Wine of the Week; 2010 Tercero Verbiage

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 Tercero Verbiage. 

The Winery

Tercero Vineyards is located in Los Olivos, California.  Larry Schaffer is the owner/winemaker.  Schaffer left a successful career in publishing to pursue his dream of becoming a winemaker.  He earned a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis.  Thereafter he got winemaking career started as an enologist at Fess Parker Winery.  While at Fess Parker he started Tercero.

I first meet Larry a couple of years ago at one of my favorite events - Dark & Delicious. Initially, he caught my attention because he was aerating his wines in Erlenmeyer flasks rather than traditional decanters.  I thought – How cool is that (note to self – buy some lab beakers; they cost less and work as well!)?

I tried his wines, and came away impressed.

Since then, I’ve tasted his wines at a few other events, and continued to be impressed. The wines are worthy of attention, and reasonably priced (the reds are $30, the whites are $22!). On top of that, Larry is hard-working, down-to-earth, passionate, and very affable guy in my book.  And that matters to me.

Tercero Wines offers a range of wines including varietal bottlings of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, a red Rhône blend, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Rosé, and a dry Gewürztraminer. All wines are bottled under screwcap (extra points in my book!) Annual case production is about 1,250 cases.

The wines are worth seeking out, and if you get a chance, I heartily recommend a visit to the winery!

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard

Larry Schaffer of Tercero Vineyard. Image courtesy of Santa Barbara County Vintners Association

The Wine

The wine is labeled “Verbiage” because according to Larry - ”I love to talk – a lot! I also love to make wine – a lot! so this label pays homage to the fact that every wine tell a story“.

It’s a blend of 62.5% grenache – from the Camp 4 and Watch Hill vineyards, 25% syrah – from the White Hawk and Larner vineyards, and 12.5% Mourvedre – from the aforementioned Camp 4 vineyard.

Each component fermented and pressed off separately, ,then barreled down for approximately 34 months.

Retail – $30; 14.5% alcohol;  Screwcap closure.

Wine of the Week; 2010 Tercero Verbiage
My tasting notes follow:
Nearly opaque violet color with enticing, perfumed mixed black and red fruit, smoked meat, and baking spice, and white pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with blackberry compote, strawberry, black currant, and sweet spice flavors. Long sweet finish. 
Rating: A-:  This is a wonderful GSM from an area more well know for Pinot and Chardonnay.  It’s ready to drink now, but will improve with age!

Pair with: Glazed Asian Chicken Breasts or Grilled or Braised lamb, or Grilled Sausages.

Sample provided for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/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!

 

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week; 2013 Domaine de Triennes Rosé

Summer is officially here!     Rosé season is in full bloom, although truth be told, it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round for me!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders for $20 or less! This week’s rosé is the 2013 Domaine de Triennes Rosé.

The Winery

In 1989, two Burgundians, Jacques Seysses, founder of Domaine Dujac, and Aubert de Villaine,  co-owner of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, joined by their Parisian friend, Michel Macaux, in search of new vineyards. Their attention turned to Provence where they were convinced the potential for great wines was enormous.

After a long search, they discovered the Domaine du Logis de Nans in the Var, east of Aix en Provence. They were immediately attracted to its gently sloping hillside with southern exposure. They saw its cool micro climate and its clay and limestone soils as ideal for viticulture.

The estate was renamed Triennes, a reference to Triennia, the festival for Bacchus, which was held every three years during Roman times. The prefix “Tri” serving as a reminder of the three original partners.

In addition to this wine, Domaine de Triennes produces two red blends, a white blend and a Viognier.

The Wine

This wine is a blend of principally Cinsault, blended with Grenache, Syrah and Merlot.

Retail – $13.99 (Whole Foods Market) 13% alcohol

#DrinkPink Rose of the Week: 2013 Domaine de Triennes Rosé

2013 Domaine de Triennes Rosé

 My tasting notes follow:

Pale salmon pink color with appealing, but fleeting peach, fresh strawberry, citrus and subtle earthy and floral aromas. On the palate it’s between light and medium-bodied, dry and fresh with tart fresh strawberry, peach, citrus rind flavors and an appealing minerality. Lingering finish 

Rating: B+ This is very good Rosé that goes down (a little too) easy. And it’s a good value at $14  >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: Smoked Salmon Salad Niçoise, Chicken Taco Salad or Asian Quinoa Salad.

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/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.

Wine of the Week: 2012 Château Pesquié “Le Paradou” Grenache

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 2012 Château Pesquié “Le Paradou” Grenache.

The Winery

The history of Château Pesquié is the story of three generations of a family passionate about the Ventoux region.

In the early 1970’s, Odette & René Bastide, bought Château Pesquié from an heir of the famous Provençal writer, Alphonse Daudet. They were wine pioneers, as the Appellation Côtes du Ventoux was not created until 1973. For the first twenty years of their ownership, the grapes grown on the estate were taken to two cooperative wineries.

In 1985, Paul and Edith Chaudiere, René & Odette’s daughter and son-in-law left their jobs in private industry (she was a voice therapist and he was a physical therapist) to study wine at one of France’s top wine universities at Suze la Rousse.

Château Pesquié founded in 1989 in Mormoiron, one of the tiny villages dotting the beautiful countryside under the Mont Ventoux.  The name “Pesquie” comes from old Provencal (which by the way is still spoken by a few people in the area) and means a “water basin” (the property is built on the site of an old pond.)

In 2003, Paul & Edith’s two sons, Alexandre & Frédéric, and their cousin Renaud, took over the Domaine.

Today, Château Pesquié is one of the leading estates in the up and coming Appellation of Côtes du Ventoux and the southern Rhone Valley.

The Wine

The 2012 Côtes du Ventoux Le Paradou is sourced from 75-year old vines.  After the grapes were crushed they were macerated 10-15 day, then aged 7 months in concrete tank.

100% Grenache | 13.5% alcohol | Retail – $10photo (41)

My tasting notes follow:

Dark red color with candied cherry, damp earth, pepper and a pencil lead aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied with a supple mouthfeel, a subtle complexity and bright black cherry, cola, and a bit of spice flavors underscored with an appealing minerality. Medium + finish. 

Rating: A-: Awesome value. Hard to believe this crowd-pleaser is a $10 bottle of wine. Super every day wine! >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: Serve with your favorite grilled meats (beef, chicken, sausages)!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/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.

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week; 2013 Bodegas Ostatu Rosado

Rosé season is in full bloom, although truth be told, it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round for me!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders for $20 or less!  This week’s rosé is the 2013 Bodegas Ostatu Rosado.

The Winery

Bodegas Ostatu is a family winery located in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa region in La Rioja, Spain.

The winery is owned and operated by the Saenz de Samaniego family, who have been in the area for many generations.  Most of that time they grape growers who sold their grapes to other wineries. But in the late 60s Doroteo Asunción made the decision to make and sell his own wines rather than selling his grapes on to other wineries.

The Sáenz de Samaniego Family Photo by Steven Alexander

The Sáenz de Samaniego Family
Photo by Steven Alexander

The vineyards, which are protected by the Sierra de Cantabria range, are composed of ochre coloured chalky clay soil, with an average age of 50 years. The estate is composed of over forty hectares of vines located in and around the town of Samaniego.

According to importer De Maison Selections Inc, until recently, all Ostatu wines were produced using the carbonic maceration process. Such wines are made to be consumed young and are popular with many locals.  However that philosophy changed when Frenchman, Hubert de Bouard de Laforest of Chateau Angelus saw the unique potential of the terroir of Ostatu vineyards. As a result, wines are now produced using traditional fermentation, and yields in the vineyards have been reduced in order improve the quality of the Ostatu wines.  As a result Ostatu is able to produce wines which live up to their full potential.

The Wine

This wine is one of Ostatu’s latest projects.  Fruit for the wine was sourced from some of Ostatu’s oldest and highest elevation vineyards, this wine is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, and 30% Garnacha (Grenache Noir). It was fermented in stainless steel vats.

13% alcohol | Retail – $14

photo (40)

My tasting notes follow:

Deep pink color with generous watermelon, raspberry and wet stone aromas. On the plate it approaches medium bodied, and is dry, lively and refreshing with tart cherry, raspberry, and subtle spice flavors underscored by an appealing minerality. Medium finish. 

Rating: B+ This has everything you want in a Pink Porch Pounder.  It’s clean, crisp, fruity, dry, and food friendly. And  the price is right at under $15. Recommended! >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: I enjoyed this with Spinach, smoked turkey and burrata salad!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/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.

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week: 2013 Charles & Charles Syrah Rosé

It’s April and for me that means, it’s the unofficial opening of Rosé season (truth be told it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round)!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders $20 or less!  This week’s Rosé is the 2013 Charles & Charles Syrah Rosé.

The Winery

This wine is the result of a collaboration founded in 2008 between Food & Wine Magazine 2009 Winemaker of the year, Charles Smith (K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines) and  Charles Bieler of Three Thieves, Bieler Père et Fils, and Sombra Mezcal.. Their portfolio includes three wines, a Chardonnay, a red blend, and this Rosé, and a red blend, all sourced various vineyard throughout Washington State.

The Wine

Most Rhone based Rose blends are dominated by Grenache.   It’s good to see one where Syrah is the predominant grape in the blend. I think Syrah adds more depth to the body than  this wine than a Grenache dominant blend, along with more acidity and a mineral element.

The fruit was sourced from Columbia Valley vineyards, is a blend of 86% Syrah, 6% Cinsault, 4% Grenache, 2% Counoise, and 2% Mourvedre.  12.8% alcohol.  Retail – $13

photo (65)

My tasting notes follow:

Pink color with raspberry, strawberry, and crushed rock aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, dry and fresh lively mixed red fruits – raspberry, strawberry, cherry, and red currant with a pronounced minerality. Medium finish. 

Rating:  B+: This is a rose I could buy every yet. No. Wait. I have purchased it every year for the last couple of years! Eminently quaffable on its own, this is a Rosé whose personality comes alive with food for me. >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: It was fabulous paired with Veracruz-Style Tilapia - a spicy  tomato based sauce flavored fish with onions, red pepper, olives and capers. I’d also consider pairing with grilled or planked salmon, halibut, or paiche.

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.

 

#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