They had me at “Girard”. Recently I was asked by a wine distributor if I’d have an interest in hosting a Meet the Winemaker event for our store, Whole Foods Market North Miami. Said winemaker would be in town for other events and was interested in doing a tasting/bottle signing event. Since we’d done well with other similar events the offer was put on the table. It was true, we’d had great success in the recent past with winemakers in our store. Our customers and team members truly enjoyed the one on one interaction and learning experience of these “Rock Star” wine moments.
So far so good, but the question was being put to me during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve trifecta of shopping and retail event madness. My head was spinning. I recall I mustered the strength to ask “can you tell me who it is?” and the distributor replied Marco Digiulio of Girard Winery. I am sure the distributor went on with a short history of the winery and their wines. All I heard was “Girard“……
Girard just happens to be the producer of one of my favorite wines: Artistry. A consistently excellent fruit rich yet earthy Napa red blend that I consider to be one of my special occasion go-to wines. In fact when I was hired by Whole Foods as a Specialty Beverage Buyer and asked to list my top wines for the department you can bet Girard was on there. At the time I was able to bring in their Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Artistry. Presently, we also stock their Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. On my in-store wish list is the Petite Sirah, presently out of stock and the Old Vine Zinfandel which knocked my socks off.
Meeting Marco, yes we are now on a first name basis although some refer to him as Girard’s “Chief Wine Overlord”, was a wonderful opportunity for me to taste and compare earlier, current and new vintages. It was also my first time trying the white wines of Girard. Wines I can now recommend to our customers as I tell them what style of wine-making went into these productions. Stories I picked up from Girard’s Chief Wine Overlord himself. ¡SALUD!
This wine from Chile’s Rapel Valley came to us via the Wall Street Journal Wine Club. Pricing on-line through WSJ and other sources averages about $13-14.00 per bottle with discounts for larger quantities. This wine in particular was awarded the bronze at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2011.
I continue to be a big Chilean wine fan. Bordered by the Andes, the Atacama desert , the Pacific Ocean and the Antarctic; Chile is considered to have great conditions for growing grapes.
Gran Valle’s winemaker is four time Chilean Winemaker of the year; Adolfo Hurtado. An impressive pedigree indeed in addition to his environmentally progressive methods in the vineyard. The wine bottle notes state that “he even uses a flock of geese to help protect vines from pests”!
Upon decanting I noted ripe fruit on the nose with a more specific red fruits as it opened. I also recognized a minerality that made me wonder for the first time what soil the vines were grown in; volcanic, rocky?
About 40 minutes after decanting its light texture gave flavors of plum, cherry and strawberry on the palate along with a hint of earthiness and bitterness. I believe the slight bitterness may be due to the wines youthfulness; 2011 vintage. A little maturity should balance this out nicely.
Also noted were nice slow-moving legs on the glass and a delicious long finish on this beautifully colored, garnet with a hint of purple/violet Pinot Noir. I am looking forward to seeing what happens with the second bottle I have in my wine cellar [yes, still the guest room] long down the road when I have a 2nd taste. Well, I say long down the road but that could actually be next week 🙂 I hereby promise to put the second bottle in my SAVE pile in the hopes I will be able to hold out. So far so good with others; I actually do have some bottles I have now been holding for a year. A year seems to be my record though….
Final note: Would I drink this wine again; YES. Would I serve it to friends and guests; YES. Would I buy some more; YES. Would I go out my way to buy this wine……this is where I arrive at the proverbial fork in the road. I would consider it a very good everyday wine should I have it available. But, there are so many other good to great wines even at this price point, that the adventurer in me would want to keep discovering. SALUD!
We discovered this particular dessert wine through one of our Total Wines and More classes last year. Not being fans of sweet or in our minds “dessert” wines we were quickly impressed by this one in particular and its subtlety. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon with hints of honeysuckle, lychee and pear on the nose. The same on the tongue, as well as an undertone of honey as it warms. It is truly elegant and builds on your palate nicely.
The average price for a 375ml bottle runs just under $30.00. For us not an everyday dessert wine [Is there such a thing? I am sure there is for some..] but a great treat for special occasions and to share with wine loving friends. Salud!
Owner and winemaker Olivier Castéja says that the direction the wind is blowing at harvest is a good indication of the quality of the vintage; if you can hear the train it signifies that the wind is blowing from the west and conditions are likely to be dry, if you can hear the motorway to the east, then bad weather could be on its way. Fortunately in 2008, the only sound to be heard during the harvest was the train clattering along the railway track to the west, and the weather was warm, fine and dry throughout.
- Dessert Wines – A Dynamic Duo (binnotes.com)
- Speak Wine? (wineglassit.wordpress.com)