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blog swirl & savor

Club Swirl August Selections from California

Beth Ribblett

Part wine club, part discount program, "club swirl" offers a great way to try new and exciting wines from around the world. Benefits include our 2 wines of the month, discounts on all wine purchases and tastings, invitations to special members only tastings, advance email notices on special wines brought into the store and more for only $39.99/month! Memberships applications are available, call 504.304.0635 for more details.

August Selections
2006 Elyse Korte Ranch Zinfandel

After twenty-five years in Napa, Ray Coursen, owner and winemaker of Elyse winery has learned a thing or two about producing world-class wines. According to Ray, great winemaking is like cooking, but without a flame. Just like world class chefs all over the world meld and marry different flavors to create a dish that is greater than the sum of its parts, Ray blends and combines wines to create a product that is by all definitions more astounding than the expression of an individual varietal could ever be.

The genius of Ray Coursen however is in his complete understanding of every aspect of the wine making process, from the vineyard to the glass. He has dirtied his hands throughout his illustrious career in the vineyards of Mount Eden, and Whitehall Lane, and of course he still gets his hands dirty in all the vineyards from which he sources his first class fruit. What happens after that in the hands of a fellow like Ray is more art than science, much more.

Ray started out making Zinfandel, then expanded into Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah which will continue to be the focus of his winemaking. But he just finished bottling a tiny quantity of Chardonnay, and will soon be releasing his first Pinot Noir. The wines he makes depend on the fruit that’s available, because he just can’t say no to wonderful fruit.

The Korte Ranch Zinfandel

The Zinfandel at Korte Ranch was planted about 100 years ago during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt. This 40 acre parcel just north of St. Helena is owned by Hal, Jack and Kathy Pagendarm. Hal's grandfather owned and operated the Korte Ranch Winery before Prohibition. Up on the hill are the crumbled remains of a stone cellar and house where the original Korte Winery was located.

The 2006 Elyse Korte Ranch Zinfandel is 95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah and age 11 months in American Oak (30% new). It is bright ruby red in color with aromas of citrus, lavender, dried raspberries, smoke and roasted nuts. On the palate, this wine shows deep blackberry and black cherry fruit flavors with notes of cola, coffee and mocha. This is a rich Zinfandel, with some weight on the palate followed by a slightly leather texture, good acidity, nice tannin structure and a long finish. The 2006 Korte Ranch Zinfandel is drinking wonderfully now, but if you can manage to hold some back it will age nicely for another 5 – 9 years.

Pair with beef stew, ribs, barbecue or smoked meats.
1,316 cases made

Retail Price: $24.99
Club Swirl Price: $23.75/bottle or $21.25 with club swirl case discount


2006 Elyse Nero Misto
Nero Misto means mixed black and the wine is just that, a California field blend of international and old world varietals. The fruit for this is sourced from different Napa vineyards including Wood, Chavez-Leeds, Pelkan, Massa, Souyoultzis, Rossi and Naggiar.

It is a blend of 38% Zinfandel, 34% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah, 10% Carignane,and 8% blend of Gamay, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, and Barbera and is aged 10 ½ months in used French & American Oak.

The 2006 Nero Misto (Italian for “mixed black”) is deep blackish-burgundy color with a nose of dark black fruits, dried herbs, pepper, leather, and wild blueberries.This delicious “field blend” styled wine has a strong mid-palate with flavors of pomegranate, black fruits, dried cherries and figs with a hint of spice. The wine is medium to full in body, with juicy fruit, firm tannins, great acid balance and a long,lush finish. Drinking well right now, though it can’t hurt to decant. Will cellar well for the next 5– 7 years.

Nero Misto is an extremely versatile wine, particularly good with Italian food, spicy southwest cuisine and steaks and chops off the grill.

1,158 cases made

Retail Price: $20.99
Club Swirl Price: $19.99/bottle or $17.86 with club swirl case discount

2007 Adelaida Cellars Version White
Referred to locally as the Adelaida Hills (not to be confused with Australia’s Adelaide Hills), they’re part of the Santa Lucia Mountains, which span 140 miles from Carmel Bay through San Luis Obispo County in California's Central Coast. Exciting things are happening in these remote hills, valleys and benchlands northwest of Paso Robles, so much so that in the June 30, 2005 issue of Wine Advocate, Robert M. Parker, Jr. asserts “there is no question that a decade from now, the top viticultural areas of Santa Barbara, Santa Rita Hills and the limestone hillsides west of Paso Robles will be as well-known as the glamorous vineyards of Napa Valley.

So just what is it that makes this area so special in terms of winemaking? As in all of the great wine regions of the world, the soil, climate and topography together create an ideal environment for quality grape growing. Given that they have some pretty special ground, with some of the highest elevations in the area, a wide variety of slopes and orientations, and those sought after limestone soils, it's not surprising that the area is producing concentrated, well-structured, age worthy wines.

Over forty years ago, Dr. Stanley Hoffman recognized the area's potential and planted some of the region's first vines. The wines produced with legendary consultant Andre Tchelistcheff
under the Hoffman Mountain Ranch (HMR) label provided early proof that world-class wines could be grown in Paso Robles.

Today, the Von Steenwyk family owns a portion of that HMR vineyard as part of the Adelaida Cellars holdings that includes about 500 acres of walnut trees and 150 acres of vineyards. The winery, which originated in 1981, is located 14 miles east of the Pacific Ocean at an elevation of 1,800 feet in the Santa Lucia mountain chain. Adelaida's wild and rugged mountainside vineyards are loaded with limestone and calcareous shale. According to winemaker Terry Culton, "these characteristics cause the vines to strengthen. This results in added stress on the vines, which lowers the yields but produces more intensely flavored fruit". In keeping with the winery's sustainable philosophy, the vineyards are not tilled, encouraging native grasses, wild sage and rosemary to flourish between the rows.

Adelaida produces from its own Estate vineyards and a select group of contracted vineyards on the west side of Paso Robles. The fruit for the Version comes from the Glenrose Vineyard, at 1,200 – 1,600 feet in elevation and 16 miles from the Pacific Ocean, and is adjacent to their own Viking Estate Vineyard.

Adelaida Version (Rhone Style White) Glenrose Vineyard 2007 - (58% Roussanne, 42% Grenache Blanc) Beautiful lime, pear and honey aromas with thirst quenching acidity and a fresh minerally finish this is an amazing food wine!

Pair it with rich seafood dishes, or light chicken or pork.

Retail Price:
$21.99
Club Swirl Price: $20.99/bottle or $18.69 with club swirl case discount