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.

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 20, 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 March 20th, 2016

2013 Tablas Creek Syrah – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
Violet color with promising dark fruit, white pepper, olive tapenade, and a hint of cedar wood aromas. On the palate it’s smooth, harmonious, and fresh with blackberry, black raspberry, cassis, and spice flavors with subtle minerality, and a long finish Outstanding; 90-91 ptspts.

2009 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Deep dark nearly opaque garnet color with plum, tobacco, spice, garrigue, and a hint of smoke aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied, savory, and fresh with well-integrated round tannins with plum, black raspberry, kirsch, and spice flavors with an appealing streak of minerality, and a lingering finish.  Outstanding; 90-91 ptspts.

2009 Knez Winery Pinot Noir Cerise Vineyard – California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
Ruby color. Initially tight on the nose, but after a bit of air it opened up very nicely showing mixed red berry liqueur (cherry, raspberry), cardamom, sassafras and damp earth aromas. On the palate it’s lush, focused and lively with a gorgeous mouth feel sporting velvety well-integrated tannins with cherry and raspberry liqueur, spice flavors with an attractive lingering floral and spicy finish.  Outstanding; 91-92 pts

2007 Scharffenberger Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs – California, North Coast, Mendocino County
Pale straw color with plenty of active pin prick bubbles and hazelnut, pear, and citrus flavors. On the palate it’s show a moderately creamy mousse with green apple, pear and a lemon flavors. Medium finish. $20 great value for a BdB. Very Good ; 88-89 pts

-Wine of the Week-

Some weeks it seems fairly easy to pick my Wine of the Week because one clearly stand out because it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out. Then there are other weeks, such as this, when it’s more challenging. What made this week more challenging is that I considered three of the four wines outstanding.  And the fourth was an outstanding value.

My wife and I took the Tablas Creek Syrah  to a Northern Rhone tasting.  While it wasn’t my favorite wine that night (it’s young, and I believe it would have improved with further aging), it represented a California quite well.  It was varietally correct, well-balanced, and had that bit of minerality I cherish in wine.  The Guigal CdP was a Christmas gift from my father.  He doesn’t really know wine, but he picked up a winner! Guigal is an iconic producer in France.  And their CdP was wonderful (though like me,  it took some time to open up, but once it did it was easy to love;-) It’s definitely a bottle I would love to would enjoy drinking again. And I would especially love to try an older vintage!  In the end, I chose to feature a  perhaps lesser-known producer whose wines I highly recommend. So my Wine of the Week was the Knez Pinot Noir.  The 2009 Knez Winery Pinot Noir Cerise Vineyard is a fantastic example of what thoughtful winemaking from grapes planted in the right place can yield in California!  Knez is a producer you need to check out!

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 20, 2016

Knez is a winery whose wines I tasted for the first time when I attended the San Francisco In Pursuit of Balance tasting last year.  So, when my wife and I visited the Anderson Valley Thanksgiving weekend last year, I wanted to make sure she had the opportunity to taste Knez wines.

But they weren’t open on Saturday.  Fortunately, we spent the night in Fort Bragg, and returned on Sunday.  Viola! The tasting room was open and disappointment turned to delight!

We’re big fans of Anderson Valley wines (especially the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). And we’re now big fans of Knez!

More About Knez

Single vineyard wines crafted by the alchemy of ocean, fog, soil and patience.

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At Knez Winery, we believe that the deeper and more extensive our knowledge, the better our wine will be. We start with an Anderson Valley location that is epic in its richness—with maritime influences, complex soil, a near perfect amount of sun exposure and heritage clones like Martini, Pommard, David Bruce, Wädenswil and Wente. To this, we add the beauty of science—detailed analytics and painstaking research that help us make the most of our land’s bounty. We consider ourselves stewards of the land and our farming practices are sustainable and progressive. In our winemaking, we are hands-on in the vineyard and hands-off in the barrel room. Through careful stewardship of our land and attention to detail in every phase of winemaking, we are producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir every bit as complex, expressive and ageworthy as our compatriots in Burgundy, France.

My Food and Wine Pairing of the Week was the Scharffenberger BdB paired with Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches.

 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.

 

Pays Nantais And Taste of Contemporary Muscadet #Winophiles

Long dismissed as an innocuous companion to oysters, Muscadet is stepping out as a white wine serious enough to nip at the heels of white Burgundy – Jon Bonné

This month the French #Winophiles continues its virtual tour of Frances with a visit to Pay Nantais. When I first saw Pay Nantais was our region, I wasn’t familiar with the name. Then I realized it was the region I’ve always known as simply “Muscadet”.

Ah, the beauty of wine…it’s a life-long journey of learning!

About Pay Nantais

Pay Nantais is sub-region of the larger Loire Valley. It is located on the Atlantic coast of Brittany, near the city of Nantes. Wine has been produced in the region since the Roman era.  The region is renowned for Muscadet, a crisp white wine from the Melon de Bourgogne grape.

Muscadet wines are produced under several different appellations, of which the most famous (and most prolific) is Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine.

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Photo courtesy of waywardwine.com

I was introduced to Muscadet years ago when I was searching for a wine that would pair well with raw oysters. Since I adore raw oysters, I’ve enjoyed quite a few very good bottles of Muscadet over the years.

But Muscadet has a bit of a reputation.  And it’s (mostly) not been good. That’s because the Melon de Bourgogne grape is widely considered to produce bland and uninteresting wines.  As a result, after peaking in the 80s, Muscadet lost its way and fell on hard times.

More recently though, thanks to innovative and passionate producers committed to elevating the quality and standing of Muscadet, the regions has proven that Melon de Bourgogne can make outstanding wines with a minerally, intense  character that offer great value.  And whose food pairing potential extends well beyond raw oysters.

In my glass

Over the years, I’ve had some good Muscadet (the Michel Delhommeau “Harmonie” Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie has been my go-to for years), but the 2009 Chéreau-Carré Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Le Clos du Chateau l’Oiseliniere is unlike any Muscadet I’ve ever had.  It was made from 80 year-old vines.  And  this wine spent an amazing 31 months on the lees in cement vats. Muscadet are often compared to Chablis, but this one brings to mind White Burgundy (at a fraction of the price).

Though it turned out the be the best Muscadet I’ve had thus far, initially I almost didn’t purchase it because it was from the 2009 vintage.  I’d never purchased a Muscadet  that more than a year or two old before thinking all such wines were best enjoyed while young and still “fresh”.

Well, the truth  of the matter is that the best Muscadet can age beautifully for decades.

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My tasting notes follow:

Pours very pale yellow tinged green color with enticing yellow apple, mixed citrus (lemon, grapefruit and a hint of lime) wet stone aromas with hints of white flower, honey and lees. On the palate its dense, focused and fresh with great texture. It shows apple, lemon, subtly spiced mandarin orange, and honey flavors with an appealing vein of minerality, and a long finish.  Outstanding; 90-91 pts.

From the winery: The House of Chéreau Carré occupies the most privileged position in the Loire-Atlantique department of France. This family-owned property dates back to the 15th century. The vines here are some of the most prized in the region of the Sèvre-et-Maine. The property is managed by Bernard Chéreau, whose family origins date back to the eleventh century. Bernard’s passion for Melon de Bourgogone is evident in the quality of his wines. Château l’Oiselinière, meaning “owl’s nest,” comes from a very privileged site located on the northern bank of the Sèvre, near the confluence of the Sèvre and Maine rivers. It is 10 hectares of 40 to 80-year-old vines facing Southeast, enclosed by the two rivers and surrounded by forests. The soils here are schist and orthogneiss. Two wines are sourced from this vineyard site and both are fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged on the lees in cement tanks… the Le Clos de Château l’Oiselinière, sourced from a two hectare plot of the older vines within the vineyard, is aged for 31 months

On my plate

I prepared Cat Cora’s (seared) Sea Scallops for dinner and planned to pair the wine with that dish.

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But my wife decided to whipped up a Yellow Salmon Curry for lunch, and after having shared a bit of the wine before lunch, I thought it would play well with the Salmon Curry.

I was spot on. The wine paired beautifully with both dishes!

Be sure to check out what my fellow #winophiles discovered on their plates, and in their glasses!

Join us on Saturday, March 19th 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 Pays Nantais.

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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 March 13 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 March 13th 2016

2012 Giornata Nebbiolo Luna Matta(Retail; $45) California, Central Coast
Garnet color with dried cherry, rose, a bit of tar and baking spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh and a bit tannic with ample cherry, and cranberry fruit flavors that intermingle with dried herb and savory notes with a lingering finish. 14.5% 100% Nebbiolo aged in French oak (20% new) with native fermentation. This wine is approachable now, but I think will benefit from further aging.  I wish I’d held it longer! Very Good ; 88-89 pts

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Riesling Wirz Vineyard – (Retail; $18) California, Central Coast, Cienega Valley
Pours a pale green yellow color with lifted apricot, almond skin, wet stone, floral and lemon aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and dry with ample fruit nicely balanced with bright lemony acidity, and apricot, white peach, lemon, and lime flavors underscored with minerality, and a lingering lip-smacking finish. From a vineyard planted in 1963, which has a little Sylvaner interplanted in it, which the owner Pat Wirz calls by the name indigenous to California “Franken Riesling.” The wine was fermented with native yeast in a neutral oak upright tank and aged for 6 months on lees prior to bottling Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

2013 Trapiche Malbec Oak Cask – (Retail; $11)Argentina, Mendoza (3/13/2016)
Violet color with restrained dark fruit, violet and peppery aromas. On the palate it’s supple and smooth with ample (bordering on jammy, but not quite for me) blackberry, plum and a bit of black currant flavors with a spicy finish. Very Good ; 86-87 pts.  Very good value 

2009 Chéreau-Carré Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Le Clos du Chateau l’Oiseliniere(Retail – $19) France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine
Pours very pale yellow tinged green color with enticing yellow apple, mixed citrus (lemon, grapefruit and a hint of lime) wet stone aromas with hints of white flower, honey and lees. On the palate its dense, focused and fresh with great texture. It shows apple, lemon, subtly spiced mandarin orange, and honey flavors with an appealing vein of minerality, and a long finish. Outstanding; 90-91 pts.

– Wine of the Week

I often refer to myself as a “promiscuous” wine lover. Last week was a good example,  I enjoyed both Old and New World wines.  The New World wine included the very good Giornata Nebbiolo which pays homage to the great wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. It was very good. And I think it would have been even better had I given it a couple of years in the cellar.  I brought it to a Barolo tasting and it fared well.  While it wasn’t my #1 wine that night (that honor went to a 1979 Bersano Barolo) it was my #2 wine and it was better than a couple of younger Barolos in my book.  The Bedrock Riesling was outstanding, and it offers great value at $18!  It was Bedrock’s first Riesling.  I certainly hope it wasn’t their last.  I scored it the same as the Trimbach Riesling from a couple of weeks ago. Even though the score was the same, I found the Bedrock to be the more interesting wine.

My Wine of the Week was the Chéreau-Carré Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Le Clos du Chateau l’Oiseliniere.  If you’re familiar with Muscadet, let me tell you this isn’t the typical Muscadet.   It was made from 80 year-old vines.  And  this wine spent an amazing 31 months on the lees in cement vats. Muscadet are often compared to Chablis, but this one brings to mind White Burgundy… Fantastic!  And it was very food friendly. We enjoyed it with Yellow Salmon Curry for lunch, and then Seared Scallops with Mushroom Risotto for dinner. Highly recommended!

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More about Chereau-Carre

The family settled in the Muscadet region in the 15th century. In 1953 Bernard Chéreau Senior bought the Château de Chasseloir – a superb farm with 25 hectares of vines in an ideal location on the Côteau de la Maine in Saint Fiacre.

Shortly afterwards, he married Edmonde Carré whose family owned the Château l’Oiselinière de la Ramée in Vertou, at the confluence of the Sèvre and Maine rivers. The 10-hectare estate entered the Chéreau-Carré family heritage.
The Chéreau Carré wine company was set up in 1960. It brings together four properties, including Château de Chasseloir and Château de l’Oiselinière. Two other properties were bought later: Château de la Chesnaie and the Bois Bruley estate in Basse Goulaine, on the outskirts of Nantes.

Today we farm 135 hectares of vines, all on wonderful schist, mica schist and orthogneiss terroirs in the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie appellation.

Work continues to be done by the family, as we now have the third generation involved in cultivating and producing high quality Muscadet wines every year.

The House of Chéreau Carré occupies the most privileged position in the Loire-Atlantique department of France. This family-owned property dates back to the 15th century. The vines here are some of the most prized in the region of the Sèvre-et-Maine.

Bernard is constantly innovating and seeking to show off the incredible sites of his domain. These sites are part of a new system used to identify vineyards (called Cru Communaux). The first is Comte Leloup de Chasseloir. This site at the front of his estate is composed of over 100-year-old vines growing in slate soils. The site is three hectares of vines on a plateau that overlooks the river. The wines are then aged in the only underground cellar within the region.

Château l’Oiselinière, meaning “owl’s nest,” comes from a very privileged site located directly at the convergence of the Sèvre and Maine rivers. It is 10 hectares of 40 to 80-year-old vines facing southeast, enclosed by the two rivers and surrounded by forests. The soils here are schist and orthogneiss. Two wines are sourced from this vineyard site and both are fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged on the lees in cement tanks.

 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.

An Italian-Themed #OTBN #WinePW

Of all the wine “holidays” (Cabernet Day, Chardonnay Day, etc), Open That Bottle Night (“OTBN”) is my favorite.  That’s because it’s a great opportunity for fellowship around food and wine, and making memories with the special people in our lives.

OTBN was created by former Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher.  It’s the one night a year that we are all encouraged to get out that bottle of wine that is so special that no occasion seems special enough to actually open it.

My wife and I have been celebrating (and hosting) OTBN since 2010.  After one of our wine-loving friends hosted a magnificent OTBN last year, it was our turn this year.

An Italian Theme OTBN

The table is set…let’s get it started!

As is my wont, I picked the wine, then decided on the food.  A quick story behind my wine…We adore Barolo, but it’s a treat for us, so we rarely drink it (which of course makes no sense) The  2001 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì Ginestra has been in our cellar for five years! Not so long for wine collectors, but I consider myself more of a wine drinker…so five years was plenty long!

Once I decided on the wine, I decided to prepare a favorite we hadn’t had in years – Cook’s Illustrated’s Hearty Italian Meat Sauce (Sunday Gravy). It’s their take on an Italian-American meat sauce recipe that didn’t require a long list of ingredients and many hours to prepare. It includes Italian sausage, baby back ribs, and time-consuming braciole is replaced with standout meatballs.  And I do mean standout – the best meatballs I’ve ever eaten!

The evening by the numbers,  four and a half hours, eleven people, eleven wines, and 33 wine glasses!

Here are the wine and food menus — you will have to imagine the stories.

The Wine Menu (our contributions in bold italic)

Sparkling Wines:

Mitchell Katz

Christophe Mignon Champagne Extra Brut

2009 Louise Brison Champagne Millésimé Brut

Germano Ettore Langhe Nebbiolo Rosanna Rosé Brut

The Italian Wines

2010 Castello di Volpaia Balifico Toscana IGT

2001 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì Ginestra

2014 Saracco Moscato d’Asti 

The Cal-Ital, California and Washington Wines

2009 Seghesio Family Vineyards Quindici Toscana IGT

2010 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon

2004 Mark Ryan Dead Horse Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

2010 V. Sattui Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 125th Anniversary

Click on the photos below to enlarge and see slide show