Wine of the Month - October 2021

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• Laguna Cellar Wine of the Month

Laguna Cellar Wine of the Month Selection for October 2021

  • Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc 2018, Pessac-Léognan, Rated 93 (Jeb Dunnuck) – Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc 2018 is the perfect choice for any oenophile in search of a crisp, honeyed expression of white Bordeaux.  This thrilling mixture of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Semillon is from the incomparable Grand Crus Classé, Château Smith Haut Lafitte.  Château Smith Haut Lafitte is one of the few Bordeaux producers that is able to produce both red, white, and rosé wines of astounding quality and has experienced a rise in critical acclaim that is nothing short of meteoric.  The estate is one of the older properties on the Left Bank, with a winemaking legacy that spans over 800 years. When the Cathiard family purchased the property in 1990, they made a series of rigorous changes to the winemaking practices at Château Smith Haut Lafitte.  They stopped the use of mechanical harvesting and made a strong push towards sustainability, which led to a Robert Parker Green Emblem in 2020.  The Cathiards invested in building a cooperage at the estate, which allows them to produce 70% of their own barrels.  The talented Michel Rolland and Stephane Derenoncourt consult at Château Smith Haut Lafitte, ensuring that the final blend is nothing short of perfection. 
  • Orma 2016 & Orma 2018, Toscana (Tuscany) Rated 95 & Rated 94 (Monica Larner) --  It’s no secret that critics love Orma and have crowned it one of the premier Super Tuscans from the small, yet prestigious Bolgheri DOC.  This seductive blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grown in the distinctively rich Italian terroir hosts profoundly herbal characteristics that captivate many connoisseurs.  Orma has the perfect combination of power and finesse – like many of the greatest Bordeaux blends.  This stunning Bolgheri is the passion project of Antonio Moretti, one of the legendary winemakers that produced some of the initial Super Tuscans which took the world by storm in the 1990s, cementing this wine region’s ability to produce some of the most impressive wines in the world.  The Moretti family have accomplished the extraordinary feat of producing Orma, a benchmark Super Tuscan, as relative newcomers to the prestigious Bolgheri DOC.  Since the inaugural 2005 vintage, Orma easily stands up to some of the heavy hitters of this region.  The wine is incredibly age worthy and simply stunning, which is why we wanted to provide our Wine of the Month subscribers the opportunity to experience it in two very different years as part of a vertical tasting.  For those unfamiliar, a vertical tasting is a sampling of multiple vintages of the same wine.  It facilitates the comparison of how the wine evolves from one year to the next, reflecting the climate that is a big part of the concept of terroir.  A favorite approach of many wine professionals, vertical tastings are the perfect way to see how a property’s winemaker evolves with time and understand how the wine matures in bottle.  
  • Saintayme 2017, Saint-Émilion, Rated 90 (Lisa Perotti-Brown) --  Saintayme was one of the passion projects of the legendary vigneron Denis Durantou.  More famously known for his iconic Pomerol wine, Château L’Eglise Clinet, Denis Durantou was a shrewd, yet humble vigneron who unfortunately passed away in 2020 after a fight with cancer.  He produced wines of astonishing quality exclusively within the Right Bank yet kept his pricing fair; an admirable feat in a region home to some of the most expensive wines in the world.  His authenticity was refreshing, and he was considered “a winemaker’s winemaker.”  Denis Durantou was exceptionally gifted in handling the most common varietal on the Right Bank – Merlot.  He was able to produce some of the more interesting and nuanced expressions of Merlot because of his extensive talents both in the vineyard and the vat room.  Saintayme, like his other Right Bank properties, is planted almost exclusively with Merlot and just a small percentage of Cabernet Franc.  The terroir here is some of the most exciting within the region and Saintayme has prestigious neighbors like Château Valandraud and Château Fleur Cardinale. 

Tasting Notes

Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc 2018 - "The 2018 Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc is a blend of 80% Sauvignon and 20% Sémillon brought up in 50% new French oak. It's a little gem of a Bordeaux Blanc offering lots of ripe lemon, toasted nut, and honeysuckle notes to go with a rich, medium to full-bodied, impressively textured style. If you like rich, textured, yet balanced Bordeaux Blanc, give this beauty a whirl." - Jeb Dunnuck,, Rating: 93, Drink: 2021-2029 

Orma 2016 - "Brooding and dark, with a nicely compact core, the 2016 Orma shows generous concentration and good density at the back. The mouthfeel is rich and thickly textured. The wine produces notes of green olive, black olive, caper and smoke. The blend here is 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc. This is a powerful wine with 15% alcohol that underlines its potency. Some 30,000 bottles were made." - Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate (5/16/2019) Rating: 95 Drink: 2019-2035

Orma 2018 - "The 2018 Orma is a generous and bold blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) and Cabernet Franc (20%). This wine is built on solid foundations and shows a rich vinous footprint. The fruit is black and concentrated, as is to be expected of a wine of this ambition, and it sits with a dark and almost impenetrable appearance in the glass. Orma shows a careful balance between fruit and oak spice, and both are calibrated to achieve high sensorial impact and intensity. If you're looking for the classic Tuscan blended red with sunshine and power, this release of 25,000 bottles is for you."- Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate (12/17/2020) Rating: 94 Drink: 2021-2035

Saintayme 2017 - "Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Saintayme delivers expressive black cherries, mulberries and boysenberries scents with hints of rosehip tea, tilled soil and spice box. Medium-bodied, the palate has plenty of juicy red and black fruits with a plush texture and refreshing finish." Lisa Perotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate (3/16/2020) Rating: 90 Drink: 2020-2032

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