Hess Collection Napa Estate Chardonnay
Cooper’s Price $19.99
Named after the native Su’skol people who used the site as a meeting place valued for nearby sources of fish and game. The location of the Su’skol Vineyard in Southern Napa near the San Pablo Bay, takes advantage of the marine influence and the sandy clay and sandstone soils, making our the 175-acre vineyard an ideal location for growing Chardonnay.
The vineyard is carefully farmed to emphasize fruit with wonderful acidity and balance. Crisp and clean this Chardonnay showcases the moderate temperatures influenced by nearby San Pablo Bay.
Profile: The multiple clones display an aromatic musqué, resulting in aromas and flavors of apple, white pear and a slight touch of tropical fruits, accented by aromas of honeysuckle. We ferment only a small portion in new French Oak, and allow just a portion (28%) to undergo secondary fermentation, showcasing fruit and a round, rich mouthfeel from bâttonage over several weeks.
Education: “Bâttonage” is a term for stirring the settled lees back into the wine. “Lees” are the sediment of winemaking, made up, mostly, of dead yeast cells, and bits of grape solids. Some winemakers like to keep a portion of these solids in contact with the wine as a way to extract not only flavor and aroma, but mainly texture.
Laura Lorenzo Camino de La Frontera
Regular $32 Cooper’s Price $28.99
Arribes is a dramatic region where the legendary Duero and Tormes Rivers meet, bordering Portugal and Spain. The landscape of the region is dotted with Romanesque architecture, and the steep slopes and canyons overlooking the two rivers are dominated by beautiful banked terrace vineyards. Here, gradients can reach up to 85%, making vineyard work laborious.
Profile: The indomitable local variety Juan Garcia, co-planted and co-fermented with Tempranillo, Bobal, Rufete, Mencía, Garnacha, and others, from 100-130 year-old vines. This wine follows Laura’s style of allowing these ancient vines to speak in their own voices, with native yeast fermentation in tank, no manipulation, and very low sulfur. Medium body, this delicately hued red is full of interest, starting with floral aromas, moist earth, and wild herbs. What follows is a structured mix of tangy fresh fruits and natural earthy elements with a lighter frame. Firm tannins somewhat reminiscent of Nebbiolo, while unfamiliar in a way that makes it new and riveting. A velvety palate with grilled fennel, salty black licorice, leather, black currant, and herbal tea spices.
Joe’s Notes: This one, like the Post Flirtation a few weeks back, is a red wine best served slightly chilled.
Fattoria il Palagio “Cellini” Chianti
Cooper’s Price $12.99
The massive property of Fattoria Il Palagio dominates 126 hectares of hills between Volterra and San Gimignano, in the South of Tuscany, 95 of which are vineyards. The main complex was built in the late 1700s on the foundations of an ancient military settlement from the 1300s. Though Fattoria Il Palagio employs thoroughly modern harvesting and winemaking methods, the property remains full of history and tradition, supported, quite literally, by early Etruscan and Roman settlements. Profile: This lighter-bodied Chianti opens with red-skinned berry, iris and underbrush aromas. Mirroring the nose, the lively palate offers red cherry, clove and star anise flavors alongside pliant tannins.
Joe’s Notes: Satisfying Tuscan wines can be challenging to find at value prices but this one exceeds in that category. The winery takes great pride in the history of their land and strive to produce traditional Tuscan wines worthy of such long-lived tradition.
Pax “The Hermit” 2014 North Coast Syrah
Regular $40 Cooper’s Price $35.99
Pax Mahle decided to make a bold choice by favoring the untapped potential of the Syrah grape. The entire lineup of his wines come from cool climate vineyards in Sonoma County and Mendocino; big, rich expressions of Syrah that quickly established Pax as one of California’s premier Syrah producers. For every vineyard Pax works with, there are 20 other vineyards that didn’t make the grade. Location, soil, exposition, dedicated growers, plant material and sustainability are all important factors that affect his decision. The goal with the chosen vineyards is simple: harvest ripe, healthy grapes, with balanced acids and sugars, which require no additions from the winery.
Named after the reclusive wanderer who made the hill of Hermitage in the Northern Rhone Valley of France his home and lent it his nickname upon settling there. Hermitage is famous for the blending of Syrah components from distinctly different vineyards, to create a powerfully balanced wine that’s sum is greater than the whole of its parts.
Profile: Roasted meat, black currant, cracked pepper, cardamom and star anise make for a lively and classic Syrah nose. The palate follows and adds blue and purple fruits, with hints of incense and cigar box and a zesty freshness that only high altitude or coastal vineyards can provide. Very smooth tannins, and incredibly dense and powerful for an entry-level wine.
Joe’s Notes: Something about North Coast Syrahs just excite my palate in a way that others don’t. This is rich and juicy, but strikes an incredible balance. Deep, brooding fruit and exotic spice so well layered and integrated, one sip and you’ll understand why this is probably my favorite red wine in the store!