Monthly Archives: June 2013

2011 Mer et Soleil “Silver” Chardonnay

2011 Mer et Soleil “Silver” Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County

Produced by the folks at Caymus Vineyards, the Mer et Soleil “Silver” is their version of a completely unoaked Chardonnay with no malo-lactic fermentation.  What this means is that there is no toastiness or butteriness with this wine.  This wine is aged in stainless steel and cement tanks, which imparts no flavors to the wine.

Mer et Soleil

But, what you do get is a very pure expression of Monterey Chardonnay, which is different than Napa or Sonoma.  Monterey Chardonnay offers up a wonderful rich forward fruit.  There is a depth to this wine, which is partially brought on because a tiny amount of oxygen is introduced to the wine as it is aging.  When wine is aged in oak barrels, the barrels breathe, and very small doses of oxygen become exposed to the wine.  So this is the winemaker’s method of creating richness without the cloak of oak, toast, and butter.

There is a minerality that blends in with the tropical fruit aromas and flavors.  This wine is all about freshness.  There is body here, no doubt.  The wine coats the palate and lingers.  The bright acidity helps balance the flavors and give a lovely backbone.  Think of pear, pineapple, kiwifruit, notes of tangerine, and cherrystones.  There’s a lot of complex flavors that marry very well here.

Food-wise, this wine will go beautifully with summer salads, grilled seafood, all kinds of birds, pork roast, and the like.  Give it a good chill and it’ll be great for Summer.

You will also notice something really different.  It comes packaged in a ceramic bottle…not glass.  A couple great benefits are that the wine is not exposed to light (one of wine’s greatest enemies), and the ceramic bottle will keep the wine chilled longer than a glass bottle.

Aside from the wine being really delicious, perhaps the greatest surprise here is the cost.

Originally, when the Mer et Soleil “Silver” Chardonnay was first introduced, it had a retail price of $39.99.  Good wine, not inexpensive though.

It has just gone on a major sale.

It is now $25.99 a bottle.

AND, by the case, it goes down to $19.99 a bottle.


2011 Dow’s Vintage Port

Hello All,

This is the first of several very interesting e-mails that I will be sending out over the next week.  All will be quite different.

So for now, the subject is 2011 Port…2011 Dow’s Vintage Port to be exact.  19369

I just received a pre-sell offering a few minutes ago, and as the 2011 vintage for Port is absolutely stellar, and the first vintage to be “declared” since 2007…I simply had to pass it on.

The Ports of 2011 are very classical in their style.  Very extracted, dark, well structured, masculine, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, these wines are a “must” for anyone who enjoys fine Port.  The good news is that, with many of the historic vintages that required many years of cellaring, the 2011’s will be very approachable at a young age.

The growing season was tumultuous, leaving the winemakers puzzled as to the final outcome quality-wise.  Ultimately, between the irregular rain and sunny days, the vintage turned out to be exceptionally fine…favoring those vineyards with particularly old vines…like Dow’s.

As this is a pre-sell, and I have not tasted the 2011 (although I have tasted MANY vintages of Dow’s over the years), I am going to give you Robert Parker’s 98 POINT review of this wine.

Yes…98 Points!!!

The 2011 Dow Vintage Port was made from no less than 44 separate ferments from finest plantings. It has a beautiful, quite extravagant bouquet with copious black and red fruit, Indian spice, and hints of menthol and orange rind that unfold wonderfully in the glass. The palate is a sumptuous affair, one that is beautifully balanced with velvety smooth, plump tannins, copious black fruit with a harmonious, white pepper-tinged finish that is a decadent delight. This is one of the finest of the declarations of 2011 Vintage Ports, a sublime expression of the vintage you would be foolish not to buy. This is Dow at its best. 5,000 cases have been declared. Tasted May 2013.

We have time, folks, as this wine is not due to arrive until September.

The cost is $89.99 a bottle.

By the 6-pack case it will sell for $80.99 a bottle.