Tasting Group 150 Selections for December

2001 Cune Imperial Rioja Gran Reserva                                                           Rioja, Spain 

The Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España, or CVNE, was born in Haro, La Rioja, Spain, in 1879. CVNE is one of the most renowned and historic bodegas in all of Spain & consists of 3 wineries: Cune, Vina Real & Vinedos del Contino (single vineyard). Each of the three estates produces a distinct style of wine from a distinct terroir, and each of their flagship bottlings occupies a well-deserved place in the pantheon of great Spanish wine. This Imperial is comprised of Tempranillo: 85%, Mazuelo: 5% & Graciano 10%. The wine is sourced almost exclusively from elegant Rioja Alta fruit. 2001 was an epic vintage in Rioja with the promise of years of development ahead.  We chose this wine this month because of the recent attention Spain has gotten – with 9 wines on the Wine Spectator’s 2013 Top 100, including the top spot, it appears that Spain is finally getting the recognition it so rightly deserves.  In fact, this is the wine that took the #1 spot, albeit an older but equally fine vintage. No matter… we’re  splitting hairs… tremendous value here.

2003 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon                                                            Napa, California     

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & Merlot.  Here is a chance to own a little bit of history! Mayacamas Vineyards is a wine estate located in the Mayacamas Mountains that divide the Napa and Sonoma valleys.  Perched high (2,300 feet high!) on craggy Mt. Veeder, Mayacamas is one of the pioneering wineries of the Napa Valley.  It was first built in 1889 and has been long-recognized for making a classically-structured style of wine very close to the long-lived Cabernets of Bordeaux.  Earlier this year, Charles Banks, former owner of Napa cult wine Screaming Eagle purchased the property, taking over the property from Bob Travers, who had not deviated from his methods since he and his wife, Elinor, bought Mayacamas in 1968.  Banks promised to be a resource, rather than a re-inventor, as he has been a fan of the wines as they are for many years.  Indeed, there is re-planting to be done and the winery equipment could use updating.  Although 2003 was on the warmer side, high elevation offers some protection to the mountain fruit from which Mayacamas is sourced, retaining acidity that is typically lost to heat.  Drink now.

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