Wednesday, June 03, 2009

VintageVino Pick of the Day: Alexander Valley Vineyards

Today I spent the better part of the day working with Andrew Fegelman, Director of Retail Sales and Marketing for Alexander Valley Vineyards (AVV, for short). I have been selling AVV wines for the past 15 years and have a pretty good working knowledge of the people and the wines. Today we were concentrating on newer vintages and the core items from this winery.

The short history of the winery is that it is owned by the Wetzel family since the early 1960s, and making wine under their label since about 1975. Run for many years by Hank Wetzel, but with the assistance of many family members. The winery is located on the original homestead of Cyrus Alexander, for whom the valley is named. Cyrus settled this area in the early 1800s, but there have only been a couple of owners of the land since.

The wines are typical of what I experience from northern Sonoma: full flavored and expressive, touch more rusticity than Napa wines, but always well made and good to drink.

Today's winners seem to be the two wines that are more ready for the warm weather season: New Gewurz, 2008 and the Sangiovese Dry Rose, 2008. These wines have a freshness about them that I find to be quite easy on the palate, especially this time of year. The Rose is a "Dry" style rose, it has a touch of RS but really has great acidity so that it finishes dry. Really easy to quaff - the bottle goes quick. Flavors lend more to the strawberry/raspberry realm with a dark almost cranberry color. The New Gewurz is a tried and true wine for AVV - usually released in the fall just in time for Thanksgiving, it is now available year-round. Here there is a bit more RS (about 4%), but great acidity balances that sweetness out so that the wine finishes dry and clean. Floral on the nose with a dominance of lemon-rind on the palate. Both great choices - the Gewurz is about $9, while the rose will be about $11.

For the reds I am happy to report that the newly bottled (about 45 days ago) 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is tasting great, albeit young. Loads of dusty fruit are here with some herbal notes, smokey aromas and dark berry fruit on a smooth rich feel with weight. This is definitely a keeper and should be ready for regular consumption in about 6 months. I have been selling AVV Cab for about 15 years and this is one of the best I have tasted.

The 2007 Sin Zin (Alexander Valley AVA) was equally tasty. Showing a darker edge than a lot of zins, this wine is balanced on the palate and weighty through the finish. Loads of briary blueberry fruits with a soft attack make this quite pleasant to drink.

AVV has been a consistent producer of wine that generally retail under $20. If you want to step up a bit go for the Cyrus, 2004 - a Bordeaux style blend that is big and smooth and packed with layers of fruit. A big, wine that is not overly expensive compared to the competitive set (about $60).

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