Posts Tagged ‘Mendocino’

Wine of The Week – Parducci 2009 Pinot Noir (Or Pinot Lovers Rejoice, True Pinot Under $15)

This week's Wine of the Week (WoW) is one that makes you go hmmm. I admire Parducci for their focus on sustainability for which they have received accolades. I also admire, especially with this review, how they can make some of the quality wines they do, at the price they do.

Leary of 'Value' Pinot Noir

I dabble lightly in US wines under $20, especially those under $15, without a very trusted  recommendation or personal tasting. Too many purchased bottles have gone down the drain, and I might has well have spent more money to begin with. Life is simply to short to drink mediocre wine.

Of the varietals I am most cautious in value wines, Pinot Noir tops the list. If you know much about Pinot, it's more expensive for a reason; its difficult to grow, does best with low yields, and doesn't generally do well with large lot production techniques. These qualities often don't translate into high potential for good quality value wine.

Pinot Noir is also (or should be) a more subtle, nuanced variety, and the more you become acquainted with her the harder it is to drink poorly made expressions, which often have little characteristic of the seductive wine she should be.

A Wine Without Shortcuts

The Winemaker notes sent with the sample, (signed by Bob Swain) as well as on the website are indicative of none of the shortcuts I'd expect for a wine of this caliber and price.

First, its 100% Pinot Noir, with nothing blended in Brand name cialis overnight for color, flaw coverage, etc.

Second, 69% of the grapes were sourced from Mendocino County, a region that takes pride in what it grows, and its Pinot Noir.

Third, it was fermented in single lots, and aged in 15% French new oak, the remainder neutral oak.

I have to also give Parducci credit for the use of simple, but effective marketing tools, like this video where 30 year veteran winemaker discusses his approach, and his love of Pinot Noir. The results show.

Wine Review: Parducci 2009 Pinot Noir – California Wood Pellets Guide :


When I first opened this wine, it was enjoyable, but I wondered if on the simpler side. A short period of time in the glass, some twirls, and she reveals herself.

Color: Garnet, Medium Red,  Clear. The color Pinot Noir more often should be, a pleasant surprise in a wine world afraid consumers equate dark color with quality. (false)

On the Nose: Aromatic:  Cherry, Strawberry, and hints of pie spice, cola,  come out as I swirl my Burgundy glass.

In the Mouth: Red berry, Cranberry. More quaffable, elegant,  than substantially higher priced Pinot's. Hats off  – this is a Pinot Lovers Pinot Noir, not some bulk wine infused with Syrah. Kudos on the 13.5% alcohol, in a world full of 15+% fruit bombs. Also kudos on restrained use of oak; new oak barrels are not supposed to Manifest Destiny.

The finish is lingering, with nice acidity that makes the mouth water, and make you want more. Did I mention this was $12?

Recommendations: Highly recommended buy.  Pinot lovers now have no reason to not enjoy quality Pinot as their everyday wine. 90+ Points.

Where to Buy: Luckily for consumers, this is distributed nationally, for as long as 26k cases last. You may also buy it online for $12 a bottle, or $144 a case. (media sample)

Food Pairings: A well made Pinot is a very versatile wine for food pairings at this one fits the bill. Grilled chicken or salmon. Leaner cuts of red meat like pork, a filet. Pizza or Pasta with red sauce.

Wine Geek Info:

    • 15% NEW FRENCH OAK
  • TA: 0.605G / 100ML
  • PH: 3.68
  • CASES: 26,900

Cheers and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms wine blog – if you enjoyed this review – share it.


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Wine of The Week – Ranchero Cellars 2008 Carignan, Old Vines, Mendocino County

Carignane – Fallen From Grace, Back on the Rise?

Carignane (also spelled Carignan) has been an often maligned wine varietal, that has seen a bit of a resurgence recently in some circles.  This was a popular varietal in California years ago with 27,000 acres planted in 1970, dwindling each decade to only 3,600 acres reported in 2010. Carignane was popular for jug wines, and blending with Zinfandel to add color,  likely because it can be a very high yielding varietal.

It is also susceptible to powdery mildew and other challenges in the vineyard, and in the hands of an inexperienced winemaker can be acidic, tannic, astringent. Combine that with the wine industry’s romance with big extraction, oak, and lack of nuance, and Carignane wasn’t getting much love or quality on any side.

Wine is About Discovery

It took some time to reach this state, but I have learned the benefits of pushing my palate, always seeking new things, and not being afraid to try, re-try, and try again. Increased knowledge helps guide exploration, and as the lights go on, bulb by bulb, the path gets less dim, eventually at what seems like an exponential pace. Carignane has been one of those (re) discoveries.

My favorite and beloved wine pusher, er supplier, K&L Wines recently did a blog post on Carignane, but my interest was already re-piqued by a few discoveries, this wine being one of them, which I first had in a Fall trip to Paso Robles, my other wine home.

Ranchero Cellars

Amy Butler is the winemaker and proprietor of Ranchero Cellars. Amy was formerly the head winemaker at Edward Sellers, before starting Ranchero. A resident of Paso Robles, the epi-center of Rhone wines in the U.S.,  she is passionate about Rhone wines, and making them in a style that lets the fruit and the vintage express itself.

Carignane isn’t grown in Paso Robles, so Amy sourced from Redwood Valley vineyard in Mendocino, a low yielding old vine planting, that is  labor of love  by three generations of the Colombini family. The varietal seems to shine more brightly from the veteran grapevines, not young pups.

Amy also makes an excellent Grenache Blanc, a Viognier  and shares a label with another Paso rising star Anthony Yount (Kinero, Denner) called Brouhaha, a low alcohol ‘porch pounder’ priced at only $12.

Ranchero Cellars 2008 Carignan, Old Vines, Mendocino County

To The Eye: Dark purple, brooding, and a tad hazy (unfiltered)

On The Nose: Dark berry, red fruit, slight smoky meat

In the Mouth: Rustic, expressive. (Eric Asimov wants two word wine reviews, hows that?) Fun to drink, but complex as well, if you want to pull it apart. Red and black fruits dominate, but a touch of earthiness runs through it. Nice acidity to pair with food, and a pleasing finish. Modest tannins in balance. Drinks wonderfully now, will have to see if I can hold on to my last bottle and see how does with some bottle aging.

Food Pairing: Many. Burger with blue cheese. Ribs. Some pastas with red sauce. A ribeye.

Rating: Outstanding. 90 points.

Recommendation: Buy and drink or hold.

Where to Buy: Direct from Winery. $28cialis 20 mg prices

Wine Review: 2007 Parducci True Grit Petite Sirah, Mendocino

Parducci is a winery on my radar, and long overdue to visit in person to tour and taste. I admire their deep commitment to being Green and Sustainable practices, long before it was widespread.  Parducci was the first carbon neutral winery in the U.S., one of many accolades.

True Grit – The Movie & The Petite Sirah

I received this sample at the launch of the movie, and you may have already seen a fair amount of (positive reviews.) I do applaud Parducci and their PR firm for some of their innovative ways of communication and approach to the industry. I kinda blew the timing, as I was buried with my move, so am now reviewing it on, yes, Oscar night.

Parducci is no newcomer to Petite Sirah, and have been producing wine from this sometimes challenging varietal for many years. I have to confess being cautious with recommending Petite Sirah. Its a varietal prone to very high tannins and chalkiness, and dangerous in the hands of a winemaker focused on New World extracted wine styles.

My personal palate, which if you haven’t gleaned by now, leans towards wines that allows the varietal to express itself in its natural color and flavor profile and not be manipulated to  being Cabernet like or Parker palate crushing. He likes big tannins, I don’t. Personal preference, often based on biological sensory evaluation differences.

How did this wine and the movie get connected? Prior to the release (of the movie not the wine), the wine was poured, exclusively, at  the Coen brothers’ studio cast screening,  so they could taste what True Grit is all about.

That led to True Grit becoming the exclusive wine pour for the opening screening at the Academy Theater in Beverly Hills.  Jeff Bridges liked the wine enough to send Parducci a personal note of thanks, saying he enjoyed the wine.

2007 Parducci True Grit Petite Sirah Mendocino

88% Petite Sirah, 12% Syrah. 14.5 % alcohol, 24 months oak aged, 1938 cases produced.

To The Eye: Inky purple, midnight dark, no light passes through

On The Nose: Blackberry, spice, white pepper

In the Mouth: Kudo’s to Parducci for a Petite Sirah one can drink without tongue shaving after.  There is no doubt this is a Petite Sirah, but its very balanced, and no less tannic than many other red wines, including varietals that shouldn’t be.

Dark chocolate, modest (not overripe) blackberry. Tannins are present, but not overwhelming. I’d love to toss a bottle into the cellar for a few years to compare, but this is a bottle most will enjoy right now.

Food Pairing: Any meat with a bit of fat to meld with the tannins and structure, the classic selection being a  ribeye. But the wine is balanced enough for a broader spectrum of food and grilled meats.

Rating: Excellent.

Recommendation: Buy and drink or hold.

Where to Buy: In honor of the Oscars, Whole Foods is carrying this release, on sale for 19.99, normally 29.99. Its also available Direct from Winery for the same price. Media Sample.

I have to agree, this wine is a perfect match for a rustic theme and name.

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