Wines At Our Table; Week of April 2, 2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended April 2, 2016

2010 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley  
Violet color with appealing cassis, black cherry aromas with hints of violets and cedar wood. On the palate it’s elegant, with well balanced acidity sweet well integrated tannins and silky texture. It’s all too easy to drink with black cherry, cassis, and vanilla flavors, and a lingering finish. 13.5% 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec. Fruit sourced from 85% Alexander Valley, 12% Mendocino County, 3% Dry Creek Valley.SRP; $65 Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

2011 Overland Wine Company Petite Sirah Kick Ranch – USA, California, Sonoma County  
Opaque black red color with very appealing black fruit, briar, violet, dark roast coffee and dark chocolate aromas on the palate it’s energetic and surprisingly light on its feet with well integrated dusty tannins with blackberry,blueberry compote, plum, black cherry , vanilla and a hint of dark chocolate flavor and a long sweet slightly spicy mineral laced finish 2 years on French oak. SRP; $36 15% alcohol Outstanding; 91-92 pts.

2014 Cave de Tavel Tavel Lauzeraies – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Tavel 
Deep pink-red color with strawberry, cherry, and a hint of rose aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with strawberry, cherry, white pepper, spice and a hint of citrus flavors.  SRP; $10 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 10% Mourvedre. Very Good ; 88-89 pts

2013 Carlisle Syrah Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands  
Nearly opaque ruby purple color with very appealing blackberry,cassis, , violet, and white pepper aromas with hints of olive tapenade. On the palate it’s leans toward medium-bodied with ample fruit and enough acidity, dusty tannins with a savory edge to keep it in harmony. It shows bright blackberry, blueberry compote, cassis, licorice, vanilla and spice flavors and a long finish. SRP; $43 30% whole cluster. Raised in French Oak, 21% new. 15.7% alcohol Outstanding; 92-93 pts.

-Wine of the Week-

Do you ever come “back” to a wine after years of not having it?  One of two things can happen. You realize you miss the wine.  Or you remember why you don’t. Fortunately, after not having had a Tavel rose for years, I realized I missed them.  Tavel is a wine region is the Southern Rhone that specializes in rose.  I picked up the Cave de Tavel Lauzeraies from K&L Wine Merchants for $10 because it was a 2014.  I’ve already picked up a couple of more bottles!  Keeping with the coming back to a wine theme, It was the same thing with the Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s been years since I’ve had it.  It’s very good to outstanding, but I can think of several Cabs I like as much, if not more, for the $65 SRP (it was a Christmas gift). The Carlisle Syrah Sierra Mar SLH fantastic. We brought a bottle to dinner with friends last weekend.  Unfortunately, I accidentally pulled a ’13 from the cellar instead of a ’11 I intended to pull.  While very approachable now, the wine will get better with time.

My Wine of the Week is the 2011 Overland Petite Sirah.  I actually won this bottle of wine via a raffle at the 2015 Dark and Delicious Petite Sirah event. I was introduced to Overland Wine at that event.  It was one of the very best of the 40-50 Petite Sirahs I tasted!

Sadly, there was no Bay Area edition of event this year.

IMG_5304

More About Overland Wine Company

Dick Keenan and his wife, Kathy McNamara make Overland wines from their Kick Ranch vineyard in Sonoma County.  They grow and sell small lots of ultra premium grapes to select wineries in Sonoma and Napa, California.

Kick Ranch Vineyard

Image courtesy of Overland Wine

From the winery…Overland’s mission is to make bold, flavorful wines that show why the Kick Ranch vineyard is a source for extraordinary wines.

Overland’s name and labels honor the spirit of discovery and risk taking that marked the Nineteenth Century Westward Migration in America.  Kick Ranch was first settled by a pioneer family that walked overland almost 2000 miles on the western trails that began on the Missouri River near Omaha, Nebraska.  They walked across America to start a new life, and they bought the land we now farm.  By 1875, those pioneers had planted 25 acres of vineyards.  Over the years, whether due to Prohibition or changes in fortune, the vines disappeared.  As it turns out, we didn’t plant Kick Ranch, we restored it to a purpose and focus first set over 125 years earlier.

Ten years after our first harvest, we released our first Overland wines.  In creating a label and the Overland brand, we wanted to honor not only the pioneers who journeyed so far but all who work hard at whatever they do and bring effort and optimism to all that they do.  

So we make “Wines of Effort, Promise and Optimism.”  We make our wines for wine enthusiasts and in particular those interested in a unique Sonoma County wine experience – by offering visits to Kick Ranch for unique tastings and events and by also promoting the talented winemakers who also make Kick Ranch vineyard designated wines.

Over the years, I’ve had many Kick Ranch designated wines. First from Rosenblum, then Carica, and most recently Bedrock Wine Co.  All the wines are been fantastic!  As the saying goes…”great wine starts in the vineyard”!

My Food and Wine Pairing of the Week was the Tavel Lauzeraies paired with Smoked Chicken!  Scrumdiddlyumptious!

 What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

_________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 20, 2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended March 20th, 2016

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

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

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

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

-Wine of the Week-

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

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

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 20, 2016

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

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

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

More About Knez

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

Knez_Logo-Round_v11

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

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

 What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

_________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

 

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 13 2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended March 13th 2016

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

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

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

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

– Wine of the Week

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

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

IMG_5146

More about Chereau-Carre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

_________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; March 6 2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended March 6th 2016

2011 Di Majo Norante Molise Ramitello – Italy, Molise
The wine is a deep black red color with appealing black fruit and lavender aromas. On the palate it medium-bodied, and fresh with a rustic edge, showing blackberry, plum, black cherry, black currant, spice and a hint of bittersweet chocolate flavors, and a lingering satisfying finish. Very Good ; 88-89 pts

2012 JC Cellars The Imposter – USA, California, Central Coast
Opaque ruby/purple-color with smoky black and red fruit aromas with a bit of floral aromas. On the palate it full-bodied, and lush with fruity plum, black cherry, and black raspberry flavors. A bit to plump for my palate, but tasty! Blend of 54% Zinfandel/19% Syrah/13% Petite Sirah/6% Alicante Bouschet/4% Grenache/3% Carignane/ 1% Viognier. Very Good ; 87-88 pts

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Old Vine Rosé – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
Pink copper color with savory strawberry, blood orange, spice and a hints of mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fresh and focused with a very appealing hint of tannins. It shows tart, strawberry, tangerine, blood orange, mineral and spice flavors, with a very giving savory finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

2009 Pierre Brigandat Champagne Cuvée Dentelles et Crinolines – France, Champagne
Very pale yellow color with abundant active tiny bubbles. On the nose it show pear, green apple, brioche, sea shell and a hint of citrus aromas. On the palate, it’s bone-dry with a creamy mousse, and crisp mineral driven acidity. This is a harmonious wine with green apple, pear, lemon and a hint of spice flavors. Blend of 30% Chardonnay, and 70% Pinot Noir 12.5 alcohol Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

2013 Ridge Zinfandel Jimsomare – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Garnet color with very appealing red fruit – raspberry, red currant, damp earth and wood spice aromas. On the palate this wine is all about harmony. It shows balanced acidity, well-integrated velvety tannins and focused red fruit flavors that follow the aromas. Lingering finish. It reminds me very much of the Ridge Lytton Springs in terms of balance and food friendliness. It was great paired with Stuffed Shells! Outstanding; 91-92 pts

– Wine of the Week

I’ve been loving my exploration of Italy with the #ItalianFWT group. Last week we visited Molise, an obscure region, a.k.a. the “belly button” of Italy.  I very much enjoyed the Molise I had.  And it was fabulous paired with  Portobello Parmesan recipe by Giada De Laurentiis (but then again, it seems like Italian wines go with everything!), The Champagne from Pierre Brigandat was part of a half-case special I picked from this producer via Cruzu.com (think crowd funding for wine).  It’s the best bottling. It was bone dry, and for my palate it needed food. Nonetheless, it was a crisp, well-balanced Champagne that showed the minerality I love about Champagne.

Last, but not least my Wine of the Week is the 2013 Ridge Jimsomare Zinfandel.  It’s a wine from the iconic Monte Bello Vineyard.

IMG_5107-001

We enjoyed the wine at a casual dinner with friends last weekend.  My friend picked it up last year.  As we were enjoying the wine with some delicious Stuffed Pasta Shells, I was reminded of a popular myth that’s worth addressing here.  The myth is that Zinfandels are not food friendly wines.

Simply not true!  Of course much depends on how it’s made. And I’ve had many that fall into the “claret” style such as this one, which show moderate levels of acidity and are very food friendly. Don’t ever let anybody tell you Zins are just cocktail wines. If they do remind that the Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel blend has been on the wine list at Alice Water’s iconic Chez Panisse for 40+ years!  I can guaran-damn-tee you it wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t food friendly.  

For more on the 2013 Ridge Jimsomare Zinfandel, check out this video…

-About Ridge Vineyards-

From Ridge Vineyards: Since 1962, Ridge has championed single-vineyard winemaking, searching California for those rare sites where climate, soil, and varietal are ideally matched.    Our aim is to guide the natural process; using traditional methods, we strive to produce exceptional wines from distinctive fruit.

Ridge Vineyards  has two estates, Monte Bello in Cupertino, and Lytton Springs in Healdsburg.  They are best known for producing single-vineyard premium Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon Blend (“Monte Bello”), Zinfandels, and Chardonnay.  Ridge was established by three engineers from nearby Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

Great wines have always been determined by their site – by nature, not by man – Paul Draper

It wasn’t too long after that, that Ridge gained an international  rep when the  Ridge Monte Bello, under the direction of winemaker Paul Draper , took fifth place in the “Judgment of Paris” in 1976 against nine other French and California wines.  Here’s what’s really cool though, the 1976 Monte Bello unanimously took first place in The Judgment of Paris 30th Anniversary when it was tasted against the same wines thirty years later!

Ridge has four estate vineyards, Monte Bello (first commercial release was in 1962), Geyserville (first release 1966), Lytton Springs (first release 1972), and their newest property East Bench.

 What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

_________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

 

Wines At Our Table; February 28th 2016 #OTBN16

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended February 28th 2016

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Godello AbrenteRetail; $22 USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
Pale yellow gold color with a green tinge with aromatically complex and appealing chalk, ocean spray, quince lemon peel, stone fruit and a hint of floral aromas. In the mouth, the wine is medium-bodied, fresh, dry, textured, and focused with enticing apricot, quince, and Meyer lemon flavors that give way to white peach, lemon peel and a saline minerality, and complementary nutty sort of savoriness, and a very giving finish Outstanding; 91-92 pts

Germano Ettore Langhe Nebbiolo Rosanna Rosé BrutRetail; $30 Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
Pale pink color with bread crust, raspberry, strawberry, and a hint of dried rose aromas. On the palate it’s very dry with a creamy mousse, and an elegant, fresh, round character with raspberry, strawberry, and lemon flavors with a satisfying clean crisp finish. 100% NebbioloVery Good; 88-89 pts

2001 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì GinestraRetail; $129 Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Medium-red color with enticing aromas of dried cherries, plum, mushroom, cedar wood, tobacco, and a bit of spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, very concentrated, yet harmonious, with great texture and dried cherry, plum, and spice flavors with an appealing minerality, and velvety tannins that build with time in the mouth. Long finish.Outstanding; 93-94 pts

2014 Saracco Moscato d’AstiRetail; $13 Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d’Asti
My first Moscato d’Asti! And it was very good. It’s a pretty golden-yellow color with perfumed, peach, apricot, white flower and a hint of citrus aromas. On the palate, it’s smooth, clean and fresh with a light fizziness. It’s sweet, but nicely balanced with candied peach, pear and a bit of citrus flavors. I purchased on a hunch hoping it would pair well with Crack Pie. And I was right! Twas a very good pairing! Very Good; 88-89 pts

– Wine of the Week

For my wine loving friend, you know last weekend was “Open That Bottle Night”.  It’s night meant for gathering with friends and finally opening that bottle you never seem to get around to (find out more here).  We did just that with 10 friends when we hosted an Italian themed dinner for OTBN.  I contributed 3 bottles to the evening (there were 11 in all).  And those are the second, third, and fourth bottles listed above.  I’ll come back to those.

The first bottle is an outstanding Godello from Sonoma County.  Abrente is a joint project between Michael Havens and Bedrock Wine Company’s Morgan Twain-Peterson. It turns out that Godello is also known as Verdelho (which I didn’t know). No matter what you call it, the Abrente is an outstanding wine! And it was definitely a strong contender for Wine of the Week.  The Germano Ettore Langhe Nebbiolo Rosanna Rosé Brut is a rosé of 100% Nebbiolo. Trying a sparkling Nebbiolo has been on my list of wines to try for the last year of so.  And this one didn’t disappoint.  The 2014 Saracco Moscato d’Asti was also another first for me.  My first Moscato d’Asti.  Now Moscato d’Asti isn’t my jam because it’s too sweet for my palate.  But I purchased the wine to pair with Crack Pie (if you haven’t had Crack Pie, you MUST – It lives up to the name). And indeed it turned out to be a great pairing with the Crack Pie.  It also turned out to be very good.  It wasn’t overly sweet, and it was balanced and clean.  Definitely a wine I would purchase again. Especially for my friends who like their wine on the sweeter side.

Wines At Our Table; Feb 28, 2016

Last, but not least is the Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì Ginestra. It’s an awesome Barolo and my Wine of the Week.  It hails from the famous Ginestra cru in Monforte d’Alba, one of Barolo’s finest and most historical.  Barolo, is one of my favorite wines, though I don’t drink it often. I need to change that! This one had been in my cellar for five years! I’m delighted we broke it out of jail and shared with friends!

More about Conterno Fantino

producer_3

Conterno Fantino stands for two families, the Fantinos and Conternos. At the same time, it is virtually a single family – the “Conterno Fantinos”, whose energies and vision seamlessly come together on the estate. It was founded in 1982 by two friends, Guido Fantino and Claudio Conterno, whose own fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers had all earned their livelihood in the vineyard, making wine they sold in bulk.

Guido and Claudio were little more than toddlers when they were charged with weeding between the vine rows. Their studies in agronomy and winemaking completed, they set out on their own and determined to invest in top quality and estate-grown, estate-bottled wine. The very high reputation they have built for themselves has never diminished the characteristic, grass-roots simplicity and sincerity that goes into everything they do. Their vineyard management, like them, foregrounds authenticity and respect for the soil.
Like Claudio and Guido themselves, tradition and innovation are close friends at Conterno Fantino. French oak barriques and new wood marry Piedmont’s own, blockbuster structure, opulent, tightly knit texture, magnificent tannins and rich, layered flavors. 
It is in the vineyards, under Claudio’s careful tutelage, that the quality cycle truly begins. The estate’s original nucleus is cru Ginestra: a historical one for Barolo, documented as far back as the 1800s.

Conterno Fantino via Vinoitaliano

In 1989, Guido and Claudio acquired terrain from the nearby area of Bricco Bastia, within the commune of Monforte d’Alba, where they eventually built a state-of-the-art new winery. This new location is scenically set, dominating the most ancient section of Monforte and overlooked by the majestic sweep of the Alps all around. 

The subsequent years continued in the same vein: cru by cru, with an aim towards expressing the individual terroirs fully and faithfully.  Two such crus are Parussi (a Barolo terroir from Castiglione Falletto rather than Monforte d’Alba), renowned for its elegance; and Mosconi. The Mosconi cru is exactly parallel to Sorì Ginestra, higher in altitude (averaging 400 meters, i.e. 1,312 feet), on a ridge running alongside the estate’s historic Ginestra nucleus, less than a mile away. Mosconi soil endows the grapes with extremely high levels of polyphenols, particularly anthocyans: hence Barolos of extraordinary structure and longevity. 

The newest generation has joined the winery in the form of Guido’s children. Fabio Fantino, an enologist, works side by side with his father styling the wines while Elisa handles PR and marketing. (Courtesy of Importer Empson USA)

 What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

_________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; Week of February 21st 2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended February 21st 2016

N.V. Pacific Redwood Organic RedRetail – $8 USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino
Ruby color with low-key red berry aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied, lacking in the mid-palate with slightly watered down and tart blackberry, plum, vanilla flavors. Good; 83pts.

2013 Campovida Dolcetto Fox HillRetail – $37 USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County
Ruby color with perfumed dried rose, black and red fruits, and a hint of menthol aromas. On the palate, it’s shows a nice (and pleasing) weight for a Dolcetto. It’s well structured with firm well-integrated tannins and wonderful acidity with dried cherry, blackberry, red plum flavors and a very giving finish. Aged for 14 months in neutral French oak. Outstanding; 90-91 pts

2010 Château la Caminade Cahors Élevé en Fût de ChêneRetail – $22 France, Southwest France, Cahors
Garnet color with earthy black fruit (blackberry, plum) aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh and a bit tannic with a bit of minerality. Blackberry and plum flavors dominate with a bit of cassis and roast coffee flavors, and a lingering finish. A blend of 97% Malbec with 3% Tannat, this Cahors is sourced from 30-50 year old vines planted in calcareous clay. Very Good; 87-88 pts. This wine was wonderful paired with Chicken BBQ Pizza

2012 Château du Cèdre Cahors Cèdre Heritage Retail – $13; France, Southwest France, Cahors
Inky violet color with aromatic leather, earth, black fruit, and a bit of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fresh and smooth with well-integrated tannins with blackberry, plum, black raspberry, graphite flavors underscored by an appealing minerality and a lingering satisfying finish. A steal at $13! Very Good; 88-89 pts

– Wine of the Week

I tried my first wine explicitly marketed as an “organic”  this week.  The wine was a Christmas gift from a party who shall remain unnamed.  You know the cliché – “Life is too short to drink bad wine”?  We’ll l took it to heart after a half glass of the Pacific Redwood Organic Red.  I didn’t care for it.  Shall we move on to better wine (my palate screams…Yes,please!)?

If you follow this blog regularly, then you know that my wife and I founded the Pacific Point Wine Tasting Club in 2010.  It’s a great wine tasting club that is thriving 6 years on.  Last week we had a blind tasting of Malbec.  I was reasonably confident all the bottles (there were 11) would be from Argentina.  I was right.

Though France is the birthplace of Malbec, Argentina has made a name for itself with Malbec.  Just to mix things up a bit, and offer an educational opportunity for those who arrived early, I purchased a couple of bottles fo Malbec (a.k.a.”Cot”) from the Cahors.   To put it succinctly, Malbec from Argentina = cocktail wine (fruit forward, plummy, smooth texture).  Malbec from France = food wine (savory, firm tannins, tart, blackberry, plummy). I enjoyed both wines, though I enjoyed the one that cost less more!

My Wine of the Week (“WoW”) is a distinctive Dolcetto from Campovida. This wine took me by surprise.  I’ve had a few Dolcetto’s, but none like this.  I normally think of the wines as light-bodied, tart affairs. This one had more weight, complimented by a great structure showcasing lifted aromatics, well integrated dusty tannins, and freshness with great flavors. Definitely a winner in my book!  Highly recommended.  You may find the wine here. And Campovida is a producer I highly recommend as well!

IMG_4787-001

More about Campovida

Campovida is a family owned and operated certified organic farm and working vineyard located in Hopland, California in Mendocino County.  It’s a unique place that offers deep connections with nature, wine tasting, a professional culinary kitchen, a 10-room retreat center. It’s a place where you can relax, enjoy and create your custom gatherings. The property is located on a site that was formerly the Fetzer Valley Oaks Food & Wine Center , a 51-acre property originally opened and founded by the Fetzer family.

Hopland Sign

Image courtesy of Campovida

The husband and wife team of Gary Breen and Anna Beuselinck are owners of Campovida. The couple purchased the property intending to make it their dream home. But it’s evolved into Campovida.

The winemaker is Sebastian Donoso. Sebastian, who was born in Chile, moved to the United States with his family when he was 14. He attended architectural school in Miami, Florida, but quickly realized that’s not what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.  He moved to California and graduated from Fresno State University with a degree in enology and began his career as a winemaker at Sarcina.  He became winemaker for Campovida in 2012.
campovida logo

From the Campovida websiteWe are a family business created by Gary and Anna, along with our daughters Faith and Gabriella, and our dog Buster. We are farmers. We are makers. We are parents and we are friends.  We see and partner with real farmers, so we can create real wine to be celebrated with real friends.

We are just beginning.

WINEMAKING

Making wines of sourced from organic and biodynamic vineyards of Mendocino County. Beauty in a bottle that leads to conversations and celebrations at the table.

FARM

Our garden is abundant with plant and wild life.  We tend to all of nature’s activities and are humbled daily by what we learn.  The garden is for our guests, members and our families – be sure to connect with us about how and when you can visit.

What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

_________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; February 14th 2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended February 14th 2016

2007 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve – (this wine was a gift; avg. price per Winesearcher.com = $132) Purple violet color with aromatic and very appealing black cherry, blackberry, cassis, licorice, violet, and a bit of roast coffee aromas. On the palate it’s harmonious, focused, and long with a supple texture with firm tannins and blackberry, cassis, red currant, flavors with a bit of dark chocolate. Long finish Still young but showing the promise of what’s to come; 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc. Marvelous paired with Prime Rib!  Outstanding; 92-93pts

2013 Campovida Pinot Noir Oppenlander VineyardRetail $45; Ruby color with appealing cherry, pomegranate, dried rose and a bit of lavender aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied, and very fresh with a pleasing savory edge, and well-integrated dusty tannins, with cherry, red currant, pomegranate flavors, and a lingering finish. Fermentation: 50% of the lot was de-stemmed and berries slightly split into macro-bins while 50% was left whole-cluster. Aged on its lees for 14 months in neutral French oak Stirred once every other month to increase mouth-feel. 13.5 % alcohol. Retail $45. Approachable now,but should age well. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

2009 Pierre Brigandat Champagne Brut Retail $28; The wine is a very pale almost clear gold with a green tinge color and a tiny persistent bead, and pie crust, green apple, guava, and citrus zest aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied, nuanced and well-balanced with zesty acidity and green apple, lemon-lime zest, guava, and a bit of pear flavors with an appealing vein of minerality. Outstanding; 90-91 pts

2012 Trimbach Riesling Retail $17The wine pours a pale golden-yellow color with promising petrol, ocean spray, citrus, peach and touch of honey aromas. On the palate it’s between light and medium-bodied, and dry with mouth-watering acidity. It’s sleek, understated and impeccably structured with a great texture. It shows white peach, honey, and citrus (sometimes lime, sometime lemon, even a whisper of mandarin orange) flavors with a long concentrated finish.  Very good quality/price ratio for $17.  My first Trimbach…not my last! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

– Wine of the Week

This week’s wines hit the “trifecta”. There’s an outstanding wine, a great value, and a producer worth checking out.  Plus a wine resource worth checking out.  Let me begin at the last one – a wine resource worth checking out.  I considered the 2009 Pierre Brigandat Champagne Brut to be outstanding. It’s cost me $28 (I purchased a half-case; price before shipping). A champagne of this quality for that price is rare.  I purchased via Cruzu.comwhich is “crowd funding for wine” after getting a referral from Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick (I highly recommend his website).  It was a great experience, and I’ve been have been happy with the Pierre Brigandat champagne. If you’re looking to score a deal for some wine, check out Cruzu!

The Campovida Pinot Noir was wonderful. Campovida is a producer worth checking out. They’re based out of Hopland, where their property includes their estate vineyard, a farm, and home.  They’re great folks and their wine reflect a sense of place, sapidity, and balance.

My “value” wine this week comes from venerable Alsatian producer Trimbach. The winery was established in 1626!  I picked up a bottle of their entry-level 2012 Trimbach Riesling.  It’s a fantastic Riesling and only $17.  I’ll be buying more.  As befits Riesling, it paired well with Chicken Estofado and Seafood Gumbo!

My WoW is the 2007 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve.  If you’re regular follower of this blog, you know that I have a very generous boss, who knows I’m into wine.  He gave me this bottle for Christmas a couple of years ago.  It’s a fantastic Napa Valley Cab that’s still young, but is already a great bottle! You can find a bottle here.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

More about Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

logo-beringer-black

From the winery…Beringer Private Reserve represents the pinnacle of the portfolio. Former Chief Winemakers Myron Nightingale and Ed Sbragia created the Private Reserve program in 1977 with the goal of crafting Napa’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon. The Private Reserve Chardonnay was introduced with the 1978 vintage, and together these wines have earned three decades of extraordinary accolades, including two “Wine of the Year” awards. Beringer farms an extraordinary collection of seven single vineyard sites across Napa Valley. Hailing from Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain, Mt. Veeder, and St. Helena, these single vineyards deliver unique styles of Cabernet Sauvignon that are combined to form our flagship Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

_________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; February 7th 2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended February 7th 2016

2010 Librandi Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Duca Sanfelice Riserva – Italy, Calabria, Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore; Retail-$16
Crimson color with smoky, earthy, red fruit aromas. With a hint of graphite. On the palate its medium-bodied, fresh showing slightly astringent tannins in Day 1 that soften to appealing dusty tannins on Day 2 with juicy focused black cherry, red currant flavors with a bit of minerality and a lingering delicious finish. A Ciro DOC Rosso Riserva of 95% Gaglioppo 5% Greco Bianco and Trebbiano Toscano. Very good QPR @$16! Very Good; 88-89 pts

2011 JC Cellars Smoke & Mirrors – USA, California Retail; Retail – $25
Translucent garnet color with intriguing black fruit, smoke, cacao, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied, fruit forward, and delicous with solid acidity and black raspberry, black cherry, a hint of red plum, and vanilla flavors, and a lingering sweet finish. A crowd pleasing blend of \ Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan from Sonoma. 14.8% alcohol Very Good; 88-89 pts

2006 Ridge Mazzoni Home Ranch – USA, California, Sonoma County; Retail – $40
Inky black red color with complex, exuberant mixed black and red fruit, leather, violets and a hint of eucalyptus aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, focused, persistent and oh so fresh with seamless, well-integrated tannins, and a silky texture with black cherry, blackberry, with hints of black raspberry, and red plum flavors. Long finish.This is a very food friendly wine!  It paired well with one of my favorite Filipino dishes – Chicken AfritadaOutstanding; 91-92pts

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Evangelho Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Contra Costa County; Retail – $34
The wine pours an opaque violet color with intriguing and appealing smoke, black fruit, briary spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh and sleek with a great mouth feel, and dusty tannins with black cherries dusted with dark chocolate, and black raspberry flavors with a bit of minerality.Outstanding; 90-91pts

– Wine of the Week

Have you ever wondered how many grape varieties are in Italy?  Me too.  So I Googled it. The answer – 2,000!  I had the opportunity to do try one of those 2,000 different grape varieties last week when the Italian, Food, Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT) group of bloggers I’m a part of paid a virtual visit to the region of Calabria.  The new-to-me grape variety was Gaglioppo. The 2010 Librandi Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Duca Sanfelice Riserva was very good.  And it paired well with Costolette D’Agnello Alla Calabrese (Lamb Chops Calabria Style with Tomatoes, Peppers and Olives)  And at $16 it offers very good QPR!  The Bedrock offered some strong competition for Wine of the Week (“WoW”), but this week, my WoW is the 2006 Ridge Mazzoni Home Ranch.

I picked up this wine from Ridge Vineyards last year at a Monte Bello Collector event.   Ridge always has some gems in their cellars. So when I go to Ridge events, I always ask what’s available.  Ridge does the cellaring, and  you’re virtually guaranteed a great wine that was built to last.  Now that’s what I call a win-win situation!

IMG_4915

-About Ridge Vineyards-

From Ridge Vineyards: Since 1962, Ridge has championed single-vineyard winemaking, searching California for those rare sites where climate, soil, and varietal are ideally matched.    Our aim is to guide the natural process; using traditional methods, we strive to produce exceptional wines from distinctive fruit.

In the video below, the man himself Paul Draper tells the story of how Ridge Vineyards began:

Ridge Vineyards  has two estates, Monte Bello in Cupertino, and Lytton Springs in Healdsburg.  They are best known for producing single-vineyard premium Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon Blend (“Monte Bello”), Zinfandels, and Chardonnay.  Ridge was established by three engineers from nearby Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

Great wines have always been determined by their site – by nature, not by man – Paul Draper

It wasn’t too long after that, that Ridge gained an international  rep when the  Ridge Monte Bello, under the direction of winemaker Paul Draper , took fifth place in the “Judgment of Paris” in 1976 against nine other French and California wines.  Here’s what’s really cool though, the 1976 Monte Bello unanimously took first place in The Judgment of Paris 30th Anniversary when it was tasted against the same wines thirty years later!

Ridge has four estate vineyards, Monte Bello (first commercial release was in 1962), Geyserville (first release 1966), Lytton Springs (first release 1972), and their newest property East Bench.

What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

_________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; January 31st 2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended January 31st 2016

2013 Sato Pinot Gris; Retail – $25  This fascinating wine pours pink tinged orange color. Initial aromas of spice apple gives way to a complex and appealing cherry, spice, wet stone, rose petal, aromas with a hints of earth, menthol and a slightly oxidized note. On the palate, it’s fresh and savory with a wonderful texture, and dusty well-integrated tannins with spiced cherry, a bit of apple flavors with a bit of minerality. Lingering finish with a bit of natural, harmless sediment. Outstanding; 90-91pts

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Cuvée Karatas – Retail $38 – Deep golden-yellow color with aromatic, perfumed floral, spiced citrus, pear nectar, and honey with a hint of wet stone aromas. On the palate it’s show surprising weight. It’s focused, and well structured showing lively acidity and great mouth feel with melon, spiced orange, tangerine, and honey flavors. Long finish. Blend of 60% semillon from vines in the Monte Rosso vineyard that were planted in 1886 and 40% sauvignon blanc from Kick Ranch; 50% new oak. Outstanding; 91-92pts

2012 Carlisle Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – $38.50 – Purple/violet color with aromatic aromas. initial aromas that brings to mind truffles gives way to black cherry cobbler, chocolate, with hints of orange rind and strawberries. On the palate it’s round, with a great texture, wonderful acidity and well-integrated tannins with black cherry, blueberry, chocolate flavors with an intensely spicy long finish. 94% Zinfandel/6%Grand Noir Outstanding; 91-92pts

2010 Carlisle Syrah James Berry Vineyard – $40 – Shows beguiling blackberry, baked blueberry, black olive, licorice and, with some time in the glass, violet aromas.  On the palate its elegant,and fresh with an alluring texture with focused blackberry, blueberry compote , and vanilla flavors. If you’re thinking Paso means it’s not cool climate you’d be wrong. The James Berry vineyard is actually quite cool thanks to a considerable marine influence. 15% alcohol. Outstanding; 92-93pts

– Wine of the Week

It’s been a great week for wine in my book when I’ve enjoyed a few wines from Bedrock Wine Co. and Carlisle Winery and Vineyards!  We don’t typically drink this well throughout the week (I rated all the wines as outstanding), but we’ve been laying down Bedrock and Carlisle wines for years.  Now it’s time to start drinking them!.  Besides, I’ve featured the wines more than a few times as my Wine of the Week (“WoW”).

That makes the 2013 Sato Pinot Gris my WoW.  It’s a “natural” prolonged skin contact (3 months) “orange” wine of Pinot Gris. Yoshiaki Sato and his wife Kyoko have quickly made a name for themselves producing some of the most highly talked about and sought after wines in NZ. Yoshi sources only from organically farmed sources. He refuses to use any added yeast, enzymes etc. The wines are not fined or filtered.

This was my first wine classified as “natural”.  Natural wine can be controversial, in part because there is no universal definition of what, exactly, is a “natural” wine.

Wine lingo these days is full of references to “crafting” wines, and expression of place or terroir. It’s seems to be that a natural wine is the purest expression of place possible. I like that!

IMG_4834

I’m a huge fan of “orange” wines and this was one of the best I’ve had.  The fact that it’s a natural wine is a bonus for me.

More About Sato Wines from K&L Wine Merchants:

If there was a boutique producer in New Zealand that resonated with the micro-production, experimental, semi-hipster, natural, “culty” wines that have taken California by storm in the last few years, Sato would be it. Yoshiaki Sato and his wife Kyoko have quickly made a name for themselves producing some of the most highly talked about and sought after wines in NZ. While travelling in NZ last year many other winemakers I met were really quite jealous that I had managed to pry a few cases of each wine away from Yoshi (whose wines have very quickly become highly allocated and available only to mailing list customers). The wines are essentially “natural wines”…The only thing these wines see is a tiny addition of minimal Sulphur pre-bottling. They are pure expressions of place and season. They are made in miniscule quantities (often just a couple barrels – 100 +/- cases). 

Not for the faint hearted….this is almost entirely natural wine with just 10ppm of sulfur (about a tenth of most wines). The fruit is carefully selected and juice stays in contact with the skins for 3 months. The wine is allowed to slowly macerate in a pretty oxidative environment with very gentle pigeage for light extraction.

Here’s a video of Yoshiaki Sato discussing his approach to making “natural” wine…

If you’re looking for a natural wine that doesn’t compromise on structure and flavor, I highly recommend checking out Sato Wines!

The wines are hard to find, but K&L Wine Merchants has a stash (a couple are on sale too – I paid $25 for this wine, but it’s now on sale for $17. Check here.

Have you tried a “natural” wine? What was your favorite wine last week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

_________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; January-17-2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended January 17th, 2016

After a bit of a hiatus, I’m happy to be back blogging about the wines we enjoyed over the course of a week.  Life, work and unfortunately a death in the family got in the way for a while.

2014 Dashe Cellars Rosé of Zinfandel-Todd Brothers Ranch – Retail $20; Strawberry red with red berry, rose petal, and peppery spice aromas. On the palate, it’s fresh with very nice weight, especially for a rosé, with strawberry, cherry, spice and a hint of guava flavors and a wonderful minerality. Lingering finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90pts

Pierre Brigandat Champagne Rosé – Retail $30; Strawberry red color with perfumed rose and ripe red berries aromas, and plenty of active tiny bubbles. On the palate it’s juicy, and well structured offering focused cherry, tart strawberry, and raspberry flavors with a subtle, but very appealing minerality and a lingering finish. 100% saignee Pinot Noir Outstanding; 90-91pts

2012 Giornata Gemellaia – Retail $40; Violet color with aromatic cherry, cassis, anise, roast coffee,with hints of violet and dried herb aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, with a velvety texture and well integrated dusty tannins with dark cherry, cassis, a bit of plum, roast coffee, black licorice, and a hint of caramel flavors with an appealing savoriness on the back end. Long finish. 14.3% Blend of 60% Sangiovese, $30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Petit Verdot. – Outstanding; 91-92pts

2012 Domaine Bart Fixin 1er Cru Hervelets – Retail $40; A subtle touch of pencil shavings sets off ripe and relatively elegant notes of black and red cherry, earth, warm spice with pretty floral notes. On the palate it’s medium-bodied and layered with intense mixed red and black cherry, raspberry flavors with ample minerality, and a subtle rustic character wrapped around dusty well-integrated tannins and bright acidity. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90pts

– Wine of the Week

After spending a week in the Philippines with my wife to attend my mother-in-law’s funeral, I’m happy to be back in good old U-S of A and the wonderful selection of wine we have here!

There was much to like during my first week back.  The Dashe Zinfandel of Rosé is very good and very food friendly as well.  It’s a bottle I took to the Philippines.  I enjoyed it with some grilled chicken there as I taught my twenty-something nephew a little bit about how to taste wine.  He’s way ahead of where I was, in terms of drinking wine, than I was when I was in my twenties! The 2012 Domaine Bart Fixin 1er Cru Hervelets was my first Premier Cru red Burgundy(and a nice value at $40 for Preimier Cru). And it part of an other worldly pairing with a double cream Fromager d’Affinois Truffle cheese! The best deal of the week though was the Brigandat Brut Rosé!  I purchased the wine via Cruzu.com, which is sort of crowd sourced wine buying.

IMG_4796

I found about the deal from fellow food/wine blogging buddy Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick (check out his website for some great food and wine pairing idea/tips).  It was part of a mixed half-case which I purchased for under $30/bottle! It’s rare you find Champagne this good for under $30!  My WoW is the Giornata Gemellaia. It’s an outstanding Super Tuscan that I picked up on a weekend trip to Paso Roble/Cambria for my wife’s birthday back in November.  I found out about Giornata after reading Jon Bonne’s New California Wine last year.  We stopped in for a fantastic tasting and picked up this bottle and a few others.

About Giornata

From the Giornata website:The journey in creating Giornata started with a dream to create wines from Italian grapes grown in California employing the sensibility and philosophy of Italian winemaking. We work with the same grape vines (clonal material) as the best producers in Italy. The Central Coast of California posseses many of the attributes of the top wine growing regions of Italy. Our winemaking style leans more Italian than Californian in that we favor wines with balance and subtlety rather than intensity and extraction. We pick our grapes at lower sugar levels and handle our must gently in the cellar, thus resulting in wines that belong on the Italian dinner table possesing both ample acidity and tannin. Traveling to Italy on a regular basis, we continue to receive feedback on our efforts while researching Italian winemaking and viticultural methods.

Inspired by Italy - Crafted in California

giornata

The winery is owned by Brian and Stephy Terrizzi. Here’s what Bonné says about the couple…In addition to her vineyard work and his efforts with the Broadside label, Stephy and Brian Terrezzi have taken on the most frustrating of California pursuits: interpreting Italy’s grapes in the New World.

If this wine and the other we tasted are any indication, they’re doing just fine!

_________________________________________________________________________

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.