Cellars Wine Club - November 2012
Learn the finer points to many of our Wine of the Month Club. Our club wines are expertly researched and selected for quality, value and uniqueness and every one has an interesting history. Here are some of the wines we are offering this month:
Karl Lawrence Cellars - Calistoga, California
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Karl Lawrence Cellars is a small, family operated winery located in the heart of Napa Valley. They specialize in premium Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced, since 1991 from the Gary Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford, and the Herb Lamb Vineyard at the base of Howell Mountain. Like most boutique wineries, their small size enables us to pay particular attention to quality. Two very close friends with a common dream of producing a fine wine founded Karl Lawrence Cellars in 1991. The name "Karl Lawrence" comes from combining the middle names of the two founding partners: Michael Karl Trujillo and Bryan Lawrence Henry. One of the vineyard selections for the Karl Lawrence Cabernet is the Morisoli Vineyard on the valley floor near Rutherford. Fruit from this vineyard shows great Cabernet character and yields a well-rounded wine with intense aroma and flavor, and lends a rich smooth feel to the finished wine. Another vineyard selection is the Lamb Family Vineyard. This hillside mountain vineyard on Howell Mountain produces a more intense and concentrated fruit that gives a big, rich, spicy character to the blended wine. The grapes are hand harvested at their optimum maturity and delivered to the winery. Crushed to open top fermenters where they undergo fermentation. After fermentation is complete the wine is then aged for twenty months in French oak barrels. The wines are then carefully blended to achieve optimum balance and expression. Shortly after blending the wine is bottled and then held for further aging in the bottle. For the seventh consecutive year the Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon is made from these two renowned vineyards. The combination and blending of the Morosoli grapes and the Lamb Family grapes define the unique Karl Lawrence Cabernet style. Everything is perfectly woven from the first whiff and right on through the pallet to the lingering, long finish. Abundant fruit aromas of black cherry, currant, and black raspberry combine with dark chocolate, giving incredible depth to this wine, now in its adolescence. The flavors roll forward, layer after layer, with generous dark fruits and a milk chocolate ganache richness. Amazing potential lies ahead for this vintage, which, with decanting and food, is quite approachable now and will improve with time. Enjoy it over the next 10-12 years. This wine has not been rated yet.
Maison Ambroise - France
2008 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains
The domaine of Bertrand Ambroise was established in the late 18th century in the village of Prémeaux-Prissey, just south of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Today the estate has expanded to 42 acres which are worked diligently by Bertrand and his family. Bertrand produces some of the finest examples of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy. He often works with 10%-30% lower yields than are allowed. His genuine passion only to produce wines from absolutely ripe grapes demands a severe green harvest and an additional inspection or sorting of the fruit prior to fermentation. All of this detail work has created a worldwide demand for his wines. The style of Bertrand’s wines can be characterized as ripe, deeply extracted, full bodied, structured Pinot Noirs with clean fruit flavors being the focus. Blackberry and huckleberry inform the darkly, densely, bitter-sweetly, concentrated 2008 Nuits St.-Georges Clos Les Vaucrains, whose massive though relatively fine-grained tannins are underlain by suggestions of pencil lead and crushed stone that advance a rather austere overall impression. Certainly the sheer intensity of raw material here as resisted its (100%) new wood, although Ambroise doesn’t deny that the oak reinforces the impression of tannin. A strongly saline streak stimulates a welcome burst of salivation in a finish – tinged by iodine and medicinal, herbal bitterness – that is practically intimidating in its density, grip, and gum-numbing. Best from 2013 through 2025 and as always, decanting is a must! 92 Points Burghound. 90 Points Robert Parker.
HdV Wines - Napa, California
2008 Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros Hyde Vineyard
HdV is a family venture between Hyde Vineyards of Napa Valley and Aubert & Pamela de Villaine of Burgundy, France. Aubert de Villaine, married to the Hyde's cousin Pamela F. de Villaine, is one of Burgundies most recognized individuals. Born and raised in the rich traditions of France's greatest winemaking techniques, Aubert brings to the partnership the foundation upon which the venture bases its theories and practices. Larry Hyde came to the Napa Valley over thirty years ago with a great love of wine and the soil. In 1979, Larry left his job as an apprentice at some of Napa's finest wineries to purchase and transform the Carneros soils into what is now known as Hyde Vineyards. Twenty-five years later, Hyde Vineyards has become renown for the unique expression of its Carneros terroir. Joining the venture in 2002, winemaker Stéphane Vivier brings with him skills in vineyard management and winemaking from around the world. Born and raised in France, Stéphane's skills were cultivated in the vineyards and cellars of Pommard, Meursault and Chassagne-Montrachet and then expanded through his work in New Zealand and the Sonoma Coast Appellation. HdV is bottled under the coat of arms of the historic de la Guerra family from which Pamela de Villaine and the Hydes descend. The De la Guerra Family is one of the oldest winemaking families in California and traces its winemaking history back to a gold medal received at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Fair. The 2008 Hyde de Villaine Chardonnay highlights why Hyde Vineyard is the elite Chardonnay site in California. A wine that is rich and complex while exuding finesse and elegance. Intense aromas of fresh fig and stone fruit develop over time in the glass. The complexity relies on an intricate evolution of spice, apricot and pear notes that leads to a persistent finish. Reminiscent of Grand Cru Burgundy, this wine will age gracefully for a decade. 92 Points Wine & Spirits.
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