Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,
The heat and humidity are quickly descending upon us. As the temperature rises, my palate begins to gravitate towards lighter wines with higher acidity that will quench my core. Mind you, I still have plenty of delicious Cabernets on my table, but whites and roses are a more frequent occurrence. This month’s selections are a medley of spectacular wines, beginning with my LIMITED allocation of the cult classic Del Dotto Cabernet 2012. Don’t miss out on this gem in a truly incredible vintage. Thank You all for continuing to allow me to guide you through the wonderful world of wine as I celebrate my tenth year of service in The Woodlands. Enjoy!
Del Dotto Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Napa Valley, California
Cash Price $63.99
Del Dotto’s reputation as being one of the highest quality wineries in Napa Valley means that their wines sell out every vintage….quickly. Spec’s is very lucky to have partnered with them to receive a nice allocation of their wines. The 2012 vintage was perfect for wine growers in Napa Valley. Grapes easily achieved phenolic ripeness and wine makers were able to let the ensuing wines show the true character of the vintage. Flavors of black cherry and black berry encompass the palate with thickly extracted cream and milk chocolate. The wine has medium plus tannins and medium acidity. Notes of toasted cedar and vanilla dance rhythmically through hints of cinnamon and freshly cracked hazelnuts. This wine is drinking beautifully right now, but will age easily for the next decade. Get it While You Can!
Venge Scout’s Honor Proprietary Red Blend 2012
Napa Valley, California
Cash Price $35.99
The Venge family is one of the best wine making families in the United States. Nils and Kirk have made an indelible footprint on the wine making of Napa Valley. Kirk is the wine maker for this hedonistic Zinfandel driven blend. The 2012 vintage has been described as the best since 1997 with opulent fruit throughout the vineyards. Flavors of bramble and black cherry melodically flow through seamless tannins and light acids. Notes of violets and crushed pomegranate are enveloped by hints of black pepper, licorice and graphite. The finish is filled with tasty oak, touches of cream and sweet herbs. Spectacular wine!
Domaine Bachey Legros ‘Sous La Roche’ Chardonnay 2012
Santenay (Burgundy), France
Cash Price $29.99
Located in the picturesque region of Cote du Beaune in southern Burgundy, the town of Santenay produces refined Chardonnay on limestone based soils that give the wine a true essence of the terroir. Sous la Roche translates to ‘under the rock’ which is where the vines have to dig to get their nutrients and in turn gives the wine its unique flavor profile. This 100% Chardonnay was aged in oak for 12 months with only 15% of the oak being new, so just a kiss of oak is prevalent in the ensuing wine. The vineyards are on the high slopes which allows for excellent ripening. Flavors of bright green apples and Bosc pear linger on the palate with smidgeons of layered cream and nuts. A backbone of the wine has a citrus component that flows through the mid palate with notes of crushed wet rocks. The wine has medium plus acidity that is mellowed by the oak. The finish offer hints of charred oak and vanillin which lingers on the palate for a beautifully long time. A Chardonnay to remember!
Schild Estate Shiraz 2011
Barossa Valley, Australia
Cash Price $20.29
Schild winery’s fame has grown in the last several years because of the high scores (Top 10 in Wine Spectator) they have garnered with their entry level Shiraz. This winery makes high quality wines at all price points in the hills of the esteemed Barossa Valley with vines up to 160 years old. Dense flavors of jammy black berry and blue berry sink into a sleek core of Moreno cherries. Notes of dusted coco and milk chocolate are surrounded by medium plus tannins and medium acids. Touches of sage and black pepper play into oak and licorice. The finish is pure and balanced. Shiraz is back on the rise!
Bench Pinot Noir 2013
Sonoma Coast, California
Cash Price $23.74
The Bench label is one of the labels from the Brack Mountain Wine Company that has a knack for finding excellent fruit at great price points and passing the savings on to the consumer. This wine is mainly sourced from the Sangiacomo vineyard in the heart of the Sonoma Coast (my favorite area for California Pinot Noir). Balanced flavors of black cherry and raspberry jump into the palate with medium acids and integrated tannins. Notes of cola and red roses flow through the mid palate with touches of graham cracker and vanilla. The finish is soft and pure with hints of pepper and toffee. Rock Solid Pinot Noir!
Tenuta Sant’ Anna Prosecco N/V
Cash Price $15.89
Prosecco is the perfect sparkler for summer. It is light, flavorful and inexpensive! Sant’ Anna is extra dry which is softer than a brut sparkling wine with a touch more residual sugar. It is not sweet, but an extra dry takes off some of the bite that brut can display. Plush flavors of peach and green apples pop into delicate bubbles. Notes of mango and pear sing through the mid palate with medium acidity. The finish offers just a hint of buttery toasted bread. Delicious Bubbles!
Chateau Pontoise Cabarrus Red Blend 2010
Haut Medoc (Bordeaux), France
Cash Price $19.94
Pontoise Cabarrus is a Cru Bourgeois winery that has produced a stunning red blend in the 2010 vintage. This Merlot/Cabernet blend is sleek and sexy from start to finish. Opulent black fruits ooze out of the core with heady oak texture. Notes of black raspberry and currant are encompassed by medium plus tannins and medium acids with bits of cigar box. The finish is spicy with hints of toasted oak, vanillin and tobacco which sit on the palate for a nice long time. Cabarrus is a great wine to pair with food, but will drink wonderfully on the back patio with a loved one. Iconic wine from a historic vintage!
Triennes Rose 2014
Cash Price $14.99
Triennes is consistently one of my favorite Rose’s year in and year out. As the heat starts to rise, I quickly begin to gravitate towards higher acid, lower tannin wines. Rose wines are a perfect medium to combat the Hot Houston Heat. Deliciously dry, this Cinsault based Rose has expressive and compelling aromatics. Flavors of bright red cherries and red roses zing into medium plus acidity that quenches the palate. Notes of wild meadow flowers play into the mid palate with touches of cranberry and red berries. The finish is clean and pure with touches of salinity and wet rocks. Fall in Love with Dry Rose this summer!
Ara Pathway Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Marlborough, New Zealand
Cash Price $14.99
My palate really begins to crave Sauvignon Blanc this time of the year. I replace the heavy oak and tannins with zesty acids and lively fruit. New Zealand is a no brainer when it comes to choosing quality Sauvignon Blanc with Marlborough being one of the top regions. This single estate wine exudes flavors of freshly cut grapefruit and citrus with medium plus acidity. The mid palate gives a touch of tropical fruits of papaya and pineapple with touches of green pepper and habanero. The finish is crisp with hints of gooseberry and white pepper. A Mouth Watering Blanc!
Vina Robles ‘Red 4’ Red Blend 2012
Paso Robles, California
Cash Price $14.99
Vina Robles is one of my favorite wineries in Paso Robles. They consistently offer great wines under $20. Their red blend is spectacular for the price. It is a Rhone-ish style blend of Petite Sirah and Syrah with smidgeons of Grenache and Mourvedre. Red 4 is produced from the rolling hills of the Huerhuero vineyards on their estate. Harmoniously ripe, the wine offers flavors of pomegranate and black cherry with a silky cream core. The mid palate shows medium acids and tannins with notes of plum and ripe raspberry. The finish is supple and smooth with creamy vanilla, milk chocolate and just a touch of savory spice. The wine is aged in American and French oak for 16 months to give it added complexity. Red 4 is a steal at this price point!
Bosco Del Merlo Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Cash Price $16.89
It is rare to find Cabernet from Italy. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is estate grown from the Bosco Del Merlo vineyards in the northern DOC of Venezia. I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted through their wines. The Cabernet has an approachable mouth feel while exuding excellent structure and balance. Flavors of ripe red cherries and plum sinew easily into medium tannins and acids. Notes of stewed raspberry and red currant are prevalent on the mid palate. The finish offers a light,creamy texture of vanilla bean and cedar that sits on the palate for a wonderfully long time. Great Value Cabernet that will pair beautifully with BBQ!
Block 520 Chardonnay 2012
Russian River Valley, California
Cash Price $14.99
The Block Series continues to churn out delicious Chardonnay from the famed Russian River Valley. This latest limited release may be the best that I have tasted from the Series. The wine is truly California in flavor profile with plenty of hedonistic tropical fruit and a heavy dollop of French oak. Flavors of pineapple and melon sink into a round creamy core. Notes of buttered popcorn and almonds are prevalent on the mid palate with medium acidity. The finish offers licks of vanilla and crème brulee with hints of peach and mango. A Guaranteed Summer Stunner!
Lockwood Merlot 2013
Cash Price $12.99
I have really been impressed with the changes that the Boisset family made when they purchased Lockwood vineyards a couple of years ago. They decided to give the wines a terroir driven flavor profile, which is unique in California. The wine is medium bodied with flavors of strawberry, red berries and bing cherry. Medium acids and tannins are well integrated into touches of black pepper and under earth. The finish is silky smooth with hints of tobacco and cream. Tasty Merlot!
James C. Barlow
Certified Wine Educator