I finally picked up my wine club selections from The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. I can tell you that even though I have been retired, there is no moss on me, I always seem to be on the go, or doing a project, and now with my Bride retired, we will eventually have to develop a new rhythm. I always look forward to the monthly selections, as I know that they have been curated by the owner of the shop and he has impeccable selections, as every wine in the shop has been personally selected by him, there are no mass-produced jug wines here. And as always, there is one Old World selection and one from the New World.
The first wine was Eguren Ugarte Family Winery Crianza Rioja DOCa 2012, originally the winery was known as Heredad Ugarte and they have been making wine since 1870. They are in the sixth generation of wine farmers in Laguardia, in the heart of Rioja Alavesa. The winery has one-hundred-thirty hectares of vineyards and two-thousand meters of caves under the winery for aging. The Rioja region is divided into three sub-regions; Rioja Alta, to the west, known for more traditional style wines; Rioja Alavesa which is at a lower elevation which can offer some richer flavors and sometimes in more modern winemaking techniques and Rioja Baja, which has the lowest elevation, the dries climate of the three and offering deeper color, intense flavors and a higher alcohol count. Many of the fine houses blend wines from the three sub-regions to take advantage of what the region can offer. This wine is a blend of ninety-two percent Tempranillo and eight percent Grenach. The wine is fermented and aged for six months in American Oak barrels and then aged for another six months in bottles, before being released to the market. The tasting notes offered is “red cherries, spices and herbs captures the aging with a slightly toasty aroma. Soft tannins and an excellent aromatic aftertaste.” I have had other wines in the past from this winery as it is easy for me to remember their name, because if you are a major “Casablanca” fan like me, you know that Peter Lorre’s character was named Ugarte.
Representing the New World is Montoya Vineyards Pinot Noir Monterey County 2019. Monterey County is huge piece of real estate and the two major varieties that have found critical acclaim for the soils and climate there is Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The region was recorded as being planted for grapes a couple of centuries ago by the Franciscan Friars and the Spanish Mission in Soledad. There is not much to glean from Montoya Vineyards, but I will presume that they buy fruit that they have contracted for from other vineyards. The winery has two vineyards (Twin Oaks and Suter) for planting and only Suter is listed in the Arroyo Seco Vineyards site as having Pinot Noir. According to the notes offered there was extended skin maceration during fermentation and aging in French Oak. According to the furnished notes with the wine “juicy blackberry and raspberry fruit flavors, with balanced structure and a silky, complex finish.” Additional notes discuss “raspberry and rhubarb flavors with a long lingering finish.”