May 2013
fictional kay
on the label
(painted by a
tattoo artist)
looks like she’d
be more at
home in a biker
bar, Biggar has
been surprised
at the best-
selling spots for
the wine—
“affluent, more
conservative markets like Aspen, Pebble
Beach, Nantucket and New Hampshire.” The
wine, made in Italy’s Lazio region, is as full-
throttle as its package suggests, with dark
fruit and liqueur-like plum flavors.
Makara 2011 Sauvignon Blanc
The Stats:
100% Sauvignon Blanc from
Point of Difference:
Riper—and cheaper—
than most New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.
The Scoop:
Vintage Point wanted to play in
the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc catego-
ry—which is growing 30% a year—yet “we
wanted to get away from the green, ‘cat pee’
taste profile that many in the category pos-
sess,” says Biggar. The 2011 was the first
vintage for Makara, whose yellow-and-or-
ange colored Gauguin-inspired label is meant
to evoke the ripe, warm flavors that define the
wine. Full of lemon curd and grapefruit
notes, Makara is distinctly tropical
and very refreshing.
Lo Nuevo 2010
Sorbo a Sorbo
The Stats:
100% old-vine
Garnacha from Calatayud, Spain;
Point of Difference:
style Spanish wines from old
vines at low prices.
The Scoop:
Biggar is a firm believer that
Garnacha will be the next big thing: “It
has the taste, texture and spice character
of Malbec.” The explosive popularity of
Spanish wines doesn’t hurt either. Vintage
Point’s entire Lo Nuevo line—there are six
wines—are remarkably well-priced for what
they deliver. “The fact that you can get a
wine made from 110-year-old vines for $10
is pretty amazing—Spain is the only place
where this is possible,” says Biggar. Made
with 20% new French oak, Sorbo a Sorbo is
brimming with raspberry, balsamic and bright
plum fruit notes. The name “Sorbo a Sorbo”
means “Sip Sip.”
Hypothesis 2010
The Stats:
Cabernet-based Napa red;
Point of Difference:
A premium release from
the producer of Educated Guess—equal
parts art and science.
The Scoop:
Mark Albrecht, owner of Napa’s
Roots Run Deep Winery, wanted to make a
Napa red everyone could afford, so
with winemaker Barry Gnekow, he
created Educated Guess, selling
for $20. Hypothesis is his reserve
offering, which advertises the
use of “flash détente” on the
label, a high-tech winemaking
technique that removes any
impurities. It’s Gnekow’s best
“educated guess” that barrel
fermentation and flash détente
were the keys to creating the
best complex, richly
styled Cabernet.
Garnet Vineyards 2011
Monterey County Pinot Noir
The Stats:
100% Pinot
Noir in French oak,
60% new;
Point of Difference:
One of the few truly
delicious California
Pinots for well under
The Scoop:
Owned today by a group
of growers in this coastal region (who
purchased the label back from Saintsbury),
Garnet is made from the best fruit of each
vineyard before the rest is sold off, which
means the quality is truly top-notch. The
value extends up the price tier as well:
“Garnet’s Carneros Pinot is $20 and their
single vineyard is $30,” says Biggar. “You
would have to pay $50 to $70 to get this kind
of Pinot character from another brand.”
Mountain Door 2011 Malbec
The Stats:
100% Malbec
from Mendoza,
Point of
An entry-level
Malbec in the
modern style.
The Scoop:
“This grower called us, wanting
to contribute to the Layer Cake Malbec, but
we decided this could be an opportunity
to create a new entry-level Malbec for the
American market,” explains Biggar. In a sea
of Malbecs with Inca names, Mountain Door
has an American name and features a soft,
chocolatey, fruit-forward taste profile.
Layer Cake 2011 Malbec
The Stats:
100% Malbec from Mendoza,
Point of Difference:
An international
collection of wines under the same label
that has been hailed as “the ultimate in
affordable luxury.”
The Scoop:
Layer Cake’s Malbec isn’t
new—the first vintage came out in 2007
as a replacement for the Shiraz, which had
skipped a vintage—but it’s about to
become the brand’s best-seller.
Made with 100% new French oak,
it exudes big, super-ripe flavors of
chocolate, spiced cherries and
earth. “Like all of Jayson’s
wines, it’s a multi-sensory
experience,” says Biggar.
“This is how the brand got the
name—the layers of flavor that
contribute to the overall taste
experience of the wine are like
the layers in a cake.”
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