Wines from Champagne Jacquart – Brut Mosaique and Brut Rosé

Champagne Jacquart has a rich history dating back to 1964.  For over 50 years, they have worked with winegrowers throughout the region to produce excellent wines.  Today, Champagne Jacquart is home to 1,800 vineyards in the Champagne region with 60% of the vines located in Cru sites.  Their current winemaker, Floriane Eznack, joined the winery in 2011 and she is the force behind Champagne Jacquart’s signature blends.

I recently had the chance to try both the Brut Mosaique and Brut Rosé.  I was not familiar with the brand before and can honestly say I am really impressed with both Champagnes.  Both are terrific wines and incredible values.

Champagne Jacquart

Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaique and Brut Rose

NV Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaique 

The Brut Mosaique, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, begins with aromas of almond and citrus with hints of yeast.  The palate is refined with delicate bubbles and bright acidity.  There are tastes of orange blossom and grapefruit entwined with nuttiness and minerals.  A delightful Champagne that is hard to beat for under $40.

($39.99. 12.5% alcohol)

NV Champagne Jacquart Brut Rosé 

The Brut Rosé is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir vinified as red wine grapes.  The wine opens with bright aromas of red berries.  The vibrant palate offers tastes of strawberries, red currants, freshly baked bread, and minerals followed with a dry, lengthy finish.  We paired it with goat cheese and it went together wonderfully.

($49.99, 12.5% alcohol)

*Media Samples

2013 Les Hérétiques Vin de Pays de l’Hérault

I have been sipping Les Hérétiques Vin de Pays de l’Hérault for the last few vintages.  While it has always been a great mid-week wine, I have to say, the 2013 is an outstanding value.  The wine is 100% Carignan from 40+ years old vines in the Languedoc region of France.  Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections, it is relatively easy to find at specialty wine shops.

2013 les heretiques pays d'herault

2013 les heretiques pays d’herault

The nose has abundant aromas of dark fruit with hints of earth and spice.  The palate is incredibly rich with juicy acidity and smooth tastes of blackberries, violets, earth, and minerals.  Straightforward yet very quaffable and full of flavor.  A perfect companion for a casual meal…I will most definitely pick up a case soon! (13% alcohol, $10)

2014 Moulin de Gassac “Guilhem” Vin de Pays d’Hérault Rosé

It is definitely Rosé season!  My inbox is full of new release emails from wineries and every wine shop is stocked full of 2014 Rosés.  One of the first bottles I reached for this year is 2014 Moulin de Gassac “Guilhem” Vin de Pays d’Hérault Rosé.  Each and every year, this fairly priced Rosé exceeds my expectations.  This year, the wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah from the Languedoc region of France.  With a price of $9-10 a bottle, it is hard to pass up!

2014 Moulin de Gassac "Guilhem" Vin de Pays d'Hérault Rosé

2014 Moulin de Gassac “Guilhem” Vin de Pays d’Hérault Rosé

The nose of this salmon-colored Rosé offers Continue reading

Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso 2013

There is something I love about everyday wines coming out of Sicily lately.  They are fresh, lively, and often lead to great conversations with friends.  Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso definitely fits the mold for this casual and enjoyable style of wine.  It is 100% Nerello Mascalese, a grape native to Sicily.  The wine is made naturally and is aged in stainless steel.

Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso 2013

Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso 2013

In the glass, Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso offers delicate floral aromas with hints of red fruit.  The palate is vibrant and youthful with juicy flavors of strawberries and nuances of spice.  This simple wine is definitely made more in the style of a Rosé than in a traditional red wine.  Serve chilled and enjoy!

(12% alcohol, $13, pair with causal Italian food or grilled chicken)

The Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure 2015

The 3rd Annual Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure is coming to the Santa Ynez Valley March 27-29th.  This year, the festival will be held in Solvang and will feature over 60 of the area’s hard-to-find, micro-production commercial “garagiste” winemakers.


The festival will feature smaller, more intimate events beginning Friday, March 27th that include:

  • Happy Yeast Make Better Wine: an educational (but fun) winemaker symposium sponsored by Laffort, and featuring Cal Poly professor and winemaker Matt Brain of Baker and Brain (5:00 – 6:30pm).
  • No Repeats: Rare & Reserve Winemaker Mixer: where winemakers bring out the best of their best for attendees, including Club Only, Library and Pre-Release bottles, and compete in the “Big Red Shootout,” a friendly competition in which they blind-taste each other’s wines and vote for the best red in the room. (7:00 – 9:30 pm).

There will also be a Grand Tasting on both Saturday, March 28th and Sunday, March 29th.  Each Grand Tasting features 30 different wineries:

  • Winemakers on Saturday Include: Apical Cellars, Archium Cellars, Baehner Fournier, Bellissimo Cellars, Bradley Family Winery, Brophy Clark, Carivintas Winery, Carucci Wines, Clos Des Amis, Cordon Wines, Cotiere, Crawford Family Wines, Dascomb Cellars, Ferguson Crest, Kessler-Haak Vineyards, La Montagne Winery, Larner Vineyards, Levo Wines, No Limit Wines, Pence Ranch, Press Gang Cellars, Roark Wine Co., SamSara Wine Co., Scott Cellars, Seagrape Cellars, Section Wines, Solminer Wines, Turiya Wines, and Weatherborne.
  • Winemakers on Sunday Include: Alta Colina Vineyards, Ascension Cellars, Barbieri Wines, Big Tar Wines*, Central Coast Group Project, Center of Effort Wines, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Conarium Wines, Dilecta Wines, Dreamcote Wine Co., Falcone Family Vineyards, Graef Wines, Imagine Wines, J. Brix Wines, J. Ludlow Vineyard*, Mattina Fiore*, MCV Wines, Mount Dorado Winery, Pace Family Wines, Ryan Cochrane Wines, STANGER Vineyards, Tercero Wines, Tierra y Vino, Vines on the Marycrest, Vino Vargas, Wandering Dog Wines, Workman Ayer, and Zeppelin Winery.

For more info and tickets, visit The Garagiste Festival.

Broc Cellars 2012 Central Coast Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a wine that, if made properly, is elegant and beautiful.  Broc Cellars nailed this style with their 2012 Central Coast Cabernet Franc.  This new release is made naturally with Cabernet Franc from the Central Coast of California and is reminiscent of Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley in France.  If you are used to sipping big and bold Cabernet Franc, this wine will make you rethink everything you know about the grape.

Broc Cellars 2012 Central Coast Cabernet Franc

Broc Cellars 2012 Central Coast Cabernet Franc

The wine begins with an enticing perfume of red fruit and herbs.  The palate is juicy and delicious.  There are fresh tastes of cherry and cranberry mingled with violet and thyme.  Not overly complex, but both graceful and gulpable! (12% alcohol, $22)

Tendu 2013 California Red Wine from Matthiasson

I love drinking Matthiasson Wine, but due to the price (their Napa reds are often upwards of $60 a bottle), I generally only enjoy the wines on a special occasion.  Given Steve Matthiasson’s recent project called Tendu, this has all changed.  Tendu is Matthiasson’s version of an everyday table wine.  Made with grapes from less expensive growing regions in California, the wines are both delicious and affordable.

Tendu 2013 California Red Wine

Tendu 2013 California Red Wine

Tendu Red is a blend of Aglianico, Montepulciano, and Barbera.  The wine is aged in stainless steel, fermented with native yeasts, and is bottled unfiltered.  The nose offers aromas of bright red fruit and a bit of earthiness.  The palate is filled with vibrant cranberries, cherries, and raspberries.  There are also herbal undertones along with healthy acidity that balance the fruitiness of the wine.  So juicy and delicious, you will have a hard time putting down your glass.  Brilliantly bottled in a 1 liter size, this wine is perfect wine for a family style Italian meal or burgers! (12.5% alcohol, $19.99, serve slightly chilled)

Petillant Naturel – Los Pilares 2013 LaDona’s Sparkling Muscat

My experiences with Muscat from San Diego County have been underwhelming to say the least.  Overly sweet and poorly made are the most common thoughts that come to mind.  When I heard the buzz about what Los Pilares had masterfully created with their Sparkling Muscat, I had to find a bottle.

Los Pilares 2013 LaDona’s Sparkling Muscat is a Petillant Naturel (bottled during primary fermentation, capturing the naturally released carbon dioxide, without the addition of outside sugars).  The wine is naturally made with native yeast fermentation and no added SO2.

Los Pilares 2013 LaDona’s Sparkling Muscat

Los Pilares 2013 LaDona’s Sparkling Muscat

LaDona’s Sparkling Muscat is mesmerizing in the glass…cloudy and almost reminiscent of grapefruit juice in color.  The nose is very floral with hints of ginger and stone fruit.  There is an explosion of flavor when the wine hits your tongue.  Notes of citrus, passion fruit, and wild flowers are followed by a bitter, dry grapefruit-filled finish.  A fantastic Pet Nat and a wonderful example of the potential of San Diego County wine!

Petillant Naturel – Salinia “Twenty Five Reasons”

I don’t think I have ever started off a post with this way, but there is a first time for everything – Wow.  I drank my last sip of Salinia “Twenty Five Reasons” almost a week ago and I am still thinking about it!

Kevin Kelley is the winemaker behind Salinia’s “Twenty Five Reasons”.  It is a skin-fermented (14 days) Sauvignon Blanc from organically farmed vines in Mendocino County.  All parts of the grape, including stems, were used.  As with all Pet Nats, the secondary fermentation occurred naturally in the bottle.  The wine is both unfined and unfiltered.

Salinia "Twenty Five Reasons"

Salinia “Twenty Five Reasons”

In the glass, Twenty Five Reasons is golden and very cloudy.  The aromas of the wine are intriguing and unravel with time.  The coolest part about this wine is how it constantly evolves in your mouth and with air. Before too much air, the wine features tastes of minerals, apples, and white peaches.  With a little time, the palate delivers an invigorating, grapefruit filled punch.  As the fruit notes begin to fade, the flavors transcend once again, leaving you with a dry, yeasty finish.

This is undoubtedly one of the most interesting wines I have had in a while.  If I were you, I would find a bottle so you can experience the dynamic potential of California wines.  (12% alcohol, $22.99)

Old is New Again – Petillant Naturel

Petillant Naturel…have you heard of it or tasted it?  Petillant Naturel (or Pét-Nat, as it is often casually referred to), is a sparkling wine made in a completely different style than that of Champagne and other common sparkling wines.  The wines are bottled during primary fermentation, capturing the naturally released carbon dioxide.  The process produces bubbles organically, without the addition of outside sugars.  This age-old winemaking style has been making a comeback over the last several years.

More notes on these Pét-Nats this week!

Tasting notes on these Pét-Nats this week!

This week I am going to highlight a couple of excellent Pét-Nats that I have fallen in love with.  The wines, which vary in taste profile, are quirky, unusual, and hard to stop thinking about long after the bottles are gone.  Stayed tuned for tasting notes and tips on where to find these delicious wines!