Three Wine Finds

IMG_20140819_175926 by Andrew Chalk

1999 Artéis Champagne Brut ($50)

It is not often that one sees a Champagne this old and not for this price. But this newly introduced brand is the real thing. It introduces a new name into the Champagne market, Artéis and Co. which began distributing in the U.S. last fall. They now have four wines, this being the oldest.

This wine has a moderate yeastiness, long-lived bubbles and a vibrant acidity making it suitable for a wide range of food. The hardest thing may be getting it due to its small production. Currently Crave readers on one of their regular trips to a list that includes Colette in Paris, The Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood and Le Baron in New York as well as gastronomic destinations including Daniel in New York, Fig, FarmShop and Nikita in Los Angeles as well as Saison and La Folie in San Francisco.

Whoever is taking over from the inimitable Michael Flynn at the Mansion should give the U.S. importer a call and get some of this.  

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2012 Rustenberg Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch, South Africa ($12, Internet)

This wine shows an intense ruby colors. The nose is part dark fruit, particularly cassis, and cigar box and lead pencil. In the mouth the wine has medium acid, medium velvety tannins. The fruit is fairly ripe with the cassis really showing through as well as some notes of molasses. The finish is not unlike that of a Bordeaux from the médoc.

Overall, this is a classy wine with medium power and is good value for money. Drink now with red meat dishes. It will pair with anything from barbecue brisket to filet mignon.

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2012 Gallegos Sauvignon Blanc, Somerston Estate, St. Helena, Napa Valley, California ($22)

2012 Gallegos Pinot Noir, Boekenoogen Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, California ($38)

The Sauvignon Blanc is gold in color with a nose of ripe golden apples, lime and honeydew melon. In the mouth it has medium-plus acid, a medium finish, pineapple fruit and a minerally quality and a little herbaceousness.

This is a good wine that distinguishes itself from European (the French Loire Valley) and New Zealand wines from the same grape. It is very approachable and could be the preprandial before dinner or the accompaniment to seafood.

The Pinot Noir is an intense ruby. The nose is blackberries, black cherries, very ripe fruit, among non-fruit aromas there is black pepper and a vegetable (compost) component. In the mouth the tannins are chewy. The fruit very forward. Hints of basil. Very open, ripe fruit reflecting the warm climate. Medium acid with a medium-plus finish.

Fans of central coast California (Sideways country) Pinot Noir will love this wine which can be quaffed on its own or accompany pasta, duck or ham.

Those are the ‘post-mortem’ results, but what about the story behind these Gallegos wines. It turns out the story of the family is one that is so sharply etched in Americana that it could be made into a movie. From the press release:

It’s a story to inspire. A Mexican immigrant comes to the United States from Michoacán in the late 1940s, following his older brother to work in the Bracero program created during World War II. His family follows in 1966, and he ends up in Napa Valley, where his son graduates from St. Helena High School and works in the vineyards, rising into vineyard management.

His sons do the same, but one studies viticulture and winemaking and encourages the family to start a vineyard management company. It does and now manages 100 acres in Napa Valley.

The family launches its own wines, Gallegos Wine.

There is one remaining piece of the puzzle. Gallegos has no Texas distributor at this time and they are urgently seeking one. In the meantime, order online.

Disclosure and procedures: Some wines sent by vendor(s) at no cost to reviewer. If a local reseller is named after a price quote is the one who, on wine-searcher.com, had the lowest price. Wines sent by vendors may not be reviewed and will not be returned.

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