April’s Top Recommended Wines

April Showers bring May Flowers…April Wines embrace the cooler season with fragrence, aroma, freshness…like the flowers in bloom and the fresh veggies from the farm. Rose - Whites enter the equation…complexed softer reds are ideal! It's about finding wines that thrive in the moment...

TOP QUALITY

1. Fritz Haag, Brauneberger Juffer Grosses Gewächs Riesling, Mosel, Germany, 2020

Fritz Haag whose family has been engaged in viticulture at Brauneberg since 1605, is the town's most important proprietor. Using traditional cellar techniques and careful, selective harvesting he produces Brauneberger wines that have power and elegance with fine Riesling fruit and a subtle slate background in balance with generous fruity acids. One of his ancestors was a co-founder of the Brauneberger-Juffer-Sonnenuhr vineyard site. At present, the Fritz Haag estate owns the largest and best portion of this vineyard. All sites are 100% Riesling.

2. Isabelle et Pierre Clément de Chatenoy, Classique Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc) Menetou Salon, Loire Valley, France, 2020

The Clement have been wine-growers in Menetou-Salon, a quaint country village about 20 minutes southwest of Sancerre, since 1560 (16 generations). Isabelle and Pierre Clément, now joined by their daughter Anne, own 70 hectares of the finest, southwest exposed hillside vineyards in the appellation – shared by around 25 producers. The production is 80% white wine from Sauvignon Blanc and 20% red, from Pinot Noir. While Menetou-Salon is on the same side of the Loire River as its more famous neighbor Sancerre, it has the same fossil-rich Kimmeridgian limestone-clay soils that are prevalent in Chablis. These Kimmeridgian soils impart the distinctly complex, aromatic and elegant personality to Clément’s wines. The total production is around 600,000 bottles per year.

3. Senses, UV Silver Eagle Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California, 2019

Senses Wines is the dream of three childhood friends. Chris, Max and Myles partnered with critically acclaimed winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown, to produce world-class wines from renowned vineyards owned by their families. Since founding in 2011, Senses production has grown to include many coveted vineyard sites throughout northern California.

4. Kalin Cellars, Pinot Noir "Cuvee DD" Sonoma County, California, 2000

Kalin Cellars is an artisanal, traditional enterprise at heart. Terry and Frances are literally the only “people between you and bottle.” (They don’t employ anyone to help out in the winery, and as a result never produce more than 7000 cases annually.) Terry is also a professor emeritus of microbiology at UC Berkeley and understands the science of winemaking better than most. They select specific strains of yeast to bring out the uniqueness of each vineyard site. They pioneered sur lie aging in America and were among the first to bottle their wines unfiltered, beginning with the 1981 vintage.

5. Domaine de Pallus, Messanges Rouges, Chinon, Loire, France, 2020 (Cab Franc)

Bertrand Sourdais made a name for himself at Spain's upstart Dominio de Atauta, before returning to his family estate in Cravant-les-Côteaux in the heart of the Chinon appelation. By 2010, seven years after taking the reins, Bertrand began reducing yields and converting the vineyards to biodynamic practices. This was coupled with changes in the cellar such as longer macerations and élévage to capture the true personality of Chinon and his beloved Cabernet Franc. The flagship cuvée "Les Pensées" represents a blend of the estate's soils, combining fruit from limestone and clay for aromatics, heavier clay for power, and sand for finesse.

6. Domaine Blain, Côte de Brouilly "Pierre Bleue" Beaujolais, Burgundy, France, 2018

Domaine Blain was founded in 2014 when siblings Lucie and Marc-Antonin Blain acquired 14 acres of vineyards planted with old vines on the slopes of Mont Brouilly in Beaujolais. Marc-Antonin and Lucie grew up in their family domaine, Domaine Blain-Gagnard, in Chassagne-Montrachet. After completing his oenological studies and gaining experience in Australia, Marc-Antonin made a vintage of Beaujolais in Fleurie which became the catalyst for purchasing land there. Marc-Antonin maintains the vineyards in Brouily and Côte de Brouilly, while Lucie handles the communications, marketing, and daily operations of the business. The wines are vinified in Chassagne-Montrachet. The Beaujolais wine region stretches 55 kilometers from south of Macon to the flatter lands northwest of Lyon.

TOP VALUE

1. Lagar de Cervera, Pazo de Seoane, Rosal, Rias Baixas, Spain, 2020 (Ian's Top Pick)

The winery was purchased by La Rioja Alta in 1988 and is now state-of-the-art in terms of equipment. The estate's vineyards are in the southern section of the Rias Baixas where warmer conditions mean early ripening and good levels. It is hilly country with poor soils giving low yields of high quality grapes. The bodega's 42 hectares constitute the largest holding in this appellation and contribute 80% of the grapes used in production. Lagar means "press" and an ancient wooden press graces the label.

2. Reyneke, Chenin Blanc Vinehugger Organic, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2020

"WE BELIEVE there's a lot to be said for the way winemaking used to be. There were no chemicals, no "technological advancements" that made the process a process, and natural balance was more important than balance sheets. Some people dismiss it as old-fashioned nostalgia, but we like to think of it as ancient wisdom. And we embrace it as much as we can. Not just because it's better for the earth, but because it makes for better wine."

3. Allan Scott, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2021

Allan Scott is synonymous with wine in Marlborough: he has worked every harvest since 1973 and is credited with planting some of the region’s most famous vineyards, including the very first. In 1990, Allan and his wife Catherine established Allan Scott Wines as one of the first independent wineries of Marlborough. Since its inception, the winery has produced wines consistent in flavor and quality year after year while continually evolving to keep ahead of the changing demand of the market.

4. Stolpman Vineyards, "Love You Bunches" Carbonic Sangiovese, Santa Barbara, California, 2021

Stolpman Vineyards was founded by husband and wife team Tom & Marilyn Stolpman. On their honeymoon in Napa Valley, Marilyn put the wild idea into Tom’s head about one day owning a vineyard. In 1988 their search for limestone near the ocean ended with the purchase of what is now Stolpman Vineyards in Ballard Canyon AVA of Santa Barbara County. In 1994, Ruben “the Grape Whisperer” and his wife Maria Solorzano became the vineyard managers at Stolpman – employing a year-round team and empowering them through mentorship and a profit sharing program.

5. D'Alfonso-Curran, Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, California, 2018 (special offer)

D'Alfonso-Curran Wines is a family of professionals created out of a shared passion for wine. The crew was created with the same love and consideration that Kris & Bruno use to craft and stylize their unique wines. Together Kris and Bruno have 50 years of combined winemaking experience. To date and with the help of their loving "crew" and loyal "pack", they produce their personal wines under the Di Bruno, Curran, BADGE and D'Alfonso-Curran labels.

6. Nicolás Catena "La Marchigiana" Bonarda, Mendoza, Argentina, 2019 (Natural Wine)

Great wines begin in the vineyard. Our vision is to make rich and unforgettable wines that are true to the special place they come from. The story of Catena is the story of Argentine wine. Founded in 1902, Argentina’s Bodega Catena Zapata is known for its pioneering role in resurrecting Malbec and in discovering extreme high altitude terroirs in the Andean foothills of Mendoza. Over the years, Nicolás Catena Zapata discovered the influence altitude has on fruit quality. As one climbs the altitudes of the Andes the average temperature decreases and the amplitude between day and night temperatures increases.

7. Bedrock Wine Co. Sherman & Hooker's, The Whole Shebang Cuvée Red, North Coast, California, NV (Zin & Rhone Blend)

Sherman & Hooker Shebang is a project by Morgan Twain-Peterson, the son of Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson. Morgan grew up in the world of wine in California. In addition to this project, Morgan also produces tiny amounts of old vine, heirloom red and white blends, Pinot Noir, and Syrah under the Bedrock Wine Co. label. Also noteworthy: Morgan passed the prestigious Master of Wine exam and, upon successful completion of the dissertation, will become one of the less than thirty American Masters of Wine!

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