November has been a wine extravaganza. I would like to say it is by variety not by volume, but I would imagine that would be stretching reality. Between the wine conference, the holiday and general consumption, I have had the opportunity to enjoy, drink, taste and toss a gaggle or three of wine.
This month I drank the most amazing white wine I have ever consumed. Because of the conference and subsequent touring, I also tasted the most expensive wines I have ever consumed, sampled so many great Sonoma Pinot Noir bottles that the shipments are still coming in and the coolers are overflowing. One in particular that I really love is from Thomas George Estates that I profile below. Needless to say, I have been in wine heaven! I hope you enjoy reading about these two remarkable wines.
DRINK THIS: Julien Cecillon Saint-Peray “Gemini” 2015
I joined the Paris Wine Company “club” because they import small and micro production wines from France. Wines that you will have a hard time finding except at their winery or if you are lucky within the region from where they come. I imagine that the club selections are from small production lots with the micro productions being sold a la carte. I get an email each month tantalizing me about some of their finds that I can order. As a club member, I get 10% off the additional purchases, and it is shipped at no additional charge as long as it ships with a club order. It seems like a great deal to me.
So over the summer, the email about the Cecillon Saint-Péray got my attention and piqued my interest, so I ordered two bottles. Last night we opened a bottle, and I have to say I was knocked off my feet. This Saint-Péray is my spirit animal, my jam, my… holy cow.
Saint-Péray AOC is located in the southernmost part of Northern Rhône. Only two varietals of grapes are permitted to be grown in this small and otherwise unknown appellation, Marsanne, and Roussanne. While production is mainly white sparkling wine, some still white wine is also made.
Gemini is a blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. It is bright straw yellow in color. On the nose, I discovered aroma of dark honey, Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) and quince on the nose. This is a full-bodied wine with low acidity as the blend would suggest. There are a complexity and richness to this wine that I have not experienced before. The intense flavors shift as the wine warms in my glass. I found hazelnut, yellow apple on the palate as well as baking spices and a mineral earthiness. The flavors linger on your tongue and stay with you through the finish. This is a food wine, albeit that is not how I drank this wine. It would pair well with a roast chicken or turkey – a perfect compliment to our Thanksgiving meal. It would also pair well with hearty seafood or fish.
I love this wine. Perhaps as much or more than my fave Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. I may have to pop a CdP to compare very soon.
This wine is only available at Paris Wine Company. Less than 100 cases were produced, and I have no idea how much of that came to the USA. It sells for $38.99 per bottle, but because it needs to be shipped, you will need to factor that into the price unless you become a club member. If you love French wines, this may be a great fit for you.
DRINK THIS: Thomas George Estates Baker Ridge
Vineyard – Dexter’s Block Pinot Noir 2014
Thomas George Estates was one of the wineries that threw a grand wine dinner at the conference. The tickets were sold out before I could snag one. The feedback from folks who attended was out of this world. So I told my friend Suzanne that I wanted to go there when we toured Sonoma after the conference. It was perfect as she is a Pioneer Club member there so it would be a great stop because we will get club member treatment.
Thomas George Estates is a family run winery in the Russian River Valley (RRV). They produce handmade, small-lot wines. Most are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but they also produce a Viognier, Grenache, and Zinfandel and a Rosé of Pinot Noir and a Rosé of Grenache. All I really needed to know was their wines are all from Russian River Valley as I have had great experiences with every wine I have tried from this area. At this point, I knew in a New York minute that my wine budget would be blown to hell as I work my way through the “Reserve” Tasting menu (aka the good stuff).
This is the first bottle that I opened once I returned home. I could not wait to share it with Gary. They produced only 145 cases of this wine, and it is only sold in their tasting room. It sells for $75.00 a bottle. Let me be clear. For a single bottle of wine in a retail environment, this is a significant purchase. But I have to tell you it is worth every penny.
This classic California Pinot Noir from RRV bursts with ripe red fruit on the nose. Similar flavors come through on the palate – only now the red cherries seem a bit candied, but the strawberries are ripe and juicy. There is a mild tartness that I can not place, but it works well with the other flavors. It has a rich, silky texture. Every note is in perfect balance with the others. It is full-bodied, beautifully round and deliciously smooth from the moment it hits your tongue and lingering through the finish. I am savoring every sip. I am drinking much slower as I want to cherish the experience.
This wine is only sold in the tasting room. Their website is currently being redesigned so if you want any of this wine you will need to call them directly. They can be reached at 707-431-1462.
That is all for now.