A Taste of True Myth Wines

True Myth is a specialty appellation winery that produces wines from regions along California’s Central Coast, focusing on Chardonnay from Edna Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles recently announced a nationwide launch of its wines.

I recently received two sample of the wines:

2014 True Myth Chardonnay Paragon Vineyard – Crafted from grapes grown solely in the Niven Family’s Paragon Vineyard. The vines, ranging from seven to 43 years old, are planted to a mix of Heritage and Dijon clones.  Fermented in 50% in French Oak barrels and 50% cold tank fermented. 38% total new oak, and aged 9 months on lees. This wine is SIP Certified sustainable. 13.5% alcohol; SRP – $18

2013 True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon – Sourced from six different vineyards in the Paso Robles AVA.  Aged in a mix of French and American oak barrels for 18 months (50% new). 14.5% alcohol; SRP of $24

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My tasting notes follow:

2014 True Myth Chardonnay Paragon Vineyard 
Pale gold color with pear, white peach, pineapple, and vanilla flavors with hints of lemon curd, guava skin and honey. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, and lush with delicious white peach, pear, pineapple, butterscotch, vanilla flavors with bit of citrus, toasted oak and an appealing touch of minerality with a lingering finish.  If you enjoy a Chardonnay with lush tropical fruit, this one has your name on it! It offers very good value!  Very good (87-88 pts.)

Pair with crab cakes, creamy pasta dishes, mild Jerk Chicken, or grilled halibut.

2013 True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon 
Garnet color with aromatic and appealing cassis, blackberry, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with a good balance of fruit, acidity and tannins with appealing and delicious black cherry, cassis, blackberry, and dark chocolate flavors and a lingering finish. It offers very good value! Very good to outstanding (89-90 pts.)

Pair with a grilled steak, lamb burgers, or a hearty tomato based meaty pasta dish.

More About True Myth

Crafted by the Niven Family, who pioneered grape growing in the Edna Valley in 1973 with the planting of the historic Paragon Vineyard and have played a significant role in defining San Luis Obispo County’s farming history for more than 40 years, these wines are the latest chapter in their winemaking legacy.  A depiction of “Mother Nature at her finest,” True Myth takes advantage of nature’s gift of rich and fertile soils on California’s Central Coast, yielding wines that reflect the true terroir of their origin.  The name is inspired by the idea that “the one True Myth is Mother Nature.”

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It is the latest project from Niven Family Wine Estates, a three-generation, family-owned wine group who pioneered the Edna Valley more than 40 years ago and have played an integral role in defining San Luis Obispo County’s farming history.   The family owns and farms 50% of all the Chardonnay grown in the Edna Valley.  True Myth represents a modern take on the family’s winemaking legacy in the region – it draws from old traditions while embracing modern techniques.  Made under the direction of Winemaker Christian Roguenant, a Burgundy-born and trained winemaker who has been producing Chardonnay for more than 30 vintages, these wines are a signature reflection of their terroir of origin.

The Niven Family Wine Estates’ portfolio includes the following sister brands: True Myth, Baileyana, Tangent, Zocker, Trenza, and Cadre.  Each winery has a specialized varietal focus and identity.

Wines provided as a samples for review.  Many thanks to James O’Hagan  and Glodow Nead Communications

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

 

Chablis:The Spirit of Chardonnay – In The Glass And At The Table

I love minerally, acid-driven white wines. They are refreshing and delicious on their own, and a great companion for a wide variety of foods at the table.

So, I was thrilled when I received four sample bottles of Chablis from Pure Chablis a couple of months back.

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About Chablis

Pure Chablis is a trade organization that promotes and strengthens the image of Chablis wine in the US. Their motto is “Pure Chablis, one grape, one region, one of a kind. Pure Chablis, only from France”

The groups advocacy for Chablis is necessary because here in the US, there are cheap jug wines labeled as either “Chablis” or “White Burgundy”  that are misleading consumers and giving the Chablis “brand” a bad name.

So what, exactly is Chablis? Here’s an overview of the region…

Chablis Map

  • Wine has been made in Chablis for centuries.  The founding of the village of Chablis dates back to Roman times, as do Chablis’ wines.
  • It’s the northernmost subregion of Burgundy.  It located in the Yonne department between Paris and Beaune, a short hop from the Champagne region.
  • Chardonnay is the only grape variety permitted in Chablis
  • Granted AOC (appellation) status in 1938
  • What gives the region its unique “terroir” is a combination of its climate (harsh, cold and wet), and its clay soil referred to as Kimmeridge clay, that is composed of limestone, clay and fossilized oyster shells.

A unique territory and terroir - Image courtesy of Pure Chablis

A unique territory and terroir – Image courtesy of Pure Chablis

  • Chablis has four appellations (in ascending order of quality, power and depth)
    1. Petit Chablis – Represents an entry-level Chablis.  Intended to be consumed young. Vineyards are located on flat ground.
    2. Chablis – The grapes for this level are grown on north and east-facing hills.  These wines tend to show a bit more minerality, due to the high limestone content in the soil of the region.
    3. Chablis Premier Cru – The grapes for this level are grown on south and west-facing hills.  As the name suggests, this level of quality takes it up a notch and produces wine with better aging potential.
    4. Chablis Grand Cru – This is the upper echelon of Chablis, with only about 230 acres situated on one hill, on the north bank of the Serein River.  There are only seven vineyards from which to source the Grand Cru Chablis grapes. This level has the greatest potential for aging.

And in my mind, nowhere in the world does the spirit of Chardonnay manifest itself better than Chablis.  That’s because of its unique terroir and because the wines rarely reveal any oak.   Instead Chablis is strongly influenced by its Kimmeridge soil that was a seabed some 150 million years ago. The result is wines that show a distinct sense of place and a minerality that I love.  I also think most of the wines end to be wonderfully undervalued.  There are plenty of very good to outstanding bottles to be had for under $20, and even the more expense Premier and Grand Cru bottles excellent relative value.

Chablis is Chardonnay, but not every Chardonnay is Chablis“ – Rosemary George,MW

 

Chablis In The Glass And At The Table

In the past I’ve mostly enjoyed Chablis as an aperitif, or with a typical food pairing for such as oysters, snails, light seafood dishes, and poultry.  But with its high acidity, I wanted to try it with some other food.

So, over the course of a couple of months, I paired it with a variety of foods/cuisines.  My tasting notes and the results of the pairings follow:

2014 Domaine Servin Chablis Les Pargues – France, Burgundy, Chablis
Very pale yellow-green color with beautiful hay, white flower, green apple, citrus and wet stone aromas. On the palate, it’s taut, and focused with mouth-watering acidity, and wonderful minerality with green apple, lemon and a hint of peach flavors. Long finish. (90 pts.)  Great QPR at $20 SRP!

The wine paired well with a homemade Salmon Burger.  Pairing the wine with a Chablis rather than a lighter bodied  Petit Chablis was a good choice.  

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A homemade Salmon burger! Yum!

2014 Jean-Marc Brocard Petit Chablis – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Petit Chablis
Very pale yello-green color with restrained apple, citrus and slate aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied and fresh with apple, lime, a hint of grapefruit and under ripe white peach flavors and a solid satisfying finish. (87 pts.)

The wine was a very good paired with a few sushi rolls from our local favorite Japanese restaurant

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Take out sushi from our favorite Japanese restaurant

2014 Domaine Bernard Defaix Petit Chablis – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Petit Chablis
Very pale green color with wet clay, bruised apple, chalk and lime aromas. On the palate it’s very fresh with an appealing minerality, and green apple, lime and a hint of white peach peeking through. (88 pts.)

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We paired this wine with take out Thai food. It paired especially well with pad Thai and crab fried rice.  And it found what I call “peaceful coexistence” with yellow curry and lemon fish.  This was a bit of an eye-opener. In the past I’ve typically paired Thai food with Riesling, Gewürztraminer or perhaps a Viognier. Chablis is now on my list too!

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Thai take out with Pad Thai, crab-fried rice and lemon fish

2014 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis – France, Burgundy, Chablis
Very pale green color with buttered toast, green apple, lemon, lime and wet stone aromas. On the palate it’s approaches medium-bodied and is very fresh with green apple, mixed citrus and a hint of white peach flavors and an appealing minerality with a lingering finish. (90 pts.) Great QPR at $20!

We paired this with take out savory crepes from a local creperie.  It was an excellent match for both a Greek crepe of grilled eggplant, asparagus and tomatoes with feta cheese in pesto sauce, and a Florentine crepe of spinach and mushroom with mozzarella in pesto sauce

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A Greek crepe – grilled eggplant, asparagus and tomatoes with feta cheese in pesto sauce

My takeaway?  While Chablis has a well deserved reputation for being a great aperitif and an excellent match with fish, shellfish and light poultry dishes, it’s a more than capable partner at the table for a wide variety of dishes.  

For some great tips on matching food and Chablis click here

Check out the video below for more information about Chablis!

Wines provided as a samples for review.  Many thanks to Pure Chablis, the Chablis Commission and the BIVB!

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine Pairing Recommendations For #SundaySupper Regional Specialties

This week, the Sunday Supper taste makers are celebrating regional food specialties. Foodies believe there is no better way to get to know an area than to experience what the “natives” eat.  The Sunday Supper family is sharing more than 40 wonderful dishes they grew up eating or learned to love while visiting or living in a specific area.

I love this theme because I believe, in many ways, you can come to know something about the people of a place through the food and wine of that place.

Here are my general tips for How To Sensibly Pair Food And Wine.

Regional Food and Wine Pairing

Image courtesy of kuvo.org

My wine pairing recommendations follow:

Pair the appetizers, breakfast items, salads, soups, and side dishes below with a glass of sparkling wine. Sparkling wines are the Swiss Army knife of wines in my book.  They are a good match for virtually anything   And enjoying a glass of bubbly will not only elevate your meal, it’s the only wine that’s socially acceptable to enjoy with any meal). Look for Gruet Blanc de Noir. It’s blend of mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a lovely pale salmon color and an enticing, rich raspberry, baked pear and toasty vanilla character.  

Appetizers:

Beverages:

Breakfast:

Salads:

Sauces:

Side Dishes:

Soups:

Main Dishes:

Pair the dishes below with Pinot Grigio.  I like the Kirkland Pinot Grigio, Friuli.  It’s a Pinot Grigio from the Friuli region in the far north-eastern corner of Italy. I think it’s one of the best regions for Pinot Grigio in Italy.  The Kirkland Pinot Grigio opens with aromas of apple, peach, clarified butter and wet stones.  In the mouth, it’s medium-bodied, fresh and fruity with apple, and pear flavors and an appealing minerality.

Pair the following dishes with Riesling. A perennial favorite of mine is the Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Riesling Eroica.  It offers calamansi, mandarin orange, and tropical fruit aromas. on the palate it’s off-dry (slightly sweet) with mouth-watering acidity and tropical fruit, citrus, and honey flavors.

Pair these dishes with a medium-bodied Chardonnay with good acidity.  Look for the Columbia Crest H3 Chardonnay.  It opens with aromas of spiced pear and freshly sliced apples with a hint of honey.  In the mouth, it shows spiced peach, apple, citrus, tropical fruit, and vanilla flavors.

It’s not hard to imagine myself dining al fresco enjoying a chilled glass of a food friendly Rosé with the dishes below.  A perennial favorite is Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare.  It’s a blend of both red and white Rhone grape varieties with a refreshing, savory Alpine strawberry, and citrus character. 

When I saw these two dishes, the first thought that came to mind is the tried and true food pairing guideline “what grows together, goes together”.  So an Italian wine made from the Barbera grape came to mind.  Barbera tends to be a light-bodied, juicy wine.  Look for the 2012 Terre da Vino “La Luna e I Falò” Barbera d’Asti Superiore from Italy.  It has lush, savory black cherry, plum, and licorice character.

Pair the dishes below with a Malbec. I recently enjoyed the 2013 Catena Malbec from Argentina.  It’s a textbook smooth and supple Malbec with very appealing black cherry, blackberry, plum, dark chocolate and vanilla character. 

Pair the dishes below with a Rioja from Spain. The primary red wine grape in Rioja is Tempranillo. When I look for a value in a food-friendly wine, Spain is at the top of my list. Look for the  2010 Marqués de Murrieta Reserva Rioja.  It’s produced by one of the two oldest, historical bodegas that put Rioja on the map in the mid-19th century.  It’s a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano with a perfumed, spicy, savory red cherry, licorice and vanilla character.  

Pair these dishes with a red wine blend.  Look for the Michael David Petit Petite. It’s an intriguing blend of 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot from the 2015 Wine Enthusiast Region of the Year, Lodi. It’s a rich, full-bodied wine with gobs of pure black fruit, cacao and vanilla flavors. 

Desserts:

When it comes to dessert, it’s often best to pair your favorite dessert with a cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk!  But pairing dessert with a dessert wine can make your favorite dessert even better.  Here are three recommendations that I believe will

Here are some guidelines and recommendations for desserts. There are three factors to consider: sweetness (a dessert wine should be sweeter than the dessert itself), acidity (an acidic wine may pair best with a fruit dish, which also has natural acidity), intensity (the more intense the flavors of a dessert, the more intense the wine), and color ( in general the darker the dessert, the darker the dessert wine should be)

For a mild, light, buttery dessert such as custard, meringue or where vanilla plays a prominent role, I recommend a Moscato d’ Asti, a semi-sweet, lightly sparkling, low-alcohol wine from Piedmont, Italy.  Look for the 2015 Saracco Moscato d’Asti.

For desserts featuring pome, or orchard fruit and cinnamon spice, look for a late harvest or ice-wine style Riesling.  Try the Pacific Rim Vin de Glaciere Riesling.

For dark, buttery, caramelized, nutty, and rich desserts try a Port. Look for the Fonseca Bin No. 27 Port from Portugal.

For frosted cakes or cupcakes, pair the wine to the frosting (i.e for chocolate, peanut butter,  or toffee frosting go with a Port, for vanilla, coconut, whipped cream, sugar cream type frosting go with a Moscato d’Asti or late harvest riesling.

Plus Rhubarb Steamed Pudding and Favorite Regional Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement

What are your favorite regional recipes? What about regional wines?

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper

2013 Castello Di Amorosa Chardonnay: An Exploration of Terroir and Technique

My friends who know I’m a wine writer often ask me if I’d like to be a winemaker.  My answer is always the same…Are you nuts? 

Let me explain. Though winemaking is often perceived as glamorous, I think it’s anything but.  It’s hard work that requires long hours, being a slave to Mother Nature, and a commitment to their chosen craft that borders on insanity.  And for the best, that commitment includes a relentless pursuit of perfection, and a willingness to experiment and take risks.

It’s that pursuit of excellence, and willingness to experiment  that led Castello di Amorosa winemaker Peter Velleno to craft three 2013 Chardonnays: the 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay from their estate vineyard in Los Carneros, and two Chardonnays from the renown Bien Nacido vineyard in Santa Maria Valley, one of which ( “La Rocca“) was raised exclusively in a concrete egg.

Crafting two Chardonnays from two cool climate vineyards, using identical wine making protocols was an opportunity to showcase  the differences in terrroir between Los Carneros, where the San Francisco Bay meets both Napa and Sonoma, and Bien Nacido in Santa Barbara County.

Concrete eggs are an interesting mix of ancient and ultra-modern winemaking techniques, since the first wines were actually fermented in pottery jars called amphorae. The egg shape is a newer modification, which allows the wines inside to have a natural convection current as the carbon dioxide released during fermentation helps to naturally stir the wine and mix in the sediment, or lees. – Castello di Amorosa

The 2013 Castello di Amorosa Chardonnays also featured a limited about of a wine called “La Rocca” or “the fortress.”

As explained by Winemaker, Peter Velleno, “the reason for the Chardonnay is that the use of concrete (or more specifically the lack of oak barrels) allows the flavor of the vineyard to be the star. Chardonnay needs to have a rich mouthfeel, so it makes sense to try it in concrete, where there will be no oak flavors or aroma, but still the benefits of aging on the lees.”   Aging wine on the lees, or the yeast and sediment that settles to the bottom of the barrel during fermentation, imparts a creaminess and complexity that can’t be found in stainless steel.

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The first two wines below showcased the differences between the terroir of Carneros, and Bien Nacido. To my palate, the Bien Nacido bottling had a distinctive tropical fruit character, and a higher level of acidity. On the other hand, the Carneros bottling showed an appealing minerality, and a bit more spice.

My favorite of the three was the La Rocca bottling. To my palate, it was the freshest, and most balanced of the three wines.

My detailed tasting notes follow:

2013 Castello di Amorosa ChardonnayUSA, California, Napa Valley
Pale golden-yellow color with pear, apple, and butterscotch aromas. On the palate it’s lush and with a supple texture and good acidity with apple, peach, honey, lemon meringue, vanilla and bit of very pleasing brown spice and minerality. Long finish. 100 % Barrel fermentation, 50% new French oak barrels, 50 % second use, with roughly 40% undergoing malolactic fermentation, all aged “sur lie” (on the yeast) for 10 months and stirred to re-suspend the yeast, enhancing aromas and adding texture and volume to the mouth. alcohol; SRP – $29. 827.5 cases produced. Pair with Alaskan King Crab Legs and drawn butter (90 pts.)

2013 Castello di Amorosa Chardonnay Bien Nacido VineyardUSA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
Pale gold color with alluring orchard fruit, tropical fruit, orange blossom and toasty aromas. On the palate it shows a harmonious character with ample fruit, nicely balance against lively acidity and a lush mouth feel. It shows white peach, pineapple, pear, vanilla, and toasty oak flavors with a bit of butter and spice peeking through, with a very giving finish. 100 % Barrel fermentation, 50% new French oak barrels, 50 % second use, with roughly 40% undergoing malolactic fermentation, all aged “sur lie” (on the yeast) for 10 months and stirred to re-suspend the yeast, enhancing aromas and adding texture and volume to the mouth. Alcohol 14.8% SRP; $38 453 cases produced. Pair with Seared Scallops in Morel Cream Sauce.  (91 pts.) 

2013 Castello di Amorosa Chardonnay La RoccaUSA, California, Napa Valley
Pale yellow color with expansive apple, pear, pineapple, a hint of citrus marmalade aromas. On the palate it full-bodied, and pure with great texture nicely balanced with lively acidity. It shows enticing apple, pear, lemon curd, pineapple, and a hint of grapefruit flavors with a hint of wet stone minerality peeking through. Long finish. 100% Chardonnay. Fermented and aged in a single concrete egg tank sur lie for 10 months. No malolactic fermentation. Pair with Forty Cloves and A Chicken or Seafood Risotto. SRP -$38 14.8% alcohol 177 cases produced. (92 pts.)

Between the three wines there’s something to love for most Chardonnay fans.  If you prefer a lush, riper style of Chardonnay opt for the barrel fermented Napa Valley, or Bien Nacido wines.  If you prefer your Chardonnay with more of a  pome (apple, pear) fruit character, you’ll enjoy the Napa Valley.  If you like a more tropical fruit character go for the Bien Nacido bottling.  And if you prefer your Chardonnay with higher acidity, the La Rocca fits the bill quite nicely!

The wines are sold exclusively through Castello di Amorosa directly.

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About Castello Di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa is one of Napa Valley’s top “destination” wineries.  What makes it unique is that it’s both an authentic 13th Century castle and a winery.  The Castello (Castle in Italian) was the brainchild of Dario Sattui, a fourth generation winemaker.

Armed with his vault of medieval architectural renderings and another passionate dream, Sattui purchased a 171 acre vineyard property in Calistoga in 1993 and began construction of Castello di Amorosa Winery in 1994. Clearly, the success of V. Sattui Winery built the 121,000 square foot, 12th century style, authentic Tuscan castle winery. The Castello opened to the public in 2007(click here for complete history).

And if you’re ever in Napa Valley, a visit to the Castello di Amorosa is a must!

Wines provided as a samples for review.  Many thanks to Castello di Amorosa and Julie Ann Kodmur

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

When Is Sparkling Wine From Spain NOT Cava?

When I think of sparkling wine from Spain, I think Cava.   But Cava, while it has a reputation for offering great value, is offers no serious competition to the world’s best sparkling wines.

It’s no secret that the “Cava” brand has been undermined by mediocre sparkling wines produced far from the traditional region in Penedes.

The fact is I haven’t had a bottle of Cava in at least a couple of years.

But I recently had a sparking wine from Spain, which was not Cava, that could give entry-level Champagne a run for the money at half the price.

That wine was the 2009 Loxarel Penedès Reserva Familiar Brut Nature.  

Like Cava, it hails from the Penedes region of Spain. But in 2014, a group of 14 sparkling wine producers abandoned the Cava D.O., and established the Classic Penedès D.O.

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According to Winesearcher.com Classic Penedès (a.k.a.Sparkling Penedes Espumosostand in direct competition with those made under the Cava title. They have a few differentiators in their favor, however – most notably that, from the 2017 vintage onwards, they will be made exclusively from organically grown grapes.

Wines crafted using the methode traditionelle, must be aged in bottle for at least 15 months.

Also, unlike Cava, sparkling Penedes Espumoso wine can be made in the “ancestral” method, lees-aged for four years and undisgorged (‘No Degorjat’ or No ‘Degollat’). For this style, the addition of sugars for tirage or dosage is prohibited.

Producers may opt for classic or traditional grape varieties whether or not they are native, such as Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir

2009 Loxarel Penedès Reserva Familiar Brut Nature

It’s a blend of organic Chardonnay, Xarel-lo, and Macabeo grapes from high altitude vineyards in Penedes. The Xarel-lo is from of the property’s oldest most prized vines. Aged in contact with the lees in bottle for 50 months with no dosage

A Penedès that made me think of Anselme Selosse. Superbly-priced too. Bravo! – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

12% alcohol; SRP – $20 Direct Import; K&L Wine Merchant

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My tasting notes follow:

Pale straw yellow color with plenty of very active tiny bubbles. On the nose it shows quince, stone fruit, hazelnut, pastry dough, dried herb and chalk aromas with a hint of citrus. On the palate, it’s bone-dry with a very creamy delicate mousse with quince, apricot, peach, flavors with hint of lemon curd flavors with an appealing chalky, lemony, minerality. Long finish. Outstanding: 90-91pts

I was very impressed with this wine.  If you’re looking for an opportunity to enjoy an excellent long aged Spanish sparkling wine that rivals Champagne for half the price, check it out!  And let me know what you think!

I also recently tried the Can Mayol Loxarel “999” Brut Nature Rosat, also from Loxarel. It’s a Brut Nature Rose that was very good. No detailed tasting notes because I was a party, but I’d definitely purchase again. And it offers great value at $12.99

About Loxarel

From importer K&L Wine Merchants…Can Mayol, which bottles under the trademarked name “Loxarel,” is a winery that has been farming organically for more than a decade. The Mitjan family, owners of Can Mayol, also employ some biodynamic treatments. They keep animals, including chickens, a horse and a donkey named Garnatxa. While the focus is on “Brut Nature” (no dosage added) Cava production, they also produce some very interesting still wines as well. In their chalky, high altitude vineyards (above 2,400 feet for their highest vines, among the highest in the Penedès D.O.), Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Parellada, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive and pick up an incredible minerality, which makes these wines wonderfully distinctive and very exciting to drink.

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Loire; Saumur-Champigny #Winophiles

The French Winophiles is doing a deep-dive into the Loire Valley region.  The Loire Valley is divided in to five distinct regions – Pay Nantais (which we explored last month), Anjou, Saumur, Touraine, and Centre- Loire.  This month we’re exploring the Anjou and Saumur region.  I chose a wine from the Saumur-Champigny sub-region of Saumur. 

I chose Saumur-Champigny because it’s an appellation that specializes in Cabernet Franc, a grape variety I adore.   And Loire Valley Cabernet Franc renown for its inherent lightness and freshness, which makes it versatile at the table.  I’ve also found that un-oaked Cabernet Franc is among the handful of red wines that takes a chill well, furthering its appeal in my eyes.

Note: If you’re  a Cabernet Franc fan, There are four appellations in the Loire Valley that specialize in Cabernet Franc; aside from Saumur-Champigny from the Saumur region,  look for wines with Chinon, Bourgueil, Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil on the label from the Touraine region.

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About Saumur-Champigny

Saumur-Champigny, created in 1957, is a red wine appellation in the Saumur region. The wines are made predominantly from Cabernet Franc, with a permitted (if rarely used) addition of up to 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon or Pineau d’Aunis (sometimes called Chenin Noir here). They are typically light or medium bodied, and characterized by crisp acidity and forward, slightly spicy, berry fruit flavors. The grapes come from about 3700 acres (1500ha) of vineyards located within the parishes of Saumur and Champigny and six of their immediate neighbors. Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg is the most southerly of these and its vineyards are one of the core sources of Saumur-Champigny wine.

Cabernet Franc is put to some of its best use in Saumur-Champigny, which is the Anjou’s answer to Chinon, and one of the best red wine appellations of the Loire.

The terroir around Champigny is vital to the production of wines in this style and is the reason the area was singled out for its own independent appellation. A low plateau of tuffeau – the yellowish metamorphic rock so distinctive of the central Loire region – rises up at the eastern edge of Saumur town and continues almost uninterrupted for seven miles (11km) to the village of Candes Saint-Martin. This sandy, porous rock is the key to much of the Saumur wine character; it regulates water supply to the vines by immediately absorbing excess water and retaining it for use in the driest periods. Vines growing in tuffeau-rich soils rarely suffer from excess water stress but also benefit from dry, free-draining soils.

The climate around Saumur is moderated by a slight maritime influence from the Atlantic Ocean, albeit reduced by the intervening 100 miles (160km) of low-lying fields and woodland. In summer, however, the slow-moving waters of the Loire do little to combat the high temperatures. According to local folklore, it was this midsummer heat that gave Champigny its original Latin name: Campus Ignis (“Field of Fire”). (Source: winesearcher.com)

In my glass

2012 Château du Hureau Saumur-Champigny Tuffe

The Château du Hureau is located in the small town of Dampierre sur Loire, about four miles east of Saumur and 15 miles west of Chinon. The Château itself is an impressive sight, with its 18th-century Mansard roof and octagonal tower topped by a boar-headed weathercock, from which the domaine takes its name–a hureau is an old, solitary wild boar. Behind the Château sits the winery carved out of the limestone cliffs in the 13th century and overlooking the Loire river. For wine lovers, the cave is even more impressive than the Château, with numerous paths leading to carved out caverns housing stainless steel vinification equipment and lines of barrels…Seventeen hectares (42 acres) including 21 separate vineyard plots are spread around the towns of Dampierre Sur Loire, Souzay, Champigny and Saumur and are planted with Cabernet Franc. What links all of the plots is “tuffeau” (tufa/limestone), a kind of soft chalk from the Cretaceous period (146 to 65 million years ago). In Latin “creta” means chalk. The underlying tuffeau is the overriding factor in Saumur-Champigny’s distinctive quality, it also provides the name for this beautiful red. (Source: K&L Wine Merchants)

Chateau H Loire

This is the Chateau’s “entry-level” wine.  The fruit is from organically farmed vineyard.  It’s fermented on indigenous yeast and is raised in concrete tanks between 10-20 months.  12.6% alcohol.  SRP – $16

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My tasting note:

Ruby-purple colour with appealing cassis, black cherry, and mineral aromas with hint of dried rose and spice. On the palate it’s between light and medium-bodied, pure, fresh, and moreish (it took considerable constraint for my wife and I not to finish the bottle in one evening) with chalky tannins and a core of cassis, black and red cherry flavors and very good length. Wonderful value here, especially for a 100% Cab Franc! Will buy more!

On my plate

I decided I wanted an entree salad for dinner.  Now you may be thinking – a meatless salad and red wine…Noooo!?

Here’s how I made it work. I chose a Roasted Asparagus Salad from MyRecipes.com. Asparagus takes on a dramatically different flavor profile when it is roasted or grilled.(as opposed to steaming or boiling). While steamed asparagus has a grassy character, grilled asparagus takes on a delicious, meaty flavor profile. And I was counting on that transformation when I considered pairing a red wine with my entree salad.

To further increase my odds for a successful meatless salad and red wine pairing, I added some roasted eggplant cubes, which I thought would add further increase the “meatiness” of the salad.  Other modifications I made to the recipe  included grilling the asparagus rather than roasting (I also decided to grill a tri-tip, and since the grill was hot..), substituting blackberry “balsalmic” vinegar for balsamic, and using chopped romaine instead of bibb lettuce – the latter two because that’s what I had on hand.

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The pairing

First,  the salad turned out remarkably well! I was very pleased with the pairing! The salad was dominated by the grilled asparagus and roasted eggplant, which gave the salad a “meaty” qualiyt in terms of texture and to some degree taste because of the charred bits on the asparagus.  Likewise for the roasted eggplant. The wine was a great match for both the salad and the tri-tip steak!

Check out what my fellow French #Winophiles discovered about Anjou and Saumur on their virtual journey through the Loire Valley!

Join us on Saturday, April 16th for a live Twitter Chat at 8 am PST/11 am EST using hashtag #Winophiles to share your favorite wines, food, and travel experiences from the Anjou/Saumur regions.  

Join us for our upcoming tour of the Loire Valley: May 21st – Touraine/Vouvray; June 18th  – Upper Loire – Cheverny, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume/Pouilly-Sur-Loire

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Tavel Paired with Spring BBQ #WinePW

We’re pairing fresh, seasonal spring foods with wines from the diverse and fascinating Southern Rhône region of France.

Wine Pairing Weekend is a monthly collaborative event for wine/food bloggers started by David Crowley of Cooking Chat.  It’s a great way to find food and wine pairings that work (or learn from the ones that don’t); along with tips on how to create your own food and wine pairing magic. Jill Barth of from L’occasion is hosting this month’s Spring Meal Pairings for Southern Rhône Wines theme.  

On my plate

It was a sunny warm day in the Bay Area last weekend. And I was in the mood for smoked meat!  When I’m in such mood, I usually smoke pork ribs in my Weber.  But I was looking for a healthier option and I wanted to try something new.

I decided to smoke some chicken (which I’ve always barbecued).

The wine was no brainer for me.  I adore rosé, which I drink year-round, so that was my choice for my Spring BBQ plate of Smoked chicken, Potato Salad, and Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Chips.

In my glass

Provence was top of mind, but when I think of rose from Provence I think of light-bodied rose with a character that is closer to a white wine than a red wine.  With the smoked chicken, I wanted a more substantial rose that was closer in character to a red wine.

My thoughts then shifted to Bandol and Tavel. Then I learned (I’d not really thought about it before given the the fact that Provence and the Southern Rhone share geographic proximity) that Provence isn’t considered to be part of the Rhone.  And since Bandol is in Provence…Tavel was the last man standing so to speak.  And that was just fine with me! I’m a big fan of Tavel.

Image source; http://www.goodfoodrevolution.com/tavel-rose-intro/

Image courtesy of goodfoodrevolution.com

About Tavel

Tavel is a tiny, sleepy town of less than 2,000 sandwiched between the Languedoc and Provence in the southern Rhône Valley across the Rhône River from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and just north of Avignon.

Tavel’s vineyards date back to the Greek era and the 5th Century BC.  During the middle ages, wines from the region were a staple of the ancient papal court in nearby Avignon and a favorite of Louis XIV and Philippe le Bel  – so much so that they decreed that nothing else should be produced. To this day, Tavel is synonymous with rosé.  In fact, this AOC created in 1936, has dubbed themselves “Le Roi des Rosés” – “ The King of Roses”.

Gorgeous Tavel dresses in a thousand shades of pink to seduce and captivate the senses. Luminous like no other wine, it inspires the chef, the eater and the eaten. – Christophe Tassan; Sommelier and Rhone Ambassador

It is one of the 18 crus (meaning it truly express their individual ‘terroir’) of Rhone, putting in on par with the likes of the more renown crus such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Côte-Rôtie. It  is the only communal appellation in France exclusively for rosé wines.

Grenache reigns as the primary varietal for the Tavel blends. Cinsault, Mourvedre, Syrah & a few other Rhone varieties are often used in smaller amounts.  The wines contain a maximum 60% Grenache, and have a maximum alcohol content of 13.5%. The best examples of Tavel – always bone dry – combine freshness with complexity of fruit and intensity.  And most, when cellared correctly, will improve for several years in bottle.

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My tasting notes:

2014 Cave de Tavel Lauzeraies – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Tavel 
Deep pink-red color with strawberry, cherry, and a hint of rose aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with strawberry, cherry, white pepper, spice and a hint of citrus flavors.  Blend of  50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 10% Mourvedre.  A steal for $10 (no doubt because it’s from the 2014 vintage)  Very Good ; 88-89 pts.  Will buy more!

The food and wine pairing

In a word pairing of my Spring BBQ plate of smoked chicken, potato salad, and potato chips was “Scrumdiddlyumptious! It was a great pairing. I love a robust rose with some weight for BBQ. And this Tavel is was great example of the weight of the wine being a match for the weight of the food.  It is truly un vin gastronomique!

Check out the other food and wine pairing put together by the other Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers for this month’s Spring Meal Pairings for Southern Rhône Wines theme.

If you’re up early join us Saturday, April 9th at 11 am EST/8 PST for a live Twitter chatter using #WinePW.  Anyone interested in food and wine pairing is welcome to join the chat.  For a list of past and upcoming #winePW events, visit the Wine Pairing Weekend calendar here. We’d love to have you online with us!

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine Country Wanderlust: A Photo Essay

Spring is a great time to visit wine country.

There is a rebirth underway in the vineyards.

The weather is more agreeable (well at least it is in California, where I’m based;-)

It’s less crowded in tasting rooms. And rore hours of daylight mean tasting rooms are open longer.

Vineyards are carpeted with brilliant yellow, purple and green cover crops

Here are some of my favorite photos that take me right back to the vineyards (and cellars) I’ve visited around the world

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The 200 year old farmhouse at Bodegas Contino in Rioja

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A stellar lineup of wine we enjoyed with an amazing picnic lunch in the estate vineyards of Bodegas Contino in Rioja

The vineyards of Bodegas Puelles in Rioja

Champagne

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This lovely pond was adjacent to the estate vineyard at Champage Jacquesson in the town on Dizy in France between Épernay and Rheims

On outcropping that shows the chalky soils typical in Champagne

On outcropping that shows the chalky soils typical in Champagne

In the cellar at Champagne Roger Coulon

I got a little fancy with this photo in the cellar at Champagne Roger Coulon

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The estate vineyards of Champagne Roger Coulon

California

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Empty bottle of the iconic Ridge Monte Bello at the Ridge Monte Bello property.

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The Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs vineyard

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The vineyards at A. Rafanelli winery in Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County

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Picnic tables adjacent to the Amista estate vineyards in Dry Creek Valley Sonoma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Wines For Picnic #SundaySupper

View from the picnic area at Gustafson Family Winery in Geyserville, CA (Sonoma County)

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View of the Russian River Valley from the Copain Winery in Sonoma County

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A gorgeous view of the Golden Eye estate vineyard in Mendocino County

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A sign pointing toward the spiritual home of Tablas Creek Vineyards – Domaine de Beaucastel in Chateaunuef-du-Pape

Flight of Mumm White and Red Sparklers Overlooking Their Beautiful Vineyards

Flight of Mumm Napa White and Red Sparklers overlooking their beautiful vineyards

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Yours truly in the vineyards in Napa Valley

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Old vine zinfandel in Lodi

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a road trip to wine country! Sonoma, Napa, Santa Cruz Mountains, Livermore Valley, Lodi are all within a 2 hour drive!

Who’s with me?

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; Week of April 2, 2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended April 2, 2016

2010 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley  
Violet color with appealing cassis, black cherry aromas with hints of violets and cedar wood. On the palate it’s elegant, with well balanced acidity sweet well integrated tannins and silky texture. It’s all too easy to drink with black cherry, cassis, and vanilla flavors, and a lingering finish. 13.5% 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec. Fruit sourced from 85% Alexander Valley, 12% Mendocino County, 3% Dry Creek Valley.SRP; $65 Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

2011 Overland Wine Company Petite Sirah Kick Ranch – USA, California, Sonoma County  
Opaque black red color with very appealing black fruit, briar, violet, dark roast coffee and dark chocolate aromas on the palate it’s energetic and surprisingly light on its feet with well integrated dusty tannins with blackberry,blueberry compote, plum, black cherry , vanilla and a hint of dark chocolate flavor and a long sweet slightly spicy mineral laced finish 2 years on French oak. SRP; $36 15% alcohol Outstanding; 91-92 pts.

2014 Cave de Tavel Tavel Lauzeraies – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Tavel 
Deep pink-red color with strawberry, cherry, and a hint of rose aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with strawberry, cherry, white pepper, spice and a hint of citrus flavors.  SRP; $10 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 10% Mourvedre. Very Good ; 88-89 pts

2013 Carlisle Syrah Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands  
Nearly opaque ruby purple color with very appealing blackberry,cassis, , violet, and white pepper aromas with hints of olive tapenade. On the palate it’s leans toward medium-bodied with ample fruit and enough acidity, dusty tannins with a savory edge to keep it in harmony. It shows bright blackberry, blueberry compote, cassis, licorice, vanilla and spice flavors and a long finish. SRP; $43 30% whole cluster. Raised in French Oak, 21% new. 15.7% alcohol Outstanding; 92-93 pts.

-Wine of the Week-

Do you ever come “back” to a wine after years of not having it?  One of two things can happen. You realize you miss the wine.  Or you remember why you don’t. Fortunately, after not having had a Tavel rose for years, I realized I missed them.  Tavel is a wine region is the Southern Rhone that specializes in rose.  I picked up the Cave de Tavel Lauzeraies from K&L Wine Merchants for $10 because it was a 2014.  I’ve already picked up a couple of more bottles!  Keeping with the coming back to a wine theme, It was the same thing with the Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s been years since I’ve had it.  It’s very good to outstanding, but I can think of several Cabs I like as much, if not more, for the $65 SRP (it was a Christmas gift). The Carlisle Syrah Sierra Mar SLH fantastic. We brought a bottle to dinner with friends last weekend.  Unfortunately, I accidentally pulled a ’13 from the cellar instead of a ’11 I intended to pull.  While very approachable now, the wine will get better with time.

My Wine of the Week is the 2011 Overland Petite Sirah.  I actually won this bottle of wine via a raffle at the 2015 Dark and Delicious Petite Sirah event. I was introduced to Overland Wine at that event.  It was one of the very best of the 40-50 Petite Sirahs I tasted!

Sadly, there was no Bay Area edition of event this year.

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More About Overland Wine Company

Dick Keenan and his wife, Kathy McNamara make Overland wines from their Kick Ranch vineyard in Sonoma County.  They grow and sell small lots of ultra premium grapes to select wineries in Sonoma and Napa, California.

Kick Ranch Vineyard

Image courtesy of Overland Wine

From the winery…Overland’s mission is to make bold, flavorful wines that show why the Kick Ranch vineyard is a source for extraordinary wines.

Overland’s name and labels honor the spirit of discovery and risk taking that marked the Nineteenth Century Westward Migration in America.  Kick Ranch was first settled by a pioneer family that walked overland almost 2000 miles on the western trails that began on the Missouri River near Omaha, Nebraska.  They walked across America to start a new life, and they bought the land we now farm.  By 1875, those pioneers had planted 25 acres of vineyards.  Over the years, whether due to Prohibition or changes in fortune, the vines disappeared.  As it turns out, we didn’t plant Kick Ranch, we restored it to a purpose and focus first set over 125 years earlier.

Ten years after our first harvest, we released our first Overland wines.  In creating a label and the Overland brand, we wanted to honor not only the pioneers who journeyed so far but all who work hard at whatever they do and bring effort and optimism to all that they do.  

So we make “Wines of Effort, Promise and Optimism.”  We make our wines for wine enthusiasts and in particular those interested in a unique Sonoma County wine experience – by offering visits to Kick Ranch for unique tastings and events and by also promoting the talented winemakers who also make Kick Ranch vineyard designated wines.

Over the years, I’ve had many Kick Ranch designated wines. First from Rosenblum, then Carica, and most recently Bedrock Wine Co.  All the wines are been fantastic!  As the saying goes…”great wine starts in the vineyard”!

My Food and Wine Pairing of the Week was the Tavel Lauzeraies paired with Smoked Chicken!  Scrumdiddlyumptious!

 What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Trousseau Trifecta!

Trousseau.  It’s an obscure grape variety one doesn’t hear much about.  Last week I had the pleasure of enjoying three harmonious, outstanding, and moreish wines crafted from the two varieties of Trousseau; Trousseau Noir and Trousseau Gris. 

I was introduced to Trousseau when I attended a Seven % Solution Tasting in 2014. According to the organizers of the tasting – “Roughly 93% of Northern California Vineyard acreage is planted to eight grape varietals. The remaining 7% of acreage is home to an impressive aggregation of lesser known varietals”.

There were a few Trousseau that were among my favorites of the tasting. Inspired by the my Seven % Solution experience, last year I purchased bottles of Trousseau from Rootdown, Sandlands, and Two Shepherds.

About Trousseau

According to Winesearcher.com, Trousseau Noir is a dark-skinned wine grape originally from …northeastern France, but which has made its way over the centuries to vineyards in northwestern Spain and various parts of Portugal. As one might expect of a well-traveled variety with a long history, it goes by various names, the most notable of which are Bastardo (Portugal),Merenzao and Verdejo Negro (Spain). The Jura region, in the mountains of eastern France, can call Trousseau its own. The variety is one of Jura’s two indigenous grapes (the other is Poulsard)

Trousseau Gris  is a light-skinned mutation of the dark Trousseau grape variety, originating in eastern France. Though the mutation is believed to have occurred in Europe, Trousseau Gris is better known as a Californian variety under its synonym, Gray Riesling. Traditionally, it has been used to give body and aromatics to white and red blended wines, but it is coming into its own as a varietal wine. that were new to me. The variety has long been planted in California, although it lost ground there throughout the course of the 20th century. Now, it is mostly planted among other vines in “field blend” vineyards along the west coast, where it is combined with all manner of other varieties. That said, there is a dedicated Trousseau Gris vineyard in Sonoma’s Russian River region, making some high-quality wines. That vineyard is the Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard.  It’s the only planting of Trousseau Gris in California.  It’s only 10 acres and was planted 40 years ago.   

The Wines

The three wines I enjoyed included a white from Trousseau Gris, plus two wines from Trousseau Noir, a rosé and a red.

Here’s my recap of the wines (in order tasted):

2014 Rootdown Trousseau Gris Upper Mokelumne Watershed

Rootdown Wine Cellars is owned by Mike Lucia, whose day job is assistant wine maker for Copain.  The wine was sourced from Amador County from a vineyard planted in 1970 for making port style wines.  The grapes were food stomped and soaked for 15 hours on skins to for weight and texture.  Retail – $21

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My tasting note:

A delicious, refreshing and harmonious rosé of Trousseau Noir.  Pale salmon color with wet stone, citrus, bit of spice and earth aromas. On the palate it’s dry and very fresh with tangy acidity and passion fruit, peach, spice, mineral flavors. A hint of tannins add to this well structured wine. Outstanding; 90-91 pts

Where to buy: I purchased from Vintage Berkeley. You might also check with winemaker Mike Lucia (mike@rootdownwinecellars.com) directly.

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About Rootdown  Wine Cellars

Rootdown Wine Cellars is an individually owned wine brand based in Healdsburg, California. Winemaker Mike Lucia focuses on producing wines from subsoil and watershed influenced vineyards.

2013 Sandlands Trousseau

This wine is sourced from the Bohan Vineyard located on the Sonoma Coast in the remote town of Cazadero.  Planted at 1400 feet 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the Sandlands, section of the Bohan Vineyard (about an acre) sits in gravelly loam soils derived from sandstone and shale  It used to be planted to Merlot,  but was grafted over to Trousseau from the Luchsinger Vineyard by Sandlands owner Tegan Passalaqua.  2012 was the first vintage of this wine.

For 2013 5 barrels were produced  Retail – $28

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My tasting note:

Bing cherry color with appealing and lifted pomegranate, cherry aromas and floral aromas complemented by hints of clay, and mint. On the palate it’s light-bodied, refreshing and well structured with an elegant, savory, and alluring character. It shows pomegranate, plum, cherry, and baking spice flavors with a very giving finish. Outstanding; 91-92 pts

Where to buy; Sandlands wine are allocated to members of their mailing list.

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About Sandlands

From the winery…Sandlands is the personal project of Tegan and Olivia Passalacqua. The line-up encompasses the forgotten classic California varieties, primarily grown in decomposed granite (sand), from regions and vineyards that have been farmed for many generations but have remained the outliers of California viticulture.  Primarily head-trained, dry-farmed and own rooted, the vineyards we work with harken back to California’s roots of exploration, wonder, and hard work.

2013 Two Shepherds Trousseau Gris

From the Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard located across the street from proprietor/winemaker William Allen’s farm. 2013 was the only vintage made as a white wine (2012, and 2014 are both skin-fermented white or orange wines)  Picked early for fresh acidity, fermented with native yeast, then aged in neutral French Oak for 7 months. Unfiltered and unfined.  37 cases produced.  Retail – $28

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My tasting note:

Slightly hazy pale gold color with very appealing honeysuckle, peach, a hint of yellow melon and spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh, and harmonious with a great texture. It shows pear, peach, and spice flavors complemented by an appealing minerality and a giving finish. Outstanding; 91-92 pts

Where to buy; Purchase from Two Shepherds (and consider checking out their 2014 skin fermented Trousseau Gris – I will!)

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About Two Shepherds

From the winery…

Two Shepherds: Shepherd of the Palate, Shepherd of the Grape

Two Shepherds is the labor of passion by William Allen, well-known Rhône enthusiast and former wine writer, blogger.  William was a garagiste for years before moving into commercial production in 2010.

Two Shepherds represents “shepherd of the palate” as his palate and recommendations are still widely followed on social media, despite no longer writing, and “shepherd of the grape” incorporating his minimal intervention, winemaking philosophy, which requires careful oversight, from vineyard to bottle.

Two Shepherds is a one man micro winery, committed to making old world style wines that express vintage and place.  William often jokes there aren’t two shepherds, but actually half shepherd, as in addition to making  a multitude of small lots, doing all production, sales, marketing work, he has a full-time “day job” that funds the winery and its growth.

Two Shepherds specializes in Rhone varieties (e.g. Grenache Blanc, Mourvèdre, Roussanne,) from cool climate vineyards and unique plantings, made with minimal intervention.  Use of native yeast, no additions other than minimal S02, neutral barrel and concrete fermentation and aging, whole cluster, and unfined, unfiltered production are core philosophies of Two Shepherds. Production has grown from 175 cases in 2010, to 1000 in 2013.

Ninety percent of the wines are sold direct to list, with a handful of selected restaurant and retail partners in California, and a tiny distribution in New York, Minnesota, and Washington DC.

My Takeaways

All three wines were outstanding with a harmonious, gorgeously textured, slightly spicy character.  They offer very good value (all were under $30), and were very food friendly.

If you’re looking for a wine off the beaten path, you owe it to yourself to seek out Trousseau.  Especially these wines.

After finishing the Two Shepherds, I checked my cellar for more Trousseau.

Sadly, there were none…I’m going to have to rectify that situation!

Cheers!

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.