Thursday, June 23, 2016

Drew Family Cellars/Anderson Valley/Mendocino Ridge/Syrah

We have featured the wines of Drew Family Cellars recently and now have a great feature about Syrah! We will look into the tasting notes and a little back ground on these wines,and then join Jason drew as he tells us of his Syrah(s). With such a strong background in the vineyard it is no surprise why Jason Drew sees the vineyard site as the foremost ingredient in making exceptional wines. Considerable time is spent researching each vineyard chosen for the Drew portfolio. He establishes relationships with growers who share in his enthusiasm for meticulous and sustainable farming practices. Jason feels he is merely the steward of the fruit in his winemaking. Grapes are picked when they have reached the desired flavors, while also maintaining essential acidity. Depending on the lot, a certain percentage of the fruit is destemmed while some is left whole clusters; the fruit is dropped into open top 4x4 wooden box fermentors. The fruit/must is left for a cold soak for several days. All fermentations are started with the native yeasts. During fermentation the cap of the must is punched down by hand 1 to 3 three times per day to ensure desired color and phenolics. When the must is dry it is gently pressed into tank and left to settle and then gravity racked into 100% French Oak (5-30% new oak) to begin its elevage of 11- 18 months in the barrel. During this elevage lees stirring is employed on certain lots for added structure and interest to the wine. Drew wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered. Jason’s aim is to make beautiful examples of Pinot Noir and Syrah that reflect the traditional nature of the varietal, the site and the appellation and , of course to be enjoyed with food and friends! There are three Syrahs. We will tell you of two of them today. 2014 Valenti Ranch Syrah Mendocino Ridge This is a challenging coastal site with daily maritime winds and fog resulting in cooler temperatures throughout the growing season. Being only 6 miles from the coast and sitting on an east face this site produces extrordinary concentration with an elegant foundation. The fierce coastal winds lends itself to naturally low yields resulting in excellent ripeness and intensity at lower sugar levels. Made in the tradition of the northern rhone, we co-ferment with 5% Viognier from the same vineyard. The result is a well structured and intensely flavored Syrah, a wine meant to pair with food. Preferably roasted lamb. 2013 Perli Vineyard Syrah Mendocino Ridge The Mendocino Ridge is the only appellation based on proximity to the Pacific Ocean and elevation. As such, in order to qualify a vineyard must be 12 miles or less from the ocean and at least 1,200 feet above sea level. As members, these vineyards get more sunlight, more intense coastal wind and natural cooling from the surrounding fog. They are also typically on slopes with excellent drainage and thin soils. This all translates into intense wines with great structure, concentration and complexity. This classic cool climate Syrah is just beginning to show what is has to offer. It has all the crushed black pepper and wild bramble berries along with some lovely flint and leather notes. We are quite taken with this wine. Pair with roasted game or spring lamb among other savory.We have a third wine,but will open these two,as we enjoy our great feature. Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy the wines of Drew Family Cellars.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chef Luc LaTouche/A French Feast/The wines Of Rodney Strong Vineyards

Today we decided to stop work early and prepare as chef Luc Latouche will arrive shortly.The early summer day is very warm and we we enjoy a number of courses with Chef Luc.First let's look at the wines from Rodney Strong Vineyards.We will start with Chardonnay and move on to Pinot Noirs from this great Sonoma winery. 2014 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ESTATE WINEMAKING NOTES Our Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is brimming with apple, pear, pineapple and lemongrass with a core of bright acidity and a long toasty finish. This wine was barrel fermented in new French oak creating toasty vanilla and spice complexities in the wine. We regularly stirred the lees during the 10 months of barrel aging to add richness and texture. The remaining portion was cold fermented in stainless steel, where malolactic fermentation brought additional character. The 2014 Reserve Chardonnay has wonderful aromas of baked apple, pineapple and baking spices. On the palate the creamy lemon meringue and nutmeg notes are well balanced by crisp acidity and a rich mouthfeel. FOOD PAIRINGS Enjoy this Chardonnay now with cheese raviolis with cream sauce, herb crusted halibut, roasted chicken, or cellar it for enjoyment over the next 3 to 5 years. THE VINEYARDS A mild, dry winter followed by a replenishing amount of rain in February and early March of 2014 encouraged the vine buds to push a little earlier than normal. The spring was warm, dry and frost free, thankfully. Overcast days became the norm in late July and August, helping to preserve berry acidity. Higher than average yields proved fortuitous in slowing the pace of ripening as the 2014 growing season would register to be the warmest in many years. We picked the Garfield Chardonnay on September 17, with the clone 15 coming in at 23.0 brix and the clone 76 at 24.0 brix. The acidity was perfect, the flavors were complex, plus we dodged a little sprinkling of rain that fell that evening. we also have two Pinot Noirs from Rodney Strong Vineyards. WINEMAKING NOTES Grown in some of the coolest areas within the Sonoma Coast region, this traditionally made Pinot Noir aged for 10 months in French oak barrels, a third of them new. This mediumbodied wine starts with aromas of pomegranate, cola, raspberry and spice, with crisp acidity and vibrant fruit and spice fl avors that fi nish smooth and silky. HISTORY Situated in the Southern and Western end of Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast is a distinct region that is directly infl uenced by the Pacifi c Ocean and is known to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of exceptional complexity with true varietal and terroir characteristics unique to the region. Sonoma Coast’s climate means the region is ideally suited to cold-climate viticulture, encouraging the full expression of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which are very different to those from warmer regions. Our Pinot Noir comes from two distinct areas of Sonoma Coast — a majority from Green Valley and the remainder from Petaluma Gap. Green Valley is known to be the coldest area within the AVA with a strong coastal climate infl uence due to constant fog in the miles near the Pacifi c Ocean and the channel created to bring that fog further inland via the Russian River and Petaluma Gap. Combined with its unique soil type — Goldridge, Green Valley Pinot Noir exhibits unique characteristics true to coolclimate Sonoma Coast and our vineyards within Green Valley help us create an exemplary medium-bodied, acidic, elegant Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. THE VINEYARDS 2013 was the kind of growing season that most would wish we could have every year: a dry, frost-free spring, a warm summer without heat spikes, and a warm, rain free autumn that allows for picking all varieties in their turn when they are perfectly mature. This Pinot Noir was harvested from vineyards in Sonoma Coast between September 11th and September 17th. We are now ready to enjoy a few dishes with these great wines.Join us as we visit with Greg Morthole,and then chef Luc Latouche!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy the chardonnay first. Click here as we enjoy great Pinot Noirs from Rodney Strong Vineyards.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Rodney Strong Malbecs/A Perfect Pairing/Classic French Cooking

what do you like to pair with your Rodney Strong Malbecs?Rodney Strong Vineyards does two great Malbecs,and we will open both and ask a French chef to help us.Please join us,as we check out the tasting notes and a little back ground on the wines. Our story begins over 55 years ago, when a celebrated American dancer named Rod Strong settled in Sonoma County to pursue a second lifelong creative passion: winemaking. Rodney Strong Vineyards was the 13th winery bonded in the newly discovered Sonoma County wine industry. A trio of winemaking paths crossed when Rick Sayre joined the team as Winemaker in 1979, and again when the Klein Family, 4th generation California farmers, purchased the winery in 1989 and initiated a renewed commitment of modern artisan winemaking. Through the years, Rodney Strong Vineyards has earned the reputation for critically acclaimed Single Vineyard and Reserve wines, stand out Estate releases and best-in-class Sonoma County varietal wines. Rodney Strong received the honor of being named Wine Enthusiast’s American Winery of the Year in 2013. Introduced in 2000, each year the Wine Enthusiast honors those that have impacted the wine and spirits industry with their Wine Star Awards. With the designation of American Winery of the Year, the Wine Enthusiast has recognized Rodney Strong’s commitment to quality, luxury and Sonoma County.​ WINEMAKING NOTES Rich, lush and full bodied, the 2013 vintage displays intense aromas and flavors of blackberry, black currant, cocoa and crushed violet. This wine is structured and balanced with smooth integrated tannins and a lingering finish of toasty baking spices and vanilla. FOOD PAIRINGS Enjoy this wine now with braised short ribs, rosemary crusted leg of lamb or mushroom stroganoff or lay a few bottles down in your cellar to enjoy in 3 to 5 years. THE VINEYARDS Winter of 2012 was very mild, and so was the spring of 2013, which encouraged an early bud break. The summer was warm, with a hot spell in June and some misty weather in July, though mostly warm. August and September were filled with 80-90°F days, ideal temperatures for balanced ripening. Overall the 2013 vintage proved to be warmer than any in the previous 20 years. The stage is set,let's join Greg Morthole and chef Luc as we show the main theme of the show...."Feed Doc"! Cheers! Click here and join us as we just poured you a glass of two great Malbecs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Jason And Molly Drew/Drew Family Cellars/Pinot Noirs/Anderson Valley And Mendocino Ridge

I have been featuring Anderson Valley for many years.I'm very excited about the wines produced by Drew Family Cellars.I recently sat down with Jason Drew and we talked about his Pinot Noir production.We will check out a little history from this fine label and then take a look at a couple wine tasting notes.Then we should pour a glass of Pinot Noir,and relax while we listen to this feature with Jason Drew. After scouring the coast of California for not only an ideal site to grow and make cool climate wines, but also a place to raise their two sons , Jason and Molly Drew landed back on the North Coast after spending five years in the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara. They had lived in many places in California and had spent time overseas. It came as no surprise that they found themselves drawn back home to Northern California. The pristine land and frontier qualities of the far north coast had always captured their interest. If they were going to commit themselves to the rural life in the "hinterlands" and build their boutique winery with living space for the four of them, it would have to be an all hands on deck affair. There was no part time way to do this! They looked at several properties in the Mendocino Ridge and in the Anderson Valley. The search quickly narrowed when they laid their eyes on a 26 acre ridgtop orchard. The orchard appeared abandoned; some trees had not been pruned for 15 years. It was quite clearly a restoration project!! The land was gently south facing with an elevation of approximately 1250 to 1300 feet and a mere 3.3 miles to the ocean. The fog drifted in like a cream river up the Greenwood Creek watershed creating a surreal environment where the mountains meet the sea. The property was just above this daily fog, keeping the temps moderate during the heat of the day. Plainly stated, they were in utter disbelief and knew they had found their spot! 2014 Morning Dew Ranch Pinot Noir Anderson Valley This is our sixth release of this esteemed site located in the "deep end" of Anderson Valley. Planted by Burt Williams founding winemaker of Williams Seylem. This south facing hillside vineyard is planted to several prized field selections. We source two blocks planted to the Rochioli selection and the 828 ( an alleged La Tache selection). We feel this is the best vintage from this vineyard to date. A medium bodied wine with dark red fruit, notably pomegranate, plums, savory herbs, and a black trumpet mushroom character. The acid brings tension and energy. A compelling wine worth keeping in your cellar as patience will indeed be rewarded. The Gatekeeper is the entry point into our Pinot Noirs but certainly not an entry level wine. There is immense flexibility in being able to bring together several lots in our cellar to make an appellation blend. This approach allows several sites and clones to coalesce for a layered expression of coastal Mendocino. The three appellations represented in this year’s Gatekeeper include Anderson Valley, Yorkville Highlands and the Mendocino Ridge. The cool forested hills of Anderson Valley, the mineral laden soils of the Yorkville Highlands and the coastal windswept high hills of Mendocino Ridge all combine for a chiseled, medium bodied, energetic wine . Dark stone fruits, dried floral notes along with loamy forest understory. An unfurling story here. Indeed! We should now open these wines and enjoy our feature!Cheers! Click here only if you LOVE Pinot Noir.

Drew Family Cellars/Anderson Valley/Mendocino Ridge/Fruit Sourcing

I recently traveled into Anderson valley,and stopped by and chatted with Jason Drew. If you love the wines from Anderson valley,and I know you do,You won't want to miss this feature.First let's check out Jason Drew's website and some of the history. Jason and Molly Drew started Drew Family Cellars in 2000 making only 150 cases of Pinot Noir and Syrah while Jason made wines for Babcock Winery in Santa Rita Hills. Jason felt compelled to begin his own project where he could direct the vinification completely. Word of mouth was and continues to be how their wines have gotten their footing in restaurants and with mailing list believers. The wines were quickly sold out and Jason and Molly began to slowly grow their label. Jason wanted to employ traditional winemaking methods that include hand punch downs, whole cluster and native yeast fermentations and no fining or filtering. With a background of over 20 years in the vineyard and the winery, Jason has been able to bring it all together to handcraft wines that offer a unique sense of place and traditional style. Drew remains committed to Pinot Noir and Syrah from California's northern far coastal edge, which includes Mendocino Ridge, Anderson Valley and the Yorkville Highlands. Jason also makes a very small amount of Albariño from their coastal region. Case production remains small, which allows Jason to concentrate on all aspects of the process, from vineyard farming to all vinification decisions in the winery. Decisions made in the vineyard become fluid into the winery, allowing for a pure expression of place in the resulting wines. This concept of wines being able to express their place is vital to understanding Drew wines. Drew is not trying to make wines in another image, but rather are creating their own from Mendocino's far coast. Here is some of the other press that Drew Family cellars has been getting. Jason Drew has been making wine since 1991 when he helped out his uncle plant a vineyard in the Napa Valley. He received his formal winemaking training in both California and Australia. In California he obtained an Agro-Ecology degree with an emphasis on Viticulture from the University of California at Santa Cruz. In Australia he received a Graduate degree in Oenology from the University of Adelaide in South Australia. His on-the-job winemaking experience came at Joseph Phelps, Luna, Corison and Babcock. He served as Vineyard Manager at both Carmenet and Navarro. In 2000 he founded the Drew label with his wife Molly while he was associate winemaker at Babcock Vineyards & Winery in the Santa Rita Hills. In 2002, he left Babcock to concentrate on his own label, and in 2004, purchased a 26-acre ridge top property that was a noted dry-farmed apple orchard overlooking the Anderson Valley to the east and the Pacific Ocean three miles to the west in the Mendocino Ridge appellation. The couple lived in an Airstream trailer for the first year with their two sons before building a combination winery and home on the property Vineyard land was eventually cleared around the apple trees and 7.5 acres of Pinot Noir was planted (Blossom Tree Vineyard). Drew's new vineyard will be one of the most westerly vineyards on the north coast and the question of ripening of Pinot Noir here will be proven by Drew one way or another. Currently the winery’s Pinot Noir grapes are sourced from the Anderson Valley (Fog Eater, Monument Tree Vineyard, Morning Dew Ranch Vineyard), Sonoma Coast (McDougall Ranch Vineyard), Mendocino Ridge (Perli and Valenti Vineyard) and the Yorkville Highlands (Weir Vineyard). Vineyard sources have changed as vineyard ownership changes have ensued over the years, and Jason seeks out the best possible sites that he deems suitable. I really like Jason's style and both his Fog Eater and McDougall Ranch bottlings have been included in my North American All-Americans. His minimalistic wine making translates into wines with considerable verve and focus as well as balance for age ability. The wines are sold on the website, through retail channels and at the tasting room at 9000 Hwy 128 in Philo, just northwest of the Goldeneye Winery (Thursday - Monday 11:00-5:00). I recommend joining the mailing list and the Pre-Release Wine Club to insure you obtain the wines. Production of Pinot Noir and Syrah is 1,800 cases annually. An Albarino white wine is also appealing. A star in the making. Let's join Jason drew and learn more about farming in the Anderson Valley and up on Mendocino Ridge. Cheers! Click here and join us as we feature Jason drew and Drew Family Cellars.

J.Pedroncelli/Sonoma County Wines/New Release Of Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel2014

We have 4 great wines today from J.Pedroncelli.We will check out a little history of this fabled winery and then go on to their tasting notes on these wines. The Sav Blanc is a crisp and refreshing wine.A perfect starter wine for your evening meal. Aromatic with lemongrass and a touch of green apple. The fresh flavors are layered with lime, tropical fruit, and honey. Our Sauvignon Blanc is quite refreshing and tangy with bright acidity and a silky mouth feel. Pleasenjoy upon release or within a year or two as no aging is required.The Merlot is really one of my favorite wines and is a true Merlot from Sonoma County. The 2013 J.Pedroncelli Bench Vineyards Merlot shows aromas of ripe cherry, red plum and clove. On the palate there is bright berry as well as toasted oak and, in the background, some dried herb and cola notes. Medium bodied with ripe tannins which follow through to a lush, almost velvety finish. I really wanted to focus this feature on the next two wines.First The 2012 Wisdom Cabernet is really an example of just how great the wines of J.Pedroncelli really are! A full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of black plum, warm spice and currants. The rich flavors of ripe plum, berry and black pepper are woven with mellow tannins and great acidity. With it’s reserve-style complexity and depth, this is a wine to enjoy now or age 5–8 more years. We now move on to the start of this feature.I have been enjoying the wines from J.Pedroncelli for many years,and this wine is by far the best I have ever tasted.Rich and full,a Zinfandel that is exactly what I want a zinfandel to be. Spicy and full of dried fruits and berries. The bouquet of red berry, spice and a hint of smokiness combines with flavors of sweet red cherry, cracked black pepper and dark chocolate. Round and velvety with smooth tannins and a sweet lingering finish, this wine has all the classic Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel features. A rich, complex and well-balanced wine. It will cellar nicely for 5 years,but I like the wine just as it is NOW!Zinfandel at it's best. to end here I wanted to share something from the winery website.This really sums up the great history that goes into each and every bottle from J.Pedroncelli.Cheers! From selling grapes to home winemakers during prohibition in order to keep the vineyards going, to growing a small base of business during the 1930s and 1940s, to the second generation joining their father: son John becoming winemaker in 1948 followed by Jim in 1955 as sales director, to 1963 when the winery was officially purchased by John and Jim from their father, to growing the line of wines in the 1960s with vineyard expansion and diversification, to the boom time of the 1970s and 1980s along with many changes and additions to our sales base including national sales and export, the third generation coming on board and vineyard replanting in the 1990s to the 21st century refining our focus to restaurants and casual dining/meet-up wine bars and independent wine shops across the nation. to the transfer of ownership of the company to the third generation (now a 70% woman owned company with a woman winemaker!) to the second decade in the new millenium where the fourth generation is coming up the ranks... Nine decades strong, we are still family owned and operated. It all adds up to tradition, heritage and a family of wines you can enjoy with confidence! Pedroncelli Winery & Vineyards 1220 Canyon Road Geyserville, CA 95441 (707) 857-3531

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Patz and Hall/Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir/ 2014 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

This is one of the elite Pinot Noirs! There is a huge demand for this fruit,and James Hall does an incredible job making this wine.Let's check out some history on this vineyard,and some past vintages. Pisoni Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County Pisoni Vineyard is an iconic site, located in the far southern hills of the Santa Lucia Highlands, which run along the western edge of the Salinas Valley in Monterey County. Situated on a long sloping hillside facing east and southeast above the main valley, Pisoni Vineyard is unquestionably one of Monterey County's defining sites. This is a cool area, perfect for the unique clone of Pinot Noir grown by the Pisonis. The Pisonis are one of California's most gifted winegrowers, and this vineyard has a well-deserved reputation for producing Pinot Noir grapes that possess an almost otherworldly level of power and flavor. The first planting of Pinot Noir went in the ground at Pisoni Vineyard in the early 1980s, and we are fortunate to source our fruit from this coveted "old field." The source for one of our most acclaimed single-vineyard bottling s, we have been crafting vineyard-designated wine from Pisoni since 1997. Great wines capture the essence of great vineyards. For over two decades Patz & Hall has been seeking out the very best small, family-owned Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards in California and establishing long-term relationships with the talented winegrowers who farm these world-class sites. Built on real friendships, and a shared commitment to quality, these partnerships have led to the rich diversity of our wine portfolio, contributing to our acclaimed cuvées and our sought-after single-vineyard wines. The 2014 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard is from the Santa Lucia Highlands. This sees 75% new French oak and has been one of the bright, shining stars of the portfolio for many years. The Pisoni Vineyard was, according to vineyard legend, planted with a suitcase clone from one of the most famous vineyards in Vosne-Romanée. This has a high amount of French oak (75%) because this is always the richest wine in the portfolio. The 2014 does possess a deeper, ruby/purple color, beautiful, opulent blackcurrant and brooding black fruit characteristics, with forest floor and a floral note followed by a full-bodied, sumptuous texture. This is a bigger wine, cutting a much deeper and larger swath across the palate, and should drink well for up to a decade or more. " It is a privilege to drink this wine,and really we should all be so lucky to have a case of this wine.I hope you are one of the smart people that purchased the wine.It will age for many years and I would try one every 6 months or so,and see where the journey of this beautiful wine takes us. we will also include a few features from the past with Patz and Hall,as we open this incredible Pinot Noir!Cheers!