The Honest Pour with John Lenart

Taking you beyond the bottle.

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

Ep. 49 Laure Adam, Jean-Baptiste Adam

Over the centuries Alsace has been ruled buy both Germany and France. The cuisine and culture here have certain Germanic influences and while the wines from this region are made from the same varieties often found in Germany, the style in which they are made is uniquely Alsatian. I met with Laure Adam of Jean-Baptiste Adam, a winery in Alsace that is over 400 years old, to talk about the wines from this intriguing region and of course to taste some delicious wines.

Laure et JB ADAM

 Laure and Jean-Baptiste Adam


Jean-Baptiste Adam Crémant d’Alsace Les Natures NV

Made with classic Champagne grapes, chardonnay and pinot noir. On the nose aromas of green apples, lime, white flowers, wet stones, and brie mingle in a wonderful complexity. Flavors of lime zest and red apples are balanced by a fine mousse and good acidity.

SRP:  $24





Jean-Baptiste Adam Crémant d’Alsace Rosé NV

Pretty salmon color. The nose brings forward aromas of strawberry and a flinty minerality. On the palate flavors of mixed red berries, red apple, and hints of fresh herbs. The round structure is balanced by pronounced acidity.

SRP:  $24




Riesling Les Natures

2015 Jean-Baptiste Adam Riesling Les Natures

Wonderful nose of petrol and burnt rubber. Beneath this are aromas of peach and yellow citrus. On the palate flavors of yellow citrus and stone fruit are balance by nice acidity and pronounced minerality with savory hints on the finessed finish.

SRP:  $20








2012 Riesling Kaefferkopf Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru

Aromas of tropical fruits, rubber, sweet citrus, and yellow flower explode from the glass. A rich body leads to complex flavors of pear, apple, lemon zest and a distinct salinity. Very age-worthy. A classic.


SRP:  $28



Ep. 48 Shane Moore, Wine Maker, Gran Moraine

The Yamhill-Carlton AVA, in the far northern reaches of Willamette Valley, was founded in 2004. Often known for producing pinot noir bottlings that are bold and expressive some wine makers look in another direction and create wines of great finesse. Shane Moore of Gran Moraine is one such wine maker. Not only is he making sophisticated pinto noir, but also an exceptionally balanced chardonnay.


Shane Moore, Wine Maker, Gran Moraine

GM-YC-Rose_12017 Gran Moraine, Yamhill-Carlton Rosé of Pinot Noir

Quite delicate on color this easy drinker starts with aromas of rose petals, honey suckle, delicate cherry and light citrus notes, backed up by hints of creme fraiche. The slightly creamy texture is balanced by bright acidity and a touch of fine tannin.  Flavors of watermelon rind, pear and lime zest lead to a long finish.

SRP:  $28




yamhill-carlton-pinot-noir_02015 Gran Moraine, Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir

Delicate garnet in color with hints of purple. Aromas of mixed berries and earthy notes, hints of leather. Beautiful balance and finesse on the palate. Flavors of  fresh plum, cherry, and strawberry are followed by notes of fresh herbs and hints of spice with fine tannin.  Great food wine!

SRP:  $45




yamhill-carlton-chardonnay2015 Gran Moraine, Yamhill-Carlton Chardonnay

A complex aroma of stone fruits, green apple and creme fraiche with distinct minerality. On the palate this wine offers a stunning balance of fruit, acid, lees, and minerality. Flavors of stone fruit, lime zest, hints of nuts, and a flinty minerality combine in a complex yet refined chardonnay. One of the most exciting wines I’ve had this year.

SRP:  $45

Ep. 47 Steven DeCosta, Winemaker, Austerity

Value priced wines are an often overlooked segment of the wine world, yet, questions about sub twenty buck wines are the most frequent I get. It can be tough. There are a lot of bad wines out there in the lower price ranges. So, when I got to taste the wines from Austerity, I knew they were wines I could direct curious listeners to. It’s hard to find good quality, distinctive, wines in the sub $20 range. But Steven DeCosta is creating just that. I met with him to talk about the challenges of making these wines, how he provides great quality while maintaining value prices, and of course to taste some delicious wines.

Steven DeCosta 2Steven DeCosta, Winemaker, Austerity

austerity-chard-bottle-new-label2016 Austerity, Arroyo Seco, Chardonnay

Aromas of apple, pear and hints of wood. Medium weight. Flavors of golden delicious apple. are balanced by moderate acidity, a bit of creaminess and hints of minerality.

SRP:  $17




austerity-pinotnoir-bottle-new-label2016 Austerity, Santa Lucia Highlands, Pinot Noir

Aromas of Cherry and fresh herbs give way to cedar notes. On the palate fresh cranberry and pomegranate flavors are balance by earthy notes and flavors of fresh savory herbs. Fine tannins and fresh acidity balance out this easy drinker.

SRP:  $17



austerity-cab-bottle-new-label2014 Austerity, Paso Robles, Cabernet Sauvignon

Ripe red fruit aromas are rounded out by notes of sage, green olive and vanilla. On the palate flavors of red cherry, cocoa and anise are given structure from fine tannins and balance with moderate acidity followed by a spicy finish.

SRP:  $17

Ep. 46 Liu Pambuffetti, Azienda Agraria Scacciadiavoli


I love a winery with a great story behind it. Azienda Agraria Scacciadiavoli is one such winery. Roughly translated as “Chasing away the devil” Scacciadiavoli is named for a local priest believed to have been an exorcist. But a great story only takes you so far. Scacciadiavoli, in Montefalco located in Umbria, also makes some delicious wines. The primary red grape variety in Montefalco is Sagrantino. An indigenous, hugely tannic, high acid grape that makes wines with a rough exterior which gives way to delicate, elegant, and complex flavors. Like all Italian wines, when paired with food, Sagrantino really shines. These wines also offer an amazing value. Because its not widely known, consumers can buy the absolutely best Sagrantinos available for under $100.  I met with Liu Pambuffetti of Azienda Agraria Scacciadiavoli to talk about her family’s winery, learn about the intriguing Sagrantino di Montelfalco wines, and of course to taste some!

0046SP020213wineryLiu Pambuffetti, Azienda Agraria Scacciadiavoli

bianco alta ris2015, Azienda Agraria Scacciadiavoli, Montefalco Bianco

Nose of stonefruit and pronounced limestone minerality. Flavors of pear, apricot, and lime zest. A medium full body is balanced by crisp acidity and a backbone of minerality.

SRP:  $20


Rosso Montefalco media risoluzione 0,75

2015 Azienda Agraria Scacciadiavoli, Montefalco Rosso

Aromas of fresh herbs, purple flowers and red fruit. A lush full body with flavors of cherries and plum, nuanced by hints of cocoa, balanced acidity and fine tannins.

SRP:  $20


Sagrantino 0,75 alta risoluzione

2012, Azienda Agraria Scacciadiavoli , Montefalco Sagrantino

Purple in color with a nose leading with a dusty minerality, fresh cherries, plum, and purple flowers. The attack of the wine on the palate begins with fine, but grippy tannins which give way to elegant flavors of cherry, balsamico, chocolate and fresh herbs. Serve with roast lamb and you can thank me later!

SRP:  $40



Ep. 45 David Guimaraens, Technical Director and Head Wine Maker, The Fladgate Partnership

I love port wine. But it can be a complicated subject.  Broken down into two distinct groups, tawny and ruby, each style offers different characteristics.  Vintage Port is the grandest expression of all ports. Selected for extraordinary qualities and capacity for aging in the bottle, only about three times per decade are ports declared to have the special qualities of a true “vintage.” When a port is declared as a vintage you can be certain it will be an exceptional wine. 2016 was just such a vintage.  David Guimaraens, Technical Director and Head Wine Maker, The Fladgate Partnership was in Chicago with a group of other port wine makers to introduce the wines of this magical vintage. We met to talk about the 2016’s and of course to taste through his Croft, Fonseca, and Taylor’s vintage ports.



David Guimaraens, Technical Director and Head Wine Maker, The Fladgate Partnership

croft_vintage-port_2016_11926762365ad878273763d2016 Croft Vintage Port

Aromas of passion fruit, and other tropical notes are followed by lavender, ginger and lemongrass. On the palate flavors of black plum, Chinese five spice, passion fruit and eucalyptus are followed by fine tannins. Silky, luxurious and expressive.


SRP: $99.99




fonseca_-_vintage_20162016 Fonseca Vintage Port

Aromas of black currant, black cherry and blackberry are layered with notes of violet. On the palate flavors of mixed dark berries are backed up with youthful acidity and tannins which are quite pronounced. This wine will age beautifully for decades to come.

SRP:  $119.99




2517_crop_15244378992016 Taylor’s Vintage Port

Fresh violets lead the way on the nose of this wine which are followed by notes of fresh raspberry, plum and candied orange rind. Elegant texture and intriguing flavors of mixed berries and a spicy long and complex finish. You can drink this now, but you’ll be rewarded for your patience if you age this for 3 decades or more.


SRP:  $119.99


Ep. 44 Giovanni Genio, Wine Maker, Villa Russiz

Somehow, the experience of a great wine is brought to even greater heights when it’s backed up by a great story.  Villa Russiz, located in Italy’s far north east region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, is just such a winery. Even better, the story behind it continues today. Romance, charity, and great wine. Who could ask for more? I met with Wine Maker, Giovanni Genio to hear this fantastic tale and of course to taste some delicious wine.

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Vinitaly 2014 Friuli

Giovanni Genio, Wine Maker, Villa Russiz

VR-15-Les-Enfants-NV-TRANS2015 Villa Russiz, Les Enfants, White Blend

The nose leads with pronounced minerality followed by aromas of lemon peel, stone fruit and white flowers. Gorgeously balanced texture. Flavors of apple, and citrus peel. Clean, elegant body.


SRP:  $23





VR-15-Pinot-Grigio-Bottle-TRANS-NV2015 Villa Russiz, Pinot Grigio

A firm minerality leads the way on this complex and intriguing pinot grigio. Flavors of ripe, red grapefruit, sour orange, and nutty notes are balance by mouthwatering acidity all combining to make a serious and elegant pinot grigio.


SRP:  $24




VR-15-Sauvignon-Bottle-NV-TRANS2015, Villa Russiz, Sauvignon Blanc

Herbal nose combined with aromas of subtle minerality and hints of passion fruit and pineapple. On the palate, subtle mixed tropical fruit flavors combine with balanced acidity to make this full bodied wine an easy drinker.


SRP:  $25

Ep. 43 Armando Castagnedi, Owner Tenuta Sant’Antonio

Often times makers of wines from classic, old world regions create wine in a style that demands aging in order for it to not only appreciate full potential, but in many cases to be even remotely drinkable.  Because of advancements in both farming and wine making, today, creating making a wine that is both age-worthy yet approachable and enjoyable to drink at a young age is a possibility.  Staunch traditionalists sometimes decry these modern styles as varying too far from the style of wine that a specific region is known for. But thank goodness for forward thinking producers like the brothers Castagnedi of  Tenuta Sant’Antonio. These four siblings come from generations of grape growers, yet, have only been making wine for the past few decades. Today, they are making some delicious wines from Valpolicella. Like may producers of the region they produce Valpolicella, Ripasso, and Amarone. Their Amarones are made in the modern style which drink well now, yet will age and improve for decades to come. I sat down with Armando Castagnedi to talk about the complex nature of wine making in Valpolicella, and what makes their modern approach to Amarone so special.

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Armando Castagnedi with John Lenart

tenuta-sant-antonio-monti-garbi-valpolicella-superiore-ripasso-veneto-italy-108142432015 Tenuta Sant’Antonio, Monti Garbi, Valpolicella Superiore, Ripasso

Aromas of violets, red cherry, a touch of fresh herbs, black pepper and a bit vegetables. On the palate this wine shows a wonderful balance of fresh red berries, nice acidity, herbs, black pepper moderate tannins and a spicy finish.

SRP:  $19



TSASA2013 Tenuta Sant’Antonio,Amarone Della Valpolicella DOCG Selezione Antonio Castagnedi

Aromas of dried red fruits, leather, and hints of red roses. Great silky texture. Fine integrated tannins, moderate fresh acidity. Flavors of plum, licorice, espresso and hints of tobacco. Quite drinkable now but will age gracefully for a decade or more.  Great to pair with food.

SRP: $45



2013 Tenuta Sant’Antonio,Amarone Della Valpolicella DOCG Campo dei Gigli

Complex and elegant nose of mixed dark berries, cedar, and coffee notes. On the palate bold flavors of dried currants, dried mixed berries, fresh herbs, cocoa and cinnamon are balanced by balsamic notes and fine tannins. Wonderful velvety texture.

SRP:  $70

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




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

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