Wine of the Week; 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

The Winery

Bedrock Wine Co. is an “itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop”. Though recently Morgan Twain-Peterson, the winemaker/owner of Bedrock Wine Co. announced some big changes including building a new winery, and hiring of close friend, Chris Cottrell to work with him.  Sounds like Bedrock will be moving from the “itsy-bitsy” level to a higher level production-wise.  The wines are already major quality-wise!

There are two things that make Bedrock Wine Co. special in my view – the first is Morgan (you can check out his full bio here), but suffice it to say he’s been making wine since he was “knee-high to a bug” including working harvests in McLaren Vale, Australia and worked as a visiting winemaker at Chateau Lynch-Bages in Bordeaux before returning to California to focus on revitalizing California’s heirloom vineyards. The second is his vineyard sources. I did a post last year entitled Bedrock Wine Co: Where Old Vine Love And Transcendent Wine Making Come Together, wherein I focused on the sources of Bedrock’s grapes.

In terms of the wine making process itself at Bedrock, it’s surprisingly Ole Skool (or as Morgan might put it “Cro-magnum”).  Grapes are pitch-forked into a small Zambelli destemmer, the punch-downs are manual, after fermentation the wines are basket pressed in an Italian press that is manually operated.   It’s a very manual and time-consuming process, but I can vouch for the results.  Peterson is making some unique distinctly Californian wines that are spectacular!

The Wine

The grapes for this wine were sourced from Pagani Ranch, one of the many vineyards from which Bedrock Wine Co. sources grapes that are listed in the registry of the Historical Vineyard Society.  Pagani Ranch Vineyard is run today by the founder’s grand-daughter and great-grandson, Norma Amantite and her son Dino.

Here’s what the Bedrock Wine Co. says about the wine…

The first vintage of what should be many from the storied and ancient Pagani Ranch.  A classic field-blend planted in the 1880’s.  Pagani Ranch’s cool soil and unique mesoclimate yield a rich, dense, but vibrant wine.  After a taxing growing season the Amantite family did a highly selective pick which yielded less than .5 tons per acre.  Fermented in open-top vats using native yeasts and then barreled down to 100% French oak, of which 33% was new, the wine aged for 11 months in barrel.  The resulting wine is black, powerful, and perfumed, and a testament to experienced farming overcoming a tough year. 9 barrels made.

The last time I saw Morgan he comments that most folks are drinking his wines too young.  Guilty as charged!  The good news is I have another bottle.  I do my best to hold on to that for a few years to see how it ages…but no promises;-)

Wine of the Week; 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque violet color with beautifully aromatic plum, blackberry, cassis, spice and hints of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, fresh, intense, and elegant with blackberry, and spice flavors. Long finish.

Rating: Highly Recommended.

Pair with: This wine has a nice vein of acidity, making it food-friendly.  Try with roasted or grilled pork, or beef, Mexican food. For a twist try with seared ahi tuna or pâte, or a chicken liver mousse!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 15%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaSonoma CountySonoma Valley
  • Grape Varieties: Field blend of Zinfandel (approximately 65%), Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir de la Calmette, Petite Sirah, and Lenoir.
  • Cooperage: 100% French oak French oak from Ermitage and Rousseau, 33% new for 11 months
  • Retail: $37
  • Cases produced: 225
  • Drink: now – 2020

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Value Alert! – Outstanding Spanish Wine For $11!

From time to time I come across a wine with a surprisingly good quality/price ratio (‘QPR”).  The 2007 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Solanera Viñas Viejas , a Spanish wine from the Yecla D.O., is such a wine.  I purchased this bottle from my favorite wine store, K&L Wine Merchants.

Not familiar with the Yecla region of Spain?  Join the club, neither was I! What I do know about Spain is that it consistently offers great value in its wines.  Whenever I look for great QPR wine, I alway start with Spanish wine!  And whenever, I find one as good as this one, and consider what it cost, I inevitably ask myself why I’m not drinking more Spanish wine! It’s a country whose wines I intend to explore more…

Yecla is a small DO ( Denominación de Origen) near the town of Yecla in the northernmost corner of the region of Murcia, not far from Spain’s east coast.  The vast majority  of vineyards are planted to Monastrell (Mourvèdre, Mataro),  Other permitted red varieties are  Garnacha TintaGarnacha TintoreraTempranilloMerlotCabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  Permitted white varieties include AirenMersegueraMacabeoMalvasia and Chardonnay.  The inclusion of grapes like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay tells me the region produces wines that are well-suited to the American palate.

The region is made up of a single district, but the local wine community divides the area into two – Yecla Campo Arriba, and  Yecla Campo Abajo.  Yecla Campo Arriba  is considered superior because  of its old vines.  Yecla was granted DO status in 1975.

Bodegas Castaño is a family run private winery that has had a winemaking presence in the region for generations.  They own about 400 hectares (approximately 10% of the DO) in four prime locations.

This wine has an excellent track record.  Previous vintages  (2001-2006) were all scored 90+ point and considered best values by the Wine Advocate and the International Wine Cellar.

2007 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Solanera Viñas Viejas

2007 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Solanera Viñas Viejas – Great QPR!

Here’s what the producer says about the wine…

“This special limited production wine is an example  of the high quality potential of the emerging Yecla region in Southern Spain.  Solanera is produced from the oldest vines of the indigenous Monastrell, along with low-yielding Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tintorera which is aged in oak for 10 months..This wine is a custom blend for Eric Solomon and is bottled unfiltered and unfined.”

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque violet color with sweet tobacco, cedarwood, sweet dark fruits, and hint of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with supple tannins, and surprisingly fresh acidity with dark cherry, blackberry, blueberry, and a bit of cassis flavors. Long finish. 


Here’s the wine geek stuff:

Where it’s from: SpainMurciaYecla

The grapes: 65%  Monastrell (a.k.a. Mourvedre), 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Garnacha Tintorera (a.k.a. Alicante Bouschet),

Aging: Ten months in 10 months in oak; French (70%) and American oak (30%)

Age of vineyards: 40+ year old vineyards from Campo Arriba

Cost: $11

Alcohol: 14.5%

Closure: Cork

Recommendation: This is going to be a repeat purchase for me!  I highly recommend! To find this wine click here

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Wine of the Week: 2008 Cypher Winery “Cypher” Paso Robles Eclectic Red

My wine of the week for April 21-April 27 is the 2008 Cypher Winery “Cypher” Eclectic Red.

The Winery

If you haven’t been to Paso Robles in a couple of years, you may not be familiar with Cypher Winery.  It’s the latest venture of Christian Tietje, and his partner Susan Mahler.  It used to be known as Four Vines.  Tietje started Four Vines in 1994.  They made a name for themselves selling full-throttle hedonistic Zinfandel and Chardonnay.  They were acquired by Purple Wine Company in 2010.   Tietje remains on with Four Vines as a consulting winemaker.

Cypher offers an interesting collection of wines including the “Freakshow” line of wines, with names like “Anarchy”, “Heretic”, and “Peasant”.  On a recent trip to Paso Robles, I tasted through their lineup, and found the wines to very good to excellent.  This was my favorite.

Cypher Winery is co-located with Farmstand 46.  It’s a great place for lunch! They dish healthy gourmet foods, including fantastic sandwiches, and wood fire oven pizza, made from locally grown organic ingredients some of which are sourced from their “estate” produce.  The co-location with Cypher is no accident, Tietjethe winemaker for Cypherwas a chef in Boston before he was a winemaker, and is part of the joint venture that owns the place.

The Wine

Eclectic indeed!  This wine is composed of 12 varieties of grapes – Teroldego (15%), Petite Verdot (14%), Souzao (13%), Petite Sirah (13%), Carignan (9%), Alicante Bouschet (9%), Syrah (6%), Tinta Cao (5%), Tinta Roriz (a.k.a. Tempranillo-5%), Tannat (5%), Touriga Nacional (4%), and Zinfandel (2%).

According to the Cypher website here’s how the wine came to be:

6 years in the making… the quest to create “Cypher” originated from a Portuguese wine tasted by Christian that was big, tannic, and monstrous with a sexy mouth feel. “Cypher” is Christian’s version of the temptation he once tasted

Wow! 12 different varieties of grapes…

Cost: $40

Alcohol: 15.5%

513 Cased made

This is a well-made seriously fun wine with lots of personality.  My tasting notes follow:

Inky violet color with dark fruit, slightly earthy, and spicy aromas.  On the palate it’s big, and full-bodied with intense, bountiful ripe blackberry, blueberry, plum and vanilla spice flavors.  Medium finish. 

Pairing with food

This one screams grilled T-Bone, or some smoked baby back ribs to me….but who needs food?  This one would be just fine on its own!