theCorkHead.com

theCorkHead.com

The online home of Mark “The Cork Head” Stuart, Certified Wine Professional, speaker/educator, judge, and columnist.

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October 2017
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2009 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2009 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

It has been a while since I have had time to post about some of my favorite wines of the year, and I’m glad to have a little now before Monday Night Football to post about what may qualify as my go-to cabernet for 2011.

The folks at Folsom and Associates, the marketing arm for Robert Mondavi Winery, sent me this one a few months ago to give it a test run.  Coming off the staggeringly good 2007 vintage, it has been a while since I tasted something that gave me pause.  This one did.

Retail $28, buy widely available for far less, the 2009 RMW Cab is all it should be:  voluptuous,  with a hearty combination of full ripe tannins, balancing acidity, and complex barrel flavors of cinnamon toast, dark berry fruit, and a whisper of cabernet “sauvage”.

Perhaps one of the reasons I liked it so much is that it barely qualifies to be labeled as a cabernet sauvignon at all, with only 75% of the blend being CS.  Merlot, cabernet franc, and a few percentage points of common blending varietals all come together adding to a wine I just might like a hint better than it’s 2007 counterpart.

High praise indeed.

2007 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs

Founded in 1862 by Jacob Schram, Schramsberg Vineyards is not only one of the great sparkling wine houses in the United States, it is also among the most storied. The California Historical Society designated it as an Official Historical Monument in 1957.

The winery is one of the great tours in The Napa Valley where hand stacked bottles line natural caves dug by Chinese laborers over a century ago. Schramsberg Winery stands proud as a romantic marriage of then and now.

The 2007 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs, meaning “White from Reds”, is a limited production wine made from pinot noir and pinot meunier, two of the three traditional varietals which make up Champagne. Flavors of strawberry, cashews, and bread dough ooze from this very special wine made from perhaps the greatest vintage in Northern California history.

I absolutely love this wine for a few reasons.  First, every time I open a bottle I remember the first time I visited their historic property.  The indelible visions of their Victorian home and more than a century old history come flowing back with every sip.  2nd, the processes Schramsberg uses harken back to a different era of Napa…one before limousines and publicly traded companies…err..wineries.  As someone who has spent plenty of time in the Napa Valley, I’ve grown to love the wineries with true character, and ignore those who simply spend money in an attempt to create it.

So, the next time you are in the mood to sit back and relax with a sparkler, grab a 2007 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs.  You’ll thank me for it.

Most important to remember, it is not what is in your glass, it is who you share it with. Great wine always pairs best with friends and family.

2009 Franciscan Estate Sauvignon Blanc

So I know it has been a while since I posted a wine review.

Honestly, I’ve just been incredibly busy with my job that pays the bills, being a La Jolla real estate agent. Actually, most of my business recently has been in UTC, North Park, and Pacific Beach. Anyway…

I’ve been dying to write about the 2009 Franciscan Estate Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc since I received the sample early this year.

Clearly it is not the grass bomb of New Zealand, nor does it have the piercing minerality of a Sancerre. What it does offer are aspects of both of these sauvignon blanc stalwarts while offering the distinctly Californian touch of ripe fruit and the most pure streak of lime since you licked the saltless rim of a margarita.

This will be one of the top 5 California whites I taste all year.

Though I won’t be offering a point score for this wine, ( it clearly doesn’t need it) I know I will buy it, drink it, and give it as a gift with confidence!

Balance is the New Buzzword in Napa

Balance is the new buzzword in the Napa Valley.

The flamboyant style of many Napa wines fashionable throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium seem to have hit its peak of popularity, with the pendulum swinging back toward a more classic and age-worthy fashion.

The hedonist-driven butter-bomb chardonnays and tongue-purpling cabernet sauvignons will always play a part of Napa style, but premier winemakers are pressing the issue that balance and, therefore ageability, is better. Read More

Top 5 Winery Visits in Napa

Entrance to the World Famous Napa Valley

Entrance to the World Famous Napa Valley

When visiting the Napa Valley, finding a special winery to enjoy a tasting is as easy as absorbing the magic that makes this one of the great wine regions on earth. Cruising along Highway 29 or the Silverado Trail (the two most traveled roads that border the majority of the wineries) the vineyards sprawl from mountain range to mountain range, from San Francisco Bay north past Calistoga. There are literally hundreds of wineries to choose from, the vast majority willing to share their history, character, and beautiful views while tasting their vino for just a few dollars.

Read More