The Honest Pour with John Lenart

Taking you beyond the bottle.


August 2018

Ep. 52 Mike Kush, Winemaker, Chasing Harvest

Winemakers get only one shot per year to get a vintage right.  This makes it tough for them to gain valuable experience, particularly early in their careers. In order to gain more practice, they can travel from the northern hemisphere to the southern in order to cheat mother nature and sneak in a second vintage each year. This practice is known as chasing harvest. It was so deeply embraced by Mike and Jennifer Kush that they named their wine after it. After chasing harvests around the globe, the Kushs have settled into the two regions which they are most passionate about, Central Otago in New Zealand and the Douro Valley in Portugal.


Jennifer and Mike Kush, Chasing Harvest


2015-doc2015 Chasing Harvest Douro DOC, Vinho Branco

Pale gold in color this wine presents aromas of pear, delicate white flowers, lime leaf and a distinct minerality. On the palate the medium weight is balance beautifully with flavors of anjou pear, apricot, and citrus, bright acidity makes for a long mouthwatering finish.

SRP: $22

2017-rose2017  Chasing Harvest, Pinot Noir Rosé, Central Otago, New Zealand

Medium salmon in color the nose on this rosé is all about finesse and elegance. Aromas of ripe strawberry, dried violet and hot dusty stone. On the palate the lush and refined texture gets your attention first. This leads the way to flavors of ripe strawberry, cherry, mandarin and lime peel and a crisp acidity which makes this wine great as a porch sipper or perfect for food.

SRP:  $22


2014 Chasing Harvest Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand

This delicate ruby colored pinot noir expresses aromas of dark cherry, leather, earth and a savory umami note. Flavors of black cherry, fresh herbs, and a hint of baking spice are backed by fresh, bright acidity and youthful fine yet grippy tannins. This one will age gracefully for three to six years and beyond.

SRP:  $35

Ep. 51 Dave Guffy, Sr. VP Winemaking and Viticulture, Hess Family Wine Estates

While Napa might be most widely known as cabernet country, the small valley offers a diverse collection of growing areas giving winemakers a broad palate from which to choose when deciding on grape varieties and winemaking styles. From the cool far south of Napa Valley where he grows the fruit for a bright, balanced chardonnay , to Mt Veeder which produces powerful yet elegant cabernet sauvignon, all the way up to Pope Valley in the far northeast where the warm growing season produces fruit bursting with flavor, Dave Guffy at Hess Family Estates makes the most of these choices. Guffy marches to his own beat in his winemaking and it’s a unique expression which wine lovers will certainly enjoy.


Dave_GuffyDave Guffy, Senior Vice President Winemaking and Viticulture, Hess Family Wine Estates


hess chard bottle 0032016 The Hess Collection, Napa Valley, Chardonnay

Nose of white flowers and sweet citrus. On the palate flavors of pear, apple, tangerine and a hint of lime zest are balanced by bright acidity, creamy lees and a slightly spicy finish.

SRP:  $22





Panthera Chard bottle 0032016 Panthera, Russian River Valley  Chardonnay

Rich and round, fruit forward aromas typical of Russian River Valley chardonnay. On the palate flavors of ripe peach and apricot are given structure by hints of toasty oak and a finish of caramelized sugar and sweet spice,

SRP:  $45




Hess Allomi Cab bottle 0012016 The Hess Collection, Napa Valley “Allomi” Cabernet Sauvignon

A nose of ripe plum, dark berries and hints of earthy, savory aromas.  Flavors of rich raspberry, plum, and red currant are backed up by moderate acidity and fine tannins. A rich round mouthfeel, this wine finishes off with hints of cocoa and baking spice.

SRP:  $32





Lion Tamer bottle 0012015 Lion Tamer, Red Blend

On the nose aromas of expressive purple flowers and hot wet rocks let you know this isn’t going to be a flabby, one note malbec blend. Complex flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum lead to hints of pomegranate and cocoa. On the finish notes of cinnamon, clove, vanilla and silky tannins complete this rich, lush, easy drinker.

SRP:  $45




Hess Veeder Napa bottle 0022013 The Hess Collection, Mount Veeder, Cabernet Sauvignon

Aromas of both red and dark berries are backed by notes of pencil led, cocoa and vanilla. Flavors of blackberry, black cherry, cassis, and blueberry are given structure by elegant but youthful tannin and a soft finish. A great expression of Mt. Veeder from a classic vintage. Five to ten years of cellar aging will pay dividends.

SRP:  $65



Ep. 50, Ted Henry, Winemaker, Clos du Val

I travel to Napa Valley more than any wine region in the world. That’s just one reason I get excited to interview wine makers from historic wineries from Napa Valley. In the decades since the historic “Judgement of Paris” tasting Clos du Val did an amazing job in building its brand. But at what cost? I sat down with Ted Henry, wine maker at Clos du Val to talk about the rebirth of this historic Napa winery, the commitment of the owners to invest not only monetarily in  the endeavor and of course to taste the first cabernet sauvignons from the efforts.  The 2015 cabs from Clos du Val may be a bit more expensive than previous vintages but you’ll be rewarded with wines that are expressive, loaded with finesse, drinkable now, but ones that will pay huge dividends after a decade or so of aging.


Ted Henry, Winemaker, Clos du Val

15 Estate Cab HI2015 Clos du Val, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Complex youthful aroma of black currant, menthol, earth, and baking spices. On the palate flavors of currant, plum, cocoa, and subtle minerality are balanced by grippy tannin and bright acidity.

SRP:  $52





15 hirondelle cab

2015 Clos du Val, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Hirondelle Vineyard, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley

Elegant floral aromas lead to finessed red fruit. Velvety tannins reveal flavors of blueberry, currant, and clove all elevated by lively acidity. Cellar this wine for five years and beyond for a special wine from an outstanding vintage. It will be worth the wait.

SRP: $120

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