This area is reserved to highlight and delve deeper into the many interesting people, places and brands that make up the Vintage Imports portfolio.
This producer first planted Cabernet Sauvignon in Sonoma County in 1972, 12 years before Alexander Valley became an appellation. Back then, there weren’t very many vineyards there, much less opportunities to taste the wine from them. Alexander Valley was planted to prunes and apples and hops, mixed field blends for jug wine; Healdsburg was the Buckle of the Prune Belt; my dad was dreaming big and making wine in the basement. 30 years later, they made the first vintage of wine under their own name – Hawkes – 100% estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, grown and crushed and barreled and bottled by the Hawkes family.
Please taste these wines with one of our team members….forget the Parker points…(although they have 90 gazillion) and taste the wines. They are exceptional!
Quinta Do Regueiro
This producer’s importers say that “Regueiro has been making old-school Vinho Verde for about 20 years now. Their methods include bâtonnage (1-4 months, depending on the wine) and decanting – two rare techniques for this region. By “old-school” I mean they are creating white wine in the original Vinho Verde region: no CO2 added. Regueiro does not buy grapes and harvests their entire crop in the Moncao & Melgaco region.”
The 2014 Alvarinho / Trajadura is an unoaked 50/50 blend, dry and without fizz. This is quite a bargain. Showing fine fruit and projecting a fresh feel without the piercing acidity or the slight austerity that its siblings reviewed this issue project, it still has fine crispness and some tension on the finish, with a little zing of lemon. This is easily their most fruit-forward wine this issue, but it still shows beautifully and it is not in any way short on acidity. As with some of the other wines, there are a few herbaceous nuances on the finish that give this an picked-early feel, but it is not quite as strong here. In this style and for this wine’s intended use, I liked it. This isn’t their best-structured or most-concentrated wine this issue, but it is a very nice bargain.
Agly Brothers – a twelve year old collaboration between Michel Chapoutier and Jasper Hill owner-vintner Ron Laughton of Victoria, Australia continues to feature Carignan and Syrah from north-facing gneiss in the upper Agly and Grenache from a schistic, south-facing site in Latour de France. The wine is matured in demi-muids, then tank, under the direction of Bila-Haut vineyard and cellar manager Gilles Troullier.
Tasted assembled and awaiting bottling, the Agly Brothers 2009 Cotes du Roussillon smells of peat and black fruits, but with a detached aura of toasted oak in the guise of lanolin, coconut, and caramel, which accompany cooked boysenberry and cassis on a rather obviously tannin-starched palate. A low-toned finish lingers impressively, though without much brightness. In the context of an illustrious series, the present installment is a bit disappointing. While it ought to serve well over the next several years, I would not be tempted to try to attempt waiting-out the resolution of the tannins.