Mi Sueño 2016 Chardonnay Los Carneros – A Different Dream or Vision?

Mi Sueño means “my dream” and reflects on the ambitions of founders/owners Rolando and Lorena Herrera. It was a Carneros Chardonnay that they first made together, marking the start of their Napa Valley adventure.

My proposed question in the title of a different dream or vision comes only from tasting recently two consecutive vintages of the Los Carneros Chardonnay. I was surprised but very interested in the evident differences.

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FEL: Tasting Firsts 

As an admirer of FEL for many years, I was curious to see what these different vineyards had to say. I must say that I was impressed by the differences in their voices! The two Pinot Noirs offer a surprising contrast of weight, texture and fruit aromas given how small Anderson Valley is – it’s barely longer than the island of Manhattan – and how relatively closely these vineyards sit!  

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A Skim of the Alejandro Fernández Collection

So, it was with a particularly keen interest that I popped the cork on my first white from Grupo Pesquera. In fact, it’s the only white wine that the Fernández family makes, and it’s 100% Airén.

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The Gamble of Generations: Investing in a Napa Valley Vineyard & Winery

The French have a saying that it takes three generations to see the cycle of a family business: one to build it, one to grow it then one to destroy it. I don’t know what the rest of the Gamble family farming business looks like today, but I can say that the “Gamble” of generations has paid off on the wine front. It seems Tom has started a new cycle, without finishing the first one!

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Ruby Vineyard Mystery Delivery

Three bottles of wine arrived with no advance notice on my doorstep a few weeks ago. Intrigued, I opened them all over several days last week. They are very accessible, ready-to-drink Oregon bottlings from the Willamette that carry very reasonable price tags. The Chardonnay is the Goldilocks wine of the trio for QPR. I’m so curious to learn more about why I received these wines, but it is always a pleasure to see what is happening in Oregon through the window of a sample set!

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385 Notes & 501 Scores on Sonoma Pinot Noir & Chardonnay

These Pinot Noir and Chardonnay tastings were primarily conducted in Sonoma over the course of two visits (one for ten days, one for three days). My ten-day visit was thorough, covering eight hundred and four miles (1,294 km) and 39 winery appointments.

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Barone Ricasoli – Castello di Brolio Duo

What a fascinating comparison of a Riserva and a Gran Selezione from the same cellar and vintage! There is a clear sibling resemblance via the fervent focus on savoriness. I would love to taste these again together in five then in ten years time to see how they evolve. I am confident that neither will disappoint.

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Faust 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon: Worth a Pact with Mephistopheles

Faust 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley: This is quintessential Napa Cabernet – in taste and in sourcing. It has a tantalizing succulence corralled by vivacious structure. The tannins are hedonistically velvety and the refreshment is almost electric – perfect for harnessing the richness of the densely textured and generously full-bodied palate.

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A San Marzano of a Different Provenance

The words San Marzano – to me – conjure up those delicate-skinned, super sweet, lower acidity plum tomatoes that are the darlings of so many scrumptious pasta sauces. So, I felt sheepish when I learned that the San Marzano cooperative is not based in Campania, like the (arguably) world’s most famous tomatoes, but rather on the Salento Peninsula – the heel of the Italian “boot”. Mea culpa.

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An Intro to Intrinsic Wine Company

Washington winemaker Juan Muñoz-Oca takes wine craftsmanship to a zany new place with these two wines under the premise that the environment affects winemaking like it does street art. As it is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is also in the glass of the imbiber.

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BenMarco 2016: Yes, Please!

I am loving the lower alcohols coming out of all peaks and crevices of Mendoza today. The wines were always delicious to taste, and now they are becoming more and more drinkable. This trio from Dominio del Plata’s BenMarco line provides a good set of examples. No wine exceeds 13.5% abv, and their freshness levels are exhilarating.

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Grace, Harmony & Approachability from Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Gresy

Barbaresco Martinenga 2014: This is ballerina-like, elegant and deceitfully feathery-feeling for a (usually husky) 14.5% abv wine. To this point, its lighter-weight style might disappoint those hoping for a more bruising – more typically robust – style of young Barbaresco. However, those are far more commonplace – and more intellectual rather than enjoyable early on, so it is a true pleasure and relief to taste this beauty from Marchesi di Gresy.  

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La Valentina Abrusseze Trio

Pecorino Colline Pescaresi 2017: I’ve been tasting more and more Pecorinos – and many good ones – in the last three or four years. They’re a great addition to the white offerings of Abruzzo, which can be a little tiring when Trebbiano is the only option. This is a dynamo of a flavorful and harmonious wine, and I’d easily drink it on a regular basis. Moreover, this is wildly, wildly good deal at just $16 retail.

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Susana Balbo’s Latest, Classy Releases from Dominio del Plata

Signature Brioso White Blend Valle de Uco 2017: This dazzlingly fragrant white from Susana Balbo is a new release from Valle de Uco’s Altamira. This is a dynamic and unusual white from Argentina. It is super fun to sip and very easy on the wallet, too.

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Joel Gott: 20 Years Under $20

This was Joel Gott’s 20th vintage, after having started his business when he saw the demand for wines under $20 back in 1996. This is a blend not only of grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Malbec and Cabernet Franc), but also of regions (Lake County, Monterey and Lodi) with the aim of making a wine of harmony.

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Tenuta Regaleali’s Latest Releases

Most of all, I was impressed by the nobility and longevity of the wines. In almost every wine there was a hard core, Sicilian determination that aimed to survive against all adverse expectations. Each time I taste a new vintage, I find the same character. If you’re looking for fruit-driven, easy wines, move along. These aren’t those wines. The wines of Tenuta Regaleali are thoughtful, even pensive, wines of integrity that require “listening to” to fully appreciate.

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Harmony, Grace & Thoughtfulness - Man & Bottle

I often think can find the winemaker in the wine, and yet again, that is the case with David Ramey’s 2016 Claret. On paper this bottling looks like a precise, acrobatic exercise in blending…. Yet from the first to the last drop, this fusion radiates harmony, grace and thoughtfulness, just like the man behind the juice. 

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