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The Honest Pour with John Lenart

Taking you beyond the bottle.

Month

April 2018

Ep. 42 Darrin Low, Wine Maker, Domaine Anderson

Most trips to northern California wine country end just a short drive from San Francisco in Sonoma or Napa.  But, if you’re a lover of pinot noir or chardonnay and don’t mind a bit more driving through the redwoods, head up to Anderson Valley.  This is one of California’s coolest growing regions, which makes it perfect for the Burgundian varieties. Homey and bucolic, Anderson Valley is the road less traveled, and that’s a shame because there are some brilliant wines coming from this region. Back in 2012, Roederer Estate, which had been producing outstanding sparkling wines from Anderson Valley fruit since 1981, started a still wine project with the release of Domaine Anderson wines. I met with Darrin Low, who grew up in Healdsburg, the talented wine maker at Domaine Anderson, to discuss what makes Anderson Valley unique and of course, to taste some delicious wines.

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DSOw0K0UQAAFvzLDarrin Low, Wine Maker, Domaine Anderson

DAEC2014 Domaine Anderson Estate Chardonnay

Bouquet of white flowers, golden delicious apple, lemon meringue, and a distinct minerality.  Stunning balance. Nothing is too showy in this chardonnay. Clearly California fruit is restrained by great acid, minerality and elegant leesy creaminess. Flavors of yellow apple, Meyer lemon, and slightly under-ripe stone fruit are balance by crisp acid for a long finish. At under $30 you can;t beat this chard.

SRP:  $29

 

 

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2014 Domaine Anderson Estate Pinot Noir

Nose of dark berries, earthiness and hints of baking spices. On the palate this wine presents a moderately full body.  Restrained flavors of dark cherries, blackberry and cocoa are balance by tannins which might be considered a bit bold for pinot noir and bold acidity. Further complexity is added by a wonderful earthiness. All of this combines for a wine that has a lot to offer and will age nicely for the next 10 years.

SRP:  $50

 

 

domaineanderson_pinotnoir_20132013 Domaine Anderson, Pinoli Vineyard, Pinot Noir

Aromas of purple flowers, dark cherry, blackberry and a hint of fresh thyme. This wine is all about elegance and texture. Flavors of juicy, yet restrained, berries are backed by notes of licorice and fennel. Vibrant acidity and fine tannins combine with everything else on the long, complex and elegant finish.

SRP: $65

Ep. 41 Mike Dunn, Wine Maker, Dunn and Retro

While it doesn’t have a huge marketing presence the name Dunn is sure to get the attention of Napa Valley Cabernet lovers. Randy Dunn made his first eponymous Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon in 1979. Dunn cabernets today aren’t all that different from earlier vintages. They eschew the trendy giant style that garners high scores from critics. This doesn’t mean Dunn wines are thin by any means. The fruit from Howell mountain makes a wine that is tannic for sure, but once you get beyond that (or let the tannins settle with a bit of aging) the fruit is extraordinarily elegant and complex. Today, Mike Dunn makes the wine at Dunn and fosters his father’s vision for this Napa icon.  At the same time Mike has started his own label, Retro. This brand lets Mike explore styles beyond the house style of Dunn with his delicious petite sirah.

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Check out our sponsor Fooditor.com,  the total Chicago food experience, bringing you the stories of Chicago’s chefs, restaurants, and people who make food all over town, in words, pictures, video and audio. Read local– read Fooditor.com.

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Mike Dunn, Wine Maker, Dunn and Retro

 

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2011 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

An alluring nose of fresh red fruit and floral notes. On the palate this wine shows brilliant finesse. Silky tannins integrate with pretty fruit and great acidity. Drink this wine while you wait for the bigger vintages of 2012 and 2013 to age.

SRP:  $130

 

1240959x2012 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

A bit of a shy nose showing darker fruit aromas and forward minerality. Grippy tannins reveal layered flavors of blackberry, black currant, licorice, and a distinct earthiness. A long complex finish speaks volumes about this wine. A true classic. This wine will age brilliantly for decades.

SRP:  $135

 

1292510x2013 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

If 2012 was a classic, I’m not sure what words you can use to classify this tour de force of Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon. Deep in color. Complex aromas of rich dark berries, floral notes, and graphite. Flavors of ripe, luxurious dark fruit intermingle with bright acidity and bold tannins. Great minerality and a hint of animal funkiness complete this brilliant bottling.

SRP:  $145

 

1138654x2012 Retro, Elevation, Old Vine Petite Sirah, Howell Mountain

Aromas of plum, dark berries, sweet baking spices and leather. On the palate this wine has great texture showing flavors of blackberry, blueberry, cocoa and cola notes. Bold acidity and tannins will let this wine age nicely for years to come, but it drinks great now.

SRP:  $45

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