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Wine Club Newsletter - December 2016

Hawk’s Nest Wines, Encinitas, California

By Gary Parker, Owner
The WineSellar & Brasserie

That’s right, Encinitas, California. And the wines are stunning!

WineSellar Club members (Gary Parker Collection) and wine pals David Meyer and Lizbeth Ecke invited 30 of their closest friends to a grapevine planting party a few years back. I was one of those chosen to plant a few hundred vines of various red and white varietals. It was a well thought-out plan, as like varietals were placed with different orientations to the sun and on the land.

It was a slightly overcast day, but we could still see the ocean from their front parcel, which sits just above the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course. It took only four hours to get the vines in the ground, and when we were through, we had a light lunch and a few sips of wine to mark the occasion.

Ratchet ahead to February of this year, where I am working as a judge for a wine competition called “Toast of the Coast”. As I was judging a couple hundred wines, blind, one of my fellow judges told me that David and Liz had submitted their wines to a different competition and got some very high ratings.

I did not know they had named their wines “Hawk’s Nest”, nor did I have any clue that the vineyard was producing drinkable wines after only a couple of years in the ground. It generally takes four to five years for the vines to produce grapes worthy of making fine wine, and here, after two years, the wines are winning medals.

I called up David and asked him what was happening, and he invited Lori and I over to see the vineyard and look at his winery, which he had added on to their house. Couple weeks later we find ourselves eating luscious appetizers and drinking a couple bottles of David and Liz’s wine. They were both wonderful, rich, balanced, with a solid line of acid to perfectly balance the fruit.

I was super impressed, and asked if I could buy some. Alas, the production on their wines is extremely limited, and he was going a far stretch just to share some with us. Too bad, I would have loved to share it with all of our WineSellar Club members.

On another note, I want to say thank you to all of our WineSellar Club Members, and the best to you and your loved ones for the holiday season, as well as a great 2017!

The LabelLori David LizBest of Class  Vineyard Site

2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Lime Rock

Growing Region: Central Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Varietal Composition: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Fermentation: Stainless Steel Fermentation
Alcohol Content: 12%
Suggested Retail: $24.00
WineSellar Club Price: $20.69

Broad Strokes:                  
One of our favorite stops on our New Zealand wine tour in November was Lime Rock Winery. It is kind of out in the middle of nowhere, perched on a hill eight hundred feet above sea level, miles from the sea. Interestingly, the soil is full of oyster shells and other marine fossils, similar to Chablis, France.

At one point, this land was under the sea, and now this vineyard and winery are producing wines that have distinctive limestone, oyster shell, and mineral notes that are directly derived from the soils. Also, the people were great to us, and all the wines showed really well. I am proud to offer this wine to you, and hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

They were talking about updating the logo while we were there, but I kind of think the design tells the story pretty well. Do read the back label for more information. The wine is almost clear, with just a hint of a straw hue.

Totally delightful fragrances floating above the wine glass. Gooseberry, coconut, lemongrass and lime waft up, but held firm by notes of chalk and mineral. Floral scents of jasmine and ginger flower recognized as well.

Medium to medium-light in body and weight, but it is not watery by any means. It has a youthful feel, a little zest if you will, which is amazing for a wine two and a half years old. There is also a nice edge of a lemon-lime citric acid holding it together very well.

Lime and mineral notes dominate the flavor profile on this lovely wine, with hints of chalk and slate. There is a nice nutty element, with toasted pecans and macadamia. Of course, the gooseberry is evident, as is lemongrass and a mild essence of ginger. Here’s a new one for me: I got hard-boiled egg whites out of it. Fantastic!

Serving Suggestions:
This wine is SO great with food! Any kind of salad is divine, as is white-fleshed fish with a butter and herb sauce.

2011 Tondré Pinot Noir

Growing Region: Santa Lucia Highlands, CA
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Fermentation: 37% Hungarian Oak, 20 Months
Alcohol Content: 14.5%
Suggested Retail: $45.00
WineSellar Club Price: $35.99

Broad Strokes:              
“Let the wine make itself” is an axiom that weaves aromas and flavors together, vintage by vintage. This concept leads our winemaker, Tony Craig, to his decision to use oak as an interactive process with grapes each year. He focuses on how the wine feels along with how it tastes. As a critic of oak, he avoids unneeded oak tannins that reduce bright color hues, produce harsh tannins and unbalance the wine.

Tony Craig has been producing award-winning vineyard-designated Pinot Noir for over twelve years. He is committed to producing elegantly refined and luxuriously flavored Pinot Noir that appeal to wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts who are artisans in their own world and demand a world-class sensory experience in everything they do.

91 Points Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits Magazines

A fine-looking label that is easy to read, with straight-forward font and their message. The wine is very dark, especially for a Pinot Noir. It is very viscous, and the almost syrupy liquid clings to the inside of the wine glass.

Ripe and dark fruit aromatics, with black cherries, plum and a hint of prune. Notes of dark wood and dark wet soil. Clove, cinnamon, and Indian spices are evident, as well as a touch of white pepper.

Medium to medium-full in body and weight. The rich and deep fruit is wrapped by a silken and smooth sensation, which is generously countered by the spicy notes, making the wine dance and sing on the palate.

Deep black cherry fruit, with sweet cherry juice, black raspberry, plum and vanilla. Those spices from the nose surface here, cinnamon, clove especially asserting themselves. Bittersweet chocolate, Dr. Pepper, and solid notes of dark, roasted nuts, wood, and dark soil.

Serving Suggestions:
The wine has a long life ahead of it. I would say 4-8 more years would benefit this wine as it would evolve quite nicely. 

2014 Syrah, Pace, Ballard Canyon

Growing Region: Santa Barbara County, CA
Varietal Composition: 100% Syrah
Fermentation: 30% New Oak, 10 Months
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Suggested Retail: $35.00
WineSellar Club Price: $26.99

Broad Strokes:              
Back in May of last year, I told you about my meeting with the Pace family at a ‘Garagiste’ wine tasting up in Santa Barbara, and again later in Los Angeles at a similar event. They have a couple new release wines that I absolutely had to share with you, this Syrah (26.99) and an outstanding Chardonnay that club members can get for $21.59.

I put the 2012 Ballard Canyon Syrah in all three wine clubs that month, a first for any wine we have offered. And now we feel the 2014 deserves the same treatment! 175 cases produced.

Again, the Pace label is a standout, and the details of the wine are easy to read, which benefits the consumer. The wine is dark at the core, with some hints of dark magenta on the edge of the glass. Some solid curtains hanging in there.

Ahhh, youth! Still young, and somewhat closed, the fruit reveals itself as the minutes go by. Dark plum, cherry and blackberry surface, along with black olive, black and white pepper, wood notes and spice.

Medium- to medium-full in body, it possesses a lovely palate feel with the entry, middle and finish. Nice touch of creamy texture, and even in youth, it is smooth, even, and very well balanced.

I just love the flavor profile and the texture on this wine. Plum, dark fruit, tapenade, coffee and some crushed herbs adorn this beauty. White and black pepper, earth, roasted nuts and dark chocolate/cherry/ice cream sundae comes to mind. Yummy!

Serving Suggestions:
Similar to the 2012, this wine will easily cellar for another 6-10 years. At this price, why not drop 6-12 bottles in your cellar and watch it evolve!

2008 Syrah, Bonaccorsi, Bien Nacido Vineyard

Growing Region: Santa Maria Valley, CA
Varietal Composition: 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier
Fermentation: 75% New Oak, 18-20 Months
Alcohol Content: 15%
Suggested Retail: $52.00
WineSellar Club Price: $43.19

Broad Strokes:              
What a deal! 2008 Syrah from an excellent producer with high ratings and a deeply discounted price.

In 1999, Michael and Jenne Lee Bonaccorsi formed the Bonaccorsi Wine Company and set out to produce wine of their own with the love of Burgundy and the Rhone. Since their first vintage in 1999, they continued to strive for improvements not only in winemaking techniques but improve the quality of the best vineyards in the central coast. "Our goal at the beginning was to move from Santa Barbara to the Russian River Valley, but Michael realized that we could produce wine just as good, if not better, in the Central Coast, especially in the new Sta. Rita Hills appellation…all this untapped potential."

94 Points Wine Enthusiast, 92 Points Robert Parker

It’s a good-looking and distinctive package. The wine is nearly opaque, with very dark red on the rim edging out from the black core.

What a lovely nose! Very dark fruits of crushed blueberry, black raspberry, piecrust, dough, yeast, black walnut and mahogany wood. Add in some smoked meat, bacon, bittersweet chocolate, clay and slate. Jeez, it just keeps going!

Medium-to full-bodied wine has a solid, dense, rich feel in the mouth. There is a touch of creaminess in the middle palate, and it is drying on the finish.

The palate reflects the gifts we experienced on the nose: crushed blueberry, black raspberry, smoked meats, bacon, more of a milk chocolate than a bittersweet one on the palate. The clay and slate give a nice mineral edge. I detected cedar, espresso, graphite and black pepper. What a knockout!

Serving Suggestions:
Even though this wine is already 6 years old, it has a long life ahead of it. It’s drinking lovely now, but I would say in 4-8 more years this wine would continue to smooth out and develop aged complexities. Get some for your cellar, folks!

Quick Cauliflower Coconut Stew

This is a wonderful recipe I gleaned (and have used) from Dr. Mark Hyman. This delicious stew is perfect for vegetarians or meat eaters. And it’s full of healthy fats! Comforting and warm, it’s one the whole family can enjoy for dinner. Add in some chicken or tofu for extra protein. If you’re enjoying a bit of grains, this pairs nicely with wild rice

Serves four.


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, stemmed and cut into bite-size florets
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  •  1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 can full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


  1. In a medium stockpot, heat the coconut oil for 30 seconds on medium heat.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and stir until they start to sputter. Then add the onions and cook for another minute, and then, add the tomatoes, stir and cook for a few more minutes until the tomatoes soften.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir together. Cover the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to keep from burning.
  4. Ladle the soup into 4 serving bowls and enjoy! Leftover stew can be stored in air-tight container and saved for lunch the next day.

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

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