| Daniel Herrera
Daniel got his start in the wine industry as a warehouse employee at WHWC in 2007 and immediately became fascinated with wine. Daniel expanded his knowledge and trained his palate by helping pouring wine at our Saturday wine bar. He is a recent addition to our wine sales staff, and we believe his potential in the industry is far from over. One of his favorite quotes that he likes to live by is "Don't be the one following footprints, but be the one leaving them behind." Daniel is currently pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice at Los Angeles Mission College.
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It was a month of anticipation and questions to decide where to go for Labor weekend. But one thing I did know for sure: wherever I ended up going I would bring the bottle of wine I’d been wanting to have for a long time. I’d had the previous vintage of this particular wine and right away it became one of my favorite wines in the store.
The 2008 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee Napa Valley a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec & Cabernet Franc. I haven’t had this new vintage yet and was very excited to see how the ’08 would compare with the ’07. The conditions during the growing season and harvest weren’t as perfect as the previous vintage. Because of the dry Spring season and long cold nights, vines pushed out early. On the other hand, vines experienced perfect daytime temperature during this season which made the wine more rich and balanced.
In addition to Labor Day weekend, it happened to be my girlfriend’s anticipated b-day. What to do for it? Well I wanted to get away for sure, so I researched and made reservations for a great Labor day/b-day getaway celebration weekend on beautiful Catalina Island. After a long drive to Long Beach Port and a hour long boat ride, we finally got to our destination. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. The sun was out, the island was alive and the people there were enjoying everything as we made our way to our hotel. Word of mouth from previous visitors was that Steve’s Steak House Bar & Grille was the place to go if you want a really good steak. Without thinking twice, I called the restaurant and made reservation for that same night of our arrival. Dropped our bags at our hotel room and hit the town for the rest of the day.
After a long morning and afternoon of exploring Catalina and its wonders we headed back to our room to get ready for dinner. In one hand I had my girlfriend’s hand and in the other hand my precious bottle; I couldn’t have asked for a better evening. The weather of the island at night was cool, not too hot and the sky clear. I had asked the waiter to please open the bottle of wine right away, to give it some air to open up before having it with steak. We started with salad. The steak arrived and we had it with the wine. What a good combo. Chappellet has the complexity of a Bordeaux, with the richness of California growth. The nose shows a touch of spice, plums, mocha and ripe fruit. On the palate you get hints of black cherry, soft but rich tannins, which lead to a much anticipated long finish. What can I say but: “It was a perfect pair with an amazing steak.” The whole night was a good experience, the restaurant, the island, the company, and the wine. I highly recommend this bottle of wine to be pair with some good steak.
A while Back I had the pleasure of the attending Viva el Vino, www.vivavinola.com a tasting event held at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. The food and setting were perfect; just to be surrounded by so many wines from all over Italy was a phenomenon. A few regions present were: Campania, Friuli, Marche, Piedmont, Puglia, Sicily, Tuscany, Umbria and beautiful Veneto. It was a great atmosphere for a wine lover. Many wines at this tasting stood out for me, but I wanted to showcase a few in particular to share in this blog.
Walking to each table and checking out the amazing selection of wines picked specially for this event, I found myself drawn to Fattoria Viticcio. Viticcio Chianti Classico ’07 was the hit. The wine gives hints of cherry, and berry characteristics. The acidity of the wine is well-balanced, and followed by a long finish. A full-bodied wine to have with pork or meat. The Viticcio ’07 comes with a price of only $16.99 – it’s definitely worth trying.
Next stop was Masi Agricola. After tasting through, the wine I liked the most was Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Costasera ’06. The nose was full of flowers, spice, blueberry, and cherry. Medium-full bodied with smoke and soft fruit, this wine is juicy and round and follow by a good long lasting finish. This wine can be drunk now or be held for another 5 years, but I wouldn’t wait too much longer beyond that especially if you’re pairing it with lamb, beef, and pork.
To conclude I had two Super Tuscan wines (I always say leave the big boys at the end.) Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno ’07 is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot. Aromas of flowers mingle with blueberry and cherry. this wine is a full bodied with refined tannins, and coffee on the back palate. Even though this wine should be tucked away in a cellar for a few years, its characteristics are starting to show already. The last bottle I tasted had to be the Antinori Tignanello ’07. What a wine! It blew my companion and me away. The Sangiovese sure shows in the body, so ripe, with a great acidity and structure, but the nose belongs to the Cabernet Sauvignon. With 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon & 5% Cabernet Franc, the nose jumps right out of the glass with aromas of berry, spice & tobacco. What a great wine to keep in your cellar for a decade…then drink! It has serious aging potential.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions feel free to come by the store or email me email@example.com
I recently had the pleasure of attending the Ribera del Duero tasting at the fashionable SLS Beverly Hills Hotel. It was a small but unique tasting focusing on this up-and-coming region in north-central Spain, not far from Rioja. With the maritime influence of the not-too-distant Atlantic and lots of sunshine, Ribera del Duero provides ideal conditions for its mainstay grape, Tempranillo (also known as Tinto Fino.) Those who are not familiar with Spain and the quality and value of its wine output need look no more. Ribera del Ruero is on the rise.
The first wine that caught my attention was Pago de los Capellanes Reserva Ribera Del Duero 2001. Winemaker Paco Casas has won many awards in European tasting challenges, including Gold Medal at 2005 Premios Zarcillo, Burgos, Gold Medal in the 2005 International Wine Challenge London, and Gold medal in the 2005 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. This wine has flown under the radar in the States for far too long. I really hope to see the wines of Pago de los Capellanes start to get the recognition they deserve. Aromas of vanilla, minerals, and smoke complement the berry notes. This fresh, firm, well-balanced bottle of wine screams out for pot roast, or a nice juicy grilled steak. And the price of this bottle is only $44.99, not bad for a 2001 reserva.
The second bottle that caught my eye and tingled my palate was the Aalto Ribera del Duero 2007. This wine is young and tight, but once it’s been decanted for an hour or more all the aromas begin to reveal themselves delicately. Black cherry, blackberry, and pain grille round out a nice spicy bouquet. On the palate the wine is pure, dense and opulent with a long-lasting finish. This wine will evolve well over the next 10 years and seems a good addition to one’s private cellar. It’ll go great with ribs, or sausage and bell pepper pizza. Priced at $39.95, it’s an excellent value for such a high quality bottle of wine.
So next time you are thinking of grabbing a bottle from Spain, think Ribera Del Duero. It’ll take you there.