We had the pleasure of sitting with Jesse Inman, Winemaker from August Briggs this week at Libbie Market and tasting the latest vintage releases from the winery has out in the market today and found these wines ripe with balance of acidity and fruit culminating in very approachable wines. These wines are an example of a wine making tradition of "craft producers of small lot wines" from some of the best vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma.
Many savvy wine consumers may realize that August Briggs has been the consulting winemaker on the Castle Rock wines that offer incredible quality for the pricing and have become everyday wines to alot of our followers. If you have been impressed with the quality generated from the fruit that is provided for the Castle Rock wines than the wines that command August "Joe" Briggs name will take things to an entire different level of appreciation. This in large part because Jesse Inman is working with some of the most renowned vineyards in Napa and Sonoma producing some of the world's best fruit.
August Briggs 2010 Pinot Noir -Russian River Valley
If you have followed my blog for any amount of time you know I am not a huge fan of Russian River Pinot per say opting more for Oregonian Pinot. In large part this is due to many of the Pinots coming from Russian River are more earthy in nature, oaked heavily masking the subtleness of the layers of cherry fruit. These Pinots are certainly characteristically complex but the 2010 Russian River Pinot Noir from August Briggs has a juiciness quality of dark cherry, big floral tones and touches of orange peel with a slight whisper of spice on the finish. Very smooth and balanced and you can almost taste how much this wine has been nurtured. $36
The August Briggs "Leveroni Vineyard" Carneros Chardonnay will certainly win over many of the Chardonnay drinkers looking for a more balance between fruit and oak. All too often, California Chardonnay is heavily oaked in some form or fashion but the trends in the last year are for more balance wines, less oak or even unoaked, but the creaminess of this one brings out the vanilla, melon and citrus to great levels. This is a very enjoyable Chardonnay and I would also say a "bridge" Chardonnay for those looking to move into more refined Chardonnays. $30
The "Old Vine" Napa Valley Zinfandel was the surprise wine of the day. There is a quality about this wine that creates a very enjoyable, fresh fruit mouth feel even while commanding some lofty ABV values. Many Zinfandels will be big bombs of fruit and alcohol and have always had a bit of a cult following but this Zin cuts between the Old World style and the more fruit forward- blended with Petit Sirah or other grapes- New Age style. Rarely do I purchase the New Age which typically will run in the under $20 range because if you want Zinfandel than you want ZIN and you usually have to pay a little bit more for quality Zinfandel. This one is no exception. $34
Sonoma Valley "Monte Rosso Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon. Not your grandfathers Cabernet! Better, more refined and screams ripe plum and cherry fruit on the palette with a balance of acidity that permits this Cabernet to be enjoyed by itself as a treat after a long day or pairs nicely with some grilled foods. Monte Rosso produces some extraordinary fruit! Fabulous Cabernet. $50
A few other notables from August Briggs are "Dijon Clones" Napa Valley Pinot and the Napa Valley Petite Sirah----a must buy for anyone wanting to experience what truly in my view is pure California joy in a bottle. Your friends probably will have never had a Petit Sirah before and wouldn't you be their hero for introducing one of the finest grapes produced in California! The more Petit Sirah I have the more I fall deeply for this grape!
It was a pleasure to have Jess Inman with us this week at Libbie Market and be on the lookout for some new releases hitting the shelves in the coming weeks. We currently have the Carnernos Chardonnay and Petit Sirah ready for you this week and will be bringing in the remaining line in the next few weeks.
August "Joe" Briggs is also the winemaker of the Jeff Gordon line that we sell at Libbie Market as well. Next time you stop in, I will talk to you about these wines because there is one that you absolutely will love if you prefer Bordeaux style blends!