Wine of the Week: 2012 Zudugarai “Amats” Getariako Txakolina

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2012 Zudugarai “Amats” Getariako Txakolina.

The Winery

Bodegas Zudugarai  is a winery located in the Basque region in northern Spain, less than 20 miles from the French border.  It was founded in 1989, the same year the Denominación de Origen (DO)  of Getariako Txakolina was founded.  Getariako Txakoli is the oldest, largest, and most important of the three DOs that produced Txakoli.  The others are Arabako Txakolina and Bizkaiko Txakolina.

The Errasti family has been growing grapes and making wine from the region’s vineyards for over 40 years, working with the local varieties of Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza. The vineyards and winery are near the coast line among rolling hills at about 90 meters above sea level.  The sunniest and windiest slopes are the ones planted to vines so that the grapes can get ripe and also remain dry and avoid fungal and rot issues. All work in the vineyards is done by hand including harvest.

The winery produces Txakoli, (pronounced chock-oh-lee) or Txakolina (as far as I can tell the terms are used interchangeably).   Txakoli is a delicious, dry, very fresh, slightly petillant (fizzy), low alcohol wine that is consumed like water in Basque Country.

The Wine

This wine is made with 100% Hondarrabi Zuri, the native grape that dominates plantings in the Basque region. Most of the Txakoli produced is consumed by the local Basque people.

After hand-harvesting the grapes are fermented naturally in stainless steel tanks, then bottled young to retain its natural effervescence.

Amats is both the brand name of the Txakoli as well as one of Zudugarai’s vineyards.

I was introduced to Txacoli by Joe Manekin, the Spanish wine buyer at K&L Wine Merchants a few years ago.  I purchase a few bottles every year because it such a great summer sipper!

I also had the pleasure of spending a few days in San Sebastian last year, and you better believe I had at least one glass of Txakoli daily with a wide variety of pintxos.

10.5% alcohol. Retail – $13 

Amats Txakolina

My tasting notes follow:

Very pale green color with green apple, lime rind and a bit of mineral aromas.  On the palate, it’s light-bodied, dry and slightly fizzy with easy tart green apple, and lime rind flavors underscored by an appealing minerality. A serving note: The tiny, fleeting bubbles disappear quickly if you let your Txakoli sit out too long – which is why small, frequent pours is how this wine should be served. 

Rating: B+: This hard to pronounce, but easy drinking wine is a fabulous summer sipper – dry,fresh, fizzy, and low in alcohol.  It could be a challenge to find, but it’s definitely worth seeking out! 

Pair with: A classic pairing in Spain is marinated white anchovies (boquerones), we had it with a dish called Kokotxas (the cheeks of hake). What a great pairing!  Enjoy with raw oysters, grilled seafood, hard cheeses, or deep fried bites!

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 BlogAll rights reserved.

 

Rosé of the Week; 2013 Waterkloof Circumstance Cape Coral

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! This week’s rosé is the 2013 Waterkloof Circumstance Cape Coral.

The Winery

Waterkloof Wines is a winery based in the Helderberg wine-producing area, a sub-region in the Western Cape of South Africa, just south of Stellenbosch.  Paul Boutinot, an Englishmen of French descent is the “Custodian”.  He learned the wine trade from the ground up, and launched his own successful wine import business in 1980.  It evolved into one of the UK’s biggest and most important wine distribution companies, which he subsequently sold in 2013.  In 1993 he commenced a search for a vineyard site that had the potential to produce truly fine with a defining sense of place.   It took ten years to narrow the search down to a small area on the south-facing slopes of the Schapenberg, overlooking False Bay in the Cape. As soon as he was led up a steep ravine opening out into a hidden amphitheatre of potential, all his experience and intuition told him: THIS IS IT! Waterkloof was born.  He took over the property just before the 2004 harvest.  The first vintage bottled under the Waterkloof name was from the 2005 harvest.

In 2009 a state-of-the-art gravitational cellar, tasting room and The Restaurant at Waterkloof were constructed

Waterkloof’s wines are shaped by an amphitheatre of select, high-altitude vineyards, famed as one of the finest cool climate vineyard sites in South Africa.

The Wine

The wine is made from 100% Mourvedre.  The  grapes were hand harvested and whole cluster pressed.  No further maceration of the juice with the skins was allowed.

Following in the footsteps of the great rosés of Bandol, the Waterkloof’s Circumstance Cape Coral rosé is made entirely from Mourvedre sourced from some incredible old vines in Stellenbosch

The juice was fermented on native yeast at temperatures of 16 to 18 degrees Celsius, which took 5 months to complete. The wine was then left on the primary lees for another 2 months to add further complexity before bottling. 13.5% alcohol.  Retail – $16.99

Rosé of the Week; 2013 Waterkloof Mourvedre Circumstance Cape Coral

My tasting notes follow:

Pale salmon color with damp earth, peach and spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with a great mouth feel, and strawberry, peach and spice flavors. Lingering finish

Rating: A-:  This is a very good rosé! It can be a challenge to find a 100% Mourvedre-based rosé for under $20 and this one offers a very good quality to price ratio!

Pair with: What I like about Mourvedre dominant rosés is that they, unlike many light-bodied rosé, can be paired with more substantial fare.  Consider Pulled Pork sandwiches, or Barbecue Chicken Sloppy Joes!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

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

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2009 Ridge Zinfandel Carmichael Ranch

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2009 Ridge Zinfandel Carmichael Ranch.

The Winery

Ridge Vineyards  is a California winery with 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).  They produced its first commercial wine in 1962 after purchasing the winery in 1960.

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!

And speaking of anniversaries - 2014 marks our 50th year of producing fine, site-specific zinfandels sourced primarily from pre-Prohibition old vine vineyards.

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.

The Wine

Carmichael Ranch is located on the western side of the Alexander Valley, south of Geyserville.  Originally a part of the Rancho Sotoyomi land grant, these hundred acres were purchased in the mid-1800s by Archibald Carmichael. Ridge began farming the western half in 2000. Ridge first pro

It’s a blend of 96% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah. Here’s how Ridge, a leader in wine industry when it come to labeling describes the winemaking process…

All Estate grown grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and
crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full
malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum
effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 120 ppm over the course
of aging). Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our
philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our
actions

It was aged 13 months in 100% air-dried american oak: (15 % new, 85% two to four years old).  Retail – $28; Alcohol – 14.2%

Ridge Carmichael 09

My tasting notes follow:

Crimson color with appealing ripe mixed black and red fruits, spice, bramble and a hint of leather aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with soft well-integrated sweet tannins, , very good acidity and plum, blackberry, black cherry, and spice finish and a lingering satisfying finish. 

Rating: A-: This relative newcomer to is a delicious addition to Ridge’s formidable lineup of Zinfandels! And it’s drinking very well now!

(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.

Rosé of the Week: 2013 François Chidaine Touraine 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! This week’s rosé is the 2013 François Chidaine Touraine Rosé.

The Winery

François Chidaine is one of the Loire Valley’s great success stories.  After finishing viticultural school in the mid-1980s, François, born in Montlouis,  went to work alongside his father, Yves.  At that point, the family had only four hectares of rented vineyard land in the appellation of Montlouis, in the Touraine.  When Yves retired in 1989, he passed the torch to François. Since then François and his wife Manuéla have dramatically expanded their holdings and set up La Cave Insolite, a tasting room and wine shop.

François was certified in both organic and biodynamic farming in 2003.  Their vineyards are managed biodynamically,  with ultra low yields and ‘hands off’ winemaking approach.

The majority of the Domain’s vineyards, which now encompass 37 hectares, are situated in Montlouis, with more in neighboring Vouvray, and additional land in the Touraine appellation.  The majority of their vineyards are 40- to 80-years-old.

I have a bit of a personal connection with François Chidaine because the first Chenin Blanc I ever tried was their 2005 François Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Les Tuffeaux.  That was some time ago, and the memory still makes me smile!

The Wine

Grapes for this wine were sourced from several parcels from within the Touraine. They were hand harvested and gently pressed, then vinified on wild yeasts in stainless steel. It’s a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Grolleau.

12.5% alcohol.  Retail – $12.99

Rose of the Week; 2013 François Chidaine Touraine Rosé

My tasting notes follow:

Pretty vivid pink red color with lovely floral, gooseberry, and wild strawberry aromas. On the palate it’s medium bodied, fresh and mineral driven with very good depth, especially for the price. It shows tart strawberry, raspberry flavors and a lingering finish.

Rating: A-:  This is a delightful, food friendly and pocket-friendly rosé!

Pair with: Goat cheese, light salads,  or a tomato tart.

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

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

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

 

Wine Words Demystified; Carbonic Maceration

You know the deal; the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus - Wine Words Demystified!  This week’s term is Carbonic Maceration...
According to Wikipedia…
Carbonic maceration is a winemaking technique, often associated with the French wine region of Beaujolais, in which whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide rich environment prior to crushing.
In other words, it’s a technique for making light, fresh, fruity wines.
Wine Words Demystified-Carbonic Maceration
I became interested in the term, which I knew next to nothing about, after I read the following backgrounder on the 2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Grenache Gris Gibson Ranch

 I have long wanted to make a light, summer, red—a  California version of Beaujolais or Pinot D’Aunis or Frappato, but perhaps kissed with just a trace more sunshine.  Something fresh, juicy, spicy, and delicious.  This fits that description.  It was fermented with 50% whole-cluster with no foot-trodding to maximize carbonic fermentation with the rest destemmed… 

How it’s different

In most red grape traditional winemaking styles, grapes are crushed and fermented for ten to twenty days, then pressed and aged for six months to two years in wood before bottling.
In carbonic maceration, grapes are placed as whole clusters (or as in the case of the Bedrock half were whole cluster and the other half were destemmed) into temperature controlled steel or concrete fermentation tanks, which are then sealed and pumped full of carbon dioxide.  The bottom one-third of the grape clusters are crushed by the sheer weight of the grape mass, and these undergo traditional fermentation by way of the natural yeasts that exist on the skins of the grapes which convert the grape sugars into alcohol.  The overlying two-thirds of the grape clusters are converted into alcohol by way of carbonic maceration.  The carbon dioxide in the containers creates an anaerobic environment which then allows the carbon dioxide to permeate the intact grape skins. The entire process takes place inside each single, intact berry at an intracellular level.  The entire process is shorter than conventional fermentation (it usually takes four to five days), and The resulting wine is fruity with very low tannins.
Pure carbonic maceration is rare.  Most carbonic fermentation is actually semi or partial carbonic maceration because it involves a combination of carbonic and conventional fermentation. There are other variations on the theme as well. For example, as mentioned for the wine above, half the grapes processed  were whole clusters and half were destemmed.
And that wine mentioned above?  Mission accomplished – it’s a chillable red wine that’s fresh, juicy, spicy, and delicious!
__________________________________________________________________

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.

Rosé of the Week: Donkey & Goat Isabel’s Cuvée Grenache Gris

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! This week’s rosé is the 2013 Donkey & Goat Isabel’s Cuvée Grenache Gris.

The Winery

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

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

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

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

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

The Wine

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

Made from a field blend of 99+ year old Grenache Gris from a special old Mendocino vineyard in McDowell Valley. Made 50% like a white wine (whole cluster press to neutral French Oak barrels) and 50% was de-stemmed and left to soak on the skins for 44 hours in an open top wood vat before pressing and then on to neutral barrels. Spontaneous fermentation occurred in barrel followed by a naturally occurring malolactic fermentation. We bottled unfined and unfiltered.  As a result, you may find pink sediment in the bottle, particularly as you get to the bottom. The sediment isn’t indicative of a fault of any kind or otherwise adversely affect flavor of the wine.

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

photo (50)

My tasting notes follow:

Slightly hazy orange tinged pink color with red fruit, tangerine, watermelon rind, mineral and hint of floral aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with wonderful acidity and a hint of effervescence with strawberry, ripe fresh cherry, a bit of red plum, spiced blood orange, and mineral flavors. Lingering finish.  Retail – $22; 13.7% Alcohol >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A- An outstanding,and oh-so food friendly Rosé.  This is a  Rosé I buy every year and it’s always delivered – big time!

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
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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 Rose of the Week: 2013 Dashe Cellars Grenache 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! This week’s rosé is the 2013 Dashe Cellars Grenache Rosé.

The Winery

Dashe Cellars, founded by Michael and Ann Dashe in 1996, is an urban winery located near Jack London Square in Oakland, CA. Michael Dashe is the Winemaker, and Anne Dashe is the General Manager. Between the two, they have 40-plus years experience in the wine business, including experience at some big-time wineries such as Ridge Vineyards, Far Niente, Chappellet, Schramsberg Wine Cellars in California; Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique in France,and Cloudy Bay in New Zealand. The winery produces about 10,000 cases annually.

The Wine

Dashe used to refer to this wine as “Vin Gris”, which is a French expression that translates literally as “grey wine”, and traditionally refers to a wine made from red wine grapes, but with white winemaking practices.  But so many people called it rosé, that Dashe renamed it.  It’s 100% Grenache.

Retail – $16; 13.7% alcohol; 222 cases produced

photo (49)

 My tasting notes follow:

Red color with pleasing strawberry, sour cherry and hint of spice aromas. On the palate it approaches medium-bodied, and is dry with mouth-watering acidity and ripe strawberry, black cherry and peppery spice flavors. Medium finish.  >>Find this wine<<

Rating: B+ This is a delightful, food friendly and pocket-friendly rosé!

Pair with: Hamburgers, or BBQ Chicken!

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.

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

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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 Big Basin GSM Rosé

The Winery

Big Basin Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery. Founder Bradley Brown is Winemaker and Proprietor (and Vineyard Manager), while his sister Wendy Brown is co-owner and provides business management expertise.  The winery was founded in 1998 on a historic site in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

The estate vineyards include Rattlesnake Rock (planted to Syrah), Old Corral Block (planted to Syrah in 2006) and the Homestead Block (planted in 2007 to Grenache, Roussanne and Syrah). They also source from other vineyards, like Monterey County’s Coastview.

Big Basin produces Rhone Reds, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Roussanne, a dry Riesling and this Rosé.

Tasting is available at their beautiful Saratoga tasting room, and by appointment at their estate vineyard and winery.

We tasted through the lineup of wines, our last visit to the Saratoga tasting room.  The wines are sensational and we like downtown Saratoga where the tasting room is located.  I highly recommend visiting and/or acquiring the wines!

The Wine

The wine is a blend of  33% Grenache, 58% Syrah, and 9% Mourvedre

The beautiful label is the artwork of Matt Jones, and is entitled “Rhino Girl”

14.1% alcohol; Retail – $22; 7 barrels produced

Rosé of the Week; 2013 Big Basin Vineyards GSM Rose

My tasting notes follow:

Vivid pink red color with cherry, strawberry, and wet stone aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, dry, fresh, and focused with strawberry, tart cherry flavors and an alluring minerality. Lengthy satisfying finish

Rating: A-:  

Pair with: Watermelon and Feta Salad, or Over the Top Mushroom Quiche

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!

Wine of the Week;2008 Iron Horse Brut

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 2008 Iron Horse Vineyards Classic Vintage Brut.

The Winery

Iron Horse Vineyards is a small, independent, estate, family owned wineries located in cool, foggy Green Valley in western Sonoma County. The founding partners, Audrey and Barry Sterling first saw it in the pouring rain in February 1976. Driving down Ross Station Road, they were sure they were lost until they crested the knoll and the view opened up to 300 acres of gentle rolling hills and a wall of trees behind that looked like Camelot to them. Incurable romantics, and having extraordinary vision, they bought the property in just two weeks.

Iron Horse is truly a family affair. Audrey and Barry’s daughter Joy Sterling is the CEO and lives at the foot of the vineyard.  The Sterlings’ son Laurence, his wife Terry and their children moved to Iron Horse in 1990 and built their home on the far southwest corner of the property. Laurence is Director of Operations. Audrey and Barry are retired, but still reside at the heart of the estate in the original Victorian built in 1876

Iron Horse is best known for their sparkling wines, but they also produce elegant estate-bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Green Valley in the coolest, foggiest part of the Russian River Valley, just 13 miles from the Pacific as the crow flies. There are approximately 160 acres in vine, planted exclusively to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – with gentle, rolling hills, and a spectacular view from the winery clear across Sonoma County to Mount St. Helena.  The land was once under water many millions of years ago, and the soils is full of marine sediment and fossil. In this regard the area is similar to Chablis and Champagne in France. And the soils are perfectly suited to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which dominate the AVA.

The Iron Horse name came from a train that cut across the property in the 1890s. The logo, the rampant horse on a weather vane, came from a 19th century weather vane found while clearing away the rubble to build the winery.

Whenever, we’re in Sonoma County Iron Horse is on our short list of “must visit” wineries. It’s a beautiful property, with what is essentially an outdoor tasting room.   We love to grab of glass of bubbly, or one of their still wines, and sit on one of the benches that overlook the property, and simply savor the view.   Drop by on a Sunday if you can, the Oyster Girls will be serving up Tomales Bay oysters shucked to order raw or barbecued.

The Wine

Fruit for the base wine was hand-harvested.  It’s a blend of 72% Pinot Noir and 28% that was aged, sur lie for over almost four years.  The dosage includes 2007 Rued Clone Chardonnay and 2010 Thomas Road Pinot Noir.

Retail – $38; Alcohol – 13.5%; Production – 2,300 cases; Disgorged – April 2013

Wine of the Week; 2008 Iron Horse Vineyard Classic  Vintage Brut

My tasting notes follow:

Very pale straw color with very active pin prick sized bubbles, and brioche, citrus zest, and a bit of hazelnut aromas. On the palate it sports a delicate mousse, explosive freshness, and tart apple, citrus, and ginger flavors, with an appealing minerality I’ve come to associate with Green Valley fruit. Lengthy satisfying finish.  >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A-:  An outstanding bottle of sparkling wine that world class!

Pair with: Raw oysters with mignonette or course!  But this is a the quintessential sparkling wine for food. Why not try with  Buttermilk fried chicken and biscuits, or a savory Mushroom and Gruyere Cheesecake!

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!