Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Lede To Kalon and Greywacke showcase 4th of July Celebration

Cliff  Lede To Kalon and Greywacke highlight 4th of July Celebration

Son Ryan hosted family and friends for a gala 4th of July celebration in what is becoming somewhat of an annual tradition. He pulled from his cellar some favorites, new discoveries and classics to accompany the BBQ feast. 

The kids/siblings .... 

It was also a dual celebration of grand-daughter Marleigh's birthday. 

Birthday girl face-paint.
First Fourth for newest grand-child/cousin Lilac.
Ryan and Michelle served BBQ, beef brisket, corn on the cob, mac-n-cheese and assorted salads,

Linda prepared a special 4th of July dessert, 'cherry bombs'.

And friends and neighbors brought assorted cheese and charcuterie plates, desserts and accompaniments. 

Entertainment consisted of a giant bounce house, serious competitive 'bags' ...
... and of course the traditional festive 4th of July fireworks. 

The wine flight included Sauvignon Blanc, a Bordeaux white blend, Rose, and a selection of Reds. 

 Greywacke Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2022

A standout and one of Ryan's favorites for this category, this is from the Marlborough region in New Zealand, Greywacke (pronounced “grey-wacky”), named for New Zealand’s bedrock. where there is an abundance of these so-named river stones in the soil.

Producer/winemaker  Kevin Judd has contributed to and benefited from the expanding global popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Unveiled in 2009, Greywacke was originally launched as the name of the Judds’ first vineyard in Rapaura. Living in the Omaka Valley overlooking Marlborough’s vineyards, Kevin sources fruit from vineyards in the central Wairau Plains and the Southern Valleys.

Marlborough is the leading region producing New Zealand's distinctive style of Sauvignon blanc, it's  unique terroir produce high quality grapes comprising 90% of New Zealand's Sauvignon Blanc production. Situated at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, the vineyards of Marlborough benefit from well-draining, stony soils, a dry, sunny climate and wide temperature fluctuations between day and night, a phenomenon that supports a perfect balance between berry ripeness and acidity.

The region’s primary variety is Sauvignon Blanc but also produces fruit-forward Pinot Noirs (especially where soils are clay-rich), elegant Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer.

Winemaker Notes - Aromas of cassis and passionfruit are first to emerge, with guava, crisp pear and white peach adding a delicious intricacy. On the palate, it is generous yet refreshing, with ripe pineapple and a lime sherbet zing, layered with elderflower and hints of citrus blossom. A classic example of Greywacke’s interpretation of the famous Marlborough style - ripe, textural and scruptious, with the volume turned well down.

This was awarded 95 points by Wine Spectator and 90 points by Vinous. 

Straw colored, light-medium bodied, complex, rich, smooth, nicely balanced acidity, notes of lemon, pineapple, passionfruit, mango and stone fruit flavors with hints of spice and florals, with lingering long, expressive finish.

RM 92 points. 


Château Latour-Martillac Blanc Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend 2019

This Bordeaux Blanc Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend is from Pessac-Léognan on the Left Bank, recognized for its superior reds as well as whites, Pessac-Léognan claims classified growths for both—making it quite unique in comparison to its neighboring Médoc properties. This is in the  little town of Martillac, just to the south-east of Léognan on the fringe of the city of regional anchor and namesake Bordeaux.

The Château Latour-Martillac estate takes its name from the tower which stands in the main courtyard of the château; the remnant of a fort built in the 12th century by the ancestors of Montesquieu. The structure occupied a strategic position and controlled the route between Bordeaux and Toulouse. Stones of the fort were used to build the existing château at the end of the 18th century.

In 1871, the estate was promoted by Bordeaux wine merchant Edouard Kressmann, attracted by the quality of the white wines grown on a remarkable gravelly hilltop with marked relief and outstanding exposure. Edouard's eldest son Alfred Kressmann, acquired the property in 1930 and changed the name to avoid confusion with the famous first growth namesake of the Medoc thereby Chateau Latour became Chateau LaTour-Martillac. 

Alfred Kressmann embarked on a long period of reconstruction, adding Cabernet Sauvignon to the Merlot already in place in the 30 acre vineyard which was planted primarily in white wine grapes, without touching the oldest plots. 

At the beginning of the 1930’s, Alfred Kressmann and his son Jean redesigned the label for their new vintage, inspired by the Art Deco movement which was very in vogue at that time. Their design with the gold and sandy stripes adorns the bottles to this day.

The wines of Château LaTour-Martillac gained widespread attention - the 1934 red vintage was selected by the "Wine and Spirit Benevolent Society" of London for the celebration of the coronation of His Majesty King George the VI, King of England in December 1936.

Jean achieved the family dream by acquiring the gravel slope vineyard which separated the property from the village, thereby extending the plantings to nearly 75 acres.

Today, the domain and is owned and managed by the six children of Jean Kressmann. - Tristan and Loïc, the two younger sons, manage the estate with the assistance of the best wine consultants in Bordeaux. Since the 1980’s, they have increased the area planted in Sauvignon Blanc to compliment the Semillon, the historical grape variety of the property. With one of the best gravel plots of the plateau of Martillac they produce the some of the best white wines from the Graves region. 

The Classified Growths of the Graves, long sought by the Winemakers Syndicate of the Graves, was established when the classification of Grave wines finally took place in 1953 under the authority of the National Institute of Designation of Origin. The classification recognised 16 châteaux, all in the north of the Graves region. Château LaTour-Martillac is one of only six properties classified for both red and white wines.

On the Martillac plateau, the hill dominates the property and is made up of a patchwork of gravel. These little pebbles deposited there by the river Garonne in the Quaternary period form a finely tuned mix of Quartz, Lydian, Jasper and Flint. These poor soils and drainage constitute an ideal terrain for the vine and in particular for the red grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Moving closer to the Garonne, the soils take on a different profile of clay and limestone, still with a gravel surface.
It is here that the Merlot variety grows best and also our white grape varieties of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. 

In 2020, a new red wine cellar was constructed with a new vat room equipped with environmentally efficient stainless steel tanks.

Château Latour-Martillac has an extensive hospitality program offering a wide range of tastings and tours at the estate.

Winemaker notes: "The 2019 Latour-Martillac is pale yellow color with sparkling highlights and has complex aromas of both floral (verbena, honeysuckle) and some exotic fruits (passion fruit) and lemon. The palate is beautifully fresh and is balanced by a delicious creaminess. In the mouth, there is elegance with the same complex, fruity aromas of white peach and ripe apricots as well as the floral note of verbena and fresh mint."

The 2019 Latour-Martillac Blanc is 58% Sauvignon Blanc og 42% Sémillon.

It was widely reviewed, awarded 95 points by Jeb Dunnuck, 94 by Wine Enthusiast, 93 by Wine Advocate and Vinous, and 92 points by Wine Spectator and Wine Cellar Insider, and 91 by Decanter.

Straw colored, medium full bodied, rich concentrated, sprites of grapefruit, lemon citrus, hints of  yellow apples and peaches with notes of what Wine Advocate calls "baking bread, almonds and spice cake".

RM 91 points. 



Mollydooker Blue Eye'd Boy McLaren Vale Shiraz 2018

This has become one of our family favorites, signature tribute wine to Son Alec (our blue eye'd boy). We whimsically open this as one of our favorite labels, a signature label for son Alec, Blue Eye'd Boy Syrah from Mollydooker, at family occasions.

This is one of several labels from this prolific producer that we collect. Producer Mollydooker offer a brand and portfolio of whimsical labels, each featuring a cartoonish character on the label. Even the brand name, Mollydooker, which is Australian lingo for a left-handed person, is a comical play on words, named for the two left handed owner/producers/founders Sarah and Sparky Marquis.  I chronicled Mollydooker brand and portfolio in a recent blogpost

As I wrote in that blogpost, the Mollydooker "Family Series" labels features photos of  Sara Marquis' two children. The 'Blue Eyed Boy' label shows Sarah’s son Luke, shown stomping grapes as a kid, who now heads up the Mollydooker Sales Team.

We love this full-throttle shiraz and collect it as part of our Mollydooker portfolio and as part of our Alec collection of labels we keep on hand to toast son Alec. We served an earlier vintage release of this wine at a graduation celebration for Alec back in his college apartment.

This is sourced from several select Vineyards in the McLaren Vale region:Coppermine Road, Gateway, Long Gully Road & Mollydooker Home, Langhorne Creek and Joppich. McLaren Vale might be one of the smaller South Australian wine regions, but it packs a big punch. Nestled between the city of Adelaide, the Sellicks Hill mountain range and the Gulf of St. Vincent, McLaren Vale is the source of some of Australia’s most intensely-flavored red wines and similarly powerful white wines.

With a mix of stony bluffs and undulating plains, dry valley winds and balmy sea breezes, the McLaren Vale region offers a wide range of soils and microclimates. Accordingly, local winemakers have found a variety of grapes that flourish there: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, with Shiraz covering fully half of the region. Alternative grape varieties from Spain and Italy are increasingly in the McLaren Vale mix, too.

Early in the country’s history, McLaren Vale was the premier Australian wine region. English settler John Reynell was the first to plant grapes there – in fact, the first in all of South Australia – in 1838. Other winemakers whose names echo in the present-day industry, including Thomas Hardy and Rawson Penfold, followed soon after. Old vines thrive in McLaren Vale, with some more than 100 years old still producing high-quality wines.

Winemaker Notes for this label release - "The delicious berry fruit and spice flavors of the cooler climate wine from the Joppich Vineyard in Langhorne Creek gives the Blue Eyed Boy its crowd appeal. We blend it with McLaren Vale Shiraz to add intensity, vibrancy and richness. This Shiraz is bursting with generous with amounts of fresh plum and blueberry, accompanied by spice and licorice all sorts. Supple texture and a creamy finish features layers of biscuit cream and espresso coffee. A well weighted wine with a truly elegant finish."

"The colour and fragrance of plum provide an alluring first glance, with gentle notes of strawberry and mocha filling the aroma. Expressive, rich fruit adds elements of blueberries and molten chocolate, while subtle tannins create a silky mouthfeel. The great intensity and complexity of our 2018 Blue Eyed Boy is no exception to its past."

This was awarded 93 points by Wine Advocate and 92 points by Wine Spectator.

It was barrel fermented and matured in 100% American oak; 58% new; 42% one year old.

Dark inky purple colored, full bodied, concentrated and intense, dense, rich blackberry and black cherry fruits with notes of dark-chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, spicy clove and hints of pepper notes with a long, tongue coating finish.
RM 92 points.


Cliff Lede "Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard" Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

 Napa Valley To Kalon Beckstoffer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

This is the ultra-premium label of the evening, one of the flagship top labels of the Cliff Lede portfolio. This was also a bit of a paradox, we probably opened too soon, this needs several more years of bottle age to settle, integrate, and come together. Indeed, Jeb Dunnuck said "this is another magical wine from this estate that will evolve for 20-25 years if stored correctly." Decanter says, "The wine has the structure for long ageing. Only time in the cellar will tell if it nicely sheds its baby fat and becomes something wholly intriguing."

This is a single vineyard designated label sourced from the legendary Napa Valley To Kalon Beckstoffer Vineyard, home to some of the premiere labels from Napa Valley top producers. As the rear label indicates, this is sourced from the Beckstoffer family's portion of the revered H.W. Crabb vineyard that dates back to the original Hermosa Vineyard developed in 1868, often considered one of Napa Valley's 'first growth' vineyards.

The Lede website says this of To Kalon Beckstoffer: "Situated on the western Oakville bench, the celebrated Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard has gravelly loam soils with high mineral content derived from sedimentary deposits of the volcanic Mayacamas Mountains and the alluvial fan of the Napa River. The vineyard has low organic matter content and thorough drainage, which devigorates the vines and produces small berries that are ideal for wines with intense concentration. The site is warm and sunny throughout the day, but cooled by late afternoon breezes, producing ripe Cabernet Sauvignon with lovely acidity. The blocks that make up our blend represent a diverse array of the Beckstoffer To Kalon terroir and clonal selection, creating a unique and extraordinary wine from this critically praised site." 

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of three clones off this historic ranch.

 This wine underwent twenty-one months of élevage in French oak barrels, 78% of which were new.

Winemaker notes - The deep dark ruby colored 2019 Beckstoffer To Kalon boasts a brooding perfume of sultry violets, wild blackberry, and black figs. Red currant, black cherry, and mulberry preserve flavors dominate the entry tinged with cool menthol and bay laurel notes.

This label release was awarded a near perfect 99 points by Jeb Dunnuck, sequentially, 98 points by Wine Advocate, 97 points by Decanter, 96 points Vinous, and 95 points by James Suckling, and 93 points by Wine Spectator. The broad range of reviews is testament to the points its all in the eye's of the beholder.

We found this a bit awkward, slightly obtuse, with some green notes that burned off after a half hour, but this definitely needs some time to settle and integrate with some more bottle aging.

Decanter says "The wine has the structure for long ageing. Only time in the cellar will tell if it nicely sheds its baby fat and becomes something wholly intriguing."

It was dark garnet colored with inky purple hues, medium full bodied, intense, concentrated forward blackberry,  mulberry and ripe plum fruits with tones of cassis, herbs, earthy leather and tobacco with hints of cinnamon spice, menthol and cedar turning to fine grained tannins on a long lingering finish. 

RM 93 points.