August, 2007, Offering #81

gary parker of the winesellar and brasserie

by The Social Diary Wine Expert Gary Parker


Note: The 2007 Zagat Guide Says this about the WineSellar! -
"It's "tough to find, but find it" insists eonophiles and gourmets of this retail store/French brasserie (no. 1 for Food in SD) in an industrial area of Sorrento Mesa; true, neither the "exceptionally good food" (served on the second floor) nor "smooth service" is a surprise, but its the wine that "shines" say those "who explore the shop" pre or post dinner."


August 2007, Offering #81

            The August 2007 Gary Parker Collection offering brings two selections from California, the 2004 Hartwell Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, "Miste' Hill", and the 2004 J. Jacaman Pinot Noir.

Hartwell Vineyards is one of the most respected producers in Napa Valley. Since the first release in 1990, Hartwell Vineyards has jumped to the top of Cabernet Sauvignon producer's in the Napa Valley.

The 2004 J. Jacaman Pinot Noir is yet another excellent example of how far Pinot Noir producers in California have come. It is a delightful Pinot Noir, and deserves to be on our tables and in our wine cellars.

2004 Hartwell Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Miste' Hill
            "Grow the best Grapes… Make the best wine!" This is the calling of the Hartwell's, and they live it every day. Purchased in 1985, The Hartwell Vineyards estate was immediately planted with clones given to Bob Hartwell from friend and neighbor Dick Grace of the highly heralded Grace Family Vineyard.

The ten million-year-old Vaca Volcanic Mountain Range on the eastern border of the appellation absorbs the morning sun and reflects the afternoon rays back onto our hillside vineyards below. During the day, the maximum exposure to sunshine helps our vines ripen more efficiently than those growing down on the flat valley floor. At night, the San Francisco Bay marine layer rolls in to cool the vineyards, effectively putting the vines to sleep by slowing the ripening process.

Together, the hilly terrain and temperature fluctuations create the optimum growing conditions that define the greater Stags Leap micro-climate. This regulates the ripening process like environmental clockwork, and helps enhance the fruity characteristics that result from the right balance of acid and sugar.

2004 J. Jacaman Pinot Noir, Toulouse Vineyard

J. Jacaman is a boutique winery specializing in handcrafted Pinot Noirs. Using traditional burgundy-style techniques, J. Jacaman produces delicious, full-bodied California-style wine that appeals to Pinot Noir and red wine enthusiasts alike.
They make no compromises. Everything from the grapes to the barrels to the corks is the best. J. Jacaman produces its wines in a state-of-the-art facility in Sebastopol, California.

2004 Hartwell Estate Vineyards, "Miste' Hill"
            Growing Region: .......................................................   Stag's Leap District, California
            Varietal Blend                                                               79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot
                                                                                                3% Petit Verdot
Fermentation                                                                            20 Months French Oak
Winery Price                                                                          $60.00
Case Price                                                                              $48.99

Notes:                        A paltry 861 cases of the Miste' Hill was produced in the 2004 vintage, making this a very hard to obtain wine. I am certain you will enjoy this classic example of very fine California Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stag’s Leap District of Napa Valley, from one of our States top producers.

Appearance:               A tall bottle with a long, thin neck, attractive label and nice story on the back label. The wine itself is very dark, black at the core, and the color of the skin of black cherry is the hue around the rim. The wine is very viscous, and the legs leave color prints on the inside of the bowl of your glass.

Nose:                          The nose is fragrant and exhibits a well defined essence of Cabernet Sauvignon. Notes of black cherry, vanilla oak, currant and a hint of bell pepper are readily detected. I also enjoyed a touch of mineral and black pepper. Be sure to swirl this wine well, as the coaxing brings out the aromatics quite well.

Texture:                      The wine is medium full in body. The dense texture is quite lovely, silken and smooth. The winemakers choose the barrels with the softest tannins for this wine, so it will show better in its youth. This unctuous, velvety smooth, mouth enveloping and delicious wine makes for a happy palate.

Flavor:                        From the get-go, the black fruits; black cherry, black berry, and currants come directly and pleasantly right to you. The sweet vanilla oak is further rounded with notes of caramel and cinnamon. The Miste’Hill reminds me a lot of fine Bordeaux, with its texture and hints of soft leather in the palate.

Serving Suggestions:  
                                    The Miste’ Hill is not meant to cellar for generations, rather it is a near term consumption wine. It’s probably best consumed sometime between now and 2012.

2004 J. Jacaman Pinot Noir, Toulouse Vineyard
            Growing Region: .......................................................   Anderson Valley, California
            Varietal Blend                                                               100% Pinot Noir
Fermentation                                                                            French Oak
Winery Price                                                                          $40.00
Case Price                                                                              $29.99

Notes:                        J. Jacaman is a boutique winery specializing in handcrafted Pinot Noirs. Using traditional burgundy-style techniques, J. Jacaman produces delicious, full-bodied California-style. I am sure you will love this wine.

Appearance:               The packaging is sleek, with a beautiful dark brown bottle, blue script label, and blue-purple metallic foil cap. However, the script is hard to read. The burgundy-strawberry hue is light and delicate looking in the center, which happens sometimes with Pinot Noir. The liquid on the rim on the glass is totally clear.

Nose:                          The nose has a beautiful, sweet and fruity fragrance, and you know an excellent wine awaits further exploration. Smoke and earth, wood notes, pure, heaven scent Pinot Noir fruit.

Texture:                      The wine is medium to medium light in body. The texture is elegant, with some creaminess in the middle, with a very light touch of citric acid. The palate feel is great, silken, velvety and long.

Flavor:                        The very deep, sweet, black cherry fruit is a surprise when given the light appearance of the wine, as well as the delicate nose and texture. But there it is! Black raspberry fruit also shows well, with dark earthern soil, tree bark, vanilla, coconut, black pepper, and fresh crush herbs, especially basil.

Serving Suggestions:  
                                    You could cellar this wine for 3-7 years, but I think drinking it more in the near term might provide for more enjoyment. The J. Jacaman is quite versatile with foods, and will do particularly well with grilled Ahi tuna, BBQ salmon, and roasted meats.


* Gary Parker is the Principal, Founder, Chairman and CEO of The WineSellar Group. From a background of culinary arts, architecture and art, Gary opened The WineSellar & Brasserie in 1988 with a pioneering concept of combining a fine wine shop, a state of the art wine storage facility, and a highly regarded French restaurant named The Brasserie, all under one roof. With its top rated Zagat level cuisine, and Gary Parker's hand picked wine list of 2,500 classic wines, The WineSellar & Brasserie garnered instant notoriety. The wine list has won The Wine Spectator Grand Award (one of the best 100 wine lists in the world) every year since 1988. Gary subsequently created The WineSellar Club and, an Internet wine auction site. Gary is recognized as a leading authority in fine wine, and is active as a spokesperson, appraiser, auctioneer and panelist in the industry.

(editor's note - Gary is a former principal owner of Laurel Restaurant & Bar. Gary established Laurel in 1995, which he sold in February 2005).

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___________Zagat Accoladed....&.... "Culinary Genius!" says The Social Diary's Scott Johnston____________

Proprietor Gary Parker of the WineSellar & Brasserie says "I consider myself a culinary crusader. I love to provide and promote epicurean pleasures to others through my restaurants, wine shop, and wine of the month clubs."

The Brasserie restaurant has been the recipient of the Wine Spectator Grand Award every year since it opened in 1989. This award acknowledges The Brasserie wine list as being one of the 95 best wine lists in the world today because of its depth and selections.


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