry and black currant wrapped up in tender vanilla notes. The palate is full-bodied, yet elegantly balanced.

Varietal: Pinot Nero
Analysis:
12.5% alcohol / volume
Serving Temperature:
59ºF-68ºF
Food Pairings: Suitable for all red meats, game and aged cheeses.

ABOUT REGUTA:
The Reguta winery was founded in northern Italy near Verona, in 1928 by Ettore Anselmi. In 1950, the Anselmi family moved to Pocenia in the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, where the winery is still owned and operated by the second and third generations – Giuseppe and Luigi Anselmi and their sons. The company boasts 250 hectares of vineyards and with their clayey soils and proximity to the Adriatic Sea, the have a microclimate that allows them to produce various varieties of both native and international grapes such as Refosco dal peduncolo rosso, Friulano, Pignolo, Ribolla Gialla or Verduzzo, and Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

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Reguta Merlot

Simple Bolognese

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound ground chuck beef
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley chopped
  • 8 fresh basil leaves chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Raise heat to high and add the ground beef. Sauté, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. This will take approximately ½ hour.
  5. Finish bolognese with Pecorino Romano.
  6. Add to your favorite pasta.

© Recipe courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis from Giadzy.

MARCH WINE CLUB:

Mellow style logoReguta
Merlot
Friuli, Italy

MELLOW WINE STYLE

The Reguta Merlot is ruby red in color, tending to garnet with age. The nose displays a vibrant, varietal perfume subtler when young, and becomes extremely pleasurable after aging.

Varietal: Merlot
Analysis:
12.5% alcohol / volume
Serving Temperature: 50ºF-53.6ºF
Food Pairings:
Pair with meat based risotto or pasta, boiled meat, or rabbit stew.

ABOUT REGUTA:
The Reguta winery was founded in 1928 by Ettore Anselmi. Today, the winery is still owned and operated by the Anselmi Family in Pocenia in the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Second and third generations – Giuseppe and Luigi Anselmi and their sons continue the family’s traditions while expanding their high quality products. Located in a microclimate next to the Adriatic Sea, the winery boasts 250 hectares of vineyards. The soils are clayey in nature with a sandy component – allowing optimal development of the vine and an ideal habitat to produce and mature generous fruits.

 

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January Premium Wine Club

Mellow style logoRuffion-modus-wine-bottleRuffino
Modus Toscana IGT
Tuscany, Italy

MELLOW WINE STYLE

Ruby red in color, and complex, fruity and intense on the nose. The initial aromas are of mature black fruits, such as cherries, plums, and small blackberries typical of Sangiovese. There are also floral notes that are complimented by hints of spiced cinnamon and cloves. On the palate, it is full-bodied and harmonious with modern Super Tuscan finesse and style. This wine is rich with soft tannins and flavors of mature blackberry fruit that lead to a persistent finish.

Analysis: 14.5% alcohol / volume
Varietal: 37% Sangiovese, 32% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon
Grape Sourcing:
Ruffino’s Poggio Casciano Estate
Soil:
Hilly land with clay, limestone, and a small percentage of silt
Micro-climate:
Variable with good diurnal temperature swings, especially during summer
Growing System:
Cordon trained
Vine density:
12,000 per acre
Age of vineyards:
Recently planted
First Year of Production:
1997
Food Pairings: Wonderful on its own, or serve with bold dishes such as duck with olives and pancetta, beef-stuffed manicotti with Bolognese sauce, or aged cheeses such as T
aleggio, Pecorino and/or Gouda.

VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Harvest: Only the best grapes are selected in the vineyards to ensure optimal ripeness when picked. They are again sorted prior to pressing. Due to a warm and dry growing season, the harvest began earlier than usual, as the high summer temperatures led to beautiful fruit maturation.
Fermentation: Each varietal was vinified independently, fermenting in temperature-controlled stainless-steel vats at an average temperature of 82ºF for 10 days. The wine was then allowed to macerate on the skins for another 2 weeks.
Aging: After completing malolactic fermentation, the 3 varietals were blended and aged for 12 months in French oak barrels of first and second use.


Ruffio-riserva-ducale-wine-bottleMellow style logoRuffino
Riserva Ducale
Chianti Classico Riserva
Tuscany, Italy

MELLOW WINE STYLE

Ruby red in color, the nose has an elegant bouquet characterized by violet, cherries, wild berries and plums. There are hints of tobacco, clove and eucalyptus. On the palate, the Riserva Ducale is balance and constant with delicate tannins. The vibrant acidity characterizes this wine, which is typical of Sangiovese’s grapes. The finish is persistent and a good structure completes the entire taste sensation.

Analysis: 14.5% alcohol / volume
Varietal:
80% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
Grape Sourcing:
The Riserva Ducale grapes came from owned vineyards and selected growers vineyards located in the traditional Chianti Classico production area, stretching over the provinces of Siena and Florence. Ruffino traditionally works with a small stable of hand-selected growers, chosen as carefully as the Ruffino vineyards.
Soil: Typical of the Chianti Classico area; a mix of clay and limestone with an abundant presence of “Galestro” rock.
Altitude:
Variable from 951 to 1,476 feet above sea level
Growing System:
Cordon trained
Vine density:
about 12,350 vines/acre
Bottle Aging:
A minimum of 3 months
First Year of Production:
1927
Food Pairings: Enjoy this timeless Tuscan gem with Italian favorites such as prosciutto and other antipasti, mushroom risotto, pasta Bolognese, and chicken cacciatore. Or, pair it with simple grilled meats and roasted vegetables for a classic Tuscan meal.

VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Harvest: The vintage was characterized by a very hot season with a good maturation of the grapes, which led to a slightly early harvest.
Fermentation: Alcoholic fermentation and maceration were aided by pumping over, which took place in thermo-controlled stainless-steel vats for approximately 16 days.
Aging: The Riserva Ducale aged for 24 months, 12 in big oak casks and the rest in concrete vats.


Mellow style logoRuffino Riserva Ducale OroRuffino
Riserva Ducale Oro
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG
Tuscany, Italy

MELLOW WINE STYLE

The Riserva Ducale Oro is also Ruby Red in color with hues of garnet. It is powerfully aromatic with cherry, plum, and violet with notes of eucalyptus, chocolate and spicy black pepper. The complexity is an authentic expression of Sangioveses and Classic Chiantis. The wine is full-bodied and powerfully fruity with elegant tannins, perfectly supported by a good acidity. The finish is characterized by pleasantly sweet tobacco, plums, and balsamic herbs. This Riserva Ducale Oro will age gracefully for decades.

Analysis: 14.5% alcohol / volume
Varietal:
83% Sangiovese, 12% Merlot, 5% Colorino
Grape Sourcing:
Selected from Ruffino’s Gretole and Santedame estates, located in the heart of Castellina in Chianti.
Soil: Hilly land with poor, rocky, ‘galestro’ soils of mixed clay and sand
Microclimate:
Characterized by hot, dry summers with high diurnal temperature swings, which allow for optimal grape maturation.
Altitude:
820-1,300 feet above sea level
Sun Exposure:
Predominantly south, southwest, and southeast
Growing System:
Cordon-trained
Vine density:
10,000 per acre
Age of Vineyards: 
Vine yield: 12 tons per acre
First Year of Production:
1947
Food Pairings: Traditional Italian dishes pair exquisitely with this wine. Try with a pasta Bolognese, wild boar ragu, or eggplant Parmesan. It also pairs beautifully with American dishes such as grilled rib-eye and roasted vegetables.

VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Harvest: Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is produced with grapes meticulously selected during harvest. The picking started the third week of September and ended the first week of October. The vintage 2015 shows a vivid fruity notes, with spicy hints of great elegance.
Fermentation: Aided by racking and délestage, fermentation took place in thermo-controlled stainless-steel vats at an average temperature of 82ºF for 21 days. Post-fermentation maceration on the skins continued for an additional 10 days. The wine was transferred to concrete vats for malolactic fermentation.
Aging: A total of 36 months: the first 12 months in concrete vats, followed by 12 months in Slavonian oak barrels (about 925-2,000 gallons), and finally 12 months in barriques that are four or more years old.

ABOUT RUFFINO WINERY:
In 1877, cousins, Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino, embraced their passion for winemaking by establishing a small winery in the town of Pontassieve, near Florence. Natives to Tuscany, they knew this region already had century-old traditions of growing exceptional wine grapes, but cousins felt that much of the area’s greatness had yet to be revealed. Word eventually grew about the quality wine the Ruffino cousin’s were producing and the winery began to flourish. Ruffino became known for clean, balanced wines. They became nationally and internationally known when their Chianti won Gold Medals and other prizes in 1881, 1884 and 1885 Wine Exhibitions. In 1890, the Duke of Aosta became intrigued by the winery’s reputation, and after trying it for himself, he appointed Ruffino as the official supplier to the Italian Royal family. In 1927, the winery released their first vintage of Riserva Ducale – named after the Duke of Aosta to acknowledge his esteemed patronage.

Today, Ruffino has a collection of estates in Tuscany’s most important wine appellations. They continue to take a traditional approach when making their wines to allow their wines to reveal themselves without manipulation. Ruffino has established itself as a leader in Chianti, as they have become a global ambassador of Tuscan wines around the world. Learn more here. 


Mellow style logoFrescobaldi-Nipozzano-RiservaFrescobaldi
Castello Nipozzano
Nipozzano Riserva
Tuscany, Italy

MELLOW WINE STYLE

The Nipozzano 2017 conveys the intense, harmonious character of the vintage with personality, translating the heat of the season into the glass. The ruby-red color is bright and intense. The usual notes of red fruits and citrus are expressed in a seductive combination of elegance and intensity. Tertiary notes due to aging, such as spices and vanilla, enhance the aromas and balance the tasting experience. The palate is rich, dense and balanced, with a great expression of maturity, polyphenolic elegance and final persistence.

Analysis: 13.5% alcohol / volume
Varietal:
Sangiovese and complementary varieties
Critical Acclaim:

  • James Suckling: 92 Points
  • Gambero Rosso: 3 Glasses
  • Luca Maroni: 90 Points

VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Harvest: The winter was mild and dry. In the spring, the early sprouting of the vines brought the growing season forward. During spring, the arrival of sporadic rains restored the vineyards’ water table, guaranteeing a good blooming, still ahead of time with respect to the previous season. The harvest began at the end of August/first few days of September, after a hot, dry summer that led to the harvesting of well-ripened grapes, qualitatively rich in body and color. As soon as the grapes were harvested, they were taken to the cellar.
Fermentation: Once de-stemmed, the natural fermentation process began in thermo-regulated stainless steel vats. The wine remained in the vats to complete maceration. After racking, malolactic fermentation took place in steel as well.
Aging: At the end of the year, the wine was transferred into barriques, where it was aged for further months. A further period in the bottle brought Nipozzano to its full expression as a wine with exceptional balance.

ABOUT FRESCOBALDI WINERY:
Beginning in the early 1300s, the Frescobaldi family has been producing wine in Tuscany for over seven hundred years. That family history is filled with illustrious ancestors, from literary figures, explorers, and musicians, to financiers, bishops, and statesmen. Over the years, the Frescobaldi family had established commercial contracts and relationships, and had the opportunity to share their wine with numerous historical names and courts such as the Court of England, the Papal Court in Rome, Donatello, Michelozzo, Michelozzi, and Filippo Brunelleschi.

The winery has been passed down in the family from generation to generation, building many different sub-family estates over the years. Today, the President, Lamberto Frescobaldi, aims to strengthen the uniqueness of the wines of each family estate. The Frescobaldi family believes each family estate, and their vineyards, should express the diversity and individuality of their Tuscan terroir while always respecting their nature and authenticity. Learn more about the family history here.


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Maison Louis Latour Pinot Noir Les Pierres Dorées

Rack of LambGarlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head of garlic (cloves peeled)
  • ¼ cup rosemary leaves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 racks of lamb, frenched (2 pounds each)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, rosemary and olive oil and process until the garlic is finely chopped. Season the lamb racks with salt and pepper and rub the garlic-rosemary oil all over them. Set the racks fat side up on a large rimmed baking sheet and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Roast the lamb in the upper third of the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the racks and roast for 10 minutes longer for medium-rare meat. Transfer the racks to a carving board, stand them upright and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Carve the racks in between the rib bones and transfer to plates. Serve right away.

© Recipe courtesy of Kenny Rochford from Food & Wine.

DECEMBER WINE CLUB:

pinot noir les pierres dorees
Louis Latour
Pinot Noir Les Pierres Dorées
Burgundy, France

MELLOW WINE STYLE

The Les Pierres Dorées Pinot Noir has an intense, bright red color with red-garnet hues. On the nose, there are notes of flowers, red berries and soft spices. On the palate, it is round and full-bodied. It has a great deal of freshness with long under notes of black fruits.

Varietal: Pinot Noir
Analysis:
13-13.2% alcohol / volume
Region: Beaujolais, France
Village: Les Pierres Dorées
Appellation: Burgundy
Average Vine Age:
7 years
Soil: Clay and limestone with Iron-oxide
Harvest: Mechanical
Fermentation: Traditional in open vats
Aging: 10 to 12 months aging in stainless steel vats and oak barrels
Barrels: Louis Latour cooperage, French oak, medium toasted
Cellaring Potential: 5-7 years
Serving Temperature: 57.2-60.8ºF
Food Pairing: Rack of lamb, quail with grapes, red tuna tartare, sea bass, goat cheese, red fruit soup
Critical Acclaim:
James Suckling 2018, 89 pts

WINERY NOTES:
Maison Louis Latour once again exports its Burgundian know-how outside of the Côte d’Or. After the great successes of Ardèche and Var, they decided to repeat the experience in the heart of Beaujolais with the planting of 20 hectares of Pinot Noir. The calcareous soil rich in iron oxide gives a very particular ochre color, and the high altitude contribute to produce a surprising wine which associates richness and freshness with a beautiful aromatic complexity. This region offers beautiful argilo-calcareous soils, the plots selected by Maison Louis Latour form two islands and are situated on the villages of Morancé and Theizé. With a continental moderate climate, vineyards benefit from an ideal period of sunshine but the temperatures are relatively fresh due to an elevation between 280 and 400 meters.

ABOUT MAISON LOUIS LATOUR:
Founded in 1797, Maison Louis Latour has been apart of Burgundian history for more than two centuries. Authentic and independent, the winery is now run by the 11th generation of the founding family. The family is determined to preserve the winery’s unique heritage. Today, the Latour’s family Domaine spreads over 50 hectares of exceptional vineyards. Learn more about their history here.

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December Wine Club Pairing Recipe

Skillet Cranberry Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 skin-on chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • zest + juice of 1/2 lemon
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 pound baby potatoes, halved
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Rub the chicken with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the thyme, rosemary, garlic and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large oven safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken, skin side down, and sear until golden, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook 5 minutes more. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Add 2 tablespoons butter, the potatoes, carrots, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine, deglazing the pan and scraping up any browned bits off the bottom. Simmer the wine for 5 minutes or until reduced slightly. Remove from the heat and nestle the chicken into the potatoes. Add the lemon juice.
  • In a small bowl, toss together the cranberries, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the cranberries over the chicken. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. Plate the chicken and potatoes and drizzle with the sauce left in the pan. EAT!

© Recipe courtesy of Tieghan Gerard from Half Baked Harvest.

DECEMBER WINE CLUB:

fleurie chateau des dorees wine bottleHenry Fessy
Fleurie Château des Labourons

Burgundy, France

MELLOW WINE STYLE

Ruby red in color with light hints of purple, the nose has intense flavors of blackberry and blackcurrant. On the palate, the Fleurie “Château des Labourons” is concentrated, with supple and silky tannins. It has a beautiful finish with slightly peppery and violet notes.
 
Château des Labourons dominates the beautiful hillsides of the Fleurie appellation. It is located three kilometers further up the hill from the hamlet of Les Labourons. The combination of the altitude, slope, exposure and quality of the soil have created a promising terroir in the heart of the Fleurie Cru. Château des Labourons’ current architecture dates from the 19th century. It was rebuilt from ashes after a devastating fire, but still retains some of its original architectural character. This Château has a long history, over five generations of the “de Lescure” family, and it was already producing wine by the 18th century.
 
Varietal: 100% Gamay
Analysis: 13.5% alcohol / volume
Appellation: Beaujolais, France
Soil Composition: Igneous rock – mainly pale pink granite that breaks down into coarse “blockfields”
Harvest: Manual
Average Vine Age: 40 Years
Pruning: Gobelet
Density of Vines: 10,000 vines/ha
Critical Acclaim: 
  • James Suckling – February 2017 – 92 pts
  • Wine Spectator – July 2017 – 88 pts
  • Wine Enthusiast – May 2017 – 88 pts
  • Jancis Robinson – UK – January 2017 – 16.5 pts
  • Guide Bettane & Desseauve – Septembre 2016 – 14 pts
  • Concours Général Agricole – Février 2016 – Médaille d’Or
Suggested Food Pairings: Roasted chicken, grilled meats and cheese
Serving Temperature:
57.2-59°F
Winemaking: The château selects the best grapes, then carries out non-carbonic vinification in open vats. Afterwards, the grapes go through pneumatic pressing and fermentation, the wine is matured in old oak tuns before bottling.
 
ABOUT HENRY FESSY:
The Fessy Family has been based in the heart of the Brouilly appellation since 1888. They have purchased parcels of vineyards in most of the Crus and Beaujolais-Villages over the years, creating an enviable domaine of nearly 70 hectares of vineyards. Their philosophy is to work with sensitivity and intelligence to produce highly characterful wines with little to no intervention. Learn more about the winery here.
 

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November Wine Club Pairing Recipe

Rich and Simple French Onion Soup Recipe

French,Onion,Gratin,Soup

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced onions
  • 4 (10.5 ounce) cans beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 slices French bread
  • 4 slices Provolone cheese
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese, diced
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt butter with olive oil in an 8 quart stock pot on medium heat. Add onions and continually stir until tender and translucent. Do not brown the onions.
  2. Add beef broth, sherry and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the oven broiler.
  4. Ladle soup into oven safe serving bowls and place one slice of bread on top of each (bread may be broken into pieces if you prefer). Layer each slice of bread with a slice of Provolone, ½ slice diced Swiss and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Place bowls on cookie sheet and broil in the preheated oven until cheese bubbles and browns slightly.

© Recipe courtesy of Lori Levin from All Recipes

NOVEMBER WINE CLUB:

Mellow style logoEstate-Cellars-Red-BlendEstate Cellars
Proprietary Red Blend

Central Coast, California

MELLOW WINE STYLE

The Estate Cellars’ Proprietary Red Blend is a Bordeaux Style and a true representation of a California Meritage.  It is crafted out of the finest lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot from Central Coast vineyards. Blends are a true representation of the winemaker’s craft and the best possible wine they can make. Utilizing each of the varietals for different components rounds out the blends mouth feel and creates balance in the final product.

TASTING NOTES:
It’s a medium to heavy bodied wine that is dark purple in color with aromas of dried herbs, blueberry and tea leaf. On the palate, there are flavors of cocoa powder, currants and white pepper.

Varietal: 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 15% Malbec, 15% Petit Verdot
Appellation: Central Coast, California
Analysis: 14.5% alcohol / volume

Aged: 16 months on 30% New French Oak, 70% Neutral French and American Oak
Harvest Date: Sept. 30 – Nov. 2
Average Brix at Harvest: 25.0
pH: 3.62
TA: 0.63
Sugar: 0.20 g/L
Food Pairing: Pot Roast, French Onion Soup, Italian Sausage Pasta
Cheese Pairing: The November Cheese Club selections.

California Certified Sustainable logoWINEMAKER NOTES:
The Estate Cellars Red Blend grapes were handpicked, and hand sorted prior to a 48-hour cold soak at 40°F. During fermentation, the wine is pumped over four times per day during peak fermentation to maximize extraction. Post fermentation the wine is held on skins for 24 hours to extend maceration and provide even more color and tannin extraction. The Red Blend is the best representation of a winemaker using all the tools they have to make the best wine possible. This wine is crafted over several tasting sessions with the winemaking team, fine tuning all aspects from flavor and aromas, to structure and mouthfeel.

HARVEST NOTES:
The 2019 Estate Cellars’ Red Blend, similar to the previous two years, was notated as one of the latest starts to their season’s harvest. The winters have prolonged their growing seasons as the increasingly wet soils allow the vines time to mature at a healthy rate. The above average rainfall in the spring gave rise to a later than average bud break and bloom, which allowed the weather time to warm up and decrease any concerns of destructive frost. The summer temperatures were well below the seasonal average with only four days of 100+ degree temperatures (in previous years, they saw 11-16 days over 100 degrees). These even and mild temperature changes gave the winery an ideal growing season that pushed them well into November. They believe this hang time has shaped up to provide high quality wine and one of their best vintages to date.

Clos LaChance logoABOUT THE WINERY:
Estate Cellars is a secondary brand to
Clos LaChance, a family owned and operated winery in the Northern Central Coast region of California. After perfecting their portfolio, they wanted to reach additional markets by creating unique labels while still maintaining their same attention to high quality wine. Clos LaChance Winery started in 1987 when co-owners, Bill and Brenda Murphy, decided to plant a few rows of Chardonnay in their Saratoga backyard. By 1992, they grew into a commercial winery releasing their very first vintage. Today, Clos LaChance Winery and Estate Vineyard is proud to be Certified Sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. Learn more here.


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Alella Vinícola Costa Del Maresme

Skirt Steak

Credit: © Tina Rupp

Skirt Steak with Moroccan Spice Rub and Yogurt Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ¼ pounds skirt steak, cut into 6-inch lengths
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Moroccan Spice Rub
  • ¾ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large pita breads, for serving
  • Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Light a grill. Rub the steaks all over with 3 tablespoons of the spice rub and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, scallions, garlic, jalapeños and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice rub. Stir in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Brush the steaks lightly with olive oil and grill over high heat, turning occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes for medium-rare meat. Brush the pitas with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steaks across the grain. Transfer the steaks to a platter and serve with the toasted pita, yogurt sauce and lettuce leaves.

© Recipe courtesy of Grace Parisi of Food & Wine.

OCTOBER WINE CLUB:

Mellow style logoCosta_del_Maresme_Red-Wine-2020-tech-sheet (1)Alella Vinícola
Costa del Maresme

Alella, Spain

MELLOW WINE STYLE

The Costa del Maresme is 100% Mediterranean in character. The nose and palate both highlight the ripe bunches of the Red Grenache and Syrah grapes.

Varietal: 90% Red Grenache, 10% Syrah
Vineyard: Viña Rials
Analysis: 14.0% alcohol / volume
Aging: Aged over lees around 8 months
Yield: 22 Hl/Ha
Vine aged: 35 years
Farming: Organic without herbicide, insecticide and inorganic fertilizers
Pruning: Royat doble
Height and exposition: 100 m, SE
Soil: Granites (“Sauló”)
Climate: Maritime Mediterranean
Winemaker: Xavier Garcia
Annual Production: 12,000 bottles
Aging Potential: Drink now or mature for up to 4 years
 

WINEMAKER NOTES:
“Depending on the final ripeness of the different vineyards and varieties, each harvest’s final blend is formed. Varietal base was shared by Red Grenache and complemented with Syrah.” – Alella Vinícola

Alella Vinícola logoABOUT ALELLA VINÍCOLA:
Alella Vinícola is a family winery passed down from generation to generation since 1906. Located just 9 miles north of Barcelona, the winery currently produces, makes and bottles wines and cavas in two designated origins, D.O. Alella and D.O. Cava. Now owned and operated by brothers Samuel and Xavier Garcia, they produce around 90,000 bottles each year, comprised of a dozen different wines. The brothers continue ensure they are producing all of their wines organically, free of herbicides, insecticides and inorganic fertilizers. Learn more about winery here.

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September Premium Wine Club

Mellow style logoLong Meadow Ranch 2016 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Tech Sheet[54]Long Meadow Ranch
2016 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
California

MELLOW WINE STYLE

“Deep ruby red color. A bewitching nose, complex with dried earth, musky roses, and spice aromas. This shows a refined and silken texture, and remains fresh and lively across the palate with great intensity of fruit and length. Intriguing, balanced and complex, it is a great picture of the finesse and intensity of Pinot Noir in Anderson Valley.” – Winemaker, Stéphane Vivier

Analysis: 13.5% alcohol / volume
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Estate:
Anderson Valley
Maturation: 12 months in 25% new French oak, 75% neutral French oak
Food Pairing: Pair with duck breast and a cherry mostarda, or grilled salmon with chanterelle mushrooms. Try the winery’s pairing recipe for Chicken and Adouille Sausage Jambalaya here.

GROWING SEASON:
The 2016 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir had an early bud break, wet spring soils, and a long growing season. There was rapid growth in the spring, which slowed as it was met with average summer temperatures; producing reduced yields. The result was a moderate crop of well-concentrated, fully ripened fruit, creating a high quality vintage.


Bold wine Style logoLong Meadow Ranch 2016 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Tech Sheet[44]Long Meadow Ranch
2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California

BOLD WINE STYLE

“Classic in style and always respectful of varietal character, the 2016 Napa Valley represents everything you expect from a Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet. This balanced blend of fruit from our mountain and valley estates has an inviting nose of fresh black cherry, marionberry, and plum. More subtle notes of vanilla, cedar and green tea leaves bring nuance to a palate bright with the mountain fruit acidity and rich in the valley fruit’s velvety tannins. This wine is lovely to drink now and for years to come.” – Winemaker, Justin Carr

Analysis: 13.5% alcohol / volume
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard: Estate Grown at Mayacamas & Rutherford Estates
Food Pairing: Long Meadow Ranch Grass-fed beef, braised lamb shanks or roasted game. Try the winery’s pairing recipe for Balsamic Braised Grass-fed Lamb Shanks here.

GROWING SEASON:
Growing season for the Cabernet Sauvignon was very similar to that of the Pinot Noir. The wet spring started a fast and rapid growing season, which was then met with average summer temperatures that slowed the development and reduced yields. This produced a moderate crop of excellent quality, and well-concentrated fruit that were fully ripened.

ABOUT LONG MEADOW RANCH:
Owned by Ted, Laddie, and Christopher Hall, Long Meadow Ranch (LMR) uses all integrated, organic and sustainable growing methods. LMR is home to wine making, olive orchards, cattle and horse breeding, egg-laying poultry, and organic vegetable gardens – each contributing to the overall health of the ranch. All crops are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and are grown without using any herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Learn more here.

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