Lot 2023 Club Selection 2021 Alexander Valley Carignan

A Wine Club exclusive holiday release for 2023!

Watch or listen as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes, and Joe Roberts, 1winedude.com, walk us through a tasting and discuss this exciting wine club exclusive release.

Wine Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Intro
00:46 On Carignan
02:21 The Color
03:17 The Nose
04:18 The Palate
05:29 Where in your Cellar?
06:04 Food Pairing

Carignan Wine Tasting Video Transcript:

00:00:07:22 – 00:00:27:23
Hi, Everyone. Welcome back to the CH Wine Tasting Room. This is Chris Lafleur, your super sommelier. And I’m here with my friend Joe Roberts. We’re going to be tasting some pretty wild stuff today, something new about Joe. He’s the author of ‘Wine Tasters Guide’, as well as someone that can be found at 1winedude.com where you can read all of the things that are going on in his head about wine.

00:00:28:01 – 00:00:31:05
Joe, do you got a taste of that? What’s your most recent article that’s super fun?

00:00:31:11 – 00:00:39:14
Oh wow. I’ve been doing a lot of travel in Italy, so you can pick up quite, quite a bit. There has been some stuff on Etna, Romagna, Salerno coming up.

00:00:39:14 – 00:01:00:02
So doing a big takedown of Chianti. I don’t know if that’s true. Probably not true. You can leave Chianti where it is today. We got something pretty special. We’re going to be tasting the 2023 Club Selection. This is all just for you club members. And it is a 2021 Carignan. So that’s a pretty unique grape to be coming out of Sonoma County.

00:01:00:07 – 00:01:12:14
This is from Alexander Valley. This particular Carignan is blended from five different sites put together in this bottle. What is so significant about this, Joe, What makes this so different from the traditional offerings?

00:01:12:14 – 00:01:43:06
Yeah, I’m psyched about this. Yeah, this is probably the first Carignan I’m going to have ever tasted from Alexander Valley. Just not a grape you see widely planted in in that area. It really you don’t see it. Why they planted much outside of France and some parts of Spain. And typically it’s a blending component. Yeah, I, I find some really awesome single variety or carry-ons that are coming out with premium wines from Chile, but the production numbers are super low.

00:01:43:08 – 00:01:50:14
So this is this is just exciting for a geeky wine nerd like me. Yeah. Would you be diving into something special?

00:01:50:15 – 00:02:15:08
Even the band Queen really loved this wine. I mean, they sing about it like ‘Carignan, Carignan’. And that that may or may not be true, but it is something that is hotly debated in wine circles anyway. I also am a big fan of Carignan. I especially love it from prior out when it’s blended with a little bit of nature and it’s on these really high elevated terraces in Spain.

00:02:15:10 – 00:02:31:07
It makes for a wine that is very deep with great complexity, and I think that no matter where this is planted, we’re going to see some of that here. So let’s without further ado, let’s dig in. Do you like that that version of that song I did.

00:02:31:09 – 00:02:34:00
I like ‘Carignan my Wayward Son’, maybe a little bit better.

00:02:34:00 – 00:02:45:00
Oh, yeah. I mean, there might be a whole albums to be made about Carignan, or maybe have already been done. And it’s just a matter of someone, some intrepid writer putting it together.

00:02:45:02 – 00:02:47:07
We’ll be working on that as soon as this video’s over.

00:02:47:07 – 00:03:03:14
Yeah, this is not an official assignment, but we’ll see how what the engagement is like. Pretty dark wine. Yeah, like the look of this very deeply, Ruby, The core doesn’t really change. And going out to the rim, it doesn’t tint any further than pink. So I think this is a pretty youthful. Yeah.

00:03:03:14 – 00:03:17:13
And you can especially in those wines I mentioned come out joy they age wonderfully so yeah. With a really sort of premium level carrying on like this, I wouldn’t expect to see much development yet even after a couple of years and bottle.

00:03:17:15 – 00:03:23:06
Yeah, it is very fresh and intense on the nose. I really like that aspect of it. Like it’s deep.

00:03:23:11 – 00:03:23:19

00:03:23:19 – 00:03:27:07
Deep fruit. Like I think you called out sour cherry.

00:03:27:07 – 00:03:28:02
Sour cherry.

00:03:28:05 – 00:03:44:10
Before. I love that note. I also like, like red currant blackcurrant. Like there’s a depth of fruit here that I associate with those two flavors. I also am noticing on this go around, I’m getting like a little bit of spearmint or eucalyptus or something. That’s a little minty. Yeah.

00:03:44:12 – 00:03:48:13
And some dried herbal notes. Yeah. And meaty. That’s the other that.

00:03:48:13 – 00:03:49:03

00:03:49:05 – 00:03:51:02
Wild is sort of meatiness.

00:03:51:08 – 00:04:02:05
Mm hmm. And it’s, it’s interesting because to me, this isn’t like a rustic wine by any means. This feels like solidly new world, like solidly fruit driven. But all these other notes here add so much complexity.

00:04:02:10 – 00:04:17:20
Yeah, it’s to that point polished. Yeah. Your sense in that get a sense of that like deep juiciness, modern polish, but the signature pieces of the fruit and spice of on are still coming through, which is pretty, pretty sweet.

00:04:17:22 – 00:04:40:06
All right, let’s dig in and see what the structure is like. And that’s Joe and I talked about this beforehand and we were like, Bucket, No, thank you. There are so few bottles of this available. I think there’s only 500 cases made and a bunch of it is allocated just to the club. So like if we’re if we’re going to spit this out, we’re never going to taste it again.

00:04:40:06 – 00:04:55:12
Possibly. So got to enjoy this one. We got it. And I’m enjoying it right now. Great. Finish on this wine. Yeah, I like the structure. I like that the acidity is here. My mouth is watering, but not aggressively so. And it feels really big in the palate.

00:04:55:12 – 00:05:15:00
Like, Yeah, absolutely. It’s got that voluptuous roundness which I think would carry on. Typically, you do get a nice job acid, so it’s nice to have that balance the whole thing out abundantly fruity. Not so much of the green herbal notes and pepper that you might see in some cooler areas, but you’re still getting a lot of that.

00:05:15:00 – 00:05:20:05
Those spice notes, they’re just maybe a little darker, a little more dry, a little more developed.

00:05:20:07 – 00:05:25:12
In the meat that you call that, too. I get it. More on the finish than I do. Like on the nose. Yeah.

00:05:25:14 – 00:05:26:17
Really pushing that finish.

00:05:26:17 – 00:05:32:06
Yeah. It feels a little bolder. So what do we do with a wine like this? I mean, it feels pretty powerful to me.

00:05:32:08 – 00:05:51:06
Yeah, I mean, it’s delicious, right now, So you could. You could definitely be drinking this soon. However you carry on was done. This well is known to have some good aging ability. So it’s me. I, I want a couple of bottles because I want to see where this is going over me. Anywhere between 2 to 5 years. Yeah, it’s going to I think in five years it’s going to be absolutely banging.

00:05:51:08 – 00:06:05:13
Yeah, but all the nuance here, it’s all pretty tightly wound together. And I’m curious to see how it unwinds and delivers more even more flavor, especially on the fruit side. I think there’s lots to unpack. So it’s pretty cool. What do you put this with?

00:06:05:15 – 00:06:10:12
Well, I’m going to ask you that question. You’re the sample. Oh, can you tell me first for for me?

00:06:10:16 – 00:06:27:14
I’m in a restaurant with this. I’m thinking, you know, I was thinking strip loin earlier, and I’m still kind of thinking strip because I think that fat cap handles the weight of this one. But it kind of struck me like with this spearmint sticking out, this is a great lamb dish. This is something middle alongside that with a little mint jelly.

00:06:27:16 – 00:06:38:16
You know, Cabernet Sauvignon, especially from Bordeaux, is traditionally like the thing that goes with lamb. But I think this is a new contender. This is something that can maybe jump in there and take that spot if you’ve got a bottle on hand. Nice.

00:06:38:18 – 00:07:00:11
I’m I’m going to go on the gamey side, the meat, that medium side. Anything gamey. Yeah. I think you’re you’re golden. Having said that, anything with bacon bacon wrapped is probably also going to serve you well with this. So you might even be able to think outside of the sort of traditional render meats you get bacon wrapped, scallops, shrimp might also work.

00:07:00:15 – 00:07:05:23
You start with that is your app move over to the red or meats. You can drink this all the way through.

00:07:06:03 – 00:07:16:15
Oh yeah. This is a wine for all seasons or a wine for all courses, if you will. Appetizer through entrees. I’m not sure about dessert, but if you like it enough, why not? Might as well give it a try.

00:07:16:15 – 00:07:17:06

00:07:17:08 – 00:07:17:21

00:07:17:23 – 00:07:18:08

00:07:18:13 – 00:07:30:15
So. Where is this going to fit in the cellar? I think you need a couple of bottles of this. You got to see how it’s going to change and you got to keep it on hand to show people like, Hey, check out this grape. You ever heard of it? Well, these guys know about it and they liked it.

00:07:30:17 – 00:07:48:11
These guys being us. To be clear. Yeah. I think that this is one that you want to lie down for a little bit. Like you said, 2 to 5 years. I fully agree. I think this is going to change dramatically. It’s going to unwind. Some parts of it are going to come together a little more tightly and make like a single driving flavor coming through for it.

00:07:48:13 – 00:07:49:18
How are you going to buy?

00:07:49:20 – 00:07:51:18
Yeah, a half case.

00:07:51:20 – 00:07:54:13
Half a case each, Yeah. We’ll split a case. You have half. I’ll have half.

00:07:54:15 – 00:07:55:03
I like.

00:07:55:03 – 00:08:02:11
That. And then we’ll look I’ll write comments on your one line Deacon, about how much I like the carry on. Totally unrelated articles.

00:08:02:13 – 00:08:03:13
I’m getting trolled.

00:08:03:15 – 00:08:04:08
Getting scrolled.

00:08:04:10 – 00:08:05:04
It’s cool. Let’s go.

00:08:05:09 – 00:08:11:17
Super trolled by a super song. And with that, I think I’ll see you at the next question. Cheers.




Lot 858 2020 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

As always, Sonoma County continues to be a source of incredible values – Napa’s larger, more laid-back neighbor continues to offer superb quality for price relative to its more famous peer – an enticing fact in these new days of inflation (and a welcome relief to our pockets). The Alexander Valley AVA is the largest and most fully planted wine region within Sonoma and has been producing critically acclaimed Cabernet since Rodney Strong sold the first vineyard designated Sonoma Cab in the mid 70s.

Lot 858 is a single-vineyard designated Cab under its original label from the region’s benchlands, planted to gravel and sandy loam soils. After harvest and press, the wine was aged in 40% new French oak with the balance aged in first and second pass French oak for well over 20 months. The result is a wine screaming for attention in an otherwise written off market (considering all the attention its Napa neighbors command to this day).

Watch or listen as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.

Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Intro
00:24 Alexander Valley Cab
01:39 The Color
01:40 The Nose
02:14 The Palate
03:13 Drink now or cellar?
03:51 Food and Wine Pairing




Lot 886 2021 Alexander Valley Merlot

A Fantastic Alexander Valley Merlot by a well-known Merlot-focused vintner selling for $40/bottle at the source winery’s tasting room.

Fellow Merlot lovers – have you noticed any headlines in the wine magazines you frequent pointing out that producers of world-class Merlot are struggling to keep up with demand? After all, many Merlot vines were torn out in the early Aughts—thanks to one cult-classic movie, which shall not be named! But that’s all changing, and the wineries that held onto their precious Merlot, are reaping the rewards.

Lot 886 2021 Alexander Valley Merlot, comes from a well-known Merlot-focused vintner who has been featured on Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Values lists and “10 Commendable California Merlots.” The Russian River, which snakes its way through Alexander Valley, brings cool air with it during the warm growing months, allowing the natural acids in grapes to remain firm, which leads to a remarkable freshness, or brightness, in the wine – a fantastic AVA to grow Merlot. At nearly $40/bottle at the source winery’s tasting room, it can be yours today for only half at just $20.

Boasting a deep ruby color in the glass, Lot 886 is fabulously decadent and plush, revealing a wealth of flavors on the palate of ripe cherry, fragrant red currants, and spiced Santa Rosa plums. The finish is rich and velvety with lingering notes of black fruit, dried herbs, and baking spices. Enjoy a glass while prepping a roast chicken, another while whipping up a rich mushroom gravy, and depending on how long it takes for dinner to cook, maybe even crack open a second bottle.

Watch as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.

Wine Tasting Video Topics

  • 00:00 Introduction to The Tasting Panel and Chris Lafleur
  • 00:18 Alexander Valley and Merlot
  • 00:44 On The Nose with AV Merlot
  • 01:17 Aging 2021 Alexander Valley Merlots
  • 01:30 On The Palate with Lot 886
  • 02:12 Where does a 2021 AV Merlot it fit in your cellar?
  • 02:30 Food and Wine Pairing with Alexander Valley Merlot




California wine country landscape in autumn

Sonoma Cabernet

When it comes to California Cabernet Sauvignon, it is true that Napa Valley is King.  Between the sheer amount of plantings, savvy marketers, big names, and the “Judgement of Paris” Napa will long hold the bulk of the market value for California Cab.  But with a similar Mediterranean…