Posts Tagged ‘Decoy by Duckhorn’
Every year the folks at Winebow put on a two-day show at Soho at the Skylight. Winebow, headquartered up the Garden State Parkway in Montvale, NJ is a major importer of fine Italian wines – among others – and also enjoys distribution rights in many parts of the US. In wine terms it’s a very large company with about 400 employees and a national sales force, and its Winebow Brands International brings in great stuff from Spain, Chile, Argentina and Portugal. Winebow also owns Click Wine Group based in Seattle, which handles 17 labels, the best-known among them Fat Bastard, whose Chardonnay seems to be increasingly popular.
Normally I don’t talk much about importers and distributors, but from a consumer standpoint it might be helpful to turn the bottle around and look on the back label. For imported wines, you’ll see who brings it into the US, and when you see the Winebow name (or Kermit Lynch, Banfi, or Palm Bay too) it should give you some comfort that these are well-vetted selections.
Now, a tasting of this size is a bit overwhelming, even for someone who enjoys tasting 100 wines before breakfast, as I’ve done on a couple occasions. Far as I can tell, about 300 wineries were represented and I’m certainly not going to go through the whole book to count the number of individual wines. Every year this is the biggest tasting I attend, and in three hours – which is about my limit – I only get to a fraction. But I do focus on labels I don’t know so that I can bring to light some lesser-known brands and wines that I liked and can recommend.
I’m not going to put in detailed tasting notes and since I don’t “rate” wines per se I’m just going to list those that struck a chord.
Let’s start with close to home at New York State’s Millbrook Winery. Producing for 25 years, Millbrook is under-appreciated or perhaps totally unappreciated for the quality of its wines. And for us New Jerseyites and New Yorkers, it’s just a 90 minute drive north of the city.
MILLBROOK WINERY (Hudson Valley, New York State)
CHATEAU JULIEN WINE ESTATE (Carmel Valley, California)
CHAMISAL VINEYARDS (Napa Valley, California)
Chamisal is the second label of Napa Valley’s Pine Ridge, which produces one of my favorite whites, a mix of Viognier and Chenin Blanc.
DECOY by DUCKHORN (Napa Valley, California)
Decoy used to bottle just one proprietary red wine and I think you could get it only at the winery. Today they’ve got a range of mostly reds, and a style that’s distinctive and different (and generally less expensive) from Duckhorn.
GUNDLACH BUNDSCHU (Sonoma, California…sort of)
Gundlach sits at the intersection of Sonoma, Napa and their southern neighbor Carneros, which gets that nice cooling fog off San Pablo Bay. I’ve never been a fan but this year I tried two whites that I really enjoyed.
ROMBAUER VINEYARDS (Napa Valley, California)
Rombauer’s got about 300 acres – which is a lot – and is family owned and operated, which used to be the standard in Napa but has sadly changed a lot over the last decade.
BODEGA PIRINEOS (Aragon, Spain)
These are wonderful wines, many of which include juice from indigenous grapes that most of us have never heard of, such as Parraleta, a thin-skinned red. The winery’s only 17 years old but you’d never tell it.
LIBRANDI (Calabira, Italy)
TASCA d’ALMERITA (Sicily)
I tried this label only because I’ve become fond of Nero d’Avola, a grape and a wine of the same name that is atypically delicious and very affordable – albeit hard to find – on the list in fine dining restaurants.
TENUTA la MARCHESA (Piedmont, Italy)
Here’s another case of my going just for the grape. In this case it’s Gavi, an underappreciated grape sometimes given “garbage” status by wine snobs. It’s anything but.
CHATEAU DE MONTFAUCON (Rhone, France)
HARLAFTIS (Peloponnese, Greece)
I’ve not had much experience with Greek wines, and I wished I’d saved a little more time during the tasting for some of them. This particular winery produces wines from indigenous and international grapes. One thing I would say is that they need to use a little more imagination in naming their wines!