July 27, 2017

June Wine of the Month Club Selections

For the dog days of summer, we are going back to California, a well-favored region here at Tinnell’s; if it ain’t broke, drink some more!

2014 Vigilance

Sauvignon Blanc

Vigilance Sauvignon Blanc 2014

From the Red Hills AVA we have a sustainably farmed fresh Sauvignon Blanc, and with only 6,500 cases produced, we have snagged it for your summer pleasure. At elevations ranging from 1,400 to 3,000ft and located at the base of Mount Konocti, the Red Hills AVA features rolling hills, red volcanic soils, and a lake effect breeze from Clear Lake, one of North America’s oldest natural lakes. Three parallel Sauvignon Blanc vineyard blocks provide the fruit for this wine. Each vineyard is harvested at different degrees of ripeness. The winemaking team blends them together to create a wine that has aromas of fresh melon, grapefruit and crisp green apple. The well balanced acidity brings out the flavors of citrus and lemongrass with hints of peach and white melon.

Club price: $15.99

(Regular price: $13.99)

 

2013 Andrew Murray

Tous les Jours Syrah

Andrew Murray Tous les Jours Syrah 2013

This sumptuous Syrah is from the Santa Ynez Valley, and is inspired by both Northern Rhone Syrah (Hermitage) and Australian Shiraz (Barossa Valley). The end result is bold and balanced, rich and smooth, fruit forward and earthy. It is impossibly dark and full-bodied, without going over the top. The aromas and flavors are dominated by black cherry, raspberry, white pepper, forest floor, and toasty oak. This vintage was awarded a whopping 93 points from Wine Enthusiast, which had this to say:

“Perhaps one of the best wines for the money available right now, Andrew Murray delivers aromas of cherry, blackberry, lavender and a white pepper wow factor on the very inviting, florally driven nose. The wine looks silky in the glass, and flavors of black cherry, anise, violet and oregano are easily accessible to a wide variety of palate preferences. Editors’ Choice

This is yet another fantastic vineyard dedicated to sustainability, organic, and bio-dynamic vineyard farming, so enjoy with good conscience!

Club price: $13.99

(Regular price: $15.99)

 

Andrea Shank – Beverage Manager
Tinnell’s Finer Foods
Call: (540) 345-334
aeshank@gmail.com

March Wine of the Month Selections

While winter still has its hold on us, let’s escape to the West Coast for some delicious selections from Oregon and California!

Four GracesFour Graces Pinot Gris

2013 Pinot Gris

Willamette Valley, Oregon

This Pinot Gris is fermented in stainless steel to enhance the true varietal character of the cool climate in Willamette Valley. With grapes sourced from the original Black Family Estate vines planted in 1995, this wine is a gem. The region is known for its unique basaltic iron-rich jory soil, adding to the unique structure and balance of their wines.

The nose is brimming with aromas of tropical fruit, guava, and the stone fruit essence of peach. Flavors mimic the aromas with the addition of orange blossom and warm roasted nuts. A creamy texture is beautifully balanced with a lingering finish of juicy, bright acidity.

Club price: $14.99

(Regular price: $16.99)

 

Bell Wine CellarsBell Wine Cellars Big Guy Red

2013 Big Guy Red

California

Ty, the Wheaten Terrier called often “Big Guy”, is the winery’s faithful greeter, and stars on the label of this fantastically balanced blend. A French proverb they post fondly goes “The best thing about a man is his dog,” and so he reps the perfect accompaniment to his favorite meal: BBQ!

This blend consists of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Syrah, 9% Merlot, 3% Petite Sirah, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, and 1% Cabernet Franc, all sourced from Napa Valley, Lodi, the Sierra Foothills, and Paso Robles. The result is a wine with plenty of pleasing dark fruit character, notes of sweet wood and moderate tannins.

Club price: $14.49

(Regular price: $16.49)

 

Andrea Shank

Beverage Manager

Tinnell’s Finer Foods

540.345.7334

aeshank@gmail.com

February Wine of the Month Selections

February, 2015

Wine of the Month Club

Selections and tasting notes

 

Welcome to Austria! Some of you have grown accustomed to their most popular wine; Gruner Veltliner. This month we will have the Austrian National varietals: Gruner and Zweigelt.

The Moser family is one of Austria’s grand, traditional viticultural dynasties. In 1848, Anton Moser started his own wine estate in the village of Rohrendorf.  The most famous descendant of the family is the viticulture pioneer Dr. Lenz Moser, who in the 1950s developed the high training system of the vine. Sepp Moser founded the today´s estate in 1987 with vineyards in the Austrian wine-growing areas Kremstal and Neusiedlersee. He ambitiously dedicated himself to creating exquisite wines full of character from best sites.

Sepp´s son Nikolaus took over the estate in 2000. He was one of the first wine-growers in Austria to convert his vineyards to biodynamic: the soil is the key. Bio-dynamically cultivated vineyards are supplied exclusively with organic fertilizers. Compost from cattle, sheep or horse manure creates an active soil life. Earthworms, microbes and bacteria build up stable humus compounds. Cover crops made up of both cultivated and wild plants further enrich the soil life. This is the basis for plentiful biodiversity with many beneficial insects.

Biodynamic practices aim to strengthen the vine. This empowers the wine made from such vines to better express the influences of soil, region, grape variety, and vintage, as well as the personality of the wine maker. The six compost preparations are added in minute quantities to improve the conversion of the organic material. The field preparations are stirred with water and applied directly to the earth to stimulate soil processes or sprayed onto the leaves and grapes to influence the effect of light and ripening impulses.

Grandfather Lenz Moser never wanted his “private” Atrium house to be used to make wine; he just wanted to live there and enjoy his days. After Sepp Moser founded his own winery in 1987, the in-house cellar was adapted step by step to a wine-cellar. Starting with a few tanks, then a labelling machine, then a few oak barrels…. In 2000, the state-of-the-art press house was built, as well as the tank store and the modern barrel cellar. The Atrium house has now the capacity to process the grapes – which are solely harvested by hand – of over 50 hectares from the Kremstal and Neusiedlersee. As expected, Niki Moser combines his family’s knowledge and tradition with the possibilities of modern technology and with his philosophy of regional identity and a viniculture which stays close to nature.

There is one main aim in the cellar: the quality of the grapes shall be brought with as little influence as possible to the bottle. They are harvested by hand, and brought to the cellar of the Atrium House in Rohrendorf. Here, Niki Moser emphasizes gentle vinification, and tries to interfere as little as possible with the process, so that each wine can develop its own individual style. The fermentation starts spontaneously, the maturing of the wine takes place on its own.

SEPPSEPP Gruner Veltliner

2013 Gruner VeLtliner

Niederosterreich, Austria

 

 

Gruner Veltliner is every bit as typical for Austria as the Empress Sissi, the Danube waltzes, and the handsome name Sepp. SEPP Veltliner grows in Lower Austria; cosseted by the sun during the day and challenged by the cool night, the grapes develop their fresh fruit and legendary white pepper snap. Feels right at home as an accompanist to fish, fowl, or salad, and sings a good solo song as well.

 

Pale lemon yellow, this wine has a touch of honey on the nose. The palate has flavors of bright lime, lemon and grapefruit with steely minerality and refreshing acidity. The wine has a surprisingly weighty texture and a mouthwatering finish.

 

 

Club price: $12.99

(Regular price: $14.99)

 

SEPPSEPP Zweigelt

2013 Zweigelt

Burgenland, Austria

 

 

 

Sepp and Zweigelt: Here we find that time-honored Austrian family wine name harmoniously linked with Austria’s most prominent red variety. SEPP Zweigelt is full-bodied and fruit driven, for which it thatnks its good upbringing to the sunny vineyards of Pannonia. The Zweigelt mingles wonderfully with pasta and grilled fish, does nicely alongside lamb, and even in midsummer drinks well just slightly chilled.

 

“Cranberry sauce flavors and refreshing acidity make this a very delicious wine to be consumed young. Unhindered by oak or undue extraction, this shows its charming, primary fruit in an open, uncomplicated way.”                              –Wine Enthusiast

 

 

 

Club price: $12.99

(Regular price: $14.99)

 Andrea Shank

Beverage Manager

Tinnell’s Finer Foods

540.345.7334

aeshank@gmail.com

January Wine of the Month Selections

Happy New Year! Ready for some new and different wines? Well, that’s what you signed up for after all! Let’s escape to northern Spain for some black and gold delights.

Toro has its founding father, Manuel Fariña, owner of Toro’s leading winery, Bodegas Fariña. The winery was founded by his father at an inauspicious time, 1942, in the middle of World War II. Manuel was a 1yr old baby at the time. The winery produced jug wine, sold locally, until Manuel took over the family business in 1969. He had studied winemaking in Bordeaux, and brought many new ideas to the winery. His foremost belief was that Tempranillo could succeed as a top-quality wine in the Toro region.

Fariña was the man behind establishing the D.O. appellation for Toro, in effect converting the local red from a jug wine to a fine wine. Among the many changes Fariña made in his wines, he was the first to move up the harvest date in the region for Tempranillo from mid-October to mid-September, which reduced the alcohol levels from 17% (!) to 13/14% where they remain today; his was the first winery in Toro to install de-stemmers and temp controls in stainless steel fermentation tanks; Fariña was the first to market Toro wines in modern, Bordeaux-type bottles; he was the first to introduce new barriques for aging the red wines. And Bodegas Fariña was the first Toro wine to be exported.

Bodegas Fariña is now in the process of converting to certified organic farming. Because it was the first winery in Toro to focus on quality, Bodegas Fariña was able to select the best vineyard sites in the region. Fariña owns some vineyards and has contracts with farmers whose vineyards average 50yrs, with many vines over 100yrs old.   The brand name for many of Bodegas Fariña’s wines is Dama de Toro. Bodegas Fariña is the only winery in the region permitted to use “Toro” in its brand since the name was registered before the D.O. was founded in 1987.

So dive right into Dama de Toro Malvasia and Crianza!

 

Dama de Toro Malvasia

Dama de Toro

2012 Malvasia

Toro, Spain

While Dama de Toro has made a name for themselves in red wine, they bring a clean, fresh, fruit forward, juicy, aromatic white with great lively acidity. Malvasia is an ancient family of grapes that includes a diverse collection of noble varieties, but this time we focus on the white. The hot, dry Toro district, characterized by very old, bush-shaped vines, is overwhelmingly a red wine zone; only 5% to 7% of the area’s production is white wine. And yet this area can make this very distinctive white wine that is also very affordable.

From 120yr old vines, this rare white wine from the Toro region gives a surprisingly fresh and beautiful bouquet of white and pink flowers. Although this is a dry wine, (it has only 3g/L residual sugar), its full body, ripeness of fruit and moderate acidity create an impression of softness and richness. When you taste the wine cold, you might notice the slightest prickle on your tongue due to some CO2 trapped in the wine, and this prickle does gives the wine some liveliness and edginess — but it’s all about richness and flavor rather than crispness. On the palate, the flavor intensity hits: ripe apple, peach, citrus, a honeyed floral note, a broad earthy mineral character.

Club price: $11.49

(Regular price: $13.49)

 

Dama de Toro Crianza

Dama de Toro

2006 Crianza

Toro, Spain

Tinta de Toro, the local name for Tempranillo, reins king here. Manuel explains that because of the terroir in the region, Tempranillo in Toro is especially thick-skinned and aromatic, making wines with great structure plus intense fruit character. “Tempranillo in Toro works well with just a short time of aging in barrel (for most of his wines, just 4-8mos) and a longer time in bottle. Our Tempranillo is more intense in color and in flavor than most other Tempranillos.”

From 30-60yr old vines, to 8mos in American Oak, this red is complex and elegant. For those new to Spanish labels, Crianza red wines are aged for 2yrs with at least 6mos in oak. It has a delicious nose, with vanilla and a sweet, port-like dark berry aroma. While there is some Garnacha blended in (6%), this is an excellent example of Tempranillo, with spicy, peppery fruit with a sweetly classic Spanish finish.

Club price: $14.99

(Regular price: $16.99)

 

Andrea Shank

Beverage Manager

Tinnell’s Finer Foods

540.345.7334

aeshank@gmail.com

December’s Wine of the Month Selections

Now that we are knee deep into the holidays, it’s off to the snowy far NW to Washington State for some fantastic wines!  Jared Burns, son of the man who invented the synthetic cork, learned wine-making in Columbia Valley and produces these:

RevelryRevelry Riesling

2013 Riesling

Columbia Valley, Washington

Revelry’s infatuation with Riesling stems from an appreciation for the old world style of wine produced in Austria & Germany. Wines that have both incredible minerality and flavor, with the acid and sweetness both that make them age worthy.

The 2013 is their third release, a continued improvement on the stellar 2011 and 2012 vintages. It’s an incredibly expressive Riesling, with tremendous minerality, touches of honey, and white grapefruit, with a dynamic acidity.

I adore the nose on this wine: white peach, apricot, some elderflower and honeysuckle. I would call this semi-dry: it has the perfect balance between sweet and dry, with a twisting lemon finish. This will change your mind about Riesling, & lead you to diesel-y selections!

Club price: $13.99 (Regular price: $15.99)

 

RevelryRevelry Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley, Washington

Washington State’s Cabernet Sauvignon is distinctive for its deep red fruit qualities, defined tannin structure, and developed balance. Revelry sources their Cab Sauv from vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley, targeting warm growing sites, where the grape ripens most intensely, such as The Wahluke Slope and Horse Heaven Hills.

With only 5% Cabernet Franc, and 12-16mos in 30% new French Oak, this wine has great body, with a fantastic tannin finish of mocha/coffee/chocolate that is delicious. Yet another glass I can’t pull my nose out of; very berry, with hints of that French Oak.  Cab lovers rejoice!

Club price: $13.99 (Regular price: $15.99)

November Wine of the Month

It’s time to strap in for fall, which of course brings our favorite feasting holiday: Thanksgiving! I’ve picked out a couple bottles perfect for that turkey, or way before then.

Zaca MesaZaca Mesa Viognier 2012

2012 Estate Viognier

Santa Ynez Valley, California

Sustainably farmed grapes that are 100% estate grown, produced and bottled; under 3,500 cases made! Zaca Mesa started growing Rhone varieties in 1978 when they were the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County. The soils are Chamise Loam and Chamise Shaly Loam; well-drained over gravelly beds of silt, clay, shale, etc. at elevations of 1,500ft with cool nights for natural acidity. This translates into a Viognier that is not too perfume-y, but with an enticingly fantastic nose.

Hand harvested then halfway fermented in stainless steel, then finishing in neutral French oak barrels at least 10yrs old for 3 months. This was enough time to build body, but stopped before any Malolactic nuttiness could take shape. It’s a perfect balance of time to give this wine a backbone, but retain its citrus brightness.

With honeysuckle and white peach aromas, and a palate of apricot, lemon-lime, melon, lychee, and a lingering minerality, this is a fantastic selection for Thanksgiving dinner!

Club price: $14.99

(Regular price: $16.99)

 

 

Morgon Cote du Py Gamay 2012Morgon

2012 Cote du Py Gamay
Burgundy, France

In the spirit of Beaujolais Nouveau Day (November 20th), this month’s red will feature the star grape, Pinot Noir’s cousin: Gamay Noir!

The house of Albert Bichot has been producing wine in Burgundy since 1831. The winery is operated today by a sixth-generation member of the family.

Bichot produces a vast array of reds and whites from many locations throughout Burgundy, including the Beaujolais appellation between Beaune and Lyon. Here, the favored varietal, Gamay, is transformed into wines of delightful fruitiness and elegance.

Albert Bichot Morgon Bourgogne has a deep and bright garnet-red color. Fresh, it is very true to type, with silicious and sandy soil minerality and floral notes of iris and carnation, cherry & kirsch. Its body is fat and full with earthy, meaty, tart fruit lends the wines fine structure, and the modest tannins hang in to the end.

Club price: $13.49

(Regular price: $15.49)

 

Join us 4pm-7pm Friday, November 5th to give these wines a try!

October’s Wine of the Month: Virginia Wine Month!

October is Virginia Wine Month! Hooray! I know most wine connoisseurs will groan, but Virginia’s wine has been steadily improving. The best selections remain far above the Wine of the Month’s promised price ceiling, but there are still some I dug up for you all.

Horton Vineyards are in Gordonsville; a mere 17mi NE of Charlottesville. Wine lover and entrepreneur Dennis Horton began his winemaking venture with a small home vineyard in Madison County in 1983. After researching in the Rhone valley, he and longtime business partner Joan Bieda acquired 55 acres for the beginning of Horton Vineyards in 1988. From there they continued to plant European grapes well suited for our warm Virginian summers with humid conditions that favor growing grapes with thick skins and loose clusters. Horton’s Tannat won gold in the Governor’s Cup this year, so we should delve into their other varietals!

Horton RkatsiteliHorton Vineyards

2013 Rkatsiteli

Orange County, Virginia

Still very rare in the U.S. but one of Horton’s most popular wines, Rkatsiteli produces an aromatic white wine redolent of orange zest and honeysuckle.  This varietal is native to Georgia, and is the most widely planted grape in Russia, thus the image of St. Basil’s Cathedral on the back label. The nose is cloyingly sweet, yet the bright fruit on the front of the palate gives way to a citrusy mineral finish. Its light to medium light body makes it a delightful surprise. Just say R-Kats!

Club price: $13.99

(Regular price: $15.99)

 

Horton Cabernet FrancHorton Vineyards

2013 Cabernet Franc
Orange County, Virginia

The red that is best suited for Virginia’s climate, Bordeaux varietal Cabernet Franc is the perfect choice for the month of October.

Aromas of violets and tar combine with spicy oak flavors in this robust wine. Horton Cabernet Franc is the first produced in the United States using the traditional blending variety, Tannat. The result is a wine with a firm structure and a spicy finish. The wine is 100% steel fermented and then barrel aged (new and once used American & French oak) for 18 months.

The nose is fantastic and pulls you in. Strong spice and soft tannins make this a mellow red, and with a balanced acidity, it’s perfect for the fall. Horton calls this their “pasta wine,” and I’d have to agree!

Club price: $12.99

(Regular price: $14.99)

 

Andrea Shank

Beverage Manager

Tinnell’s Finer Foods

540.345.7334

aeshank@gmail.com

September Wine of the Month

Happy Labor Day!

Now that September is here, it’s time for a new wine of the month; I know it will be hard to beat last month’s choices, so hopefully you like these California selections!

Ancient Peaks Winery’s estate Margarita Vineyard stands alone as the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles region, tucked beneath the peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean with fault lines running right through, providing five distinct soil zones. It resides in the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, which was first planted to vines by Franciscan missionaries in 1780. The ranch is one of the oldest continuously operated cattle ranches in the state of California. Their practices have earned SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certification for Margarita Vineyard, including deficit irrigation, natural cover crops, wildlife corridors, rotational groundwater usage, wetlands preservation and the use of compost tea in place of synthetic fertilizers. They also manage vineyard pests naturally by promoting habits for native predators.

Ancient Peaks Winery

2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Paso Robles, California

Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc

The 2013 vintage comes from Margarita Vineyard, where the vines occupy rocky sedimentary soils that vary in density, elevation and exposure.

An authentic Sauvignon Blanc that reflects the cooler growing conditions, Ancient Peaks offers refreshing aromas of pear, gooseberry and citrus with a suggestion of jasmine and mineral. A full palate unfolds with rounded flavors of peach, grapefruit and guava. Notes of lime zest add lift to a clean, quenching finish. 100% Sauvignon Blanc that ages 4 months in stainless steel.

Club price: $12.99 (Regular price: $14.99)

 

Ancient Peaks Winery

2012 Merlot
Paso Robles, California

Ancient Peaks Merlot

Merlot excels at the estate Margarita Vineyard and has been a mainstay in their small family of wines since day one. Here, ancient sea bed soils combine with a long growing season to yield a Merlot with silky dark fruit flavors and a luscious texture, resulting in what has become one of the Paso Robles region’s most notable Merlots.

The 2012 has won the gold medals for “Best of Merlot” at the Central Coast Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition, where it was also awarded 90pts.

This blend of Merlot 85%, Malbec 13%, and Cabernet Sauvignon 2% was aged for 18 months in a combination of French (65%) and American (35%) oak barrels, 25 percent of which featured new oak.

A Cab-lover’s Merlot, the 2012 presents ample aromas of blueberry and plum with hints of vanilla, tobacco and baking spice. The palate is round and velvety, offering flavors of cherry, blackberry and mocha. Notes of oak and cinnamon join plump tannins on a rich, juicy finish.

 

Club price: $14.99 (Regular price: $16.99)

 

Be sure to pick yours up and join us Friday (September 5th) to taste these new wines!

February Wine of the Month Club

Selections and tasting notes
Featuring selections from Sonoma

Balletto Vineyards
2010 Teresa’s Unoaked Chardonnay
Russian River Valley, California

Balletto Unoaked Chardonnay

Balletto Unoaked Chardonnay

It’s not often that tank-fermented Chardonnay delivers the depth and texture of Teresa’s Unoaked Chardonnay.  This rich and diverse wine has bright fruit aromas and a nicely balanced mouth feel.  The complex bouquet includes key lime, lemon peel, peaches and apricots which it certainly delivers upon drinking.  The crisp tartness complements the wine’s natural viscosity and creates balance and elegance.  Lemon-lime flavors then kick in for a long, citrusy finish that lasts several minutes and begs for the next sip.  Taken altogether, the aromas and mouth feel create a distinct style of Chardonnay that is made to highlight the grape itself and not the oak and malolactic aromas found in Chardonnay fermented and aged in oak barrels.

This wine is extremely versatile with food. It is textured and plush enough to compliment rich seafood like lobster, crab and scallops, but also has a crisp acidity and fruit flavors that can pair nicely with more diverse flavors like grilled pork tenderloin with a fresh apple reduction sauce.

The grapes for this wine were grown at Balletto’s Occidental Road Vineyard next to the winery and tasting room.  Known as Block A10½, the vines are planted with the “Robert Young Clone 17” clone of Chardonnay. Every year, this block produces a tropical juice that becomes Teresa’s Unoaked Chardonnay.

At Balletto Vineyards they farm more than 500 acres of wine grapes in the Russian River Valley and select the best 10 percent of these grapes to ferment and bottle under the Balletto label. It’s one of the many ways they maintain the high quality of their wines.

 Club price: $14.49 (Regular price: $16.49)

Highway 12

Highway 12

Highway 12 Vineyards & Winery
2010 Sonoma Red Blend
Sonoma valley, California

In keeping with Highway 12’s winemaking tradition and notoriety for Red Blends, this 2010 release showcases a marvelous varietal and vineyard composition that delivers once again.  Comprised of 77% Merlot, 12%, Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petite Sirah, the result is a wine that balances power and elegance.  A stunningly vibrant bouquet sets up the entry to a dense and complex wine.  This is where the power takes form showcasing developed tannins and flavors of cherry, chocolate and blackberry.  The ‘jammy-ness’ lingers on the mid-palate for some time leading to a velvety softness on the finish.

Structurally, each varietal component contributes to this wine; Merlot from the Sonoma Valley ‘banana belt’ gives incredible depth and base, while the Cabernet Franc is responsible for the subtle earthy tones and soft mouth feel.  The Cabernet Sauvignon offers the perfect amount of bright acidity which is true to its source in the southern Sonoma Valley.

 Vineyard selection for the Sonoma Red Blend brings together various micro-climates.  This release showcases the mid-Sonoma Valley intensity of Valley’s ‘banana belt’ and the cooler southern reaches.  Each varietal is crushed, fermented and aged separately and blended after 18 months of barrel aging in French oak to achieve the optimal flavor profile.

The winemaking process focuses on minimal intervention of the wine during aging to allow the truest of the varietal characteristics to shine.  This philosophy results in a wine that purely represents the traditional style of the vineyards in Sonoma Wine Country.

Club price: $14.99 (Regular price: $16.99)

To learn more about our Wine of the Month Club please click on this link:  Tinnell’s Wine of the Month Club

Adam Markham,
Beverage Manager,
Tinnell’s Finer Foods
adammarkham@live.com
540.345.7334

Sean Minor Four Bears Chardonnay at Tinnell’s

When we brought it in we never imagined!

Four Bears Chardonnay

When we first tasted it we obviously loved the Four Bears Chardonnay from Sean Minor Wines but never imagined it would become our best-selling wine so quickly!  In the last three months alone we have sold more bottles of this delightful well-balanced Chardonnay than we sold of almost any wine in all of 2011 and there is good reason.  To paraphrase the Sean Minor tasting notes: The 2010 “Four Bears” Chardonnay (named after Sean’s four children) is made entirely from Chardonnay grapes grown in the Central Coast appellation of California and is a golden straw color.  It displays aromas of pears, apples and orange blossoms with subtle notes of toast and butter.  On the entry, green apple acidity integrates well with a medium body mid palate mouth feel.  The apricot, green apple and marmalade toast flavors evolve into a hint of minerality that adds complexity to the finish.

Many of our customers tell us “I don’t like Chardonnay” and I believe them.  The judicious use of oak in Chardonnay production is a beautiful thing, much like the use of hot peppers when cooking.  What happens when you use too many peppers?  The result ends up being unpalatable (well… for most of us anyway)!  For years, many winemakers in California were guilty of producing Chardonnays that were ridicul0usly oaky.  There was so much wood in these things that drinking one was more akin to sucking on a popsicle stick than to drinking a glass of fine wine.  While the public (due to demand) was as responsible for this trend as the winemakers were, I believe in the long run it did more to hurt the reputation of Chard than it did to popularize it.  I remember the first time I brought home a lovely unoaked Chablis to my wife Kendall and she said she “didn’t like Chards”.  When she tasted it it was a revelation to her: “It tastes like fruit!”

The Four Bears Chardonnay, while oaked, is perfectly balanced.  It does indeed taste like it is made from fruit instead of the wooden pallets the fruit was shipped on!  If you “don’t like Chardonnay” do yourself a favor: try a bottle of this stuff – I think it will change your tune!  Here are the notes from Winemakers Will Bucklin and Sean Minor himself:  “Our Chardonnay fruit was 100% whole-cluster pressed to minimize astringency from the skins and immediately racked to stainless steel. Once settled, a portion was fermented in small French oak barrels while the remaining lot was left in stainless steel tanks to ferment. The slow and cool fermentation allowed the wine to develop a balance of ripe tropical fruit flavors and crisp apple and mineral nuances. Once primary fermentation was completed, a portion of the wine went through malo-lactic fermentation which softens the wine and provides a perfect balance.”  The ABV (alcohol by volume) racks in at 13.5% and the pH at 3.53.

In a nutshell?  This stuff is delicious.  And as if that weren’t enough, you can pick it up at Tinnell’s Finer Foods for only $11.99 (or buy a case and get it for $10.79)!  I often tell my customers that if this wine sold for $15.00 a bottle it would still be a bargain and I mean it…  Swing by Tinnell’s, pick some up for yourself and see!