December Wine Club

As Pat and I were tasting through the wines for this months’ wine club, we noticed an unexpected theme consistent in each wine, depth. You can see the viscosity in your glass and you can feel the weight in your mouth. It seems like an appropriate toast for the end of this big and heavy year. Here we are, wrapping up 2020 and the glimpses of hope are getting brighter. Just this week, two local friends who are healthcare workers are getting their first round of vaccines. As much struggle and pain and hardship this year has given, there is also much reason to celebrate. We hope you can find a way to celebrate that with your loved ones in some creative and non-traditional ways for this non-traditional year, and of course, as always with a great glass of wine.

Happy holidays to you & yours,

P. & E. Mullins

Paula Kornell California Brut Méthode Champenoise

Healdsburg, CA

This is the inaugural debut of this sparkling wine. Seems quite kismet to share it with you in the last wine club of 2020.

The history of how Paula Kornell came to be in the wine industry and her releasing this head turning wine this year is quite fascinating. You see, it starts with her father Hanns Kornell. Born in Lubinitz Germany in 1911 he started picking grapes in his grandfather’s vineyard at just 4 years old. From there he went on to study enology and work in vineyards in France and Italy. Then came WWII. In 1938 Hanns was placed in a concentration camp. After 8 months, he was released on the condition that he would leave Germany immediately. After fleeing, he sailed to the US in 1939 and made his way to California finding work at wineries. In 1958 he married his remarkable wife Marilouise and together they purchase the famous Larkmead Estate and establish Hanns Kornell Champagne Cellars in Napa Valley, bringing the “Méthode champenoise” for the first time ever to California. Inspired by Sekt (a sparkling wine made from Riesling) that Hanns made in Germany. Born in 1959 Paula Kornell followed in her fathers' footsteps as a young entrepreneur selling prunes, walnuts and feathers from the family’s peacocks in front of the family’s’ tasting room at just 10 years old. She continued her journey in the wine industry in sales and promotion throughout Napa and the Sonoma Valley. Paula's California Sparkling Brut is a non-vintage blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. Harvest took place in the end of July 2018 and the wines were disgorged in the beginning of December 2019. All the fruit is certified sustainable and the vineyards are managed by fifth-generation grape growers. In the glass the wine has a golden hue, almost like a translucent butter cream with fine little bubbles dancing up the center of the glass. The nose is of a classic Champagne with a bit of buttered toast, apricot and green apples. The palate is luscious with mouth watering acidity. The creamy weight coats your mouth, and the tiny bubbles dance on your tongue leading to a clean and dry finish. This is ideal for this holiday season!

2018 Basserman-Jordan Riesling Trocken

Pfalz, Germany

It is pretty astounding that this winery, Basserman-Jordan dates back to the beginning of winemaking in Pfalz Germany. The Jordan family first purchased a vineyard in Pfalz back in 1718. Then, at the turn of the century the Jordans were the first growers in the area to plant single varieties by vineyard and also one of the first to vinify each vineyard separately. In 1883, a marriage between the Bassermann and Jordan families added the name Bassermann to the winery. Bassermann-Jordan went on to be the founding member of the VDP, Germany's top organization to ensure quality wine. Up until 1995 the Basserman-Jordans ran the winery. In 2002 the remaining heirs sold to the Niederberger family with the commitment to uphold the reputation for quality in Pfalz. The vineyards are located along the Rhine river and are organically farmed. The wine is made with spontaneous fermentation, like an act of God. In the glass this Riesling is a pale yellow with a green tinge. You can see the viscosity of the weight in the glass. The nose has aromas of the classic Riesling; petrol with dried flowers, butterscotch and almonds. The palate is inviting and generous with layers that keep giving more notes of apples, pears, field stones and a light touch of honey. You can feel the weight you saw in the glass; an acidic backbone runs throughout giving an endless finish. This supple wine is perfect pairing for any holiday feast.

2018 Domaine Le Sang des Cailloux

Vacqueyras Southern Rhone, France

This wine first grabbed our attention when we read, “One glimpse of Serge Férigoule’s barbell moustache might be enough for one to be completely enamored with the wines of Le Sang des Cailloux.” I mean, how couldn’t it? Serge started his winemaker career after studying enology in 1974. In 1990 he began Le Sang des Cailloux, which translates to “the blood of the stones.” The vineyards lay on red clay, limestone, and rounded stones that showcases throughout his wines. The terroir leads to low yield vines, which makes for very concentrated fruit full of richness and depth. The vineyards and winery are certified biodynamic. All grapes are hand harvested and fermentation is natural taking place in cement tanks. The wine is unfined and unfiltered. It is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 7% Mourvèdre and 3% Cinsault. The name of the Vacqueyras rouge changes each year, named after one of Serges’ daughters, leaving this vintage to his youngest daughter, Azalaïs. In the glass this wine is a rich magenta in color. The aromas wow you right out of the glass with notes of Belgian chocolate, spice and stone. The palate is full with raspberries, white pepper and baked dirt. It is creamy and earthy, a smooth elegant natural beauty with a dusty and dry finish.

To share with my wine club members first, we do have a small amount of Serge’s white Vacqueyras ‘Un Sang Blanc’. This is quite possibly one of the most sought-after white wines of the Southern Rhone. It is one to age so that it has time to mature and showcase all its beauty. It is a blend of Clairette, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Grenache, Marsanne and Viognier and retails at $74.

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