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.

#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.

 

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.

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard

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 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard.

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

Tercero sources the fruit for this wine from the Larner Vineyard, located in newly anointed Ballard Canyon AVA in the Santa Ynez Valley, in Santa Barbara County.

The vineyard and wines produced from Larner Vineyard have garnered a tremendous amount of attention from leading reviewers, and wine publications. Leading wineries that purchase grapes and produce wines from the Larner Vineyard include Jaffurs, Herman Story, Paul Lato, Bonaccorsi, and many others.  In addition to Syrah, Tercero also sources Grenache from the vineyard.

The wine is a blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier that were co-fermented. The Viognier give the wines an aromatic lift.  It was aged for 42 months in older French oak barrels.

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard

My tasting notes follow:

Carmine color with aromatic incense, mixed berry, baked cherry, brown sugar and cedarwood aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, vibrant and well structured with a supple texture.  It shows blackberry, blueberry, red and red currant flavors. Medium-long finish. SRP – $30; 100 cases produced; 14.4% alcohol

Rating: A-: A wonderful example of a cool-climate Syrah!

Pair with:  Seafood pasta dishes, chicken satay, chicken tikka masala, lamb, or Moroccan vegetable stew.

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

Wine of the Week; 2011 Hardys Shiraz William Hardy

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 Hardys Shiraz William Hardy.

The Winery

Hardys, as it is known today, is a brand that was started in 1853 by Thomas Hardy of Devon, England,  after immigrated to Australia.  The first vineyards were planted in 1854, mostly to Shiraz and Grenache (check out the full history here).  Shortly thereafter, he started producing small casks of wines from his vineyards, and the wines were well-received in both Australia and UK.  From humble beginnings, the company founded by Thomas Hardy evolved into Accolade Wines, a global wine company, selling some of the world’s best-known brands in over 80 countries, including Australia, the UK, mainland Europe, the US, Canada, Japan and China.

William “Bill” Hardy, who is a fifth generation Winemaker, and Brand Ambassador runs the company.  He studied Oenology at University of Bordeaux and received training at McLaren Vale in his family’s Tintara Cellars.

He shares the same passion as his great-great grandfather, and founder Thomas Hardy…creating beautiful wines” that capture the very best of Australia of cool climate viticulture, characterized by quality, consistency and complexity.

The produces a very diverse full line of wines, including the top of the line Eileen Hardy Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Pinot Noir.

The Wine

The wine is blend of fruit from both cool  and warm climate wine regions of Australia, including McLaren Vale (39%), Riverland (35%), and Clare Valley (15%), Other (11)%. It is made from Shiraz with a very small percentage of Malbec added. The wine was fermented and aged in French and American Oak.  14.5% alcohol.

IMG_3153

My tasting notes follow:

Ruby color with pleasing and fresh black and red fruit, cedar wood, spice and a whiff brown sugar aromas. On the palate it’s between light and medium-bodied, with medium-acidity, and balanced with inviting cherry, plum, black raspberry, and hints of dark chocolate and spiced vanilla flavors.

Rating: B+: This wine offers very good value at an SRP between $16-18! Recommended!

Pair with: I drank this wine over the course of a couple of nights.  I enjoyed with corned beef hash one night, and smoked ribs the next, and the wine paired nicely with both.  Consider pairing with hamburger, or lamb too!

Sample provide by Folsom + Associates 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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Wine of the Week; 2009 Zotovich Cellars Estate Syrah

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 2009 Zotovich Cellars Estate Syrah.

Winery

Zotovich Cellars is a small (they produce about 1,700 cases of wine annually) family operated winery producing 100% Santa Rita Hills Estate Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay & Viognier.   The partners in the winery are the owner Steve Zotovich, and his nephew Ryan Zotovich who is the Winemaker.

Wine of the Week; 2009 Zotovich Cellars Estate Syrah

Steve & Ryan Zotovich (Vineyard Owner/Partner & Winemaker/Partner) – Image courtesy of Zotovich Cellars

I was introduced to Zotovich Cellars when we visited the Lompoc Wine Ghetto in April last year.  We had the good fortune of Pete Zotovich pouring for us.  The day we visited they were pouring this wine along with their Chardonnay, Rosé, Pinot Noir, and Reserve Pinot Noir. It was a close call, between this wine and their Reserve Pinot Noir, but I picked up this bottle of wine.

The Wine

One hundred percent of the grapes crushed into Zotovich wine are grown on their 35-acre Zotovich estate vineyard located off Route 246, between Melville and Foley.  The Santa Rita Hills AVA  is exposed to fog and coastal breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean. The hills run east to west, which allows cool ocean breezes from the Pacific to enter the hills and create a cool micro-climate. As such, this is considered to be a “cool-climate” Syrah. Cool climate Syrah smells, and tasted different that its warm weather counter-parts.  They typically have higher levels of acidity and freshness.

While the wine was fermenting, it was punched down three times daily. Following primary fermentation, free run juice was extracted, barreled down and then the skins were gently pressed to extract the remaining wine.  Thereafter, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation before being bottled.

2009 Zotovich Family Estate Syrah

2009 Zotovich Family Estate Syrah

My tasting note follows:

Violet color with roasted dark fruit, pepper, and hints of fig and espresso aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-full-bodied, and nicely balanced with great acidity, supple tannins, and baked plum, pepper, and black currant flavors. Medium -Long finish. – 91 pts

Rating: Highly recommended. This wine is a great example of a “cool climate” Syrah.

Pair with:  This is a very food friendly wine in my book. Pair with lamb, sausages, chili con carne, venison, and hearty stews!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

Wine purchased for review

Related post you might enjoy:

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This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.