By Jordan Arp
Elite Brands, Wine Manager
Jip Jip Rocks Sparkling Shiraz
Non Vintage: 90 Points BTI
Most red wine lovers have tried a Shiraz from down under but few have tried the “uniquely Australian” Sparkling Shiraz. The wine begins as a still red wine on its first fermentation and then it’s secondary fermentation takes place in its bottle creating carbonation aka méthode champenoise. Fun fact, before the enforcement of AOC in France, the style was known around the world as Sparkling Burgundy.
This wine is made from predominantly 3 year old Shiraz aged in old French oak barrels, allowing a smooth integration of fruit and a rich texture across the palate. This is blended with a touch of younger vintage Shiraz to bring ripe and juicy characters to the finished wine.
It has a deep crimson color with brick red mousse and a fine bead. The aroma displays ripe plums, earthy notes and spice. Mouth-filling flavors of plums and prunes with hints of licorice on the palate lead to a soft persistent chocolate-cherry finish.
La Rioja has been talked about all over the world with history dating back to the early 7th century. One of only 2 DOCa in Spain, the highest classification category in Spanish wine regulation. Red grapes dominate this part of Spain accounting for 90% of vineyard land and create some of the longest lived red wines in the world.
Oak aging is not just in their blood it is part of their heritage with a typical bodega owning anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 oak barrels. In the past, it was not uncommon for some bodegas to age their red wines for 15–20 years or even more before their release. One notable example of this the Marqués de Murrieta which released its 1942 vintage gran reserva in 1983 after 41 years of aging! Today most bodegas have shifted their winemaking focus to wines that are ready to drink sooner, with the top wines typically aging for 4–8 years prior to release, though some traditionalists still age longer.
Nexo Rioja is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha. The two grapes varieties are vinified separately and then blended together after four months of aging in oak barrels. It is the perfect introduction to the region for novices yet also provides a great value for rioja aficionados. This is a balanced wine that is easy to pair with a myriad of different cuisines.
Eberle Vineyard Select Cabernet Sauvignon
Gary Eberle who is the pioneering vision behind the winery has been recognized for many firsts including co-founding the Paso Robles Appellation in 1983, the first to use Paso Robles appellation on his wine label, the first to produce a 100% Syrah commercially, amongst many more.
This 100% Cab, sourced from vineyards throughout the Paso Robles AVA, is a classic representation of the area with notes of graphite and cedar-cherry. Mocha coffee enters the mid-palate with a round, rich body, followed by a long, dynamic finish. Gary Eberle personally declared 2016 one of the region’s best vintages he has ever seen. This is a wine that is delicious right now but will also age gracefully for many years to come.
Maquis Cabernet Franc
2017 – 90pts Vinous
Located in Colchagua Valley, the winery’s focus is on distinctive single-vineyard, estate wines, as well as producing “balanced” wines. Although this goes against the grain compared to some of other wines coming out of this part of Chile, owner Ricardo Rivadeneira believes this is the style of wine that his land is meant to produce. Located between two rivers, the microclimate is one of a kind in the area and leads to wines with more elegant expressions. These elements are ideal for producing Cabernet Franc grapes that are full and rich, yet display balance and elegance.
Maquis partners with some of the top talent in the world to help with various decisions for each vintage. Xavier Choné is their consulting winemaker and works with wineries around the world, including Opus One, Joseph Phelps, and Dominus Estate. Maquis is the only South American winery with which Choné is affiliated. In addition to Xavier Choné, Maquis utilizes the expert blending talents of Bordeaux’s Eric Boissenot. Several times per year Ricardo will travel to Bordeaux to work on the final blends of the Maquis wines with the Eric, who also works with four of Bordeaux’s first growths.
It is interesting to see how Cabernet Franc is growing ever more popular in Chile. This, a Colchagua native, is bursting with a nose of mint, cherry and cassis. Expressive and firm on the palate, it presents juicy, active tannins and a bold, flavorsome finish. This wine over delivers and continually impresses customers on how high the quality is year after year.