PJ’s Wine of the Month Club April 2006 Selection White Package 2002 Nugan Estate Coonawarra Chardonnay “Alcira Vineyard” Australia Suggested retail price $19.99 PJ’s Retail price $16.49 Location: The Nugan Group began when Alfredo Nugan, a young enterprising and visionary fruit exporter from Valencia, Spain, came to southwestern Australia’s New South Wales region. He settled near the town of Griffith, about 400 kilometers west of Sydney, because of its abundant sunshine and the availability of irrigation water. History: Alfredo’s company quickly built a reputation as a national and global supplier of high-quality produce. Over the years, Nugan became known as the largest supplier of superior grapes to Penfolds (Penfolds Koonunga Hills) and Southcorp (Kalimna Bin 128). In 1999, Nugan diversified into winemaking. Their humble beginnings in winery equipment were just three fermentation tanks and six aging barrels in Nugan’s Juice Plant. Today, there is a dedicated, high-tech winery complete with over 100 fermentation tanks and over 2,000 aging barrels with the capacity to process 10,000 tons per vintage. Nugan’s philosophy is summed up by their motto: "hard work, innovation, and 100% commitment to the future". Vineyard: Nugan owns their own vineyards in the McLaren Vale, Limestone Coast, Coonawarra, King Valley and Riverina regions. The vineyards employ a sophisticated irrigation system that monitors moisture levels to ensure that the vines receive only a specified amount of water and that the watering is as "eco-friendly" as possible. Riverina is semi-arid (only 12 inches rainfall/year) so disease is not a problem. Average grape yields are kept very low (about half that usually seen in the area) to promote concentrated, quality wines. In addition to Senior Winemaker, Daren Owers, who has been with Nugan’s wine division since the beginning, Nugan has engaged the consulting services of Brian Light, a renowned winemaker from the McLaren Vale region. Both men make viticulture and vinification decisions centered o n making the highest quality wines with complexity, finesse and balance. Proven, traditional winemaking methods are combined with innovative approaches to produce the finest wines possible in one of most notable, emerging wine regions in the world. Vinification: From the Coonawarra appellation, the 2002 Nugan Estate "Alcira Vineyard" Chardonnay was made from grapes picked in April 2002. The vintage was notable for warm days and cool nights, a favorable day/night temperature difference that promotes grape skin ripeness and phenolic complexity and maturity. Only "free run" juice (juice obtained strictly from the weight of the fruit in the vat with no pressing) was used to make the wine. Twelve-day fermentation began in stainless steel tanks at cool temperatures to preserve more delicate fruit aromas and flavors. Once half the must’s sugar fermented, the wine was transferred to new and one year-old oak tanks to complete fermentation, whereupon the wine was aged on the lees in casks for ten months. Weekly stirring (Bâtonnage) and topping of the casks was employed to maintain freshness and to promote aromatic and flavor complexity. This method is frequently utilized by vignerons in Burgundy to make their white wines. A light filtration preceded bottling in June, 2003. Description: The 2002 Nugan Estate “Alcira Vineyard” Chardonnay begins with very aromatic notes of wildflowers, bright honey and a hint of white pepper. On the palate, the fruit is extraordinarily bright and fresh, with an incredibly clean, round definition helped by a trace of the oak’s buttery, smoky notes. The wine’s lively, mineral acidity is quite lovely on the palate, and its cleansing nature implores you to reach for another sip (traditional white Burgundy comes to mind). Both, IWC (International Wine Center, Stephen Tanzer) and WA (Wine Advocate, R. Parker) Rated it 89pts. Food Pairing: The Nugan’s snappy mouthfeel makes for a good match with many dishes (shellfish, seafood, chicken, veal and lighter pork) and, once well chilled, this is a great summer sipper. If the Aussies do Chardonnay this well, we can’t wait ’til they master Pinot… PJ’s Wine of the Month Club April 2006 Selection White Package 2005 Paul & Jean-Marc Pastou Sancerre “Les Boucaults” Loire Valley France Suggested retail price $16.99 PJ’s retail price $13.99 Location: Domaine Pastou is located in the village of Sury-en- Vaux, one of the 14 villages surrounding the town of Sancerre that constitute the appellation. Sancerre: Loire Valley has some of the most beautiful villages of France and Sancerre confirms this fact. Sancerre is a splendid borough reigning atop a rock hill surrounded by vineyards. Sancerre is famous for its sauvignon blanc based wines of course, but it is also now recognized for its reds and rosés. Sancerre whites have been praised for centuries. The culture of the vines was developed in the XI century under the desire of the Counts de Sancerre and especially of the Augustin monks of Saint- Satur. Nowadays, Sancerre totals 2400 hectares of vineyards under AOC since 1936 for the White and 1959 for the Red and Rosé. The vineyards, planted on slopes, profit from moderate microclimates and very stony (Silex slates and calcareous-limestone), hot, healthy and well drained soils adapted to the culture of Sauvignon Blanc. Three distinctive terroirs can be found. "Les Terres blanches" located at the west give vigorous wines whereas "Les Caillottes", located at the foot of the city give light and fruitier wines. To the east, the soil is richer in flint (Silex) providing wines with a characteristic bouquet, great minerality and complexity. Domaine Pastou: Vines existed at the domaine and were vinified at the local cooperative many generations before the late Paul Pastou created the Domaine Pastou with his 1 st hectare of vines about 45 years ago. It is his son, Jean Marc, who really developed the Domaine. At the age of 18 years old (more than 20 years ago), he took over the 4 hectares property from his father and decide to extend the vineyard. He first “rented” a few vineyards that he bought one after another with time and the desire to produce more. Now, Jean-Marc and his wife Martine run their estate with 11 hectares of vines planted all around their house. Terroir & Vinification: The vines are planted on slopes facing south – Southwest on limestone-clay soils and sub-soils. They have 1 hectare on “Les Caillottes” (small limestone stone) providing fruit and aromas to the final blend. The vines are approximately 30 years old (in average). Harvest is done with a machine. The grapes are pressed with the stem. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. A cold maceration then a light filtration happen before bottling. They produce 3 different Sancerre: “Les Boucaults” and “la Côte de Sury” sold to the export market and a generic Sancerre for the French Market. On the side, they craft a small quantity of Pouilly Fumé, Sancerre Rouge and a tiny bit of Rosé distributed in the French market only. Description: 2005 Paul et Jean-Marc Pastou Sancerre “Les Boucaults” comes from a unique parcel of vines called “Les Boucaults” planted with vines older than 40 years of age resulting on the mention “Vieilles Vignes” on the label. It is characteristic for its minerality, crispiness and freshness rather than for its opulence and fruitiness. With fresh and inviting aromas of citrus fruits laced with floral and mineral notes, a rich mouthfeel yet with liveliness, this is a terrific and refreshing spring-summery wine with nerve, mineral and body. Food pairing: with seafood, asparagus salad, fresh goat cheese, or simply as a refreshing white wine to sip on its own. PJ’s Wine of the Month Club April 2006 Selection Red Package 2004 Clos de Los Siete Malbec Blend Michel Rolland Argentina Suggested retail price $16.99 PJ’s retail price $13.49 Location: Vistaflores (name of the estate where Clos de los Siete is produced) is located in the Tunuyan commune, 80 km south of the city of Mendoza. The estate, covering 847 hectares of vineyards (2093 acres), is one of the biggest wineries in Argentina and in the world. The Clos de los Siete project: Two friends, both wine specialists, Michel Rolland and Jean-Michel Arcaute (winegrower, recently deceased) were the initiators of the Clos de los Siete adventure. In 1998, they decided to go into business. Argentina offers space, the possibility to plant without restriction, and promising results: a quality wine from fine soil at an excellent price. Their arguments were strong enough to unite seven investors, all winegrowers (Catherine Péré-Vergé, owner of Château Monviel at Pomerol; Laurent Dassaut, owner at Saint-Emilion; Bertrand Otto, representative of La Compagnie Vinicole E. Rothschild; and Bertrand Cuvelier) to a remarkable viniculture project in the province of Mendoza. Seven friends and investors, all wine-producers, meet in Argentina to plant grapevines together on an exceptional estate, which melds harmoniously into the exquisite environment. Furrows, aqueducts, dikes, and underground cabling: The creation of this vineyard is a massive undertaking in which each stroke of the pick is meaningful. It is divided into seven wine cellars, and so is named Clos de los Siete (Vineyard of the Seven). Michel Rolland, Wine globetrotter: Nicknamed the "flying winemaker" in the wine industry, Michel Rolland is an oenologist and expert witness for courts. Consultant of several estates in France (Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Fronsac, in the Medoc...), this wine globe-trotter is regularly summoned to California, South America, Italy, Spain, Hungary, and Argentina to pronounce a ruling on renowned wines: Alta Vista, Mondavi, Fransiscan, Château Megyer, etc. He knows how to spark success: fifteen years ago, he was already consulting what have become some largest bodegas of the Mendoza region. Conserving the landscape and managing water: The estate is protected from alluvial waters by dikes. The ground consists of sand, clay, and stone, and faces northward, the sunniest direction in the southern hemisphere. But before planting the first wines, the ground's vegetation had to be cleared, gathered, and burned; stones had to be dislodged and the terrain leveled. Then electricity had to be introduced by 3 km of aerial cabling to the entrance of the "Campo", and another 4 km of underground cabling was installed in order to conserve the beauty of the landscape. Next, several wells were bored 190 m deep in order to feed an underground aqueduct. Dikes and the bolstering of dry "rio" walls defend the estate against the action of waters, which, while rare, can pour with incredible intensity. Irrigation of the grapevines is crucial to Vistaflores: water is supplied under consistent pressure at the intake of each plot, thanks to sluice gates and relay-pumps installed inside the aqueduct, and governed by computer control in a command room. Vinification: At Vistaflores, grapevines benefit from particularly advantageous climatic and geographical conditions. Winemaking is practiced in respecting the great traditions of viniculture: handpicked harvesting, absence of fertilizers, and above all the use of gravity for processing grapes. Ageing in French oak barrels. Description: From the foot of the Andes Mountains, comes Clos de Los Siete a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. “Good full ruby-red. Laid-back nose features black cherry, minerals, licorice and dark chocolate. Suave, silky and light on its feet, with claret-like black fruit, spice and menthol flavors. Very fine-grained in the middle palate and on the aftertaste. Finishes with ripe, pliant tannins and lingering black cherry and spice notes.” IWC 89+ Food pairing: Argentinean steak of course! Info taken from www.monteviejo.com PJ’s Wine of the Month Club April 2006 Selection Red Package 2002 Chateau Mondorion Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Bordeaux France Suggested retail price $19.99 PJ’s retail price $16.97 Location: The Château Mondorion is located 46km Southeast from Bordeaux city, in the village called Saint Sulpice de Faleyrens. Located south west of Saint- Émilion, Sulpice de Faleyrens is one of the 9 villages that constitute the appellation. The man behind: Château Mondorion was fairly unknown to the US market until Patrick Léon, ex-winemaker at Château Mouton Rothschild, took over the property in 1999. Patrick Léon studied enology at Bordeaux university of Oenology under two famed professors: the late Jean Ribéreau-Gayon and the late Emile Peynaud. He worked with négociant Alexis Lichine & Co. from 1972 to 1985, when Baron Philippe de Rothschild hired him. He produced outstanding wines from Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Clerc-Milon and Château d’Armailhac in Pauillac, Opus One in California and Viña Almaviva in Chile. After nearly two decades as the technical director and winemaker at Mouton crafting some of the best vintages, like 1985, 86, 88, 90, 95, 96, 2000 and 2003, he retired after bottling the 2003 vintage and decided to craft his own wines. His dream came true when, about 10 years ago, he and his wife bought Château Les Trois Croix, a 37 acres (15 hectares) estate in Fronsac (where he is no longer making the wine) now run by his children Bertrand and Stéphanie. Always aiming to push his own limits and willing to craft more wine, he bought Château Mondorion, a 27 acre (around 11 hectares) property close to the Dordogne river in the valley of Saint-Émilion. Terroir & Vinification: Patrick Léon brought a new life to Château Mondorion and renaissance to its wines. The 11 ha of 35 years old vines (76% Merlot and 24% Cabernet Franc) are planted on slight sandy soil atop a mix of clayey-chalky and gravel subsoil. The harvest is done by hand in small baskets, complete sorting and de-stemming of the crop before fermentation in temperature regulated concrete vats and aging in French oak barrels. Château Mondorion produces approximately 45000 bottles per year including their second wine: Étoiles de Mondorion, St-Emilion (around 500 cases). Vintage: The 4th vintage since the rebirth shows the skill and experience of Patrick Léon. Despite a good month of September with enough sun to obtain a good maturation, the vintage was a bit difficult due to earlier rain and the harvest was done in 2 periods to ridge the maximum ripeness, specially for the Cabernet franc. The crop was small and Patrick’s knowledge was useful to produce such a wine in a lesser year. The wine was aged for about a year in 33% new and 77% used French oak barrels (1-2 years old). Description: 2002 Château Mondorion is a blend of 80% Merlot & 20% Cabernet Franc. In the glass, it is dark with crimson-violet rim. The nose is pure extraction of blackberry, blueberries, oaky vanilla, toffee and spicey notes. Although new world in style, the palate is rooted in the old world with deep flavors of old prunes, ripe red berries and more spicey-coffee notes lingering in a long, earthy and quite complex finish, which should ensure good cellaring potential. It is enjoyable now after a decanting and will be even better over the next 5 years. Food pairing: Steak topped with shallots served with green beans, Rabbit stew or grilled veal.
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