Wine Recommendations

 

Hugo's Sangria                           7.5

Our refreshing version of this classic drink blends Los Cardos Merlot with Fresh lime, orange, & pineapple with a hit of El Presidente Brandy.         

‘10 Vins D'Orrance "Kama" Chenin Blanc (Western Cape) |South Africa

Few varietals yield as many styles as Chenin Blanc and no varietal is more successful with the results.  A restaurant wine list that doesn't incorporate it in some manner is a good example of a program that doesn't care about the beauty of food and wine.   The most prestigious versions come from France's Loire Valley, but South Africa is also home to some of the world's best.  The Kama draws its brilliance from both.  The fruit is grown along South Africa's Western Crape, while winemaker/founder Christophe Durand is a French transplant.   He grew up in the famous Calvados area and came to Cape Town selling French Oak barrels.   It was inevitable that he would turn to winemaking.  His style is minimalist, focusing on showcasing the native flavors of the fruit.   His Chenin runs to the decadent style with a gorgeous texture and heady nose filled with baked spices, quince, grilled peaches and wild flowers.   The mouth feel is imbedded with a subtle salty smoke character that is amazing with grilled oysters.  It sees just enough oak to balance the honeyed characters and give a classic almond note on the finish.    
Glass:   13                 3oz Taste:  6.5              Bottle:   52

’10 Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat (Priorat)|Spain   

There are a surprising number of similarities between our Chef Hugo and Spanish winemaker Alvaro Palacios.   Each man comes from a large family and each struck out on their own, venturing abroad to chart their own path.  Alvora studied enology in Bordeaux before eventually returning to Spain's little talked about Priorat region North of Barcelona.  Like Hugo he surprised people with the depth and complexity of his flavors.   Like Hugo he has gained the respect of critics and consumers at large.  While Alvaro's best wines have reached elite status in price and respect, he still loves to make beautiful and affordable wines for people.  While his single vineyard wines are kept in a prized place in cellars waiting for just the right special occasion, the Camins del Priorat was created to be far more accessible.   A blend of Carinena and Garnacha with a touch of Cabernet, this is a nuanced, yet generous wine.  It's lush and smoky with deep notes of fleshy black fruit, crushed rock, violet and generous tannins. 
Glass:   12           3oz Taste:  5                       Bottle:   48

'10 Setzer Zweigelt (Weinviertel)|Germany                  40

I first had Zweigelt a decade ago during a visit to Austria.  It exuded the flavors of the Rhone Valley and Beaujolais at the same time, as if the two regions had given birth to a precocious little new grape.  It was a varietal that popped into my head when Hugo began showing me the food of Mexico.  The combination of sumptuous texture, pretty brambly fruit and rustic fragrance seemed a delightful match for lighter meat dishes with class fragrant Mexican sauces.  Setzer is a boutique winery helmed by a lovely husband and wife team.  Their Zweigelt is the essence of country allure, weaving cherry, wild raspberry, plum and floral notes with tobacco and herb.  Check this out for a pleasing escape from Pinot Noir.

NV Pierre Peters "Cuvee de Reserve" Brut (Champagne)|France        95

Sparkling wine is the evolution of winemaking.  It begins with the creation of a great wine, that is enhanced with effervescence, texture, elegance and age.  Every wine producing country makes a bubbly, but no one does it like Champagne.  The Peters family are "Grower Champagne" producers, meaning they own the land that produces their wine.  Big houses tend to buy fruit from all over, which can diminish personality and character.  Their Cuvee is a wine I adore.  The heavenly aromas of beautiful citrus, rich French pastry and perfumed apple greet you on the nose.  It charms on the palate starting with a soft sweet kiss, before vibrant mineral notes rise and finally finishing with a delicate mousse.  Life without bubbles is a sad existence, don't wait for an anniversary to crack open a bottle?

'09 Quinto DO Crasto Reserva (Duoro Valley)|Portugal               68

Portugal is synonymous with port wine, but with the number of port drinkers and collectors on the decline their looking to change that image. A renaissance is emerging thanks to increased availability of traditionally dry red wines grown in the famous Duoro Valley. The Crasto is a stunning glimpse into Portugal’s future and past.  It’s a study in site, focusing on seventy-year-old vines that were planted along the steep sides of the Duoro River.  Over twenty varietals comprise this field blend, creating a refined chorus that delivers a profound harmony of plum, boysenberry and chocolate covered blue berry.   The texture is supple and full of spice, lending it the depth and richness to handle big moles.  

‘10 Truchard Roussanne (Carneros) |California               38

Roussanne should be in your mix if you like full-bodied whites like Chardonnay. This wonderful Rhone grape offers a transition to flavor, personality and sense of place. Besides the weight it handles oak beautifully, balancing its influence with a powerful core of lush fruit and minerality.  The Truchard’s are skilled farmers who are even better people; not surprising considering they are native Texans.  Their property in Carneros grows a pure version that bursts with fragrant apple, pear, and pleasantly bitter apricot.   There is a hint of honeyed ripeness and almond notes on the finish, which gently controls the heat of Hugo’s food. 

'10 Nikolaihof Gruner Veltliner (Wachau)|Austria                   62

Farm-to-table isn’t simply a food movement, it’s the philosophy of the best wineries.  Healthy vineyards are the soul of great wines.  Biodynamic, a type of organic growing, seeks to improve the relationship growers have with the land. Nikolaihof strictly adheres to this practice, believing in the principle: develop as much power and energy as possible into the wine while at the same time interfering with nature as little as possible. Gruner Veltliner is the classic Austrian white.  It’s capable of many forms, but always exudes a combination of texture and vivid aromatics.  Federspiel, is a style that requires the alcohol be kept between 11.5-12.5%.  Nikolaihof uses the lower alcohol to create a focus, a brightness that accentuates the fragrant herb, beguiling citrus and core of crisp green fruit.

’09 Owen Roe "Rosa Mystica" (Yakima Valley)| Washington             59

Washington suffers from the “family baby” syndrome.  It’s the least established of West Coast producers.  Lacking both California’s legacy and Oregon’s iconic varietal, they have a adolescent vibe to the general public.  That said, they are already home to a wide array of quality varietals, styles and appellations.  Owen Roe is a little winery that excels with a grape I adore, Cabernet Franc.  It’s the sexier, softer and more beguiling older sibling of Cabernet Sauvignon.  A notoriously tricky varietal it's been lightly tamed by the cooler nights and high elevation of Washington.  The ‘09 oozes sultry charm with decadent dark red fruit, plum and chocolate.  This isn’t about heavy oak as much as ripe, juicy fruit tannins and deep, rich finish.  

Wine Spectator Award of Excellence

Best Restaurant Sommelier - 2011

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