Saturday Wristband Wines!!!

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2011 Benanti Etna Rosso Rovittello

The 2011 Etna Rosso Rovittello is 90% Nerello Mascalese and 10% Nerello Cappuccio fermented on native yeasts and aged in neutral oak for 12 months. The Nerello varieties tend to lose intensity of color in the warmest vintages and you see that here. The wine opens to a medium ruby hue with copper highlights. But no intensity is lost on the bouquet. This is a tonic and sprightly red wine with lingering tones of wild berry, spice and grilled herb. Rovittello is a area of Etna near Castiglione di Sicilia on the north side of the volcano.

I was surprised to learn that the Benanti family had sold some of their most important vineyards to Diego and Alberto Cusumano. The Cusumano brothers had been looking for property on Etna for years and snapped up two beautiful parcels totaling 15 hectares before anyone even knew they were for sale. The vineyards are located in the Contrada Pietramarina between Guardiola and Verzella. In others words, this is prime Etna Rosso territory on the coveted north side of the volcano. My hat goes off to the Cusumano duo but I can’t but wonder why the Cavaliere del Lavoro Giuseppe Benanti would sell. I can only sympathize with him for what must have been a difficult decision. Benanti’s winemaking history is synonymous with Etna winemaking history. In fact, the hard work and excellent wines produced at this historic winery are what catapulted this unknown part of Sicily to the enological forefront some 15 years ago. Benanti’s wines are among the best made on the volcano today and I was particularly happy to taste the excellent 2011 Etna Rosso Serra della Contessa.

2011 Benanti Etna Rosso Serra della Contessa

The 2011 Etna Rosso Serra della Contessa steals the show among this line-up of new vintages from Benanti. This iconic Etna red doesn’t always live up to its landmark reputation, but this vintage is spot-on. The intensity and the clarity of the bouquet is the first thing you notice. It reveals linear and tight aromas of dried cherry, licorice, crushed stone and balsam herb. The wine delivers these characteristics with the upmost grace and elegance. It promises a long cellar evolution ahead. Monte Serre is the name of the vineyard in the Viagrande township.

I was surprised to learn that the Benanti family had sold some of their most important vineyards to Diego and Alberto Cusumano. The Cusumano brothers had been looking for property on Etna for years and snapped up two beautiful parcels totaling 15 hectares before anyone even knew they were for sale. The vineyards are located in the Contrada Pietramarina between Guardiola and Verzella. In others words, this is prime Etna Rosso territory on the coveted north side of the volcano. My hat goes off to the Cusumano duo but I can’t but wonder why the Cavaliere del Lavoro Giuseppe Benanti would sell. I can only sympathize with him for what must have been a difficult decision. Benanti’s winemaking history is synonymous with Etna winemaking history. In fact, the hard work and excellent wines produced at this historic winery are what catapulted this unknown part of Sicily to the enological forefront some 15 years ago. Benanti’s wines are among the best made on the volcano today and I was particularly happy to taste the excellent 2011 Etna Rosso Serra della Contessa

2011 Benanti Etna Bianco Superiore Pietra Marina

The 2011 Etna Bianco Superiore Pietra Marina is the latest edition of one of Etna’s benchmark white wines. This Carricante-based white ages on the lees for 24 months in steel vats. Fruit is sourced from the east side of Etna at the Contrada Caselle in the Milo township at 800 meters above sea level. The wine shows an unmistakable volcanic imprinting with aromas of gun powder, flint, flaky sulfur stone and ash. Those mineral tones add to the wine’s overall complexity. Subtle tones of honeydew melon, pear and white peach do appear but the mineral characteristics are strongest. This wine shows pretty linearity. Pietra Marina has a good track record for cellar aging.

I was surprised to learn that the Benanti family had sold some of their most important vineyards to Diego and Alberto Cusumano. The Cusumano brothers had been looking for property on Etna for years and snapped up two beautiful parcels totaling 15 hectares before anyone even knew they were for sale. The vineyards are located in the Contrada Pietramarina between Guardiola and Verzella. In others words, this is prime Etna Rosso territory on the coveted north side of the volcano. My hat goes off to the Cusumano duo but I can’t but wonder why the Cavaliere del Lavoro Giuseppe Benanti would sell. I can only sympathize with him for what must have been a difficult decision. Benanti’s winemaking history is synonymous with Etna winemaking history. In fact, the hard work and excellent wines produced at this historic winery are what catapulted this unknown part of Sicily to the enological forefront some 15 years ago. Benanti’s wines are among the best made on the volcano today and I was particularly happy to taste the excellent 2011 Etna Rosso Serra della Contessa.

Slo Down Sexual Chocolate 2014

The 2014 Sexual Chocolate makes an immediate impression on the nose with ripe red cherry, dark berry and an array of exotic spices. The silky soft texture is a delight and flavors of blackberry, cherry cola, plum, dark chocolate and a leathery richness only enhance the experience. Concentrated, layered and simply delicious.

Crane Assembly Disciples Red Blend 2014 

In August of 2012, four friends stood in the middle of a block of hundred year old Zinfandel. The vineyard was planted by George Beldon Crane in the late nineteenth century and is one of the icons of the Napa Valley. Hours earlier they had signed the paperwork to buy the vineyard and it was just in the nick of time…they picked the grapes the next morning.

Since that first year wines were made from our G.B. Crane Vineyard under the el Coco label and the GB Crane label. In an attempt to replicate the style and structure of the wines of the Crane vineyard the four friends began sourcing from other iconic vineyards in the area. They began with the Morisoli vineyard in Rutherford and the Milat vineyard in St. Helena, they considered these vineyards to be like disciples of the ancient vines of Crane, and indeed some barrels from our G.B. Crane Crane vineyard were included in the blend. They have continued to source grapes from these two vineyards and have found other such bespoke vineyards or disciples to complement the blend. Every year the search will continue and vineyards will be added. The goal is to create a blend that combines these wines, separate among equals, they are the disciples of Crane.

Tasting Notes:
Dark crimson in color, the strong, classic Zinfandel aromas of briar fruit and wild strawberries jump out of the glass and are complemented by hints of wet forest floor and high mountain forest. The entry gives way to a rich and textured mid palate of Mexican chocolate, brambly raspberry and a lengthy, caramelized crème Anglaise finish. This wine is a unique expression of old vine Zinfandel grown in the gravel-rich alluvial soils at the base of the Mayacamas mountain range.

 

Paradigm Merlot 2012

Paradigm Winery is owned and managed by Ren and Marilyn Harris, two winegrowers with extraordinarily deep roots in Napa Valley. Marilyn’s grandparents immigrated from Italy to Napa Valley in 1890, while Ren’s family came to California in 1769. Marilyn and Ren moved to Napa Valley in the 1960’s and settled into their home just east of where Paradigm sits today. Through a career in vineyard real estate, Ren learned much about the diverse growing regions in Napa Valley. In 1976, when they decided to purchase vineyards of their own, Oakville was the clear choice. Paradigm Winery was founded several years later and began producing wine with the 1991 vintage.

 

Titus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2013

Winemaker’s Notes

On the palate a deeper, juicier blend of fruit and spice pervades, showcasing well integrated tannins, dark red cherry, damson plum,macerated strawberry and a chicory-licorice-star anise blend. An everlasting finish of vanilla bean and oak round out thedelicious palate. Enjoy immediately or age 10-15 years to perfection.

 

Del Dotto Caves 2013 Cave Blend

Del Dotto Vineyards is a family-owned winery which focuses on small production, premium wines. The Del Dotto family has spent the last 20 years acquiring vineyards all over Napa Valley in the top areas for growing world class wines: including Rutherford, Oakville, St. Helena, Spring Mountain, Howell Mountain, Pritchard Hill area and Sonoma Coast.

In just a few years, Del Dotto has become one of Napa Valley’s most sought after destinations! Del Dotto continues to experiment with both ancient and modern winemaking techniques to attain our ultimate goal: Making great wine to bring family and friends together to enjoy life.

Tasting Notes:
Dark in Color with aromas of Black Cherry and Oak.  Earthy mid palate with flavors of wet rock and slate.  Ends with a balanced finish, silky tannins and slight hint of oak.

 

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