A Friendly California Trio from Vinum Cellars

Brand: Vinum Cellars was founded in 1997 by first generation, California family winemakers, Richard Bruno and Chris Condos in Napa Valley. The duo met while students at UC Davis, and bonded over their love of Chenin Blanc. “Committed to experimenting and learning new winemaking methods while preserving an old world approach”, they combine unique methods such as experimenting with yeast strains, and using old French barrels for ageing.

The V Series is a line of “unique wines from classic regions for the every day”. All three wines are certified sustainable, small lots and hand crafted.

Philosophy: Winemaking begins in the vineyard, so they value their strong relationships with great grape growers, in order to develop the best fruit in the vineyard.

Vinum Cellars ‘V Series’ Chardonnay Monterey 2015

Winemaking: Grapes are from the famed Santa Lucía Highlands district. Fermented [full malo-lactic fermentation in barrel] and aged in 2 year old French oak barrels.

Tasting Notes: Deep gold in colour with aromas of fresh lemon tart, buttery toast and wildflowers. Vivid lemon and mango flavours are framed by bright acidity. Vanilla and traces of caramel linger on the long, creamy finish.

100% Chardonnay
13.5% Alcohol
$14 [average price]

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemakers: A fine aperitif wine, but really shines with grilled wild caught Salmon/Halibut/New England lobster, with a mango cilantro salsa and dusted with a pinch of cayenne. Serve it with steamed broccoli rabe with a squeeze of Meyer lemon, dust with sea salt along with roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary.

Vinum Cellars ‘V Series’ Rosé Paso Robles 2016

Winemaking: grapes were grown by Tony Domingos at Seashell Vineyard in Paso Robles’ Geneseo district. Cold fermented for about 30 days to “capture the natural floral, strawberry and berry aromas of these varietals”.

Tasting Notes: Coral pink in colour, very aromatic, with prominent floral notes complimented by strawberries, dusty earth and light peppery spice. Delicate strawberry and watermelon flavors are given a squeeze of fresh lemon acidity. Soft spice and earth notes compliment the dry, fruity finish. Wonderfully gluggable, versatile at the table.

Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre
13.5% Alcohol
$14 [average price]

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemakers: An excellent sipper on its own, however the acidity will stand up to most any dish. Try with roasted beet salad dusted with roasted almonds and goat cheese, seafood and fresh fish dishes.

Vinum Cellars ‘V Series’ Pinot Noir Monterey 2015

Winemaking: Grapes are from Monterey near King City, on the West side foothills of the lower Santa Lucia Highlands. Malo-Lactic fermentation and 9 months aging in used French barrels. Not racked, “because we like our Pinot Noir to ride the wave between oxidation and reduction”.

Tasting Notes: Transparent red-violet in colour with aromas of cherry, black cherry, earth and toasted oak. Cherry, strawberry, black cherry and a shake of white pepper glide atop silky tannins, wrapped in food friendly acidity. Vanilla, oak and baking spices linger on the dry, fruity finish.

100% Pinot Noir
13.5% Alcohol
$14 [average price]

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemakers: Drinks excellent on its own, or with cheese plates including Morbier, aged white cheddar, Stilton and Chèvre. Pairs well with wild mushroom risotto and shaved Reggiano with or without truffle oil. It’s a natural with duck breast, cassoulet or brick oven chicken. Earthy greens work well such as mustard, collard and beet greens as well as kale.

 

 

Samples submitted for review purpose.

Adegas Galegas ‘D. Pedro de Soutomaior’ Albariño Rias Baixas 2016

Estate: Located in Meder, Rías Baixas, in coastal northwest Spain, Adegas Galegas was founded in 1995. The winery has been recognized since its start for a deep respect for nature, tradition and quality of its wines. The winery strives to “make the most distinguished white wines in Spain with Albariño”.

The wine is named in honour of Pedro Madruga, also known as Don Pedro de Soutomaior, who was a feudal knight of the 15th century and one of the heroes of Galician history. Credited with helping to establish Galicia as a prominent center of Spanish power, his victories are greatly attributed to his habit of rising early.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from estate vineyards in Meder and Goián, with schist, alluvial and granite soils. Fermented in stainless steel vats.

Tasting Notes: Gold in colour with green highlights, with aromas of apple, pink grapefruit and white flowers. Bright acidity frames yellow apple with a squeeze of lemon and hint of floral. A streak of minerality splices through the crisp finish. Fresh and bright, a fantastic addition to the table.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Perfect for Thanksgiving, the bracing minerality may well be the secret weapon that Albariño delivers to your table. It naturally works with many flavors. Fantastic with stuffing, turkey, and vegetables, try it with roasted acorn squash with pomegranate glaze [click here for recipe], or kale, apple and manchego salad!

100% Albariño
Rias Baixas
Spain
Produced and Bottled by Viñas e Adegas Galegas S.L.U.
13% Alcohol
$19 [average price]

Sample submitted for review purpose.

Senda Verde Mencía Bierzo 2015

Brand: Senda Verde is a brand of acclaimed importer Winesellers, LTD. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the family run company was awarded “2015 Importer of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Founded in 1978 by Yale Sager, Winesellers has over 3 decades of experience as a family importer of family wineries, from both well-known and unique wine regions around the globe.

Senda Verde brings together artisanal wines from unique regions in northern Spain that follow the 43°N parallel, from coastal Galicia eastward along the northern coastline. Lush and green, the region is known as “España Verde” [Green Spain].

Winemaking: Grapes are from mountainside vines 40+ years in age, with a mix of slate and granite soil. Hand harvested, malolactic fermentation follows 4 days of pre-maceration, racked several times to remove the lees.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of red and black berries along with crushed stone minerality. Cherry, raspberry, blackberry, a streak of black cherry and peppery spice are framed by fresh acidity and silky tannins. Finishing clean and fruity. Lively and straightforward, this is fantastic on its own or with a wide variety of dishes. [It was great with barbeque kidney bean and bulgur veggie burger with cheddar mashed potatoes.]

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Excellent with roasted red meats, chicken, fowl and shellfish in tomato sauce.

100% Mencía
Bierzo DO
Spain
Bottled for MGH Wines Group S.L. by R.N.E. 8172LE00
13.5% Alcohol
$13 [average price]
Enjoy now

Sample submitted for review purpose.

Capezzana Barco Reale di Carmignano DOC 2014

Estate: Wine production in the Carmignano region of northern Tuscany dates to around 1000 B.C. when the Etruscans inhabited the area. The Capezzana estate, located 20 km from Florence, on the slopes of Monte Albano and close to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, has been making wine for over 1200 years. A preserved rent contract now in the Florence Archives details the production of wine and olive oil specifically at Capezzana, dated 804 AD. Since the 1920’s, the Contini Bonacossi family have owned and run this celebrated, historical estate. Today, the estate consists of 670 hectares, of which approximately 100 are vineyards and 140 are olive groves. Barco Reale di Carmignano is the estate’s “everyday wine”, although grapes are from vineyards in historic Medici Royal lands, from the property “Barco Reale” or “Royal property” mentioned in Cosimo de Medici’s “Decreto Motu Proprio” in 1716 [where it takes its name from].

Winemaking: Sustainable viticulture. Fermented in stainless steel tanks, aged in Allier barrels for 6 months, followed by at least 3 months in bottle prior to release.

Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with inviting aromas of cherry, strawberry, autumn woods and spice. Rich cherry and strawberry fuse with an undercurrent of sour cherry and woodsy spice. Smooth tannins and peppery spice highlight the dry, fruity finish. Well balanced and super versatile at the table.

Wine Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Wonderful with first courses, pastas and red and white meat entrees.

70% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Canaiolo, 5% Cabernet Franc
Carmignano DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Tenuta Capezzana S.R.L.
13.5% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now

Marco de Bartoli ‘Sole e Vento’ Terre Siciliane IGP 2015

Estate: Marco De Bartoli was born into two of the largest Marsala-producing families [Pellegrino and Florio) of the time.  In 1978, following a successful career as a race car driver, Marco decided to revitilise the family vineyards and grow and vinify his own wines. The 20 hectare estate is close to the town of Marsala, at the westernmost tip of Sicily. In 1984 Marco acquired additional vines and a winery on the island of Pantelleria, closer to Tunisia than Italy. For snapshot into Marco’s life, click here.

Marco passed away in 2011 at the age of 66, his three children “carry the De Bartoli flag and his commitment to quality-driven, estate-grown wines that walk the line between old-fashioned and modern in the most graceful of ways”. They are committed to preserving and promoting indigenous grapes of Sicily, such as Grillo, Zibibbo, Catarratto and the red Pignatello [Perricone].

Winemaking: ‘Sole e Vento’ is a “tip of the hat to the two different sunny and windy islands from which it originates”, Sicily and Pantelleria. Grillo grapes are from 21 year old vines in sandy loam, level vineyards in Marsala, whilst Zibibbo hails from 29 year old vines in the volcanic, terraced slopes of Pantelleria. Organically farmed, hand harvested with only indigenous yeasts used in fermentation. Aged 7 months in stainless steel tanks, on its own lees.

Tasting Notes: Bright gold in colour with aromas of lemon, lake water and sea salt minerals. A sunny fusion of bright lemon and basil flavours, with grapefruit and saline minerals on the refreshing finish. Easy drinking, bright and unique, I was absolutely enamored with the herbaceous basil.

Blend of Zibibbo and Grillo [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
Terre Siciliane IGP
Italy
Bottled by Società Agricola de Bartoli srl
11.5% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now