Archive for March, 2012

The Grand Wines of Bordeaux

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A Tuesday evening filled with both older and newer vintage wines from some of the best producers in Bordeaux.  What’s not to like?  I certainly couldn’t think of anything.  General Manager of Meteor Vineyard and former Wine Director of Gary Danko, Jason Alexander led our class through a highly valuable (both in experience and the wines tasted) exploration of both the left and right bank of Bordeaux.

Jason went into depth about the many facets of the Bordeaux region including the varietals used, the wine classifications, and of course, the terroir.  Explaining the differences between the left and right bank as far as gravel soils vs. clay soils, different producers, and the types of blends being produced, it truly helped the class understand what certain things to expect when tasting these amazing and collectible wines from Bordeaux.

My favorite wines of the night?

1988 Château Gruaud Larose Grand Cru – Saint-Julien

An impressive wine with pungent and satisfying aromas of charcoaled zucchini, dried roses, black plum, and blackberry. A powerful combination of gripping tannin and juicy acidity, this wine presents the palate with notes of rotisserie meat, tar, black pepper and a smoky finish.

1995 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande– Pauillac
A perfect combination of grace and muscle, this wine expresses aromas of smoked meat, lavender, red plum & red cherry.  Tickling tannin and perpetuating acidity is well partnered with a palate of cough syrup, burnt wood, black pepper, and barbecued asparagus on the finish.

Thanks to Jason and Brian for an incredible Bordeaux class with an unbeatable wine list!

-Julie Albin

Wine List

1.Château Lamothe Blanc 2009 – Haux

2.Château Monbousquet 1995 – Saint Émilion

3.Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1995 – Pauillac

4.Château Cos d’Estournel 1986 – SaintEstèphe

5. Château Haut Brion 1986 – Pessac-Léognan

6.Château Brane-Cantenac 2008 – Margaux

7. Château Hosanna 2008 – Pomerol

8. Château Climens 2003 – Barsac, Sauternes

Indigenous Varieties of Italy

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

We were thrilled this past Tuesday to welcome our special guest Mauro Cirilli for an exciting class on the indigenous grape varietals that make Italy’s wine industry so puzzling to wine lovers across the globe.  A Venice native now living as a San Francisco local, Mauro is the former wine director for Perbacco and Barbacco Eno Trattoria and currently heads the North American Sommelier Association.  Having spent many years working as a sommelier for prestigious hotels throughout Italy, Mauro felt right at home as he led the class on a voyage through the Italy’s mysterious world of indigenous wines.

Featuring ten different varietals, Mauro briefed the class on the history, terroir conditions, viticulture, and style of wine involved with each one.  As most people in the class had not yet heard of many of these varietals, Mauro was able to enlighten everyone with knowledge and understanding of why these indigenous grapes make Italy so special.

My favorite wines of the night?


Valentini Trebbiano dAbruzzo 1998 Abruzzo

This trebbiano was nothing short of incredible.  Dusty and golden in color, the wine carried aromas of barnyard with canned pineapples and pears.  The remarkably fresh acid for this 14 year old wine was decorated with notes of white pepper, salty minerality, baked bread crust, and a savory bacon finish.


Castello di Verduno Pelaverga Basadone 2010 – Piemonte

A very uncanny type of wine, this Pelaverga exuded rustic aromas of dusty wood, rubber, and a hint of tart red cherry.  Lightly gripping tannin and excellent acidity, this wine definitely grew on me while my palate tasted wood fire, tar, red cherry, and salted peanut skins on the finish.

Special thanks to Mauro and Brian for a very memorable class!

-Julie Albin

Wine List

1. BioVio Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato di Albenga 2010 – Liguria

2. Aia Vecchia Vermentino 2010 – Maremma, Toscana

3. Vietti Arneis 2010 – Roero, Piemonte

4. Valentini Trebbiano dAbruzzo 1998  – Abruzzo

5. Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Enrico Cialdini  – Emilia-Romagna

6. Castello di Verduno Pelaverga Basadone 2010  – Piemonte

7. Cataldi Madonna Montepulciano dAbruzzo 2008 – Abruzzo

8. Cantina Andrian Lagrein Riserva Tor di Lupo 2008 – Trentino Alto-Adige

9. Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino Montefalco 2000  – Umbria

Cantine del Notaio Aglianico del Vulture La Firma 2007 – Basilicata

Tasting and Comparing Old World & New World Wines

Monday, March 5th, 2012

The epic battle of Old World vs. New World wines was placed in the spotlight again in class this past Tuesday.  GM of Meteor Vineyard Jason Alexander led the class through a blind tasting of five different grape varietals while comparing one example of both the Old World and New World style of that varietal.

While conducting these blind tastings, Jason explained in full depth the specific characteristics in the wines and how they were able to lead us to conclusions about the varietal and whether it was Old World or New World.  Using specific examples such as minerality, ripeness of the fruit, and level of alcohol, Jason let the students decide what they concluded based on all of the clues.  Some students were surprised to find out that they were successful in being able to tell the grape varietals and whether the wines were Old World or New World.  All it took was a little guidance and, literally, following your nose!

My favorite wines of the night?

Old World

2008 M. Chapoutier La Petite Ruche, Crozes-Hermitage

Simply alluring, this wine’s aromas of fresh soil, wet roses and oregano remind me of walking through the gardening section of Home Depot.  Smooth texture and sufficient acid on the palate with notes of blackberry, rose water, pine, roast beef, and a fertilizer finish.

New World

2010 Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir- Central Otago, New Zealand

A real crowd pleaser, this wine carries enticingly sweet aromas of roasted marshmallow, red cherry, red plum, violet, and cooked tomatoes.  Light weight and graceful tannins on the palate with added notes of burnt sugar, coffee beans, rose petals, black pepper, leather, and an earthy finish.

Thanks to Jason and Brian for another fantastic blind tasting class!

-Julie Albin

Wine List

1. Seven Hills Columbia Valley Riesling 2009 – Washington State

2. Lucien Albrecht Reserve Riesling 2010 – Alsace, France

3. Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnere – Chablis, France

4. Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Chardonnay 20009 – Sonoma County, CA

5. Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir 2010– Central Otago, New Zealand

6. Domaine Perrot-Minot Nuit St Georges La Richmone 1er Cru 2007 – Burgundy

7. M. Chapoutier La Petite Ruche Crozes-Hermitage 2008 – Northern Rhone

8. Two Hands Bella’s Garden Shiraz 2008 – Barossa Valley, South Australia

9. Pride Vineyards Sonoma Merlot 2009 – Sonoma County, CA

10. Chateau Certan de May Pomerol 2008 – Bordeaux, France

We’re in 7×7!

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

We were mentioned in another awesome article from 7×7 Magazine.  Check it out!  :)