New Wines for Cadet Club Members

As the snow melts away and the flowers begin to bloom, wine enthusiasts can look forward to the arrival of new wine releases in the spring. This time of year is always exciting as winemakers unveil their latest creations, showcasing the unique flavors and aromas of the new vintage. Below are some of the top wine releases to watch out for this spring from our recent findings throughout the west coast, including Oregon with our California Classics.

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular luxury wines, known for its rich flavor and full-bodied taste.

Pinot Noir is another classic wine that has a loyal following among wine connoisseurs. Pinot Noir is known for its delicate, yet complex flavor, and is often aged in French oak barrels to enhance its unique taste.

Chardonnay is the white wine that is perfect for springtime sipping. This year, many wineries are releasing their 2021 and 2022 vintages, which have been carefully crafted to showcase the delicate flavors and aromas of the grape.

In addition to the classic luxury wines, there are also several lesser-known varieties that are worth exploring this spring. Here are three wines to add to your list:

Tempranillo is a red wine that is native to Spain and is becoming increasingly popular among wine enthusiasts. This wine is often aged for several years, giving it a complex and sophisticated flavor. Tempranillo pairs well with hearty meat dishes, such as roasted lamb or beef stew.

Petite Sirah is a bold and full-bodied red wine that is perfect for those who love a strong and robust flavor. This wine is often aged in oak barrels, which adds hints of vanilla and spice to its flavor profile. Petite Sirah pairs well with rich, flavorful foods such as barbecue or grilled steak.

Zinfandel is a classic California wine that is known for its bold and fruity flavor. Zinfandel is often aged in American oak barrels, which gives it a unique flavor profile that includes hints of vanilla and cinnamon. This wine can pair well with spicy foods, such as Cajun or Mexican cuisine.

In conclusion, while the classic luxury wines are always a great choice, it’s also worth exploring some of the lesser-known varieties this spring. Whether you’re in the mood for a bold and robust wine like Petite Sirah, or a fruity and refreshing option like Zinfandel, there is sure to be a wine that suits your taste. Don’t be afraid to try something new and discover your new favorite luxury wine this season.

March 2023 Wine Features

2020 Keller Estate Oro de Plata Chardonnay, Petaluma Gap, Sonoma county

Why We Love This Wine:

Arturo and Deborah Keller first fell in love in the early eighties with the site while driving a vintage car through the meandering Sonoma roads and selected the property for its potential as a site for a world-class vineyard. Our founder’s focus was to create a winery where the best wine could be made in an artistically majestic environment.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Fresh in anise, peach and stone, this wine has a nuanced texture and crisp, mineral-driven steeliness that keeps it lively and vibrant in the glass. Stainless-steel fermented and aged in neutral oak, it is a lovely take on the cool-climate appellation.

2019 Ballentine Zinfandel, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

Ballentine Vineyards has been dedicated to farming their land sustainably for over 100 years. Their family’s focus is on producing the highest quality grapes and wines from their vineyards and sustaining our Napa Valley traditions for generations to come. They strive to make intelligent choices that maximize quality while minimizing their impact on the land. With the building of our winery, the family has had a dedication to the preservation of their farming traditions. The winery was designed to collect the rainwater from our rooftop and be used for both frost protection and irrigation, solar-powered winery for over a decade, and added a treatment plan that allows them to recycle every drop of water used in the winery and place it back into the field to irrigate their vineyard.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The winery looks for flavors of blueberry and raspberry syrup in the Zinfandel grapes to indicate ripeness. When squeezed the berries leave the fingers sticky from all of the sugar. Picking at this ripeness they feel this brings out the blue fruits and floral notes in this wine and leads to great balance overall. They leave 15% whole berry in our fermentations and ferment the wine using a special selection of yeast aiming at gentle extraction of tannin while maximizing our fruit concentration and color intensity. This vintage was pressed off at dryness and barrel aged for 17 months. The wine is a blend of two Zinfandel clones and is meant to show purity of fruit.

Red apples with cherry and raspberry flavors create a vibrancy on the palate that makes this wine fruit-forward. Figs, toasted nuts, holiday spices, and mocha come forth on the finish. This is a medium-bodied red, that can be enjoyed now or rested for a few years. 

2020 Norris Estate McKinley Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley Oregon

Why We Love This Wine:

A Southern California native, Robert Mckinley fell in love with wine while traveling in Europe at a young age. His family purchased property on Ribbon Ridge almost 20 years ago, though he never imagined he’d be farming vines and making wine there one day. Robert graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in wine and viticulture, then worked in vineyards, cellars, and tasting rooms at Williams Selyem, Jonata/The Hilt, Trisaetum, Craggy Range (Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand), and Torbreck (Barossa Valley, Australia).

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The 2020 Norris Estate Pinot Noir is an extremely rare single vineyard Pinot Noir which is from one of the most exclusive clubs of the Willamette Valley, the Ribbon Ridge AVA. It’s a magical strip of land that is well suited for the cultivation of high-end Pinot Noir. This has 30% whole cluster fermentation and was aged for 12 months in French oak barrel.

Tasting Notes of bramble, bing cherry, black tea, wild violets, lilac, licorice, dark cherry cola, exotic spices

2014 Brooklyn West Tempranillo, Amador County California

Why We Love This Wine:

Brooklyn West specializes in handcrafted, small lot winemaking. With production based in Sonoma’s  Alexander Valley, they source grapes from some of the best vineyards in Northern California. Winemakers Stew Epstein and Jeffrey Fiegel chose to follow a winemaking philosophy of minimalist intervention, relying upon what is naturally available on the grapes and from nature to inform the journey of their wines.

As one of the first American wineries to specialize in Tempranillo, they learned to combine Old World artisanal winemaking techniques with New World fruit-forwardness, crafting wines that are intense and deeply concentrated, yet elegant at the same time. They went on to perfect that signature winemaking approach with all of our wines – from our Sauvignon Blancs to our old vine Zinfandels.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Tempranillo is the signature wine of Brooklyn West. Vines planted in 1993. Aged in French oak barrels for 3 years, then bottle-aged an additional year before release. 

Full-bodied with bright red cherries, earthy and toffee notes. Superbly balanced. This is Spain’s answer to Pinot – very versatile with food.

2016 DeNovo Reserve Zen Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley California

Why We Love This Wine:

Their vision is to create a wine community inspired by the concept of new beginnings(De Novo is latin and means new beginnings) and the respect of nature. Their mission is to respect the terroir and history of the vineyards we partner with to bring to life amazing wines created in the spirit of sustainability.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Part of the Zen collection, this Cab hails from the hills at the western end of Alexander Valley, an area that enjoys long, sunny days and cool nights, ideal for properly ripening Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.

This wine is a concentrated, classic Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose offers up hints of oak, leather and dark berries. The palate continues with flavors of plum, dark berries and finishes off with fine tannins. Enjoy now or cellar through 2033.

2017 Aratas Petite Sirah, Shake Ridge Ranch Amador County California

Why We Love This Wine:

The unique brand is a partnership founded on decades of experience in our country’s food and wine culture. Founding Vintner Stephanie Douglas and Co-Proprietors, John and Mickey Chohany established Aratas Wine in the Napa Valley in 2008. They have a committed focus on Petite Sirah but produce other wines which reflects single vineyard sites from diverse AVAs in the valley. About that name… Aratas, by definition means a “harvest of gold” and was chosen to honor the Chohany’s Hungarian heritage.

The single vineyard “Shake Ridge Ranch” Petite Sirah is grown on the high ridge lands of the Sierra Foothills. Shake Ridge Ranch is Amador County’s most sought after vineyard; planted to vine between 1800-2100′ elevation in ancient volcanic and granitic soils. 100% Petite Sirah.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Rich and structured, this wine has expressive aromas of current, blackberry, Aleppo and black pepper., braised pork and a hint of aromatic sweetness of roast duckling and cigar box. The juicy nature on the palate is reminiscent of a baked rhubarb pie and sun ripened raspberries plucked from the vine in the heat of summer. Subtle spice notes of cardamom, red licorice and sandalwood linger on the finish.

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