Clars donated a “Starter Wine Collection” curated by Clars’ Director of Fine & Rare Wines, Andrew Bradbury, to the Junior League of San Francisco Holiday Ball Silent Auction on December 15, 2022.
The collection included Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Chablis from France and a Cabernet Blend from Sonoma, California. This donation contributed to the success of The Junior League’s fundraising goals helping to achieve 62% of their target. The proceeds from this fundraiser support The Junior League’s mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
Starter Wine Collection – Notes From Andrew Bradbury
2019 Aurélien Verdet, Le Prieuré, Bourgogne, Hauts-Côtes de Nuits, Burgundy, France
Burgundy can lead to some of the most amazing experiences in the world of wine and you don’t have to spend hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, to gain a taste of this beautiful Pinot Noir. Loaded with ripe red berries, red floral aromatics, spice, and lively acidity, this underappreciated region up in the hills of Burgundy delivers the goods. Capable of aging for up to 10 years, I think this wine shows perfectly with 3–5 years of aging before pulling the cork! It’s always a favorite of top wine critics for over-delivering and offering value year in and out! 2019 Pride Mountain Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma-Napa Valley, California — a fantastic estate with numerous awards and “wines of the year” in their accolades — this blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, along with a little Merlot and Petit Verdot, always delivers a broadly structured and intense drinking experience that benefits with some cellaring. Loaded with dark cherries, plum, spice, and chocolate, it shines when paired with steak and other rich game. Can age effortlessly with 15–20 years but I think it shows best with 5–10 years of bottle aging to soften the tannins and meld the flavors into a great glass of Cabernet.
2018 Château de Pez, Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France
This is a great example of a top-notch Bordeaux Estate owned and operated by the famed Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Pauillac, Bordeaux. As a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot, and touch of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, this classic wine is loaded with black currants, blueberries and black cherries with a Medium + to Full bodied structure. It is capable of 15–20 years of cellar aging, though I would recommend at least 5 years to soften its broad structure and tannin. A great rule in Bordeaux is to seek out other Châteaux that are owned by the top estates in the region like those from Château Cos d’Estournel (Pagodes de Cos), Château Palmer (Alter Ego) and Château Léoville Las-Cases (Clos du Marquis), which deliver excellent value and are cellar worthy.
2019, Domaine Jean-Claude Martin, Montmains, Premier Cru, Chablis, France
Chablis can offer some of the most age-worthy of all of the Chardonnays produced in Burgundy. The combination of its unique climate and complex soils (limestone and fossilized shells from ancient sea beds) showcase its textbook lemon-lime “racy” citrus acidity and minerality that seem to go on and on. Montmains is one of the most famous Premier Crus (designated vineyards) in the appellation, and it is not uncommon to see top bottles aging gracefully for decades in the cellar. This wine will benefit with time in the cellar (3–5 years) to soften and round off some of that intense grip that a young Chablis can showcase, but also still be enjoyed 10–15 years from now. Again, great Burgundy doesn’t have to be overly expensive or impossible to track down. Also, check out some of the other Chardonnays from the Macon region to the South of Burgundy — another region that over-delivers top wines with value.
22013 Peter Michael Winery “Les Pavots”, Cabernet blend, Knights Valley, Sonoma
A true cult wine producer — earned from a combination of factors, including high consumer demand, small production, and overwhelmingly broad and glowing critical praise, have placed Peter Michael Winery amongst the best producers in California. Les Pavots is a single vineyard bottling comprised of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Cabernet Franc, with a dash of Merlot and Petite Verdot and built to last. Famed wine critic, Robert Parker, awarded this wine 98+ points and said it could easily age 40–50 years! Loaded with black and red fruits, aromas of dried flowers, and bark and a rich vanilla and chocolate-like finish, this is a truly special wine. I would recommend keeping it in the cellar for at least another 5+ years before even thinking of pulling the cork! A truly remarkable red.