Cape Gazette
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Wine

Millbrook Winery products a good bet

By John McDonald | Mar 24, 2014

Just finished a platter of corned brisket simmered with onion, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, a large dash of homemade hot mustard and a couple of bottles of ale made and bottled by my daughter, Maggie. Life doesn’t get much better, and the combination provided enough blarney to compose this week's suggestions.

First, large kudos to Molly MacMillan for a well-researched and nicely written article in The Culture of Craft Beer section in last week’s paper. A few pages later, there are photos of some beer glasses. Although it is a fine distinction, I would like to comment that the glass labeled a flute is more akin to a pilsner glass. Flutes are more commonly used for Lambics (Belgian) and fruit beers. Beer definitely tastes better in the proper, clean glass.

Laely Heron is the proud driving force behind Heron Wine. Laely is a terrific marketer and personnel manager. Heron owns no vineyards, to my knowledge. They buy their grapes or juice wherever they think best. Most of it is contracted. Recently Heron hit one out of the stadium with the 2011 Monterey County Pinot Noir 2011. It took a double gold in NYC at the World Wine & Spirits Competition. Sadly, there is none left. However, World Wine & Spirits named Heron Winery value brand of the year. I took the opportunity to sample several of their wares. I’m happy I did.

These are indeed great value wines, and I recommend any you see on your wine store shelves. SB, Chard, PN labeled Cali, Monterey or Mendocino County, a nice Merlot and a Cab are all very fairly priced under $13. All those I sampled were 2011. I rated them from 91 for the best of the Pinot and 88 for the Cab to 86 for the Chard.. In all cases the scores reflected QPR as I am inclined with the better inexpensive but quality wines. In the long haul, QPR is the most valuable tool I can provide.

My Uncle Dan DeSole lived in Rhinebeck, N.Y., on the lovely Hudson River. You can bet when I had a chance to sample Millbrook Winery product I jumped right on it. My favorite was the Johnny Rock Grand Reserve Vista Verde Vineyard PN 2011, a pretty, garnet-colored PN with a typical cherry, pomegranate nose that moves into cherry, raspberry, vanilla and pie spice on the palate and continued through a balanced finish; 90 points, $25. Oh and by the way, John Dyson was the neighbor who converted his old dairy farm back around 1979 into the winery.

You may know him as the modern-day wine magnate who also owns Villa Pillo Tuscany, Williams Selyem in Healdsburg and Pebble Ridge on the Cali Central Coast.

Getting ready for summer but still slurpin’ up the last of the R month oysters? Domaine Vincent Delaporte, a Chavignol Sancerre, is a very good buy around $25. Try to buy the 2011. It is the best of the recent vintages. RP rated the 2012 at 91 points, but I like the 2011 better, as it is typical. It reflects the flinty minerality of the terroir in the region.

More bad news for cellarers who are looking for resale. Recently, I wrote of the decline in Petrus’ price. Now it is Chateau D’Yquem. Recent auction of a couple of cases of 2007, 98 points RP, “falls to record low” screams a 20-point headline.

Of course each case of six went for $3,950, 27 percent off its peak according to Liv-ex Cellar Watch. In April 2013, two cases of six sold at Zachy’s for $4,900 each. D’Yquem did not produce in 2012 due to weather. This same situation has only occurred in 1964, ‘73,’74 and 1992 in the past 50 years. It is also true that presale price opened at $278/bottle in December 2007. Again, this may be a buyers’ market for older vintages or a huge crack that shows portents of a break in the markets.

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