Vinopolis Thursday Night Newsletter 12/08/22

 In This Newsletter:

Turnbull Cellars


Spotlight on New Zealand;
leading the way in sustainability

Kumeu River

Turnbull Cellars

Take a drive up Napa Valley’s winery lined Highway 29 and you’ll find the unassuming and approachable architecture of Turnbull Cellars. Tucked in a prestigious pocket of the Oakville AVA, Turnbull neighbors Napa powerhouses such as Robert Mondavi, Opus One, and Cakebread Cellars. The minimalistic brown barn housing the winery was designed by Turnbull Cellars founder, William Turnbull. William’s clean, rustic, style captures a sense of American pastoral elegance, in great contrast to the louder architecture of surrounding wineries. William’s vision infused ideas of design, land, and history into his winery, crafting a space in the valley reminiscent of the areas honest, agrarian roots.  

The wines of Turnbull, tell a similar story. They simply make good, honest wine. Turnbull’s commitment to the craft is evident in their precision based philosophy. All of their wines are estate grown, sourced from four vineyards spread throughout Napa, focusing on small productions of Cabernet Sauvignon.

This focused, technical mindset has led them to develop an impressive cooperage program, which allows for superior blending capabilities. With nearly 90 small-lot fermentations each vintage, the winemaking team meticulously analyzes, sorts, and pairs each lot to different barrels, to accentuate desirable characteristics in the wine. Head winemaker Peter, says of the cooperage program “The heart of our winemaking is a painstaking process of sorting our estate fruit lot by lot; tasting and evaluating each for specific attributes and characteristics. We select barrels specifically to highlight the fruit, relying on our trials to outfit our cellar with barrels that respect the wine that goes into them. Like a complex puzzle, we weave together a narrative of place. Lots are assigned one by one to final blends to showcase the personality of our flagship and single vineyard wines.”
The authenticity of Turnbull is apparent and has gained respect in the Cab world among those in the know. The 2019 Reserve Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon is pillar of their portfolio and exactly what you want from a Napa Cab, bold purple, gritty tannins, fresh acidity, and a distinctive depth of fruit born from a particularly excellent 2019 harvest in the Valley.
In Stock Now:
Turnbull Wine Cellars Reserve Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2019 750ml $79 special, 19 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Delivers a lovely burst of pure, unadulterated cassis and cherry puree, with hints of violet, singed vanilla, loam and anise. A subtly inlaid graphite spine carries the finish. Beautifully proportioned. Accessible now, but there’s no rush at all. Drink now through 2036. 1,492 cases made.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “From a pair of vineyards in the appellation, this wine is earthy in tobacco, sage and black currant. With admirable length and breadth, it features rich berry fruit adorned in a touch of molasses, dried herb and oak, deliciously built for the long haul. Enjoy best from 2029 to 2039.”
Karen MacNeil- WineSpeed 97 points “The holidays always deserve a special wine—and this year, perhaps even more so. Here’s that wine—a beautifully-structured, intensely-flavored Napa Valley Cabernet. Turnbull, a small wine producer in Oakville, right in the heart of the valley, has an “insider” reputation for making fantastic Cabernets—wines of great power, richness, and elegance. I love the way this Cabernet’s fine tannin frames the luscious savory flavors. And while at $95, the wine is not inexpensive, it could easily go up against Napa Cabernets costing two or three times as much. If you’re ready for a bit of indulgence (or want to give a wine lover a sensational gift this year), Turnbull’s Reserve Cabernet is the wine you need.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Barr-Eden Estate ‘Dreams of Gold’ Mengler’s Hill Shiraz Eden Valley 2020 750ML $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 90 points
“A new addition to the lineup, the 2020 Dreams of Gold Shiraz comes from relatively young vines, planted in 1997 and 2013. Aged in older French oak, it boasts scents of “Eden Valley garrigue”—notes that suggest eucalyptus, bay leaf and wild thyme—set against a backdrop of blueberries. Less intense and concentrated than the other bottlings, it’s still medium to full-bodied, suave and silky in feel, with a clean, mouthwatering finish and a soft dusting of tannins. Barr-Eden Estate is the new name for the Love Over Gold partnership between Tim Howser, Joel Mattschoss, Pierre-Henri Morel and Michael Twelftree. Morel is the general manager of Two Hands and Howser and Twelftree are owners of Two Hands, while Mattschoss is a grape grower, with vines on Mengler’s Hill.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Saint-Joseph Lautaret, Rhône 2019 750ML $34.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Hints of mocha and roast meat add interest to the cassis and licorice in the 2019 Saint Joseph Lautaret. Big, tannic and concentrated, this full-bodied effort looks likely to improve with short-term cellaring and drink well for at least a decade thereafter. Plentiful ripe tannins frame the palate and linger in velvety-textured form on the finish. Tasted twice (once blind), with consistent notes.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “The 2019 Saint Joseph Lautaret is terrific, and one of the top vintages of this cuvée I can remember. Revealing a deep purple hue as well as a textbook nose of blackberry fruits, ground pepper, violets, and subtle smoke, it shows a touch of gravelly earth on the palate, full body, and considerable depth and richness. All Syrah that was 85% destemmed, it saw a standard 3-week maceration and aging in just 15% new barrels.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Cadence Winery Tapteil Vineyard Red, Columbia Valley 2019 750ml $44.50 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 93+ points
“The 2019 Tapteil Vineyard offers more red and black currants, tobacco, chocolaty oak, and earth-like aromas and flavors, with a slightly darker, more herbal, slightly floral style. It’s tight, medium-bodied, and focused on the palate, with ripe tannins, and it’s going to benefit from bottle age. Give bottles 2-4 years and enjoy over the following 15+ as well. The blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Merlot. 443 cases were produced.”

Mesquida Mora Sotil Pla i Llevant 2019 750ML $58 special, 12 bottles in stock now
No reviews for the 2019 vintage. 2018 review provided for reference.
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94+ points
“I already loved the 2017, and the 2018 Sòtil was possibly more impressive, floral, aromatic with detail and nuance, harmonious, velvety with very fine tannins and great purity. It’s precise and focused and has symmetry and great clarity. It’s a very elegant expression of the Mediterranean produced in a very subtle way, ethereal, with moderate alcohol and lots of inner power. 2,180 bottles were filled in December 2019.”
Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate –“Mesquida Mora is the personal project of Bàrbara Mesquida Mora, who works exclusively with her biodynamic vineyards in the villages of Porreres and Felanitx in Mallorca. She produces 85,000 to 90,000 bottles per year.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Vie di Romans Dessimis Pinot Grigio Friuli Isonzo, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2019 750ml $31.90 special, 12 bottles in stock now 
Wine & Spirits 92 points
“Dessimis is a rich and exotic pinot grigio, with pungent scents of apple blossom and clove that lead into layers of dried orange and grilled strawberry laced with notes of lemongrass. Those spicy notes continue on the long, creamy finish, warmed by a pleasant bitter almond note.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

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Spotlight on New Zealand
Interested in exploring  New Zealand wines but not sure where to start?
Here’s a quick note of what’s happening in the world of wine down under and few recommendations in stock now at Vinopolis.

New Zealand is a wine producing country that is known for many things, still, the first that usually comes to mind is Sauvignon blanc. This varietal is New Zealand’s most widely produced and makes up 17% of the world’s overall Sauvignon Blanc production. However, there is far more to New Zealand than the bright, high acid wines that made them famous. New Zealand is creating a reputation for themselves in their bold action toward environmentally friendly business. With around 700 wineries and 600 grape growers, this small, but might group of producers are make huge waves in the industry. New Zealand is an electric winemaking country, showing us a path towards good, clean, sustainable winemaking. 

Leading the way in Sustainability

Impressively, 96% of New Zealand’s vineyards are certified by Sustainable Winegrowing NZ. Mass participation in this sustainability scheme is a reflection of the quality of New Zealand wines, and the producer’s commitment to their land and people. To earn Sustainable Winegrowing NZ certification producers must undergo a rigorous evaluation of their practices including the organizations main focus areas which are soil, water, plant protection, waste, people and climate change.

In a report released earlier this year, Sustainable New Zealand Winegrowers communicated their huge strides towards progressive winemaking, here are the highlights:
  • “Over 90% of wineries and vineyards have water conservation plans
  • 98% of wineries and vineyards have recycling or waste reduction programs
  • Over 50% of New Zealand producers use lightweight bottles as an alternative packaging solution
  • 58% of wineries are “implementing specific initiatives to minimize their carbon footprint”
  • 12% of wineries have installed solar panels”
Sustainable Winegrowing NZ has also set a goal to be carbon neutral and zero waste to landfill by 2050. 

Kumeu River

Kumeu River is an excellent introduction to New Zealand for the uninitiated. On par with the country’s at-large dedication to sustainability, this producer engages with natural winemaking practices, including avoiding irrigation in the vineyard and exclusively relying on indigenous yeasts for inoculation. All of their wines are hand-harvested , sourced from their clay rich vineyards and then whole bunch pressed in their winery. 

Kumeu is family owned and operated by the Brajkovich’s, headed by Michael Brajkovich, New Zealand’s first Master of Wine. Together, the family has created an iconic wine label gaining international recognition. Going far beyond New Zealand’s reputation for crisp sauvignon blanc, Kumeu has established credibility in producing rich, age-worthy Chardonnays’ described as a “Burgundy-influenced style of Chardonnay that featured indigenous yeasts, extended lees aging and malolactic fermentation. The result has been a series of wines that are innovative, distinctive and unique in both style and quality for New Zealand.”

Here are our recommendations from Kumeu wines in stock now at Vinopolis:

Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard Chardonnay, Kumeu 2021 750ml $69 special, 8 bottles in stock now 
Jancis Robinson 17++/20 points-
“Savoury nose suggests a firm backbone. Really concentrated and richer than the Hunting Hill. Long and very youthful. For the moment, it’s a coiled spring with lots to chew on on the finish. Ideally it should be drunk at 9–10 years old but I suspect most of it is hoovered up long before that.”
Rebecca Gibb 97 points “The 2021 Chardonnay Maté’s Vineyard offers greater tension and sapidity compared with how the more relaxed 2020 did upon release. It will need time in bottle to shake off the rawness of youth. It is focused, concentrated and precise. There’s sophisticated use of oak, which integrates seamlessly within the package. I got a cold the day after this was first opened, and almost a week later, when my senses returned, it remained impeccable, focused and compact.

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay, Kumeu 2021 750ml $51.90 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Jancis Robinson 17/20 points
 “Quite a subtle nose with a hint of putty. Really precise structure and yet open and fruity enough to enjoy already. There’s a certain peachiness on the end. Very appetizing”
Rebecca Gibb 93 points- “Jazz hands at the ready, the Kumeu River Chardonnay Coddington is always ready to welcome you in with its full, svelte figure and no hard edges, and the 2021 is no different. However, this year there’s an additional touch of purpose that keeps it fresh and full of intention. Good depth and weight here, perhaps due to the lower crop after frost made for small yields. There’s a sense of feel, a sense of wanting to chew on the finish. Savory characters, festive spices and nutty notes, likely derived from its 25% new oak and time on lees in barrel, join the restrained white stone fruit.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay, Kumeu 2021 750ml $64.50 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Rebecca Gibb MW 95 points
“The 2021 Chardonnay Hunting Hill is its usually sinewy, taut and lightly floral self. Often in the shadow of Maté’s Vineyard, Hunting Hill seems to be becoming more and more serious as the vines age – they’re around 20 years old. Expect a muscular, unyielding wine that has lemon and lime bitter notes, nectarine and even a whiff of seaside – all salty and briny.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay, Kumeu 2021 750ml $33 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Rebecca Gibb MW 95 points –
“The 2021 Chardonnay Estate is an open, flowing white. It has a rich fragrance speaking of its time in the cellar – oak-derived nutty notes and vanilla meet sweet pastry characters often found when wines are left on their lees. The lightly cooked apple fruit in this young wine sits underneath. Gentle acidity leaves a tender rather than taut finish.”

Here are more recommendations from New Zealand 

Te Mata Estate Bullnose Syrah, Hawke’s Bay 2018 750ml $46.50 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Sam Kim 97 points-
“Outer quote mark Combining exquisite refinement and undeniable power, this latest offering is another stunning beauty under this iconic label. The gorgeously perfumed bouquet shows Black Doris plum, sweet raspberry, violet, olive and toasted almond characters with a whiff of fragrant spice. The palate is concentrated, focused and delightfully flowing with outstanding depth and intensity, while remaining elegant and poised, leading to an extremely long expansive finish. Harmonious, seamless and flawlessly precise. Inner quote mark”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Te Mata Estate ‘Awatea’ Cabernets – Merlot, Hawke’s Bay 2018 750ml $36.50 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 95 points-
“This is an excellent bottling of Awatea, the younger brother of Te Mata’s top red, Coleraine. From a long, warm growing season, this feels like a complete wine. Winter warming notes of plump plums, dark cherries and chocolate are complemented by a bounty of dried herbs, spices and graphite. The palate is similarly dense and structured but with elegance and balance. Tannins are powdery and fine, winding through dark, tangy fruit and herbs. Like many of Te Mata’s wines, it has an old school Bordeaux vibe that will appeal more to some than to others.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Millton Opou Vineyard Chardonnay, Gisborne 2019 750ml $33 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 89 points-
” Gisborne wines are poorly represented in the U.S., but this is a good introduction. Mouthwatering scents of bergamot, hickory smoke and peach lead the way, followed by similar flavors on the palate in this medium- to full-bodied wine. Hints of cashew and underripe pineapple creep in on the crisp finish. Drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Te Pa Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2021 750ml $17 special, 36 bottles in stock now
New Zealand Wine Rater 92 points
“A lifted, sweet, confected nose, with white flower s, pear drop, nettles, and herbal notes of white sage and basil. Tangy, fresh, vivacious and very tasty with a soft, lush texture and plenty of zesty acidity. An elegant style with good persistence, drinkability and wide commercial appeal.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Oyster Bay Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2019 750ml $11.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 86 points-
“This fruity Pinot opens with cooked berry notes, like grape and strawberry jelly, followed by subtle florals and earthy spice. In the mouth there’s a lift of acidity and chalky tannins. The fruit feels thin and finishes a touch sour. Christina Pickard”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!

Be well & drink well.