#WineWednesday Review: 2011 Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha

Today’s #WineWednesday review is the 2011 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Campo de Borja Tres Picos.  This is a wine that has a  (well -deserved) reputation for offering a lot of bang for the buck.  The last vintage I tried was 2010, when it was one of the wines tasted in our wine-tasting club’s Wines of Spain Smackdown. That wine placed second among the eight wines we blind-tasted.  So when I saw this at my local Costco for $13, I thought it was a great opportunity to check in on the 2011 vintage.

Bodegas Borsao specializes in Grenache.  Aside from this wine they produce a couple of other bottlings of 100% Grenache, and a blend that is mostly (70%) Grenache.

The wine is made from 100% Garnacha (Grenache) sourced 35 to 60-year-old vines from the Campo de Borja (a.k.a “The Empire of Garnacha”) region located in Northern Spain. The wine was fermented in stainless steel.  After fermentation, half the wine was aged 5 months in small French oak barrels (40% new) and the other half in stainless steel tank.

#WineWednesdayReview; 2011 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Tres PicoMy tasting notes follow:

 Ruby color with red fruit, leather and baking spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and supple with medium acidity and strawberry, cherry, a bit of plum and spice flavors. Medium+ finish. 

Rating:  B+:  When I look for value, I look to Spain first, and this wine over-delivers at $13! Click here to find this wine.

Pair with: Paella Mixta, pulled pork sandwich, or grilled meats.  And for my vegetarian friends - lentil or bean-based dishes.

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m 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 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

2014 Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting- The Best of Grenache

Last weekend I attended the 17th Annual Rhone Rangers San Francisco Bay Area
Weekend Celebration of American Rhones at The Craneway Pavilion, Ford Point, Richmond CA.  Rhone Rangers is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the Rhone varietal wines produced in the U.S.

2014 Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting

The Rhone Ranger’s new digs for 2014 – Craneway Pavillion

The two-day event featured a Winemaker Dinner on Saturday at The General’s Residence, Fort Mason, San Francisco.  The evening began with a walk-around tasting reception featuring 16 wineries, followed by a four-course meal catered by the Girl & the Fig, and concluded with a live auction of wines and wine-country travel experiences with proceeds used to fund the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund. After dinner, Robert Haas, partner and founder, Tablas Creek Vineyard was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the American Rhone movement.

Sunday featured a  two course Seminar Series and the Grand Tasting. I attended both.

It was my first time attending the Seminar Series, which I found both informative and entertaining.  For great recap of the seminars check out  Elaine Chukan Brown’s Hawk Wakawaka Wine Review’s -  Drinking Small Production Rhone Wines: Rhone Rangers 2014, and Tasting Grenache with the Rhone Rangers.

And did I mention there was wine at the seminars?

2014 Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting - The Best of Grenache

Wines poured for “Grenache; The World’s Most Widely Planted Rhone Grape Variety” seminar

The Grand Tasting is the LARGEST Rhone tasting held in the US – 90 wineries (For a list of participating wineries-click here), and around 400 wines to try.

This year, the Grand Tasting moved from San Francisco to Point Richmond in the East Bay. I was thrilled with the new location.  Parking was plentiful and easily accessible for drivers.  But  what I really appreciated the new location is that was BART-able by taking the train to the El Cerrito del Norte BART station, the taking the free shuttle provided by Rhone Rangers to the venue.  Glorious views the Bay too!

2014 Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting -The Best of Grenache

The calm before the Rhone Rangers storm!

Grenache Deep-Dive

If there ever there is a time the vinous cliché “So many wines, so little time” is true, it’s at a huge event like this!

Last year I focused on Rosé.  This year, I decided to do a deep dive on Grenache Noir ( as opposed to Grenache Blanc, which also seems to be gaining in popularity or Grenache Gris – a rare pinkish gray mutation of Grenache Noir)

Perhaps you …believe California wines can walk en pointe, evincing both power and delicacy.  At its best, Grenache here can do both with grace and charm. More than that: It can be a grape to reconcile those two often warring sets of taste. It rewards all who seek. It is a Rorschach test for flavor. - Jon Bonné

Why?  Well mostly because I dig Grenache.  It’s vinified in a variety of styles.  It can be almost a Pinot Noir-ish wine or a big fat juicy wine.  And in its lighter iterations, it’s a chillable red that is a versatile wine at the table – particularly in the Spring and Summer.

On to the wines I sniffed, sipped and  (mostly) spit!

Of the 33 Grenache I tasted, favorites I rated at least 90 points were:

  • 2011 Qupé Grenache Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard - Central Coast, Edna Valley - Brilliant dark ruby color with appealing cherry, strawberry and floral aromas. On the palate, it’s elegant and well structured with cherry, strawberry, and spice flavors. Long finish. 87% grenache and 13% Syrah $35
  • 2011 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Grenache The Barrel Climber - Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast;  Perfumed cherry, pomegranate, spice and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, concentrated, a with a supple texture with soft well-integrated tannins and cherry, pomegranate, and spice flavors. Long finish. 91% Grenache from Greywacke Vineyard, and 9% Syrah from Las Madras Vineyard. $40
  • 2010 Law Estate Wines Beguiling - Paso Robles; Ruby-violet color with raspberry, strawberry, spice and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, its between light and medium-bodied, and balanced with surprising acidity and raspberry, strawberry, spice and mineral flavors. Lengthy finish. 94% Grenache, 6% Syrah $65
  • 2010 Le Cuvier Winery Grenache, Single Vineyard (Barrel Sample)Paso Robles; Ruby red color with aromatic strawberry, red currant, and dark cherry aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied with wonderful acidity, and strawberry, red currant,  and brown spice flavors.  Long finish. – $50
  • 2011 Carica Grenache Eaglepoint Ranch - Mendocino County; Light red color with appealing cherry, red currant, and spice aromas. On the palate, it approaches medium bodied, and is well-balanced and persistent with cherry, cranberry, and spice flavor. Lingering finish. $30
  • 2011 McCay Cellars Grenache - Lodi; Ruby color with aromatic appealing spiced cherry, cranberry, and a bit of pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with medium acidity, and an appealing grip from soft tannins. It show cherry, cranberry, and spice flavors. Medium long finish. $32

Taster’s Choice

After tasting through the available Grenache, it was time for what I call “Taster’s Choice”.

Yup..it’s just what it sounds like.  I’m off “the clock”, and on to whatever I strikes my fancy. After all, this is gathering of the best Rhone wines America has to offerand I wasn’t about to leave without tasting some other wines too!  I didn’t have as much time as I’d like (time does truly fly when you’re having fun), but I was tasted another to 25 or so wines after my Grenache deep dive.  Favorites  from my post-Grenache walk about that I rated at least 90 points were:

  • 2011 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc Reserve En Bonbonne - Central Coast, Arroyo Seco
    Slightly cloudy pale gold color with intriguing peach, apple, and lanolin aromas. On the palate, it’s fresh with ample weight and peach, tart apple, spice and mineral flavors. Lingering satisfying finish. Blend of co-fermented 62% Grenache Blanc, 38% Roussanne. $50
  • 2013 Campovida Viognier Estate Grown - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County - Pale golden-yellow color with appealing white peach, apricot, and honey aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh, and persistent with focused peach, melon, apricot, and honey flavors. Lingering finish $36
  • 2011 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas Blanc - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Light yellow color with penetrating honeysuckle, mineral, spiced hazelnut, pear aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, well structured and focused with a great mouth feel.  It shows pear, green apple, spice and mineral flavors. Long finish. Blend of 64% Roussanne, 26% Grenache Blanc, and 10% Picpoul Blanc. $40
  • 2012 Two Shepherds Pastoral Blanc Saralee’s Vineyard - Sonoma County, Russian River Valley - Pale yellow gold color with restrained peach, melon, and honeysuckle aromas. On the palate, it approaches medium-bodied, is well structured and fresh with an alluring creamy texture. It shows peach, apricot, spice and a hint of tropical flavors and a lingering finish.  Blend of 50% Roussanne, 35% Marsanne, 10% Viognier and 5% Grenache Blanc. $28

Rhone Rangers TCV

  • 2011 Ridge Carignane Triangle - USA, California, Sonoma County
    Dark ruby color with aromatic blackberry, black cherry raspberry, spice and a hint of roast meat aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and well structed with wonderful acidity. It shows focused mixed berry, black cherry, and spiced vanilla flavors. Lingering finish. $26
  • 2011 Kukkula Noir - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Dark ruby color with appealing black cherry, strawberry, black currant and white pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied, and fresh with dusty tannins. It shows black cherry, plum, black currant, with a bit of bittersweet chocolate flavors and a lingering finish. Blend of 86% Syrah 14% Counoise $45
  • 2011 L’Aventure Estate Cuvée - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Nearly opaque purple color with exuberant, layered cassis, spice, sandalwood, and spiced aromas. On the palate, it’s rich and concentrated with lush mixed dark berry, and spice flavors, sweet tannins and a subtle mineral undertone. Long finish. Blend of 48% Syrah, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Petit Verdot. $85
2014 Rhone Rangers - Best of Grenache

Chloe Asseo – Sales, Marketing and Communications Director for L’Aventure Winery

  • 2010 Big Basin Vineyards Grizzly - Santa Cruz Mountains
    Carmine color with expansive mixed berry, licorice, dried herb and pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and vibrant with dusty tannins and dark cherry, raspberry, plum, and spice flavors. Blend of 56% Grenache, 31% Syrah & 13% Mourvedre. $48
Rhone Rangers Big Basin

Bradley Brown – Big Basin Owner and Winemaker (far right) and the Big Basin Rhone Ranger team

Miscellaneous Musings

  • I was a bit surprised at the prices of some of the Grenache.  In fact, the average price for the wines I tasted was $33.50.  I wonder if demand for Grenache is on the rise, and how well  those $35-$45 and up bottles are selling?
  • Coincidence that my three favorite Grenache were not 100% Grenache, but had some Syrah in the blend?  I think not.
  • At last year’s Grand Tasting one was able to purchase wines on the spot.  It’s convenient to have that option, and I took advantage of it and purchased a couple of bottles I liked.  We were unable to do that this year.  I’m sure it’s a licensing issue. That’s an opportunity for improvement for an otherwise awesome event.
  • The event seemed less crowded than last year. While that certainly made for (mostly) shorter lines and higher quality interaction with winery folk, if true, that would be a shame because this is such a great event.
  • Note to self – Plan to go to the Winemaker Dinner next year!

Rhone Rangers Glass

All in all, what a great event!  And if you’re in L.A or Washington D.C., the Rhone Rangers will be riding into your town later this year!  

__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m 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 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

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Value Alert! 2010 Celler de Capcanes “Mas Donis” Barrica

I’m on the prowl for some good (actually very good) everyday wines.  Mostly to keep me from drinking wines I want to age longer (lately I’ve been dipping into the good stuff a little too much!)  I figure I put together a case of affordable everyday wines and share it with you!

What am I looking for?

Something for $10 or less, and since virtually all the wine I drink is with food, it’s got to be food friendly.  

I picked up the 2010 Celler de Capcanes “Mas Donis” Barrica from K&L Wine Merchants last week.  It’s custom cuvee made for wine importer Eric Solomon.

By the way, this is the third such custom cuvee put together for Solomon that’s been a winner in my book.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence – Solomon has a knack for wonderful every day wines that dramatically over deliver for the price.

[Overview of  Spanish Wines]

The wine is produced by Celler de Capcanes, which is located southwest of Barcelona in the Priorato hills. The winery also makes Kosher and organic wines,

It’s a blend of 85% Garnacha (70-year-old vines) and 15% Syrah (30-year-old vines) aged nine months in new and older American and French oak.  The Syrah adds some nice depth and acidity.

Value Alert! 2010 Celler de Capcanes "Mas Donis" Barrica Montsant

2010 Celler de Capcanes “Mas Donis” Barrica Montsant

My tasting notes follow:

Dark ruby color with promising spiced rose petal, mixed berry, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and vibrant with supple tannins, and raspberry, cherry blackberry spice and mineral flavors. Medium-long finish. 14% alcohol.

Rating: B+: This is a great everyday wine! If you can manage to hang on to a bottle until the warm weather returns, this is the type of wine that will take a chill nicely.  Will buy more!

Related posts you might enjoy:

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m 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 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Value Alert! 2011 M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut

I’m on the prowl for a good (actually very good) everyday wine.  Mostly to keep me from drinking wines I want to age longer.  Lately I’ve been dipping into the good stuff a little too much!

What am I looking for?

Something for $10 or less, and since virtually all the wine I drink is with food, it’s got to be food friendly.  

I picked up this wine while in Costco yesterday for $9.99, and <in my best Stallone Rocky voice> it’s a contendah!

The wine certainly has a great pedigree. It’s  produced by the venerable Maison M. Chapoutier.  They made a name for themselves producing some of the Rhone Valley’s great wines.  And they’ve been doing it since 1808!

For the last two hundred years in the Rhone Valley, and today also in the Roussillon and in Australia, Chapoutier has been producing some of the greatest wines: Hermitage, Côte Rôtie, Chateauneuf du Pape, Saint-Joseph, Crozes Hermitage, Luberon. Our own vineyards and the single vineyards we select are cultivated either organically or biodynamically to respect the terroir - Maison M Chapoutier website

The fruit for this wine is sourced from an old farm villa which was built high into the mountain slopes , among some old vineyards.  It’s located in just about as close as ou can be to Spain, and still be in France.  The Domaine comprises 75 hectares of land cultivated under bio-dynamic farming.

The wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan.

photo (41)

My tasting notes follow:

Dark garnet color with red fruit, garrigue, and a hint of coffee ground aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and fresh with a supple mouth feel and solid structure. It shows black cherry, red currant, blackberry, and mineral flavors. Medium+ finish. 14.5% alcohol.

Rating: B+:

Pair with: Roasted and grilled meats, beef stew, chili, pizza, spicy bean soups or flavorful cheeses.  It’s versatile wine at the table!

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m 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!

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week: 2012 Domaine de la Mordorée Rosé La Dame Rousse

Yes, it’s still that time of year… Yes, it’s Rosé season (which is year-round in my book; granted most folks don’t see it that way)!. With that in mind, I’ve embarked upon a series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  This week’s Rosé is the 2012 Domaine de la Modorée La Dame Rousse Tavel Rosé.

The Winery

Domaine de la Mordorée is a relatively new winery in Chateauneuf-de-Pape.  It was founded in 1986 by brothers Fabrice and Christophe Delorme with a total of 5 hectares of vines.  By 1989, the industrious brothers had expanded the holdings of Domaine de la Mordoree to 60 hectares located in 8 different regions in the Southern Rhone valley.  The Domaine is ideally located at the crossroads of Provence and Languedoc. And they have a reputation for producing some great wine from their vineyard across the Rhone Valley including Châteauneuf du Pape, Lirac, andTavel.  The winery takes its name from a wild game bird, known as a woodcock, hence the logo on the wine bottle’s label.

Christophe Delorme’s objective as a winemaker is to be unintrusive and maintain total respect for his terroir and the fruit it produces. His dream is to achieve a perfect balance between concentration, terroir and flavors. Delorme seems to be moving in the direction of biodynamic farming. He represents the best of an enlightened approach to winemaking that has one foot in the traditions of the past and one in the future.
- Robert Parker, The World’s Greatest Wine Estates

Domaine de la Mordoree practices sustainable, organic farming of their vineyards in all their locations including Chateauneuf du Pape, Lirac, Tavel and Cotes du Rhone. They are working on earning the rights to be certified agriculture biologique. They have old vines. On their property in the rocky terroir of La Crau, their plantings are over 100 years of age.  The wines are aged in a combination of enamel coated, temperature, stainless steel tanks and small oak barrels.

 The Wine

Sad, but true, this was only my second rosé from France this summer (the other was from Provence)!  Candidly, with the popularity of dry rosé on the rise, I’m finding Cali producers have upped their game.  On top of that,  2012 was a great vintage, and I think that’s manifest in the across the board quality of California rosés  I’ve enjoyed this Summer!

Having said that, one the whole, no one does rosé better than the French.  The two most renowned areas for rosé production in France are Provence and Tavel.

This wine is from Tavel, an appellation in the southern Rhone Valley that specializes in dry rosé wines.  Tavel is a little pocket in the Côtes du Rhône about 20 minutes northeast of the city of Avignon.  Tavel has a reputation for producing rosé that is fruity and fun, As opposed to Provence (in particular Bandol) which has a reputation for producing more serious rosé.

The vineyards that produced this wine average 40 years in age.  The grapes are hand-harvested.  It is a blend of 60% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Bourboulenc, 5% Clairette. 14.5% abv.  SRP is $25

2012 Domaine de la Mordorée Rosé La Dame Rousse

2012 Domaine de la Mordorée Rosé La Dame Rousse

My tasting note follows:

Strawberry red color with a wonderful orange hue with fresh wild strawberry, cherry citrus, and a hint of fresh herbs aromas. On the palate, it medium-full bodied and sophisticated with a creamy mouth feel, lively acidity, and intense strawberry, cherry spice and blood orange flavors. Long spicy finish. 

Rating:  A-This wine manages to walk the line between serious and “fun” just fine!

Pair with: This is an ideal picnic wine.  It’s a great partner for food, and has the body to go with a variety of foods.  Pair with grilled meat, deli sandwiches, light pasta dishes, pizza.  For a real treat pair with Consommé of mussels and prawns in Tavel Sauce.

>>Find this wine<<

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m 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 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All right

The Best of California Grenache: 2013 San Francisco Family Winemakers Tasting

I attended the 23nd annual Family Winemakers of California tasting, held in San Francisco August 17th and 18th.  The tasting was open to both trade/media and th public on Saturday, and was trade/media only on Sunday.   The event was held at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason in San Francisco.  The

Family Winemakers of California (“FWC”) is the trade advocate for California’s “small family” wineries (although behemoth wineries like Kendall Jackson and Gallo are also considered family wineries most are in fact smaller family run wineries ). And a huge tasting like this brings in trade, media, and wine lovers from across the country.

It’s also the single largest tasting of California wines in the world!

photo (11)

It’s my favorite big event because it’s a chance to taste so many different types and styles of wines from throughout California, from so many producers, large and small, old and new…

FWC Crowd

If there ever was a time the vinous cliché “So many wines, so little time” is true, it’s at a huge event like this.  There were 220 wineries pouring, so I needed a plan to maximize the three hours I set aside for tasting.

I decided to do a deep dive on Grenache, or more specifically Grenache Noir!

No Grenache blends….just wine labeled as Grenache (meaning they are composed of at least 75% Grenache)

FWC is a very well-organized event, with a great program.  The program indicated there were 20 wineries pouring Grenache.  However, as is typically the case with big tastings like this, when the program is finalized weeks before the event, there are often changes.  Such was the case with many of the wineries denoted as pouring Grenache.  I was told their Grenache was sold out, that it was a blend, or they weren’t pouring on the day I went.  So, things were hit and miss until I came across this guy…

photo (30)

Kaena Wine Company owner/winemaker Mikael Sigouin

When I asked MIkael (who also makes wine for Beckmen Vineyards) to try his Grenache, he replied “Which one? I have four”

Music to my ears!

All told I ended up only tasting 16 wines.  My favorites, which I rated 90+ points, were from Dashe Cellars, Kaena Wine Company, Law Estate Wines, Pierce Ranch Vineyards and Rob Murray Vineyards.

My detailed tasting notes follow:

  • 2009 Frick Winery Grenache Conley Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley - Ruby color with cherry, sweet spice and a hint of pepper aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with focused cherry, raspberry and a hint of black currant flavors. (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Frog’s Tooth Grenache - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Calaveras County - Ruby red with fresh strawberry, and pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied and tart with strawberry, raspberry and pepper flavors. (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Bella Grace Grenache - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
    Cherry red color with strawberry, cherry and peppery aromas. On the palate, its approaches medium bodied with soft, tart cherry,and spice flavors (87 pts.)
  • 2012 Dashe Cellars Grenache Les Enfants Terribles - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley - Ruby color with appealing strawberry, raspberry, and spice aromas. It’s light-bodied Beaujolais style that’s energetic, with a smooth texture supported by light tannins. It shows strawberry, raspberry and spice flavors with hints of mineral and red currant flavors. Satisfying and lingering finish. (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Fenestra Grenache - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley - Medium cherry red color with black cherry, spice and a hint of game aromas. On the palate, its medium-bodied with cherry, raspberry and pepper flavors. (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Lava Cap Grenache Estate Bottled - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado County - Light ruby-red color with attractive wild strawberry and floral aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied and lively with strawberry, sweet spice, mineral and a hint of pepper flavors. Medium finish. Aged in small French oak barrels for 14 months. (88 pts.)

photo (13)

  • 2010 Kaena Grenache - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
    Garnet color with appealing fresh cherry, sweet spice and white pepper aromas. On the palate it approaches medium-bodied, with medium acidity, and tart cherry, raspberry and spiced vanilla flavors. Fruit is sourced from four vineyard sources throughout the Santa Ynez Valley consisting of: Estelle Vineyard in the Happy Canyon area, Fox Family Vineyard in Los Olivos, Tierra Alta Vineyard in Ballard Canyon and Larner Vineyard also in Ballard Canyon. The wine was aged for 22 months in neutral French Oak. The wine is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre (89 pts.)
  • 2011 Kaena Grenache Vie Caprice - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley - Medium dark ruby color with raspberry, spicy white pepper, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, with lively acidity and tangy raspberry, cherry flavors and a satisfying finish. (89 pts.)
  • 2010 Kaena Grenache Tierra Alta Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley - Medium ruby-red color with billowing red fruit, baking spice, and a hint of roast game aromas. On the palate, it approaches medium-bodied with silky, raspberry, strawberry, and spice flavors. Medium-long finish (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Kaena Grenache Larner Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley - Cherry red color with strawberry, cherry and peppery aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied with wonderful acidity, and tangy raspberry, and baked cherry flavors. (88 pts.)

Law Estate 10 Grenache

  • 2010 Law Estate Wines Beguiling - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Exhibits raspberry, strawberry, spice and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, its between light and medium-bodied, and balanced with surprising acidity and raspberry, strawberry, spice and mineral flavors. Lengthy finish. 94% Grenache, 6% Syrah (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Lido Bay Grenache Bitch Tongue - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Calaveras County - Ruby color with abundant red fruit and spice aromas. On the palate, its ample with medium acidity, and raspberry, strawberry, cherry and spice flavors. 90% Grenache, 10% Tempranillo. Barrel aged in 20% new French oak (89 pts.)
  • 2011 Powell Mountain Cellars Grenache - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Medium ruby color with cherry, white pepper and a hint of earth aromas. On the palate it approaches medium-bodied with raspberry, and spiced vanilla flavors. (86 pts.)
  • 2011 Pierce Ranch Garnacha - USA, California, Central Coast, San Antonio Valley - Medium ruby color with generous strawberry, cherry and spice aromas. On the palate it’s approaches medium-bodied, and fresh with appealing wild strawberry, cherry and spice flavors on a smooth lengthy finish. Made from Spanish Garnacha clone (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Paradise View Cuvée Arlequin - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast - Dark ruby color with fruity cherry, and baking spice aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied with raspberry cherry and spice flavors. Medium finish. 98% Grenache/2% Syrah (87 pts.)
  • 2010 Rob Murray Amor Fati Wine Grenache Murmur Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley - Ruby color with perfumed red fruit, damp earth, and spicy pepper aromas. On the palate, it medium-bodied, and well-balanced with soft tannins. It’s exhibits raspberry, red currant, strawberry, mineral and spice flavors. Aged 16 months 100 neutral French Oak. (90 pts.)

Hawk and Horse Block 9

After getting through the available Grenache relatively quickly, it was time for “Taster’s Choice…Um..where I basically walk around and taste whatever strikes my fancy.

I tasted another 15 to 20 wines.  My favorites, which I rated 90+ points were:

  • 2007 5 Bridges
  • 2009 Hawk and Horse Block Three Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2010 Lagier-Merideth Chester’s Anvil Malbec
  • 2011 Lagier-Meredith Tribidrag
  • 2009 Smith Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2007 Smith Madrone Reserve Cabernet Cooks Flat

I certainly enjoyed by Adventure in Grenache.  California’s winemakers, especially from the Central Coast, are making some wonderful Grenache.  The most distinguished  are well-balanced with compelling aromas, bright red fruits, and a hint of spiciness. Stylistically, most we’re were dense, but I’m seeing more and more of the lighter-bodied, lower alcohol examples too.

Drink Pink Rosé of the Week: 2012 A Donkey and Goat Grenache Gris Isabel’s Cuvée

It’s that time of year… Yes, it’s Rosé season!. With that in mind, I’ve embarked upon a   series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  This week’s Rosé is the 2012 A Donkey and Goat Grenache Gris Isabel’s Cuvée.

The Winery

Donkey and Goat Winery is a family owned and operated urban winery located in Berkeley, California.  The winery is owned by Jared and Tracey Brandt.  Theirs is a story we’ve heard before, but with a “natural” twist.  They left tech careers to pursue their dreams of making wine. They got started making wines in the Rhône Valley, and returned to California to apply what they learned in France.

The “natural” twist is their focus –  no make that obsession, with making wines as naturally as possible.  While “natural” wine-making has become more and more en vogue  these days, the Brandts have been doing it since day one.  You can read their complete manifesto here, but suffice it to say they take minimal intervention to the next level.  This includes using native yeasts, fermenting their wines in used oak barrels or concrete (most wineries use plastic bins), using no machines for crushing the grapes, and not filtering or fining of their wines.

They also make it a point to mention their wines are made “for the table not the cocktail glass”  That means having their fruit picked sooner than most, with the decision on when to pick driven by flavor and structure rather than brix.  As a result their wine are lower in alcohol (also trending these days it seems – but my sense is that’s another thing the Brandts were doing long before the pendulum started to swing toward lower alcohol wines)

Donkey and Goat produces wines from white, and red Rhône varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge and the unappreciated El Dorado appellation in the Sierra Foothills.

Donkey and Goat owners Jared and Tracey Brandt were named one of 5 Winemakers To Watch by Jon Bonné of the SF Chronicle in 2011.  They produce about 3,000 cases of wine annually.

The Wine

Donkey and Goat uses an unusual  and rare grape variety for this wine – grenache gris. Grenache Gris, a pink-hued grape that yields white juice, is related to the more common Grenache Noir and Grenache Blanc.  It’s not officially recognized as an official grape variety in California and precious little is grown in France.

The fruit for this wine is made from 98+ year old vines. The blend of free-run and press juice was blended in tank and left to settle for 72 hours before moved to neutral French Oak barrels for both primary and secondary natural fermentation on native yeast. The wine is unfiltered.  As a result, you may find pink sediment in the bottle, particularly as you get to the bottom. The sediment isn’t indicative of a fault of any kind or otherwise adversely affect flavor of the wine.

I like what Alder Yarrow of Vinography says about it…Sediment is a sign of many good things. First and foremost, it is a likely sign that a wine has not been filtered or fined to oblivion. These processes strip things from the wine, and while sometimes that can be good (especially if those things would cause the wine to spoil) most of the time it’s unnecessary and (in my opinion) damaging to the complexity and personality of the wine. Unfined and unfiltered wines taste more honest, and more interesting, all things considered…

2012 A Donkey and Goat Grenache Gris Isabel's Cuvée

2012 A Donkey and Goat Grenache Gris Isabel’s Cuvée

My tasting notes follow:

Slightly cloudy salmon pink color with strawberry, spiced peach, melon and a hint of earthy aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied with medium acidity. It exhibits strawberry, peach, and hints of citrus rind and melon flavors and lingering finish. 100% Grenache Gris. 12.7% alcohol. Unfiltered. 280 cs. produced.

Rating:  A-: Will buy more next year!

Pair with: I very much enjoyed with chicken spinach lasagna, but it’s a very food friendly wine that will compliment most everything on the spring and summer table –  including salads, sides, grilled fish, and vegetables!

>>Find this wine<<

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m 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!

Drink Pink! Rosé of the Week; 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé

It’s that time of year… Yes, it’s Rosé season!. With that in mind, I’ve embarked upon a   series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  This week’s Rosé is the 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and the Perrin Family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

 The Wine

Tablas Creek (“TCV”) is no newcomer to Rosé.  Unlike many relative newcomers who have hopped aboard the dry Rosé bandwagon as of late, TCV has been producing a Rosé since 1999. And that’s no surprise given their association with Chateau de Beaucastel in the Southern Rhone region in France.

Like most rosé wines from the Rhône Valley, it is based on the bright strawberry fruit and fresh acidity of Grenache, with additions of darker fruit, structure and spice from Mourvèdre and Counoise.

What is new for 2012 is that TCV decided to produce two Rosés.  This bottling was added to their excellent value-oriented Patelin de Tablas line, which also also includes the Patelin de Tablas Blanc, based on Grenache Blanc, and Patelin de Tablas, based on Syrah.

The other Rosé is 2012 Dianthus.  While this Rosé is dominated by Grenache, the Dianthus is dominated by Mourvedre.  I’m looking forward to giving that one a try too!

Drink Pink...2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé

2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé

My tasting notes follow:

Copper pink color with enticing strawberry, stone-fruit,and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, and fresh. It’s dry on entry, but closer to off-dry on the back palate with strawberry, watermelon, spice and mineral flavors. Medium + finish. Blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise. 14% Alcohol | $20 SRP| 1250 cases produced

Rating:  B+

This is a charming Rosé that is incredibly flexible partner at the table.  Unlike many Rosés, which are great with salads or lighter fare, this one can stand up to heartier fare. TCV recommends it with Crisp Crab Risotto.  Sounds like a winner to me!

Sample purchased for review 

Related posts:

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m 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 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week And Great QPR!; 2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra

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 2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra

About Herencia Altes 

Herencia Altès is a project a long time in the making. For generations Nuria Altes and his family have been grape growers, with vineyards dispersed around the village of Batea. Now, Nuria have decided to give these grapes their own personality in the form of these handcrafted wines. While Terra Alta is not yet a well-known region – tucked away in the southeastern corner of Catalonia it borders Aragón and Valencia – it is one of the largest areas in Catalonia under vine. Built upon Roman and Moorish foundations it preserves a beautiful historical center and its grand church is testament to its past glories. In terms of viticulture, it is the most important village in Terra Alta accounting for over 50% of its entire grape production. Most of the grapes are sold to cooperatives or large companies outside the region. Herencia Altes is Nuria Altes’ dream to put Terra Alta on the map and show the true quality of these wonderful old vines.

[Overview of  Spanish Wines]

This wine is a custom cuvee made for wine importer Eric Solomon by proprietor Nuria Altes. It is 100% garnaxta negra (grenache) raised on its lees in concrete vats.  The fruit is mix of very old garnaxta bush vines, which is balanced by the youthful intensity of younger vine fruit. .

Herencia Altes

My tasting notes follow:

Crimson color with black cherry and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s intense, medium-bodied with medium acidity and soft tannins. It shows cherry, pomegranate, mineral and spice flavors and a lengthy finish. 

>>Find this wine<<

Rating: A-

This wine is a great example of why Spain is unbeatable for wines that offer incredible value!  It drinks like many wines I’ve had in the $30-40 range. Sometimes the best thing you can say about a wine is “I’ll buy again”  And I have! Pair with grilled meat, lamb or goat

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 13.8% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork.
  • AVASpainCatalunyaTarragonaTerra Alta
  • Varietal(s): 100% Garnaxta Negro (Grenache)
  • SRP: $8.99
  • Ageability: Drink now, or hold for 2-3 years

Wine purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m 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 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

2013 Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting- The Best of Rhone Rosés

I attended, as media guest, the 16th annual “Celebration of American Rhone Wines” in San Francisco, at Fort Mason Center last weekend.  Rhone Rangers is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the Rhone varietal wines produced in the U.S.

The two-day event featured a Winemaker Dinner on Friday catered by The Girl and The Fig. The dinner also featured the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Randall Grahm, the “Original Rhone Deranger”,and founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard.  On Saturday was the Grand Tasting and Seminars.  The Grand Tasting was a  great opportunity to taste about 500 of the best American Rhone wines from close to 100 Rhone Rangers member wineries (For a list of participating wineries-click here).

RR Fort Mason Shot

If there ever was a time the vinous cliché “So many wines, so little time” is true, it’s at a huge event like this. After my experience at last years Rhone Rangers SF Tasting, I wanted to narrow my focus a bit.  I decided to limit my tasting to Rosé!

I adore Rosé, and those made from Rhone grape varieties are my favorite! Besides it would give me a chance to get an early start on the first Rosé from the fabulous 2012 vintage.  When I looked at the mostly excellent event program, there were 30 wineries listed under “Rosé”.

Well the early start turned out to be a mixed bag. That’s because a few wineries who’d intended to have their Rosé ready, decided they weren’t ready for primetime.  Likewise,  a couple of my perennial favorite Rosé producers Bonny Doon, and Quivira, Rosé was not yet bottled ( one producer shared with me that they’d bottled their wine two days before the event, and another pour his Rosé from a sample bottle). I think the unofficial start of Rosé season is April.  Nonetheless I tasted some great wines and if the quality of the wines I tasted is any indication, 2012 should be a great season for Rosé!

On to the wines I sniffed, sipped and  (mostly) spit!

2012-04-24-RoseWines

The many shades of Rosé…Photo Credit: goo.gl/iKJXT

My recommendations and complete tasting notes follow (in alphabetic order within each category):

Highly Recommend (90+ pts)

Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting: Best of the Rhone Rosés

Sebastian Donoso; Winemaker for Campovida

  • 2012 Campovida Grenache Trails End - California, North Coast, Mendocino County - Coral color with lifted red fruit, citrus, spice and rose petal aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, dry and fresh with cherry, raspberry, melon, citrus and spice flavors. Long finish (91 pts.) – $34
  • 2012 Curtis Heritage Rosé - California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County - Light pink color with pretty cherry, sweet citrus, and hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and dry with medium acidity. It shows slightly tart raspberry, citrus, mineral and spice flavors. Medium plus finish. Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault (90 pts.) – $23
  • 2012 Lagier Meredith Syrah Rosé - California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Medium pink color with intriguing, aromatic red berry, violet, and spice aromas. On the palate, it between dry and off-dry, and medium-bodied with great acidity. It shows black cherry, black raspberry, and cantaloupe flavors. Long finish. Blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Mondeuse. (92 pts.) – $20
  • 2012 L’Aventure Estate Rosé - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Salmon color with aromatic raspberry, citrus, melon, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, dry, and fresh with a great mouth feel. It shows raspberry, tangerine, melon flavors underscored with an appealing mineral undertone. Long finish. (92 pts.) – $25
margerum rose

Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Company

  • 2012 Margerum Grenache Riviera - California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County - Salmon pink color with appealing aromatic red berry, melon, and stone fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, fresh, and elegant with raspberry, strawberry, melon and spice flavors. Long finish. (91 pts.) – $18
  • 2012 Tablas Creek Dianthus - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Cranberry red color with tight red fruit, and dried rose aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and dry with wonderful acidity, and cherry, red plum, and spiced watermelon, and mineral flavors. Medium-long finish. Blend of 60% Mourvedre, 25% Grenache, 15% Counoise (90 pts.) – $27
  • 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Pink color with enticing strawberry, stone-fruit,and spice aromas. On the palate, it medium-bodied, fresh and smooth with a great mouthfeel. It’s dry on entry, but closer to off-dry on the back palate with strawberry, watermelon, spice and mineral flavors. Medium + finish. Blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise (90 pts.) – $20

Recommended (86-89pts)

  • 2012 Acquiesce Grenache Rosé - California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light red color with ripe cherry, floral and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and off-dry with medium acidity. It shows ripe cherry, strawberry, and spice flavors. Medium-long finish. (88 pts.) - $18
  • 2012 Anaba Sonoma Valley - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley - Medium pink color with dark red fruit, spice and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s light-medium-bodied with Medium plus acidity. It shows tart cherry, red currant and spice flavors. Medium finish. Blend of 56% Grenache and 44% Syrah (87 pts.) - $22
  • 2011 Bella Grace - California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
    Pink color with aromatic cherry, strawberry and a bit of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, off-dry and smooth with medium-acidity. It shows cherry, strawberry, spice and vanilla flavors. Medium-long finish. 60% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre (89 pts.) - $22
  • 2012 Broken Earth Diablo Rosado - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Medium pink color with aromatic cherry, raspberry, and floral aromas. On the palate, it’s between between dry and off-dry for me with medium acidity, and delightfully intense strawberry, cherry, and spice flavors. Medium finish. Blend of 80% Syrah and 20% that was co-fermented (89 pts.) - $18
  • 2011 Cline Cellars Mourvedre Rosé - California, San Francisco Bay, Contra Costa County - Deep pink color with cherry, and strawberry aromas. On the palate, it is medium-bodied, and dry with medium(-) acidity. It shows easy cherry, and strawberry flavors. Short medium finish. Nice value (86 pts.) - $12
  • 2012 David Girard Vineyards El Dorado - California, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado - Light pink color with spiced cherry and raspberry aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied with medium(-) acidity. It shows strawberry, raspberry, mineral and a kiss of citrus flavors. Medium finish (86 pts.) – $22
  • 2012 Hagafen Rosé of Syrah Don Ernesto - California, Napa Valley
    Strawberry red color with earthy dark red fruits, and a hint of stone fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and dry with medium(-) acidity. It shows dark cherry and red current flavors. Medium finish (87 pts.) – $18
  • 2012 Halter Ranch Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedere Halter Ranch Vineyard – West Side - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Deep pink color with melon, red fruit and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and dry with wonderful acidity. It shows cherry, melon, mineral and spice flavors. Medium-long finish. Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Picpoul (89 pts.) – $18
  • 2012 Holly’s Hill Grenache Rosé - California, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado County - Pink color with cherry, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and dry with medium acidity. It shows cherry, pomegranate, and spice flavors. Medium finish. (87 pts.) – $18
  • 2012 Meyer Family Syrah - California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands
    Pinkish red color with faint cherry, and raspberry fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s dry, medium-bodied with medium(-) acidity. It shows raspberry, tart cherry, and orange rind flavors. Medium+ finish (86 pts.) – $18
  • 2010 Paradise View Rosé Soleil - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast - Pink color with strawberry, cherry, and melon aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, dry, and fresh with cherry, cantalouple, and watermelon flavors. Medium finish. (88 pts.) – $24
  • 2012 Peterson Vin Gris Donna Bella Bradford Mountain Vineyard - California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley - Vibrant light red color with raspberry, cherry, and a kiss of melon aromas . On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied with raspberry, cherry, melon and spice flavors. Blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignane (88 pts.) – $16
  • 2012 Peterson Rosé Bradford Mountain Vineyard - California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley - Salmon pink color with wild strawberry, cherry and a hint of citrus aromas. On the palate it’s light-medium bodied with strawberry, cherry, mineral flavors. Medium finish. Blend of Grenache, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. (88 pts.) – $21
  • 2012 Qupé Grenache Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard - California, Central Coast, Edna Valley - Light salmon pink color with strawberry, watermelon, mineral and a hint of stone fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s dry, fresh and medium-bodied with tart strawberry, cherry, watermelon and spice flavors. Medium+ finish. (88 pts.) – $22
  • 2012 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé - California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County - Slightly cloudy darkish pink color with slightly earthy, dark fruit, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fresh and dry with an ample mouth feel. It shows vibrant black cherry, plum and spice flavors (unlabeled sample from bottle) Looking forward to the finished version! (89 pts.) - $18
  • 2012 Unti Vineyards Rosé - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
    Pretty salmon pink color with raspberry, citrus peel and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, dry,fresh, and slightly tart with raspberry, watermelon, spice, and a kiss of citrus flavors. Long finish (89 pts.) – $22
  • 2010 Venteux Vineyards Mourvedre - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Light crimson color with earthy dark red fruit and anise aromas. On the palate, it between light and medium-bodied, dry with good acidity, and ripe strawberry, dark cherry, and spice flavors. Medium + finish. (88 pts.) – $28
  • 2012 Viña Robles Roseum Huerhuero - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Coral color with cherry, pomegranate, and a touch of brown sugar aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-full bodied with medium plus acidity, and a smooth mouth feel. It shows cherry, pomegrante and a kiss of spice aromas. Medium long finish. 100% Syrah (89 pts.) – $13
  • 2012 Zaca Mesa Z Gris - California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
    Light pink color with raspberry, tangerine, watermelon, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, dry and fresh with raspberry, melon, tangerine, and a bit of mineral flavors. Medium finish. (87 pts.) – $16

Other

  • 2012 Clos Saron Tickled Pink - California, Sierra Foothills
    Salmon pink color with faint red fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, and dry and tart with medium (-) acidity. It shows tart cherry. Short finish. Blend of 50% Syrah/50% Tempranillo (85 pts.) - $25
  • 2012 Pomar Junction Vineyard Syrah Rosé - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Pink color with cherry and mineral aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with medium acidity cherry, pomegrante, and spice flavors. Medium finish (85 pts.)$18

Taster’s Choice

After tasting through the 28 Rosés from the wineries listed event program guide, it was time for “Taster’s Choice”…Yup..it’s just what it should like.  I’m off “the clock”, and on to whatever I strikes my fancy.  After all this is gathering of the best Rhone wines America has to offer, and I wasn’t about to leave without tasting some white and red wines too!  I didn’t have as much time as I’d like, but the following wines stood out for me…

  • 2011 Two Shepherds Grenache Blanc Saarloos Vineyard - California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley - Pale golden color with aromatic stone-fruit, mineral, and spiced honey aromas. On the palate, it’s approaching medium-bodied, crisp and dry with white peach, pear, mineral and a bit of citrus flavors. Medium-long finish. (91 pts.) – $24
Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting: Best of the Rhone Rosés

2009 Tercero Watch Hill Grenache

  • 2010 Lagier Meredith Syrah - California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Deep garnet color with lifted mixed black and blue fruits, pepper, and dried herb aromas. On the palate, it’s ample, fresh, well-balanced and elegant with blackberry, blueberry, and spice flavors. Long finish.(92 pts.) – $48
  • 2010 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Carmine color with black raspberry, plum, smoked meat, and pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s ample with an intense supple mouthfeel. It shows black raspberry, plum, and a kiss of bittersweet chocolate flavors. Long finish. Blend of 45% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 21% Syrah, 4% Counoise (92 pts.) – $55
  • 2009 Tercero Grenache Watch Hill Vineyard - California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County - Garnet color with beautifully aromatic mixed berry, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium/full-bodied, fresh, focused with fruity, but not jammy, cherry, raspberry, strawberry, and spice flavors. Long finish. (91 pts.)

You can’t come to an event like this and not have some food (albeit in my case, after, a few hours of wine tasting).  I had a little snacky-snack from The Girl and The Fig which was downright delicious, and left me envious of those who had a chance to partake of the dinner they served on Friday.

Note to self: Must go to The Girl and The Fig next time I’m in Sonoma!

The pièce de résistance on my Rhone Rangers experience was a couple of scoops of ice cream served up Three Twins Ice Cream.  One was Dad’s Cardamom, the other was Sea Salted Caramel…Daaaaaum it was all that! 

My takeaways from the event?

  • The state of the American Rhone Rosé is strong – more great choices than ever!
  • The prices seem to be creeping up on Rosé.  Though I prefer not to spend more than $20 for a Rose, I have from time to time for something I felt was special. But Rosé mostly falls into the “weeknight” category for me all year round. The median price for the Rosé I tasted was a tad over $20.
  • It was great to be able to purchase wines on the spot from some producers. In fact I ended up buying a couple of bottles of the Margerum Rosé.
  • The event seemed less crowded than last year, a good thing in my book, but if attendance was down, that’s a shame…

All in all, what a great event!  It’s circled in red on my calendar for next year!

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