Aubin Cellars has Verve
Aubin Cellars is a boutique producer of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, French Colombard and
Gewürztraminer under the “Verve” label based in Oakland, California. The name, Verve, translates literally as
“crafted with enthusiasm, vigor and integrity.” Verve is also a bilingual French-American noun reflecting the
bicultural background of Aubin Cellars’ proprietor, Jérôme Aubin. French-born Aubin is an importer of artisan
oak barrels from Tonnellerie Rousseau of Burgundy, Tonnellerie Saint-Martin of Bordeaux, Tonnellerie Allary of
Cognac, A&K Cooperage of Missouri, and Balazs Cooperage of Hungary. He also imports wine concrete tanks
from Nomblot of Burgundy and Lejeune Wine Tanks. The Verve label was founded in 2001.
Aubin uses the talents of several winemakers including Loren Tayerie, previously with David Bruce Winery and
Rosenblum Cellars, for the California Pinot Noir bottlings, and Ray Walsh, formerly of King Estate and now with
his own label Capitello, for the Oregon Pinot Noirs. The Verve Pinot Noirs have been consistently fine over the
past few vintages and inexpensive considering the quality. The artwork on the distinctive labels is attractive.
I recently sampled four of the 2007 vintage Verve Pinot Noirs released in July 2009. The wines are styled in an
elegant fashion with admirable harmony, great pinotosity and are very approachable now. To acquire the wines,
contact Marie Bourdillas at 510-339-0170 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org (the website,
www.aubincellars.com, does not have the 2007 wines available for purchase at the time of this issue). Most of
the Verve wines are sold through a mailing list.
2007 Verve Monterey Old Vines Rio San Lucas Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 98 cases, $24. 100% de-stemmed but not crushed.
Fermented in T-bins. Manual punch downs. Minimal cold soak and 12 days
average cuvaison. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 25% of which were new
from Tonnellerie Rousseau. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
A dark and intriguing
wine. Aromas of black grapes, plums and seasoned oak are penetrating. Delicious tastes
of black cherry, black currant, black raspberry and plum. Well-structured with ripe tannins,
but not the least bit tannic. Really blossoms with time in the glass. Very good (+)
2007 Verve Stoller Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 150
cases, $30. Yields 1.9 tons per acre average. 100% de-stemmed but not crushed.
Fermented in 2 ton French oak open top fermenter. Manual punch downs. Minimal cold
soak and average cuvaison of 12 days. Aged 18 months in 40% new Rousseau and Saint-
Martin barrels. Bottled unfined and aged an additional 5 months in bottle.
Aromas of red
cherries, strawberries and smoky oak. The flavors echo the aromas. Light, elegant, soft
and smooth with a good spark of acidity. A bit dilute which is reflective of this vintage in
Oregon. Decent, but not nearly as impressive as the 2006 version of this wine.
2007 Verve Klein Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
cases, $33. Yields 1.5 tons per acre average. Clones 115 and 667. 100% destemmed
but not crushed. Fermented in T-bins. Manual punch downs. Minimal
cold soak and 12 days average cuvaison. Aged an average of 19 months in
French oak barrels, 25% new from Tonnellerie Saint-Martin. Bottled unfined and
Initially the scents of fresh dark strawberries and black cherries
dominate. With time in the glass, the fruit takes on a gregarious spicy tone with a hint of root
beer. The core of powdery tannins is wrapped in layers of earth-dusted cherry and berry
fruit. Light on its feet, gently styled, very smoothly textured, and showing perfect harmony. Very good (+)
2007 Verve Momtazi Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc.,150 cases, $33. Yields 2.2 tons per acre average. Pommard and
777. Biodynamic farming. 100% de-stemmed but not crushed. Fermented in
one Rousseau 2-ton French oak open top fermenter. Manual punch downs.
Minimal cold soak and average cuvaison of 12 days. Aged 18 months in 40%
new French oak from Tonnellierie Rousseau. Bottled unfined and aged an
additional 5 months in bottle.
On the nose there are darker-toned fruits with notes of
pepper and forest floor. Tasty core of dark berry fruit elegantly presented with supple
tannins. More body than the Stoller bottling and more persistence on the finish. A feminine
wine that delivers a good dose of charm. Very good.