Rains in Spain makes the Wine Fine

Cafe Roval Upper Eastside Miami (786)953-785

The Club was returning from a 2 month Summer Hiatus. President Andrew Cohen carefully selected wines from Spain and combined it with the experience of Café Roval. One by one each member arrives. Some by foot and others from their exotic cars. Café Roval is a restored 1936 coral structure. It feels as if you were entering a Moorish Home from the Alhambra Palace in Granda, Spain. No, not in Coral Gables.
The high ceilings and collectible art creates the ambiance of history. Andrew makes the selection of food from the Club as we are not that picky as 8 hungry men.

The first side-by-side was the ever so popular Vega-Sicilia Conescha “Unico”. A 2000 and 2003 vintages were in the glasses breathing slowly. This bottle is usually released 10 years after it’s vintage or sometimes 15 years. This is from the Ribero Del Duero region of Northern Spain. Immediately it has the notes of pure elegance. A bouquet of earthy notes. This is what I find in the tempranillo grape. When swirled the cabernet comes out. The legs show the high alcohol but it is not apparent.

Unico 2000. 14% alcohol. Cherry Red with hints of sandal wood. On the palate I received ripe dark berries with cigar. Not tarry but smoked as if from a smoked barrel. Silky finish lasting long to wanting more. No wonder this is priced right as a high commodity.

Unico 2003, 14% alcohol. Similar in Cherry color but more sweetness on the nose. Only 3 years younger but very full bodied. A bite more open with hints of mint opening your palette. The same soft finish but a bit lighter going down.

The preceding bottles were of less popularity but still at a high demand. Good thing we found these bottles now than 10 years from now when they will be impossible to locate.

Neo Punta Esencia 2004. 100% tempranillo. 14% Alcohol. Powerful out of the bottle. A ruby color with the dark fruits. Ripe black berries and complexity when swirling in the mouth. Concentrated tempranillo. That I say as a compliment as the tempranillo grape from Spain is one of the most elegant the world has seen. It is distinctive of a high quality Riberto Del Duero.


Aaltos PS 2000. 100% tempranillo. A Small production of 400 cases. A dark ruby. The nose had the old world complexity. Light earthiness and sandal wood. Hints of cigar box and dark fruits. Stronger finish with structure. Excellent!!! It can age 10 more years.


All of these bottles, under the proper conditions can age 15+ years.
We thank you for reading this far and enjoying our experiences with WineClubMiami.
Until the next tasting!



Hermitage, A small piece of land with some hefty wine bills

A small but truly notable region that has commanded some of the best and most expensive wines of France and the world became our summer tasting this June. Considered one of the oldest wine regions and today has commanded some of the most expensive wines on the market.

Our tasting started out nicely with the 1990 M. Chapoutier “Le Pavillon” Ermitage.   Black colored, with an extraordinary perfume of licorice, sweet blackcurrants, smoke, and minerals, it coats the palate with layer upon layer of decadently rich, superconcentrated, nearly viscous Syrah flavors. There is amazing glycerin, a chewy, unctuous texture, and phenomenal length. As stated by Robert Parker with a score of 100 points.


2000 Chapoutier Hermitage Le Ermite was also on the table as we follow along with ten year later wine. The black/blue-colored 2000 Ermitage Le Pavillon is brilliant out of bottle. Notes of graphite, ink, licorice, creme de cassis, and minerals jump from the glass of this syrup of Hermitage. Full-bodied, unctuously-textured, gorgeously rich, spectacularly concentrated and long, it is a tour de force in winemaking. As Robert writes and scores this one at 98 points.


Our third wine of the tasting was 2000 Chapoutier Hermitage L’Ermite. “It reveals notes of liquid minerals intermixed with kirsch liqueur and blackberries. The extraordinary 2000 flirts with perfection. A provocative wine with great minerality, finesse, and delineation, it blew me away when I tasted it from bottle states Robert Parker and rates at 99 points.


We end our evening with a comparison wine. 2010 d’Arenberg “Dead Arm” Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2010 Dead Arm Shiraz has slightly evolving blackberry notes wafting over a core of forest fruit coulis and dried mulberries accented by suggestions of sandalwood, Indian spices and dried Mediterranean herbs. Medium to full-bodied with loads of evolved black fruit and savory, spicy flavors on offer in the mouth, it has a medium to firm level of powdery tannins, refreshing acid and a long finish. Drink it now to 2021+. (LPB)


Portugal-A wine region we forgot, a tasting that will be remembered

After 12 years of getting together monthly to taste wines from around the world, Wine Club Miami finally explored the wines of Portugal. The event was held at Fiorito in Little Haiti. A very tasty Argentinean spot that went great with the selected wines.

Overall the group was quite impressed with the quality of the wines, especially given the relatively reasonable prices  for the complexity and style. Several members commented that they would have guessed they were French wines if they were tasting blind.

Here is what we drank;

We started the evening with a crisp and fresh Vinho Verde A 2015 Caiu A Noite. A classic summer wine that pairs well with seafood and fish. Hints of green fruits, lemon and some effervescence which are all classic Vinho Verde traits.


The first red we tried was a 2009 Quinta Da Falorca Garrafeira Old Vines from the Dao region.
is principally a blend of Touriga Nacional (70%) and Tinta Roriz (15%) with Rufete and several others for the remainder. Enjoyed by all, it was the favorite red of more than half of the group.

The second red we tasted was the 2012 Prats & Symington Chryseia from the Douro region. The 2012 Chryseia is a blend of 72% Touriga Nacional, and the rest Touriga Franca. A rich and balanced wine that did not show as well as it will with some more time in the cellar. Would like to revisit this in a few years as the complexity and structure are there.

And the last red was the 2012 Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional from Douro. 100% Touriga Nacional, and it showed beautifully. A big, rich wine with balanced tannins that drank well now and will continue to do so for years to come.

The tasting was capped off with a 1997 Vau Vintage Port from Sandeman. A classic full-bodied Port with a nice long finish. After this tasting, I am sure we will be returning to Portuguese wines soon!

Cheers, Andrew Cohen, WCM President 2017.


Joseph Phelps Insignia Tasting Vertical: 09, 10, 11

Wine Club Miami capped off a milestone with a vertical tasting of the wine that is considered the 1st bordeaux style wine in Napa. 2004 was the first vintage of Insignia to be 100% estate grapes and every subsequent release is as well. A cult following and a flair for the expensive allowed Joseph Phelps winery to make its mark and raise the bar along with the price tag for these highly rated vintages.

Wine list from the the infamous Greycliff in Nassau with a pricey 2011 Insignia at $680 a bottle

2009 Joseph Phelps Insignia
Full-bodied and structured. Dark fruit and licorice on the nose, dark chocolate, black fruit jam, oak and espresso on the palate. Hold until 2020
 2010 Joseph Phelps Insignia
A superb wine. Inky purple in the glass with notes of dry leaves, spice, chocolate mousse, violets and dark berries. The palate is sumptuous: full-body, and loaded with fine, chalky tannins but also fresh. Flavors of blackberry jam, moist charcoal and chocolate.

2011 Joseph Phelps Insignia
The vintage is illustrated in this wines Right Bank character. Though only 1% Cabernet Franc and 2% Merlot, the fruit is red and the overall vibe savory with dry leaves, coffee, leafy spic
e and shiitake. Drinking very well now. Reviews provided by




Great Wines of Italy 2017

James Suckling needs no introduction into the Wine World. Wine Club Miami made their entrance into the sold out event to only find hand selected array of top wine makers, producers and owners of Italy’s best wines. Held at the historic Moore Building in Miami’s Design District was the proper location for hosting this event. Predominately Italian was being spoken but the main language was Italian wine.

Upon walking into the main room, you are immediately ready for your first glass of Franciacorta. This traditional method “metodo classico” of this sparkling wine is of no other. It is mostly of Chardonnay and hand crafted to perfection. By looking at the bubbles fizz you know that it is high quality. Either it be a vintage or non-vintage, they are a “Spumante” to be of high standards. We “cin can” (Italian for Cheers) each other and continue the tour.
There were over 150 bottles to sample. Mostly leaning towards the Tuscan area but James knows his wines. This tour was from the hard to find Barolos to the delicacy of the Nero d’Avolas. If you don’t know what I mean by that, it is saying from the northern to the southern wines. This event was what Italian wine is about. Old World, refined wine making, historic production, aged vines, soil that in admirable and the list goes on.

Wesley Castellanos visiting the Antinori table

This was a tour of Italy that only Mr. Suckling can collaborate into one room. Wine Club Miami was ever so grateful to have spent a few hours to experience most of Italy’s top wines. Wine Club Miami graciasly thanks James and his team, along with the collaborators to make this experience one of the best someone can experience.


2017 SBWFF-Wine Spectator Seminar: Beaulieu Vineyards Retrospective Tasting

A SBWFF- Wine Spectator Tasting of BV’s : Jorge Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Tapestry Red Blend wines

A notable and enjoyable wine at the SBWFF tasting was BV 2013 Tapestry Red Blend. Bordeaux style with nice finese of flavors as supple hints of black cherry and soft tannins round out a nice and lasting finish. Wine Advocate Review: “The 2013 Reserve Tapestry Proprietary Red Wine, which is another Bordeaux blend, raises the question: Is Beaulieu actually producing too many of these proprietary blends, instead of focusing on four or five top wines? In any event, this is a smooth, supple, delicious, front-end loaded style of wine for 2013, with elegant cedar wood, fruitcake and soil undertones intermixed with red and black cherries and blackcurrants. It is ruby/purple, medium to full-bodied, elegant and well-balanced. Drink it over the next 12-15 years”. (Taken from Wine Review) Score: 90, Robert Parker, October 2015

Most impressive and the well noted at this year’s SBWFF tasting was the 1997 Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. A truly lasting wine with concentrated fruits and soft complexities of notable and lasting finish.  This wine drank very well as it seems to to be holding up in true form as the following review implies.”A profoundly deep nose of red and black fruit, with cedar, ginger and nutmeg. The sense of balance and grace is sublime, as layers of cassis, plum and cinnamon keep unfolding. The chewy finish is lengthy and elegant, and it should be held for no less than five years. This bottling honors its pedigree as California’s first classic cabernet.” (taken from wine review, score 94 points Wine Enthusiast)

Reviews Tastings

New Zealand Wines, Blind Tasting

2013 Giesen Single Vineyard Selection “The Fuder – Clayvin” Chardonnay Marlborough“Wow- the brand new 2013 The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay sure adds to the growing list of absolute knock-out Chardonnay’s of true global significance emerging these days from New Zealand. The highly revered Clayvin vineyard, from which this comes, does not fail to live up to its reputation, yielding a profoundly intense and complex wine redolent of ripe peaches, acacia honey, cashews and crushed chalk with marzipan and brioche nuances. Medium-bodied, it fills the mouth with savory and mineral flavors with a satiny texture and lively acid backbone, finishing with lingering honey-nut notes.” (Taken from wine review 95+ points Robert Parker Wine Advocate)

2013 Craggy Range “Sophia” Bordeaux Blend Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2013 Sophia Proprietary Red is intensely scented of crushed blackberries and blackcurrants with hints of cloves, cedar and violets plus a touch of pencil shavings. Medium-bodied and laden with muscular fruit, it has a solid backbone of grainy tannins and tons of vivacity in the long, multi-layered finish” (Taken from wine review 93 points Robert Parker Wine         Advocate)

2013 Rippon “Tinkers Field” Pinot Noir Lake Wanaka Central Otag0 “Medium to deep ruby-purple in color, the 2013 Tinker’s Field Pinot Noir delivers fragrant black cherries, violets and Ceylon tea notes with underlying garrigue, lavender and fallen twigs hints. Medium-bodied, the tightly knit palate gives restrained, earthy flavors at this youthful stage with a firm level of grainy tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing long and multi-layered” (Taken from wine review 94 points Robert Parker Wine Advocate).                                                                                           

                      2013 Trinity Hill”Homage” Syrah Hawke’s Bay “This full-bodied, richly tannic wine delivers. It starts off with savory notes of cracked pepper, black olives, violets and cedar, then eases into concentrated flavors of blueberries and roasted meat before ending with a flourish of firm, dusty tannins. Give it a few years to soften. Drink 2020–2030″. (Taken from wine review 95 points Wine Enthusiast)



River Yacht Club: 2016 Holiday Party and Wine Pairing

Charles Krug “Grande Cuvee” Brut Champagne, NV 95 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. The harmonious juxtaposition of creaminess and lees enrichment with bright, juicy citricity and of expansive richness with levity is stunning. Citrus zest notes segue seamlessly into the fine stream of CO2 without bitterness, while succulent white peach garlanded in lily-of-the-valley is laced with rich, subtly piquant nut oils and saliva-liberating salinity. The team at Krug has long taken pains to emphasize that the task of assembling their Grande Cuvee from a hundred or more lots reflecting reserves of widely varying ages is mind-bogglingly complex. (DS) (Taken from wine review)

2013 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru (90 Point Vintage. After the ravages of the phylloxera epidemic at the end of the 19th century the Latour family took the then unusual decision to tear up the dead Aligoté and Pinot Noir vines and replace them with Chardonnay. This decision leads them to create one of Burgundy’s most celebrated white whites. Today the Latour family owns 11 hectares which makes them the biggest owner in the appellation. The Latour’s Corton-Charlemagne vineyards are located on a prime section of the Corton hillside where the south-easterly aspect ensures maximum exposure to the sun. The fruit is harvested as late as possible to guarantee maximum ripeness. (Taken from wine review)

2009 Domaine de L’Arlot Nuits St. George, Clos de Forets (95 Point Vintage. The 2009 Nuits St. Georges Clos des Forets Saint Georges comes across as dark, brooding and totally intense. Black cherries, tar, licorice, smoke and menthol are some of the many notes that are woven together in this rich, deep wine. There is a baritone register to the fruit that is absolutely gorgeous. The powerful, structured finish begs for considerable cellaring and suggests a long life of great drinking lies ahead. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2034 (Taken from wine review)

1989 Gruaud-Larose, St-Julien (98 Point Vintage). Delivers fabulous aromas of crushed red fruits, with leather, tar, tobacco and mint. Full-bodied, offering supersoft and silky tannins, as well as a beautiful polish. Open and luscious, with amazing richness of fruit and decadence at the same time. (Taken from wine review)


2003 Château Rieussec, Sauternes (95 Point Vintage) Château Rieussec was originally owned by monks, though after the French Revolution it was confiscated from the church and sold off at public auction. Current owners, Domaines Barons de Rothschild. Located in Fargues, the chateau includes 186 acres planted to 90% Semillon, 6% Sauvignon Blanc, and 4% Muscadelle. Oak for the fermentation barrels come from the Château Lafite cooperage. About 6,000 cases of Château Rieussec are produced annually.(Taken from wine review)


Out(side the box) to dinner- Alter Miami

Sometimes ya gotta just get out of the box! Getting out of your comfort zone is often the only way to grow, learn, and evolve — and that is exactly what we did going out for our dinner and wine pairing at Alter Miami.


223 NW 23rd St, Miami, FL 33127 Phone: (305) 573-5996



Alter Miami ( is a cozy little spot in the heart of Wynwood. For those of you not familiar with Wynwood you should drop everything and familiarize yourself with it right away! Wynwood has emerged as Miami’s (and one of the country’s) most cutting edge art districts. Some of the most incredible street art, galleries, music venues, and restaurants have popped up here. And when you follow the arts and music throughout history it has lead to some wonderful places!
manaquin-alterAs you can see we had some wonderfully creative and tasty dishes! The wine pairings were also very unique! I’ve certainly never heard wine descriptors such as “skunky marijuana, Dr. Browns Cream Soda, or Gummy Bears!”  It was a treat to just enjoy a fun dinner with you all. Also, a special thanks to Stephen for popping the bottle of Malbec at the end!

David Yarus, Wine Club President 2016




South of the Border:

Scoring high quality South American wine is no easy feat! Let alone, high quality with some age on them.. I was lucky to acquire some wonderful wines from a client that were exciting to open. Would they have held up over the years?! Who the heck would have thought to save these kinds of wines for this long? Interesting…!


Obviously South America hasn’t been producing high quality recognizable wines for nearly as long as Europe, but that’s exactly where many of the grape varietals came from.   We tasted blind and the group was very humbled. Everyone was very impressed with the quality of the 2002 Clos Apalta & the Cheval des Andes each of which come from a nice pedigree!


David Yarus, Wine Club President 2016