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I am pleased to announce the third release of the Fratello’s Wine Club. With this release I have three new wines to share with you from three very different wine regions. Unlike our past releases these wines are not only a different varietal but a different type of wine, a Chardonnay, a Rose and a Cabernet. The wines will be available starting on Friday, May 27th, and thereafter any day that you are available to pick them up. The cost for this release with tax is $102.21.
The Chardonnay I have chosen comes from Australia from Leeuwin Estate. As I mentioned with our last wine release, the ancestral home for Chardonnay is Burgundy, France, but clearly there are amazing Chardonnays around the world. The story of Leeuwin Estate begins with Robert Mondavi, who in the early 1970’s identified that area as a suitable area for the production of quality, premium varietal wines. Initially a cattle farm, Leeuwin Estate evolved under the direction of owners Denis and Tricia Horgan, and the Estate is currently run by the second generation of the Horgan family. It is located in Australia’s most southwestern point and surrounded by ocean on three sides, the Margaret River region, and offers a consistent maritime climate. Leeuwin Estate makes a variety of wines, including a Sauvignon Blanc, a Riesling and a Cabernet and a Merlot, but they are perhaps best known for their award winning Chardonnay. Their flagship Chardonnay is their Art Series, which has
received numerous awards and high ratings but comes at a cost, usually $85 and up per bottle. This wine, their Prelude Series, is their introductory Chardonnay but offers no less quality in my judgment. This 2011 vintage has received ratings from 90 to 94 by a number of wine publications, and in tasting the Prelude vs. the Art Series Chardonnay several years ago I actually favored the Prelude. This wine offers a perfect balance between grapefruit and peach flavors, with citrus flavors shining. Light yellow in color, this wine offers good structure and balance. It has oak but not too heavy, and this is not a huge malolactic (i.e. buttery) wine, which renders it a better match for food. 2011 was an outstanding vintage, and this wine is opulent and age worthy but ready to drink now. One of my favorite Chardonnays at any price, I have enjoyed this wine with a variety of seafood and on its own. By the way, the musical notation on the bottom of the label on the bottle is a nod to
the series of musical concerts the Estate sponsors at the vineyard, for which they are very well known. A long way to go for a concert, but Leeuwin Estate looks like a beautiful place.
The second wine is a Rose from France, the 2015 Mas de Gourgonnier from Les Baux de Provence, France. As with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and other varietals as well, I consider France, and specifically Provence, to be the ancestral home of Rose wine. Made from red grapes, Provence Rose has the character of a red wine and the crispness of a white and is a dry wine. Let me repeat, a dry wine, nothing like the Roses popular many years ago and another pink wine in the market. They can be drunk as an aperitif, which I have done, but they are truly at their best when paired with food, such as seafood, fish, salads, light meat dishes and even barbecue. I have long been a fan of Rose wine, in large part because my very first “eureka” moment with wine was with a Rose from France many years ago. The wine publications suggest this is the year for Rose, and for some of you this may be your introduction to quality, dry Rose. This is why I have selected this wine from France, and although
there are many other excellent Roses from around the world, including Spain and California, I think it appropriate to start with a Rose from Provence. Mas de Gourgonnier is a certified organic vineyard from Les Baux de Provence, a village to the northwest of Aix-en-Provence, which has been named one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is at the foot of the Alpilles mountains where Provence begins to edge up to Languedoc and has a Mediterranean climate, warm and dry. The wine is light pink in color with a hint of orange, with candied orange rinds, cherries and pepper on the nose, and strawberries on the palate. The wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 18% Cabernet, 12% Cinsault, 6% Mourvedre and 4% Syrah, all red wines, and its intense flavors speak to these red wine origins. I love the nose of this wine, the way it feels in the mouth, its overall flavor. I consider Rose to be the quintessential summer wine, and since we can’t head out to a local cafe I urge you to enjoy
this wine on your porch, your deck, your boat, your backyard, or wherever. I think this will open your minds, and palates, to Rose. You will never think of pink wine the same again.
For the third wine I wanted to select a Cabernet from California, a wine you could enjoy this summer with your barbecue. This 2013 Jax Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon comes from northern Calistoga at the foot of Mount St. Helena, just south of Knight Valley and one of the most northern vineyards along Highway 29. Established in 1996, Jax uses a sustainable approach to farming with minimal intervention in the vineyard and harvesting by hand. Because of its location in the vineyard, the site of this Cabernet only sees afternoon sun on most days, allowing for a slow ripening process and fruit with supreme concentration. Kirk Venge is the winemaker, who is not only very respected but hails from a family renown for their ability to craft award winning wines. This wine is considered an undiscovered gem, and I suspect many of you are not familiar with Jax wines. The wines offers plenty of fruit with wonderful texture and balance, with blackberry and cassis fruit. Full bodied, a very
deep color and ripe cherry, herbs and chocolate in the nose and flavor, this wine offers depth and richness, and has been rate from 90-92 points by the Wine Advocate. Although perhaps not as well known as are other Napa Cabs, this is a quality Cabernet, and with a total production of just 989 cases is not readily available, just the kind of wine we like for our club. For those of you who partake, I would suggest a steak or similar meat dish to enjoy with this wine, and for those of you who do not I am sure you can think of something equally hearty to enjoy with this wine. Enjoy.
I enjoy all these wines, as I am confident you will as well. I am planning the next wine release hopefully in early September. Be safe and enjoy your summer, and we look forward to seeing you soon, perhaps at Fratello’s. Enjoy your wine!
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Fratello’s . 32085 Electric Blvd. . Avon Lake, OH 44012 . USA
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