Each month I always look forward to the choices from The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. A class act operation, where I and every other patron knows that he won’t have to wade through the wines offered at gas stations, drug stores, convenience stores or big box stores. Every bottle of wine that is on the shelf or still in the case, has been personally vetted by the owner and his reputation rides on each bottle, even the ones used for the club selections. Beyond the impeccable collection of wines, another added bonus, is that club members automatically get case discounts, even if they only stop in to pick up a bottle or two. And when you go to pick up your Club Selections, allow yourself some extra time, so that you can taste a wine or two that they just received, it is hardly ever a duplicated pour.
The first selection representing the Old World is Domaine Berthet-Rayne Cuvee Vieilles Vignes Cote du Rhone 2019. Raoul Raymond when he was in his twenties, took over his family farm and uprooted parcels of cherry groves to plant vines. In 1978 with the help of his son-in-law Christian they set up Domaine Berthet-Rayne. Originally the Domaine Berthet-Rayne created a range of wine to be only sold in France, with property in the Cote du Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Between 1995 and 2000, the estate first began exporting wines in Europe and then finally to the United State of America. The Domaine has twenty-nine hectares in Chateauneuf-du-Pape on diluvium alpin soil and they are on the left side of Rhone between Orange and Avignon and share some of the famed terroirs of Coudoulet and Chapouin with their clay-chalk soils. The Cuvee Vieilles Vignes actually means Old Vines, with the average age being forty-years-of-age and some of the vines being seventy-years-of-age. The wine is a blend of seventy-five percent Grenache, fifteen percent Cinsault and ten percent Syrah. The wine is certified organic by EccoCert and the Domaine is cultivated and plowed in an environmentally friendly manner. It is described as being a dark ruby/purple wine, full bodied with notes of black cherry and cassis, with complex tannins for cellaring potential and a silky finish.
The second selection representing the New World is Kenwood Vineyards Pinot Noir Monterey County/Sonoma County 2018. Kenwood Vineyards was established in 1970 in Sonoma. It was founded by the Lee family when they purchased the estate and winery of the Pagani Brothers that began in 1906 and were successful until Prohibition. In 1999 the winery was bought by F. Korbel and Bros. and in 2014 Kenwood was bought by the international beverage concern of Pernod Ricard. Kenwood Vineyards has twenty-two acres of estate vineyards and also sources fruit from dozens of other growers in Sonoma. The winery has been known for years for some of their Single-Vineyard wines, as well as some of their other collections. The first time that I ever had a wine from Kenwood Vineyards was their famed Jack London Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is ninety-six percent Pinot Noir and three percent Zinfandel and is part of the winery’s Discovery Series. The fruit is sixty-four percent Monterey County and thirty-six percent Sonoma County. The wine is described as having notes of black cherry, smoky oak and dark cola, with strawberry and cherry on the palate along with layers of tobacco and smoked bacon with a finish evoking cinnamon pie-crust.