A Tasting and Description of “Nate’s Picks” for the 8/11 Estate Wine Club Shipment

July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Every two months we ship two bottles to the members of our Estate Wine Club.  In June of this year, for instance, we took the opportunity to preview some of the whites from 2010: our Viognier and Chardonnay.  In the April shipment: the 2010 Rosé and our first Estate Club Select wine, the 2010 Petit Manseng.  In choosing the wines for each shipment, I try to consider (a) the time of year, (b) which wines are really hitting their stride, (c) whatever I’m excited about, and (d) the very diverse preferences of our Estate Club members.  Because you can’t win them all, we always allow members of the Estate Club to politely decline Nate’s Picks and to order wines of their choosing.  We’re happy to send you anything so long as there’re a few bottles left over for the owner.

Nate’s Picks for August, 2011:


  • Production Notes: 100% Chardonnay, 100% single vineyard, 100% estate fruit, 100% barrel fermented; from the über ripe, über clean, bursting-at-the-skins-with-exotic-flavor Chardonnay gifted to us by the dry, hot 2010 season.  Hand-picked, hand-sorted, fermented in all French oak from Allier and Jupilles, with weekly lees stirring through the winter.  Wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation, unlike our previous Reserve offerings, in order to retain some acidity following a hot, low acid season.  Wine was blended and bottled in June, 2011, without fining.
  • Tasting Notes: A fat, (I will say it again) exotic white wine, with aromatics of well-ripened orange and banana atop straw, coconut, vanilla, butterscotch, and some faint je ne sais quoi.  Thick and smoky, this wine is big, concentrated, and warm.  Bone dry and quite hedonistic.
  • Cases Produced: sadly, a mere 150.



  • Production Notes: Primarily composed of Cabernet Franc from two separate vineyard blocks, the fruit was hand-picked, hand-sorted, destemmed, hand-sorted again (a tiring day for the hands), fermented in small, single lot bins for 7-10 days, then pressed.  (Not to confuse things, but about half of the lots were given an extended maceration, i.e. the fermented juice, skins, and seeds were not pressed immediately after fermentation, but rather 30 days after fermentation, a winemaking process which alters, most prominently, color stability and tannic structure.)  Aged for 18 months in a combination of French and Hungarian oak, with lees stirring through the first winter.  The two lots of Cab Franc were then blended together, and joined by small but influential amounts of Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Tannat, in March, 2011.  Bottled in June, 2011, without fining.
  • Tasting Notes: I’m continually impressed that the pretty, violet-and-cherry elegance of the 2009 reds is backed up by some really sneaky power and complexity.  The 2009 Cabernet Franc currently shows wonderful delicate red fruit aromatics with a light dash of oak.  This wine has a fine-grained, complex and delicate texture, with light but still fairly lively tannins. 
  • Blend: 86% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot, 2% Tannat
  • Cases Produced: 640 

I hope you all enjoy the August, 2011 Estate Club shipment, and that you’re having a great summer!

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