Joe's Winos Wine Club september 2018

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Sardinia's closest Mediterranean neighbor is only separated by 9 miles of ocean. While Corsica is a French territory and is deeply affected by their history, the varietals and wine making on the island are heavily influenced by Italy. While the phylloxera outbreak of the late 19th century dealt this island a heavy blow, it was World War I that decimated it. Roughly 10% of the Corsican population was killed during the war, almost twice that of the mainland French population. Without a workforce to tend to them, vineyards were abandoned. The end of French colonial rule in North Africa brought a huge influx of exiles and many turned to wine. They planted French varietals for bulk production resulting in cheap, strong wines that could be cut with water to be made more approachable. There was little interest in the native grapes of Corsica until the 1980s when Kermit Lynch alongside a few other importers championed a movement exposing the world to quality Corsican wines made from their island's varietals. Corsica has roughly 30 varietals including reds such as niellucciu (sangiovese) and mammolo (considered the pinot noir of Southern Corsica but has no genetic relation) and the white varietal vermentinu (vermentino or rolle in France). Domaine Santa Giulietta's vermentinu is a welcome step away from some of Sardinia's overly rich, mouth-coating offerings. This tropical white offers a bright, inviting nose of starfruit, mangosteen, orange zest, vanilla custard, lemon cake, with just a touch of salt. The palate is juicy with just a hint of the viscosity vermentino is known for balanced by zippy acidity. Yellow plum, lemongrass, lemon blossom, green apple skins, and white pepper are complimented by a nice salty mineral finish.


Salmon or Tuna Carpaccio, Grilled Prawns, Gnocchi with pesto

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Even if you haven't tried a Milbrandt wine with their label on it, chances are you've drank wines sourced from their vineyards. Farmers first, Milbrandt sells the vast majority of their fruit (and sometimes completed wines) to well known producers across Washington State. The quality is unmistakable and when Milbrandt decided to start bottling their own wine, they had their choice of the very best of their vineyards. This all started in 1997 when 4th generation farmer Butch Milbrandt took a risk moving planting grapes in the Columbia Valley. He is now considered a pioneer of the Ancient Lakes and Wahluke Slope AVA's of Washington State. A quick word on merlot: Washington State merlot is a whole different beast when compared to its California predecessors. These are big, structured wines that often need to be poured after Cabernet Sauvignon in a tasting line-up. If you have any phobias regarding merlot, cast them aside for the moment. Milbrandt's 2012 'The Estates' Merlot is everything WA should be teaming with aromas of violet, cassis, baker's chocolate, luxardo cherries, old leather, cedar, licorice root, framboise, rose petals and graphite. This decadent, full-bodied wine has fairly soft tannins from a few years aging. The palate brings and abundance of black cherry, plum, vanilla bean, espresso, violets, iron, nutmeg and a spicy chocolate and cinnamon finish. This is not a shy merlot.


Milbrandt suggests Braised Beef Short Ribs! Also consider Spaghetti Bolognese, Burgers with brie and shallots, Korean BBQ