The Monday Morning Fog Clears in London to Reveal Another Delicious Wine From Mullineux Family Wines…

Fog Monster wines from Amador County, California (Sierra Foothills) is another boutique project from Andrea and Chris Mullineux of Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines. Andrea, originally from California, together with husband Chris, have been sourcing unique vineyard parcels in the Sierra Foothills, where the vineyards are exposed to interesting Californian climatic conditions.


In the case of coastal California, the offshore marine layer is typically propelled inland by a pressure gradient which develops as a result of intense heating inland, blanketing coastal communities in cooler air which, if saturated, also contains fog. The fog often lingers until the heat of the sun becomes strong enough to evaporate it, often lasting into the afternoon.


I have not tasted this wine for several years, even though I have several bottles hidden in my cellar, but today it stood out as a real revelation, brimming with characterful energy and freshness. Made from Chenin Blanc from the Story Vineyard (un-grafted rootstocks at 1900 feet), the wine is essentially esoteric in nature, but certainly delicious with broad appeal.

Fog Monster Chenin Blanc 2012, Amador County, California, 12 Abv.

Rich Sauternes yellow colour, the aromatics are initially tight and broody, showing pithy mineraly lemon zest and peach stone fruit. Complexity grows rapidly in the glass where apple puree, orange blossom, and dried Sauternes-like notes of orange peel and lemon / peach tea infusions develop. The mouthfeel is so cool, taught, and tight knit, bristling with wound spring tension and core freshness on a most seductive, textured, lengthy finish. Beautiful weight, fine balance and incredible precision. A really lovely natural leaning, minimal intervention wine. 

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW) 

The Wait is Over ~ The Iconic Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Finally Released…

Silver Oak Cellars is a superb family-owned, California icon winery dedicated to producing only premium Cabernet Sauvignon. Silver Oak was established in 1972 by Ray Duncan and Justin Meyer and is currently operated by Ray’s sons David Duncan, who serves as the President and CEO, and his brother, Tim Duncan, who serves as Executive Vice President. 


Silver Oak has two wineries… one in Oakville in the Napa Valley and one in Geyserville in the Alexander Valley. The Duncan Family also established Twomey Cellars in 1999, named after Ray Duncan’s mother, where they produce Pinot Noir, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Twomey has its own wineries in Calistoga and Healdsburg. 

Journalist and wine commentator Joe Wadsack tasting the 2013 Alexander Valley Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon.

The 2013 vintage was certainly one of the most memorable vintages ever produced in California, already garnering some of the highest scores from the likes of Robert Parker, Jeb Dunnick, and Antonio Galloni. So it’s no surprise that I was thrilled to taste the 2013 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon today with Vivian Gay, the Export Director of Silver Oak. Unfortunately, the Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 is still resting in bottle and will only be released in February 2018. 


Silver Oak 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 13.9 Abv.

Dark inky black, a seductive, alluring 95% Cabernet Sauvignon wine aged in US oak, 50% new, 50% used. Another 2 years in bottle following an unusual phenomenon these days. But this epic vintage shows a sublime saline, maritime nose, with black berry, cassis, graphite, cherry kirsch, and tart sour plum. Wow, what aromatic complexity. Delicious bay leaf, oregano, tobacco leaf intermixed with saline cassis, salty black plum, and delicious, creamy cedar oak spice. The palate is piercing and precise, intense, concentrated and so finely tuned like a formula 1 sports car. The tannins are dense, powerful and grippy but never lose their elegance. The finish reveals dry chalky notes, sweet tobacco leaf and a long, long, lingering earthy, brambly black currant finish. Been waiting for this release for years, and now finally tasting it, makes me weak at the knees! A profound Cabernet expression. 

(Wine Safari Score: 97+/100 Greg Sherwood MW) 

Putting Merlot On the Map ~ Tasting Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot…

Inspired after a visit to Bordeaux, Dan Duckhorn produced the first vintage of Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot in 1978. Highlighting Estate vineyards and top sites, their renowned Merlot reflects the diversity of the valley’s many appellations. Blended with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon to add a little extra depth, power and structure, this wine typifies high quality Merlot like only France, Tuscany and California can produce.


Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2013, 14.5 Abv.

This pretty 2013 Merlot displays a saturated red- purple plum colour matched by an expressive, opulent bouquet. There are lashings of sweet black cherries, blueberry, graphite, black plum and dusty, smokey cassis with a sprinkling of mocha choc spice and creamy vanilla pod spice. The palate too is lush and generous with a very finely structured, elegant texture and sleek powdery tannins. The flavours are creamy and intense, with bright piercing cherry acids, blueberry pie, creme de cassis concentration, and finishes with a beautifully tight knit elegance and focus. A serious expression for Duckhorn, for Merlot and for Napa Valley in a fantastic Californian vintage.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)