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Wine Club Newsletter - January 2017

2015 Colombard, Old Vines, Y. Rousseau

Growing Region: Russian River Valley, California
Varietal Composition: 100% Colombard
Fermentation: 85% Stainless Steel, 15% French Oak
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Suggested Retail: $20.00
WineSellar Club Price: $17.99

Broad Strokes:              
90 Points Wine Enthusiast:
Owner Winemaker Yannick Rosseau was raised in Gascony, to which the Colombard grape is native for hundreds of years. The grapes for Y. Rousseau Old Vines Colombard come from 43-year-old, dry-farmed vineyard in the Russian River Valley, one of the very few remaining Colombard vineyards in the area.

Yannick chose to make this wine because of its unique character and to bring a slice of Gascony to American wine lovers. I found this wine delicious, and with distinctive character. Only 224 cases of this wine produced, and we nabbed nearly 10% of his production.

Great looking label. Direct, clean, good visual impact, and descriptive. The wine glistens in the light, reflecting a metallic and golden straw hue. The wine clings to the glass very well, with curtains dripping slowly down the bowl.

Fresh tangerine, ripe pear, peach, buttered popcorn, pineapple and some wood-notes. I also detected a scent of lime meringue pie, with a little crust and whipping cream . . . the Full Monty pie thing.

Medium in body and weight, with a delightfully creamy center. It has a voluptuous mouth-feel, silky as well, with an edge of bright, youthful acid. The fruit to acid balance is so darn agreeable!

My first and foremost flavor impression was of ginger, and ginger ale. Some hints of vanilla wrap the tangerine, pear and citrus notes, and are followed by the buttered popcorn, caramel and butterscotch notions, though they are delicate. Clean and long finish.

Serving Suggestions:
The winery recommends oysters, which I think would be a fantastic one-two punch. Also consider salads, roast chicken, roast pork, and goats cheese.

2014 Son of a Butcher, Red Wine, Y. Rousseau

Growing Region: Appellation of California
Varietal Composition: 45% Tannat, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc
Fermentation: 18 Months, 20% New, 80% Neutral
Alcohol Content: 13.9%
Suggested Retail: $22.00
WineSellar Club Price: $18.89

Broad Strokes:              
Y. Rousseau was named one of the Top-100 wineries of 2015 by Wine & Spirits magazine. Yannick and Susan Rousseau started their winery in 2008.

Yannick hadn't planned to stay in California for a long time when he moved here from France. But he fell in love - first, with Napa Valley terroir and then, with his wife Susan. Together, they have put all their knowledge, experience, and passion in the Y. Rousseau project, crafting small-lot, artisanal wines.

Yannick honed his winemaking skills as an assistant winemaker at Newton Vineyards and later as a winemaker at Chateau Potelle Winery.

The label is all kinds of fun. I actually think it is an old photo of Yannick. And the back label, although hard to read the script, is quite humorous. The wine is a dark brick red, with shades of black. The dark liquid appears to melt leisurely down the inside of the glass.

Blackberry and blueberry fruits, with dark chocolate, bacon, sweet cedar, vanilla, and roasted hazelnuts. Smoke, red and black licorice, beef jerky, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. See if you don’t get some or all of those and more!

Old World/New World in style. Tough at first, rustic, surly perhaps, acid on sides of mouth become smoother and more refined as the minutes pass. It was still sort of handsomely brutish midway through the bottle, reaching a near elegant touch at the 90-minute mark.

Blackberry, blueberry, coal, smoke, dark chocolate, beef jerky, prune, date, apple pie, red and black licorice, cherry and pomegranate. Then cinnamon and nutmeg. Again, the nose was the window to the palate.

Serving Suggestions:
So much fun this one! What a bargain! Needs a BBQ’d Steak!

2014 Pinot Noir, Dragonette Cellars, Sta. Rita Hills

Growing Region: Sta. Rita Hills, California
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Fermentation: 100% French Oak. 9% New
Alcohol Content: 14.5%
Suggested Retail: $45.00
WineSellar Club Price: $40.49

Broad Strokes:              
From the Winery: The SRH Pinot Noir is all about complexity and balance. From the inception of our winery we have believed that blending Pinot Noir from diverse vineyard blocks and sites would create a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

The wine is really about beauty, texture and freshness and it should even eclipse the 2013, which was called “rich, ample and enveloping, [but with] gorgeous aromatic lift” and given 92 points by Antonio Galloni and 90 points in the Wine Advocate.

The label is straightforward and speaks to the wine inside, with logo imprinted on the image. It has a dark red color, black at the center, getting almost clear at the rim of the glass.

Dark cherry, cherry juice, root beer, vanilla, roasted nuts, wood (mahogany) smoke and black pepper come out of this slightly subdued but complex aromatic wunderkind. Candy Cap mushrooms, a fragrant little mushroom of California origin was evident and wonderful to reminisce. OK, here’s my weird/fun one: the scent salted peanuts . . .

Love this! Rich, velvet, silken, long, elegant, yet still full in the palate. It has that wonderfully smooth Pinot Noir texture, with almost a sweet sherry like glide though your mouth, trimmed by some lively citric acid and the ripe tannins.

The black cherry fruit is dense, almost like a Montmorency Sauce served with duck. However, there is a brightness that keeps it rich but very much in balance fruit-acid wise: Pool water fresh, just rich in fruit. Add some tobacco (cigar smoke), black pepper, cinnamon, Dr. Pepper, and don’t forget my Candy Cap mushrooms!

Serving Suggestions:
What else? You would want to serve this with Canard (Duck Breast) with Montmorency (Cherry) Sauce, a classic. This would be SO perfect!!! I am going to make it our recipe for this month.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Harris Estate, “Indulgence”

Growing Region: Calistoga, Napa Valley
Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Fermentation: 100% New French Oak
Suggested Retail: $110.00
WineSellar Club Price: $89.99

Broad Strokes:              
So, we get this call from a supplier who tells us about this wine that “got lost” in an off-site warehouse and recently discovered. It is seven years old, and the Winery wants us to try it. We did, and found it to be an amazing wine, and couldn't wait to share it with our Gary Parker Collection friends. As I tasted through the sample bottle they sent, I found myself comparing it to the First Growth Bordeaux: Chateau Margaux for its texture, Chateau La Mission Haut Brion for its gravel, stone, mineral components, and Chateau Latour for its structure.

This was only their second release of “Indulgence”, and the Winery is doing things so very right. By the way, Harris winemaker is Thomas Brown, winemaker of the year in Food and Wine magazine, 2010.

Nice heavy bottle, but not so heavy to make you think it's a waste of our resources. Sensible, but makes a statement, I should say. The label is simplistic and very direct, which I also find sensible. Dark red and black coloring at the core, some dark gray shows as your eyes look to the rim of the glass.

There are some aged complexities you will notice straight off from the aromatics: hints of leather, evolved red and black fruits and nuances of earth and soil. Excellent mineral components, hot stones and cement. Its elegant fragrance reminds me of some of the great First-Growth Bordeaux.

Medium to medium-full in weight. It has a solid presence going into the palate, that of class and elegance, refined and welcoming. I would call the texture “vertical” at first, becoming more generous over the hours while decanted. Just about perfect in fruit to acid and overall weight of the wine. Deep, and very, very long in the palate. A Wow!

Deep, ripe plum, lush black cherry meat, beef jerky are first to be revealed. Kind of exotic notes of the beverage Dr. Pepper, along with distinguished vanilla oak, chestnut, black walnut. Spices nutmeg, cinnamon and white pepper with wisps of smoke and dark earth. Granite, gravel and mineral notes remind me of Chateau La Mission Haut Brion, one of the great Bordeaux wines produced over the last one hundred-fifty years.

Serving Suggestions:
Already seven years old, it's graceful and wonderful now, but I am of the mind it can go another twenty or so years, while gaining in elegance, texture, and complexities. A total winner!

Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Port Sauce

A slight diversion from Montmorency Sauce, this is pretty easy to make and gives wonderful results.

Serves two people.


  • 2 5-to 6-ounce duck breast halves or one 12-to 16-ounce duck breast half
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 12 halved pitted sweet red cherries, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons tawny Port
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom honey (or fine maple syrup)


  1. Place duck breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound lightly to even thickness (about 1/2 to 3/4 inch).
  2. Discard plastic wrap. Using sharp knife, score skin in 3/4-inch diamond pattern (do not cut into flesh). DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle duck with salt and pepper. Add duck, skin side down, to skillet and cook until skin is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn duck breasts over, reduce heat to medium, and cook until browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for small breasts and 8 minutes longer for large breast for medium-rare.
  5. Transfer to work surface, tent with foil to keep warm, and let rest 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add shallot to skillet and stir over medium heat 30 seconds.
  7. Add broth, cherries, Port, and honey. Increase heat to high and boil until sauce is reduced to glaze, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
  8. Whisk in 1 tablespoon cold butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Thinly slice duck. Fan slices out on plates. Spoon sauce over and serve.


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