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Add this wine to your order and we’ll waive delivery in Orange County or Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley
Use coupon code WOTW on the website, call the store or email us.
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Wine of the week.
Our wine of the week for the week of March 9th, 2020 is Santo Stefano Rutherford Cabernet 2014 from the Riboli Family/San Antonio Winery in Downtown Los Angeles. While downtown LA was the mecca for California wine growing in the 1880s, LA has given way to big buildings and crowded freeways. There is still one winery that recently celebrated its 103rd year in business. San Antonio still makes wine today, there vineyards have moved up north to Paso Robles, Monterey and Rutherford but the hub for the winery has remained in the same spot since 1917 on Lamar street in Downtown Los Angeles.
Santo Stefano comes from their Rutherford vineyards which they’ve owned since 1986. They quietly purchased a 16-acre lot on the Silverado Trail and produce this wonderful Cabernet loaded with Rutherford taste and feel for an absolute steal. The story behind this wine and family is second to none in California but it’s the quality in the bottle that truly blew us away.
Notes from the region:
Rutherford ranks among the very finest Napa Valley AVAs. It is located south of St Helena and immediately north of Oakville, at the heart of the Napa Valley winegrowing area. It is named after Thomas Lewis Rutherford, who married Elizabeth Yount, granddaughter of Napa’s pioneering vigneron George C. Yount (see Yountville).
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape here. The long, warm summer days encourage the organic, earthy flavors for which Napa Cab has become known, complemented by opulent fruit richness. Fully ripe tannins are another luxury that the warm climate grants Rutherford winegrowers – with time in bottle, these contribute structurally to some of America’s most highly acclaimed red wines. Cabernet’s Bordeaux stablemates Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are also present in Rutherford vineyards, used both as Bordeaux-blend components and to make varietal red wines.
Napa Valley’s AVAs can be divided into two, in terms of terroir: those that cover the hills, like Howell Mountain or Mount Veeder, or those that lie on the valley floor. Rutherford is firmly in the second category, with its vineyards reaching from the base of the Mayacama mountains to the Silverado Trail at the bottom of the Vaca mountains. The land between is home to famous names like Caymus, Inglenook, Grgich Hills and Scarecrow.
Abundant sunshine and warm temperatures allow Rutherford’s grapes to reach optimal maturity over the course of the growing season, producing deep, richly flavored wines. Located 12 miles (20km) north of Napa town, and half that distance again from San Pablo Bay, Rutherford summer days are also blessed with damp, cooling fog rising northwards up the valley from the Bay Area. The fog is sufficient to moderate the hot Californian sunshine, which might otherwise overcook the grapes, depriving the wines of aromatic complexity and the acid structure essential in all cellar-worthy wines.
Instead, Rutherford’s grapes make wines that often display a sought-after balance of flavor and acidity, due to their long, even ripening period. This influence is particularly noticeable in Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon wines, which bear the same hints of eucalyptus and mint as their Oakville neighbors. Deep, well-drained, sandy loam soils are relatively consistent throughout the AVA, although a greater clay component is noticeable closer to the banks of the Napa river and Conn Creek.
Notes from Santo Stefano:
In 1986, Stefano and Maddalena Riboli began farming a small, 16-acre vineyard in the heart of Napa Valley’s Rutherford appellation. Located along the Silverado Trail, the site was chosen for its rich, clay-loam soils and gentle slope. A temperate climate of warm days and cool nights provides the long growing season necessary for full maturation of flavors and aromas. In 2001, a comprehensive replanting focused on new French clones of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The vineyard is ideal for the production of structured, full-bodied wines.
Rae’s Place Tasting Notes:
Santo Stefano Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Rutherford, California
Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot
Santo Stefano Cabernet Sauvignon is a mouth-filling wine with smooth texture and soft tannins. Enticing aromas of vanilla and spice are followed by ripe flavors of blackberry, currant, and black cherry. The finish shows hints of bittersweet chocolate.
Pair with grilled red meats, slow cooked roasts or vegetarian ragu with pappardelle.
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Tupungato, Mendoza Argentina
Beso de Dante Red Blend
Uco Valley, Mendoza Argentina
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Wine of the week.
March 8th, 2020 is “International Women’s Day” so this week we are celebrating one of our favorite female wine makers, winery owners and names in international wine, Dr. Laura Catena. Laura is a 4th generation winemaker, Harvard grad, Stanford Doctorate physician and author. She splits time between Mendoza as a vineyard owner and San Francisco as a practicing physician. She also works alongside some of the best vineyard owners/producers to produce her “La Posta” wines of Argentina and has her own winery Luca, named after her first son. She is an absolute badass, regardless of her gender but personifies the passion and capabilities of women around the world.
We are proud to offer two wines from Luca: the 2017 G-Lot Chardonnay and the 2014 Beso de Dante red blend. We think these two wines capture Laura’s vision and translate beautifully into the California palate.
Notes from the region:
Uco Valley-Mendoza, Argentina-
The Uco Valley (Valle de Uco) is a key winegrowing region of Mendoza, Argentina. An hour’s drive south from the city of Mendoza, it is home to some of the region’s most famous wines.
Argentina’s primary grape variety of Malbec shines here, producing terroir-driven red wines with a distinctive floral aroma. Cabernet Franc is much less widely planted, but some great results have been achieved. In addition, some of Mendoza’s finest white wines made from Chardonnay and Torrontés come from Uco Valley vineyards. The relatively cool climate allows the requisite slower ripening period.
Although considered part of the Mendoza region, the Uco Valley can be recognized in its own right on several counts. Not only is the vine-growing area quite distinct; the region is also home to several of Argentina’s top producers. Attracted by the excellent climate and soil, newcomers such as the Bordeaux-based names Lurton, Dassault, Rothschild and Rolland have raised the region’s profile. The vineyards of Vista Flores have produced some particularly successful wines.
Among Uco’s specific merits is its high elevation at the foot of the Andes mountains. The valley’s La Consulta and Tunuyan sub-regions sit at altitudes of 850 meters (2000 ft) and 1100m (3600 ft) respectively. These are slightly higher above sea level than Maipu and Luján de Cuyo in the north.
Located at a latitude of 33°S, the area’s elevated vineyard sites benefit from high daytime temperatures combined with cooler nights. This allows the grapes to produce balanced sugars and acidity while achieving phenolic ripeness.
From the Tupungato region in the north to San Carlos in the south, the Uco Valley is roughly 70km (45 miles) long and 22km (15 miles) wide. The valley follows the northerly course of the Tunuyan river as it flows down from the Andean peaks. The dry continental climate brings little rain, so the river is an important resource for vineyard irrigation. The town of Tunuyan, with a population of around 45,000, is situated on the western banks of the river.
Soils throughout the Uco Valley are alluvial and fairly uniform: a clay and rock base with a stony, sandy surface. These free-draining soils are excellent for quality viticulture, as they stress the vines, leading to decreased vigor and lower yields. In turn this can lead to wines with a higher concentration of flavor.
Uco Valley has seen unprecedented investment in the past 20 years. Wine tourism is becoming one of the region’s key industries. The spectacular scenery and state-of-the-art winemaking facilities has led some to portay the region as Argentina’s equivalent to California’s Napa Valley.
Notes from Luca Vineyards:
Luca was born out of Laura Catena’s vision of creating a new breed of Argentine wines: small quantities, artisan quality, and true to their individual terroirs. She is a pioneer in Mendoza for working closely with small growers to grow very high-quality grapes from some of Argentina’s best old-vine, low-yield, high elevation vineyards. Each varietal delivers power along with complexity and finesse. They are the ultimate expression of rigorous vineyard management, viticultural experimentation, strict irrigation controls, skilled winemaking, and a quest for quality at any cost.
Luca is named after Laura Catena’s first son and it symbolizes her love for her family. The family crest that appears on the label belongs to her husband Dan McDermott’s family.
LAURA CATENA, OWNER
Born in Mendoza, Argentina to a pioneering winemaking family, Laura is relentlessly determined in all that she accomplishes. She has helped her father, Nicolas Catena, build the country’s prominence and influence in the New World wine scene. In addition to Luca and La Posta wines, Laura runs Catena Winery and the Catena Wine Institute while living in San Francisco where she is a mother of three, an ER doctor, and an author.
“Since Laura Catena took over and put her name on the label, the estate series seems to have taken on a bigger, brasher expression. The Catena Zapata wines can stand proudly among the best in the world.”
Dave McIntyre, The Washington Post
Rae’s Place Tasting Notes:
Luca Chardonnay “G-Lot” 2017 Mendoza, Argentina
This is a stunning effort from Laura Catena. Big, ripe apple and pear with tropical notes and plenty of toasted oak. This Chardonnay can stand up to the big boys and also has enough restraint to keep your palate from exhaustion.
Pair with lobster, grilled halibut or lemon risotto with roasted sunchokes.
Luca Vineyards Beso De Dante Red Blend 2014 Uco Valley, Argentina
Cabernet, Malbec, Cab Franc
This is an amazing red blend from Laura Catena of the Catena family in Argentina. Great fruit with hints of mint, amazing structure and depth with good body and acidity. This is a big, cab drinker’s red from one of the greatest winemaking families on the planet let alone Argentina. These are Laura’s vineyards and wines, made by her using generations of knowledge and true passion. Grab a bottle, you’ll be glad you did.
Pair this with everything you’d think of in Argentine BBQ and big, ripe cheese. Or just sit back in your chair and let this wine wash over you.