We’re getting thirsty just reading this delectable review of our 2013 Amici Pinot Noir, from Frederic Koeppel of the “Bigger Than Your Head” wine blog:
“An enticing bouquet of black and red cherries and raspberries is suffused with subtle notes of cloves and sandalwood, blueberries and rhubarb and a tantalizing hint of cocoa powder. This pinot noir is super satiny and supple on the palate, mixing ripe, spicy and moderately juicy black and red berry flavors with undertones of loam, briers and brambles and a touch of heather. While moving through the mouth with sensual allure, this pinot noir is neither opulent or obvious, letting its energy — propelled by brisk acidity and slightly dusty tannins — dictate a more delicate, elegant and nuanced approach.” Yum. Go ahead, grab a bottle. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?
Bill St. John of the Chicago Tribune recently interviewed Joel Aiken about tannins: what they are, why they’re necessary in wine, and how a good winemaker manages them. The result is an excellent article which may teach something to even the most devoted wine aficionados. Here it is (view the entire article):
Continue reading here
Announcing new vintages of Olema wines!
2012 Olema Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County
2013 Olema Pinot Noir Sonoma County
2013 Olema Chardonnay Sonoma County
Word is spreading fast: Amici’s second label “Olema” has gained attention across the country as people discover that the name Olema offers exceptional wines at incredible values. We spend a lot of time and effort searching out and purchasing grapes from only the best—and sometimes very well-known—vineyards to create excellent wines at affordable prices. Joel’s three decades of winemaking means he’s able to get his hands on some amazing grapes before anyone else, which is our good luck—and yours!
Last year’s Olema releases garnered accolades from the wine press, including Wine Spectator naming the 2012 Olema Chardonnay in its “Top 100 Values of 2014,” a distinction given to only 100 wines out of 18,000 tasted. Meanwhile, the 2012 Olema Pinot was rated 90+ points by Wine Enthusiast and International Wine Cellar, among other top wine press.
These new Olema releases are from the 2012 and 2013 vintages, widely regarded as the best back-to-back vintages in many decades, and will surely be just as popular as the last.
2012 Olema Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County
Made from grapes hand selected off vineyards in Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys, this is an inky dark Cabernet displaying complex aromas of black cherry, cedar and espresso followed by blackberry and chocolate flavors. It is full-bodied on the palate with lush juicy fruit and silky smooth tannins. In his vintage ratings, Robert Parker rated 2012 at 96 points (“Extraordinary”) for Sonoma Cabernet. The 2012 Olema is an excellent example of what this vintage has to offer. $22.50
2013 Olema Pinot Noir Sonoma County
A blend of Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from premier vineyards, this wine features the classic Russian River Valley characteristics of perfumed aromas and bright, focused cherry flavors, framed by the delicate tannins of the Sonoma Coast. An outpouring of beautiful ripe cherries intertwine with a hint of sweet vanilla on the nose. On the palate, dark berry flavors mingle with hints of cola, leather, earth and white pepper. Perfectly balanced refined fruit and silky tannins create a seductive, smooth wine. $20.00
2013 Olema Chardonnay Sonoma County
Aromas of green apple, pear, melon and marzipan meld seamlessly with a hint of buttery oak and refreshingly crisp finish on this Chardonnay, a blend from premier vineyards in the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley appellations of Sonoma County. A portion of the blend was fermented in barrels for a rich, creamy texture with the remainder fermented in stainless steel which preserves the bright, vibrant fruit and crispness. $15.00
Every fall we have fun hosting a series of visitors from the wine industry who come to us to take part in Amici’s “Harvest Boot Camp.” It’s a unique way to truly understand what happens at a winery during the harvest season, and provides an opportunity for our “boot campers” to put their own personal stamp on a wine, knowing they played a part in its creation.
One of our recent boot campers, Heather Boysen, wrote an article for the Argus Leader on her experience at Amici:
The official change from spring to summer may be a few weeks away, but around here summer has already arrived, if Mother Nature has anything to say about it. These beautiful warm days have us turning our attention to poolside cocktailing and summer entertaining with friends— in short, it has us thinking about sipping some cool white wines.
Joel blended 50% Sauvignon Musque clone into our 2012 Amici Napa Sauvignon Blanc, giving it tropical, round notes not found in some other leaner and greener examples of this varietal. For our Olema Chardonnay, a portion of the blend was fermented in barrels for a rich, creamy texture with the remainder fermented in stainless steel which preserves the bright, vibrant fruit and crispness. The tropical fruit characteristics of the Russian River Valley fruit marry beautifully with the citrus and mineral notes from Sonoma Coast, giving the final blend a Burgundian style with California roots.
Great partners to virtually all summer foods, these wines are a perfect choice to pop open poolside when you’re enjoying the warm weather. Here’s what the experts are saying about them:
“An aromatic, extremely distinct Sauvignon. It is full bodied, round, and crisp and very long on the finish, with aromas/flavors reminiscent of pineapple, lemon peel, lemon grass, guava, and lime. Very fine quality.” — Restaurant Wine
“A smooth and juicy white, offering lemon curd, lime, peach and apple flavors, balanced by good intensity and accents of citrus zest on the finish.” — Wine Spectator
“More complex than most sauvignon blancs, this treat has fresh citrus and pineapple aromas with round tropical fruit, lemon and a dash of wet stone on the finish. That half the wine comes from the sauvignon musque clone is no surprise. Winemaker Joel Aiken has done a very nice job with this brand.” — Capital Gazette,
“Bright full yellow. Musky aromas of candied apple, nutmeg, honeysuckle and toasty oak, complicated by a leesy nuance. Round, sweet and ripe, with a savory aspect to the flavors of ripe apple, pineapple, toast and brown spice… Finishes with good lingering fruit. Remarkably inexpensive.” — S.T., International Wine Cellar
“This approachable chardonnay was fermented half in oak and half in stainless steel, giving the wine a crisp and refreshing acidity; apple and citrus notes balance the wine and bring a creamy quality to the finish.” — Beverage Dynamics
“…a wine with universal appeal, with bright pineapple, lemon-meringue pie and honeysuckle flavors.” — Wine Enthusiast
Things are really buzzing these days! We’re so pleased with the friendly comments that have greeted so many of our new, and even not-so-new, releases. Here’s what was being said out there about Amici wines this spring:
2010 Amici Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
“91 Points. This classic Napa Cabernet (with a splash of Petit Verdot) is elegant, streamlined and absolutely lovely to drink now. It’s dry and balanced in acidity and tannins, and has rich layers of cassis, mocha, plums and toast.” — S.H., Wine Enthusiast
2010 Amici Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
“The Reserve is full bodied and intensely fruity; a rich, toasty, somewhat rugged wine with complex character and a long, tannic finish. It tastes of blackberry, cassis, cedar, toast, and spicy oak.” — Restaurant Wine
2010 Amici Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
“94 Points. A big, aromatic and very youthful wine from this great vineyard; vivid berry fruit with spice and vanilla oak; layered, complex and yet all of a piece; rich, generous and showing huge potential; don’t rush to drink it-time will make it even better.” — Tasting Panel Magazine
“90 Points. Beefy with scents of black olive skin and tar, this is all tense tannins as a young wine. With air, its density begins to show a wild herb character, the power of the tannins needing five or six years to relent. This grows at a prime bench land site just south of Rubicon.” — Wine & Spirits
2010 Amici Spring Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
“92 points. Mountain-grown tannins provide some detail and complexity to this youthfully aggressive cabernet; they also completely dry out the mouth. Still hard after a day of air, they begin to allow red fruit to show in the middle, iron-like in its bloody redness, raspberry-like on its kinder side. There’s generosity to that fruit, and plenty of structure to carry this in the cellar for ten years or more.” — Wine & Spirits
2012 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
“90 Points. Bright medium red. Aromas of raspberry, musky tobacco and herbs are lifted by a floral topnote. Offers lovely balance and intensity to its red berry and spice flavors. Harmonious acidity energizes this silky, expansive pinot. Lovely pinot fruit and length here, and the fine-grained tannins will not get in the way of enjoying this wine right now. I”d consume it over the next two or three years.” — S.T., International Wine Cellar
2012 Olema Pinot Noir Sonoma County
“90 Points. It’s rare to get a twenty buck Pinot Noir this good. The wine is dry, silky and elegant, almost faultless in its precision. With savory cherry, red licorice, cola and sandalwood flavors, it’s not an ager, but a very pretty wine for drinking now. Editors’ Choice.” — S.H., Wine Enthusiast
“90 Points. Bright medium red. Aromas of cherry, raspberry, fresh herbs, rose petal and spicy oak. Less fat than the Russian River Valley bottling but with very good definition and lift to the high-pitched red fruit and spice flavors. Not a fat style but juicy and easygoing, finishing with good grip and lift. A terrific value in California pinot.” — S.T., International Wine Cellar
“Radiant ruby-magenta color; plums, mulberries and cranberries, brier rose; hints of cloves, rhubarb and pomegranate; dense, supple and satiny; ripe and lightly spiced red and blue fruit flavors; a few moments in the glass brirg in notes of roses and violets, leather and tobacco; undertones of graphite, earth and mild tannins. Really lovely. Now through 2016. Excellent. About $20, marking Great Value.” — Bigger Than Your Head
We’ve enjoyed some really flattering reviews of our wines over the last few months, and we’re happy to share them with our readers.
Restaurant Wine tasted four current releases and here’s what they had to say:
AMICI 2010 SPRING MOUNTAIN DISTRICT **** (4 stars: “excellent”)
Very fine quality: supple and very ripely flavored, with full body, good balance, and a long, mildly tannic finish. Combines fine fruitiness (plum, blueberry, violet, cassis) with smoky, toasty oak character. Can be aged. 11% Cabernet Franc. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 80% new. 200 cases.
AMICI 2010 MORISOLI VINEYARD RUTHERFORD ****+ (4+ stars: “excellent+”)
Very ripe and rich in style, this is a powerful, near-jammy Cabernet with tremendous depth and length. It has rich blackberry, cherry, and plum fruitiness, and spicy, toasty, cedary oak overtones. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 80% new. Very fine quality. 100 cases.
AMICI 2010 NAPA VALLEY ***** (5 stars: “exceptional”)
Rich and ripely flavored, this is an impressive Cabernet, especially at the price. It is full bodied and very long on the palate, with a mildy tannic finish. In aroma/flavor, it tastes of cassis, tobacco, blackberry, plum jam, cedar, and toast. Remarkable Napa Cab value! 2% Petit Verdot. Aged 18-20 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. 4,200 cases.
AMICI 2012 NAPA VALLEY ****+ (4+ stars: “excellent+”)
An aromatic, extremely distinct Sauvignon. It is full bodied, round, and crisp and very long on the finish, with aromas/flavors reminiscent of pineapple, lemon peel, lemon grass, guava, and lime. Very fine quality. 50% Sauvignon Musque. 10% aged in French oak barrels; 10% ML.
Steve Heimoff, meanwhile, featured our 2012 Olema Pinot Noir in his blog post from 3/7/14 as one of his “Top 10 Wines of the Week.” “Anytime you can get a 90 point or above wine for $30 and under, you should grab it,” he says in the post. We’re hoping that, at $20, the 2012 Olema Pinot Noir made it onto a few readers’ shopping lists.
Joe Roberts of 1WineDude blog fame included Amici in his “Best of the Best” blog write-up of February’s Premiere Napa Valley wine auction. He says, “Ok, ok, I love these guys, they love me for talking about how much I love them, so we can just dispense with the formalities and enjoy the love-fest. If someone is making a Cab with better QPR than these guys, let me know (never mind, you can’t, because it ain’t happening). Fruit from Spring Mountain hath produced a most agreeable beverage here; in fact, a beautiful one. Dried herbs, dark fruit, tannic grip. One for a long haul, as I’m fond of saying, from people who know how to do it without charging you a mortgage payment for it.” We’re blushing!
Fredric Koeppel, he of the funny-named but very professonally-written blog “Bigger Than Your Head,” included our 2010 Amici Cab Napa Valley in his Weekend Wine Notes survey of a handful of Napa Cabs. Common threads, he states, were wines that were relatively low in alcohol and where “the emphasis is mainly on structure rather than ripeness.” He writes of the Amici 2010 Napa Cab: “Dark ruby with a magenta-violet rim; black currants, raspberries and cherries, juicy, spicy, lots of graphite and lavender; that gratifying blend of ripe fruit and a rigorously tannic and mineral-tinged structure; oak providing a firm framework and foundation; lithe, almost sinewy, quite dry, even a little austere but lively, attractive, with an engaging personality. Now through 2018 to ’20. Excellent.” Now that’s nice: whether it’s in a blind date or in a wine, “lively, attractive and engaging” will keep anyone coming back for more!
There were smiles all around yesterday as Amici’s 5-case Premiere Napa Valley Auction lot went for $28,000 after heated bidding. The lot, 60 bottles of a limited production from a small block on Spring Mountain, was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from 2012, one of the best vintages in Napa Valley history.
It was yet another Napa Valley auction for the record books. Hundreds of the wine industry’s biggest buyers gather each February for Premiere Napa Valley, a trade event which culminates with a Saturday afternoon auction of one-of-a-kind lots, and the wine is often destined for high-end retail wine shops or restaurants. Almost all of the barrels at the Saturday morning barrel tasting before the auction were from the stellar but yet-to-be-released 2012 vintage, and clearly the wine experts in the room were excited about the opportunity to get their hands on these wines. Bidding was heated for many lots and there were hoots and hollers from the crowd as paddles flew and bidders competed against each other, pushing certain lots sky-high.
At the end of the day, a whopping $5.9 million was raised (a sizable leap from the 2012 record of $3.1 million). It was an exciting day for all, and today everyone in Napa is feeling very thankful for the support of those generous bidders.
If there’s one thing Joe Roberts’ wine blog “1WineDude” has is personality, and it’s something he recognizes in each of the wines he tastes as well. This guy’s amusing mini-reviews feature one-liners, often about the personality of each wine. Above are are his mini-reviews of some Amici wines from the 1WineDude blog post of Dec 30, 2013. He likens our 2010 Olema Cab to a good cigar…hmmm, not a connection we’d ever made, but sure, okay. But if he thinks our 2010 Amici Cab is “sexy, plush and not shy about flaunting it” we’ll happily agree!