Posts Tagged ‘rhone wines’
by Nikki Lincoln
Here’s another post with my recent wine reviews for your enjoyment! I’ve been trying to get some notes together on a few tasting nights I had recently had but for now, here’s my usual post of the interesting wines I’ve gotten to try recently.
Townley 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, The Shizzle, Napa Valley
I had a lot to celebrate a few weeks ago when I learned that I passed my WSET Level 2 Exam with Merit. The test was harder than expected so I was very happy to hear that I had one of the highest scores and I knew I needed to open something special. Last post, I wrote about the Townley Pinot. Since I loved that one so much, I thought I would open the Townley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which is appropriately named “The Shizzzle.” The wine is very tannic with deep blackberry flavors. It’s definitely a BIG wine and felt appropriate for a big accomplishment. I paired it with a little bit of a lamb stew and it just felt like an appropriate fall meal. The wine was still very good the next day and maintained much of its big, bold flavor. If you love bold reds, this is a great wine for you.
Red Rock® 2012 Menoza Malbec
One of the routines I’ve been really wanting to set up is a good workout pattern. After a couple of weeks at the new job, I made semi-weekly rock climbing dates with a couple of friends. Now that I’ve gotten my work and commute routine set more and my personal life is steady, I’ve also been adding in extra workout routines and it’s been great. Every Wednesday I go climbing with a friend and as such, I tried to leave work on time so I could meet my friend in time. Somehow I managed to get on the wrong train not once, not twice, but three times. Eventually I made it to the gym to meet my friend for our climb and we stayed after and did a leg workout. Needless to say, when I got home I was ready for a big glass of wine and healthy dinner. I was happy that I had some leftover steak w/mushrooms, kale w/ bacon, and mashed sweet potatoes. I thought a nice, hearty red would go well with my dinner and decided to open a sample wine that I had recieved: the Red Rock 2012 Malbec.
The wine had a bold, tart cherry flavor with some prune as well as earthy notes. I also picked up some boysenberry. It paired beautifully with my food and the berry flavors complemented the red meat wonderfully. I like to consume as many different colors as possible in a meal and the bold red really helped round out my dinner. It was a wonderful way to relax after a long commute and a strenuous workout
Bonny Doon 2012 Vin Gris de Cigare
William introduced me to some Bonny Doon wines as part of my Jedi Wine training and as such, I get really excited when I see them on wine lists or in wine shops. On my last trip to LA, this was no exception. I went out to James Beach in Venice Beach with some coworkers for some famous fish tacos and was happy to learn that a number of the wines were half off for a bottle. This brought them down to their retail level and was a steal. Since my co-workers know about my wine adventures, I was tasked with picking a bottle and once I saw the Bonny Doon 2012 Vin Gris, I knew what I was getting.
The Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Cinsault blend had freshfreshing grapefruit, blood orange, strawberry, and cranberry notes. It was a lovely wine for a warm Venice night and the pale salmon color looked great against the beach sunset.
Copolla Sofia Blanc de Blanc Mini
Last Friday was Champagne day and, of course, I didn’t realize it until day of. I sadly didn’t have any champagne at home and there was none at the Halloween party I stopped by at. On any other day, I probably could have justified running to the store for a bottle but I was running a race the next day and I didn’t want to tempt myself with drinking the whole bottle. I’ve messed up many a race by having more than “just one drink” the night before so I decided to open up one of my Sofia mini’s – single servings of the Coppola sparkling wine. Although it wasn’t true champagne, I still had fun drinking my little can of sparkling wine in solidarity and I didn’t drink so much that I had a hard time with my race the next day. I actually really love these little cans of wine. They’re easy to throw into a purse and people always get a kick out of them. As someone who doesn’t really drink beer, they make a nice alternative if you feel that your alcoholic beverage needs to come out of a can.
Price: $5 each or $20 for a box of 4
Campovida 2007 Fairbairn Ranch Syrah
Last Saturday, I participated in the NorCal Warrior Dash. I have a bit of an athletic side that I don’t show here too much. That athletic side, however, does not encompass running. I try to sign up for races sometimes that have other obstacles and things (which as a climber, I really enjoy) to encourage me to run more. So after a long morning of uphill running, obstacles, and wading through mud, I was excited to go to a Halloween party and bring a really nice bottle of wine.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a beautiful wedding at the beautiful Campovida Vineyard a couple of months ago. I had several glasses of the Syrah and was excited to go back the next day and pick up a bottle of that and the rosé that was so popular at the rosé tasting this summer. While browsing through my collection, I really wanted to open a nice bottle of wine and as soon as my eyes landed on the Syrah, I knew what I was grabbing. The wine had a lovely dark berry flavor with hints of oak and smoke. It was the perfect way to celebrate post race and was very popular at the party as well.
Price: Not listed but I believe it was in the $35 range
Las Rocas 2012 Rosé
I knew my Sunday would be spent relaxing my legs after all of that running. I spent most of the day at a bottomless mimosa brunch and in the evening, I decided to continue my relaxation with a bottle of Las Rocas Rosé that I’d had chilling.
The super light cranberry, lemon, and raspberry notes were a great end to my weekend. For an inexpensive Rosé, this wine was dry and had a great, light flavor. It is definitely something I would buy again.
And with that… Happy Halloween everyone! Is there a particularly frightening wine you plan on enjoying tonight?
The members of the North Coast Chapter of the Rhone Rangers are riding into Healdsburg Friday Sept 20th in celebration of International #GrenacheDay, as events all over the world are being held to recognize this wonderful grape variety, now becoming very popular in the US.
Join us to taste Rhone wines made from Grenache no prescription online pharmacy Noir, Grenache Blanc, Grenache based blends, and Grenache Rosé from 11 wineries.
The event is from 3-7 p.m. at the Stark Tasting room in downtown Healdsburg, one block off the square.
NOTE! This event will be small, intimate, with limited space. Tickets WILL sell out based on the last two years and tickets at the door will be subject to capacity and not guaranteed.
Purchase tickets here: https://grenacheday2013.eventbrite.com/
This is your chance to taste wines from a wide range of wineries, from veteran icons to new and emerging wineries that make small productions and 100 case lots.
Wineries include: Anaba, Donelan Family Wines, Frick Winery, Mounts Family Winery, Quivira, Stark Wines, Steele Wines, Skylark Wine Company, Two Shepherds, AND special guests from the Sierra Foothills Baiocchi Wines (one of the winners of the 2010 tasting) and SF Chronicle touted Skinner Vineyards.
Taste multiple wines from 11 producers for less than price of one tasting room fee, $15 in advance. ($20 at the door, IF available.)
Have Fun, Compare, & Vote For Your Favorite
Similar to our smash hit Grenache Day, Rosé, and Napa tastings – attendees get a clipboard of information with detailed notes on each wine, and walk around to interact with each winery.
Attendees will have a chance to vote for their favorite wines. Help pick the top wine of the day!
Celebrate Anywhere & Look For These Global Events
Can’t join us in Healdsburg? #GrenacheDay is an International and virtual event. Open your favorite bottle of Grenache and share it virtually on Twitter with hashtag #GrenacheDay. Also, look on the Grenache Symposium website for an event or tasting near you. You can also find daily updates on their Facebook page.
Participating Wineries Include:
- Donelan Family Wines
- Frick Winery
- Mounts Family Winery
- Stark Wines
- Steele Wines
- Skylark Wine Company
- Two Shepherds
- Baiocchi Wines
- Skinner Vineyards.
Several weeks ago, on behalf of the North Coast chapter of the Rhone Rangers, Quivira Winery and I hosted a rosé tasting featuring 12 rosés from North Coast producers. The event was a smash success with attendees with dozens of positive comments and feedback.
As part of the audience participation, attendees received a handout with details on each wine, and when they were done with their tasting submitted a ballot for their top two wines of the day. All wines were well represented and received multiple votes, by the winner, by a fair margin, was the Campovida Grenache rosé. To celebrate their success, and a classic summer sipper, its featured as wine of the week.
Campovida is a family owned and operated certified organic farm and working vineyard. This unique place 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.
Several years ago Campovida embraced Rhone varieties, and under the watch of new winemaker Sebastian Donoso, formerly at Saracina, some amazing wine are being released. A winery and winemaker to watch.
Campovida also recently opened a new tasting room in Oakland, which I am eager to go visit. (Campovida Announces New Winemaker and Tasting Room)
- Oakland Tasting Room: Address: 95 Linden St, Oakland, CA 94607 Phone:(707) 400-6300
- Campovida Tasting Room: 13601 Old River Road, Hopland CA Phone: 707.400.6300
Wine of The Week: Campovida Grenache Rosé
To The Eye: The Campovida rosé is an immediate eye catcher. A brilliant, beautiful light orange hue of pink grapefruit skin
On the Palate: Wonderful bright but round fruit and citrus on the front palate. Mid palate, mouth watering flavors of citrus. The finish is long, lingering with notes of spice and mouthwatering acidity and minerality.
I tasted both at room temperature, and proper chilled cellar temp, this wine exhibits no flaws or astringency, only great balance, the sign of a well made rosé. Rosé is actually one of the most difficult wines there is to vinify, with narrow margin for error, bravo to Sebastian for job well done.
A wine that will pair well with a wide array of summer dishes, from oysters to summer salads, and cialis order online grilled white meats and fishes.
- Appellation: Mendocino County
- Year planted: 2006
- Elevation: 960 feet
- Soil: Clay loam
- Yield: 4 tons/acre
Wine Making Notes
- Harvest date: October 20, 2012
- Brix: 22.0
- Fermentation: Crushed and cold soaked for 24 hours. Pressed and barrel
- fermented in neutral French oak. No malolactic fermentation.
- Aging: Aged in neutral French oak for four months with lees contact and stirred three times.
- pH: 3.15
- TA: 6.0 g/L
- Alcohol: 13.5%
- Cases produced: 134
- Release date: April 2013
Summer is here, and it's time to drink pink! The history of Rosé can be traced back to Abbies in the middle ages, where Monks made Rosé from Rhone varieties. It's with good reason that the Rhone Rosés of Provence, sent the world benchmark for what defines Rosé.
The members of the North Coast Chapter of the Rhone Rangers are joining together to offer wine aficionados a chance to taste Rhone Rosés.
Taste Through 12 Great Rosés in Quivira’s Gardens.
Admission is $15 in advance ($20 at the door) and includes an opportunity to also sample some of Quivira’s other Rhones wines after your rosé tasting. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund.
Buy tickets online here: http://rhonerose.eventbrite.com
Similar to the smash hit Grenache Day tasting last fall, the format is similar. Attendees get a clipboard of information with detailed notes on each wine, and walk around to interact with each winery.
Attendees will have a chance to vote for their favorite rosé. Help pick the top wine of the day!
This is your chance to canadian viagra taste wines from a range of icons, to up and coming stars, and wineries that make very small productions, 100 case lots.
- Broc Cellars
- Paradise Vineyards
Enjoy Lunch in The Gardens
Food truck, UltraCrepes, with their menu of savory lunch crepes will be present. Please support your local food providers and grab a bite!
Take a Full Rhone Ride With Quivira
Your ticket ALSO includes tasting through Quivira's Rhone wine portfolio at no additional charge. All Quivira wines tasted are also available for purchase that day.
Men, don't be shy – real men drink pink!
See you in the gardens, cheers!
Can you name the second most widely planted varietal in the world? Yes, it’s Grenache. A grape beloved in France and Spain, under appreciated in the US, but growing in popularity.
Indeed, San Francisco wine writer Jon Bonné has been emphasizing for sometime now that Grenache represents everything American consumers are looking for in wine.
Grenache is also my persona favorite varietal family. Family? Yes, when we celebrate Grenache Day its not just the red grape Grenache (Noir) but also Grenache Blanc (yes thats actually a white grape, not a pressed version of Grenache) and Grenache Gris, which is almost non existent in the US, sadly.
Grenache Blanc should be celebrated indeed- with less than 300 acres planted in California, we are fortunate to have it here, thanks to the efforts of Tablas Creek, ten years ago.
What is Grenache Day aka #GrenacheDay
The International Grenache Symposium, led by Marlene Angelloz, an energetic passionate lady I had the pleasure of meeting in Avignon earlier this year, is group dedicated to celebrating Grenache. The Symposium holds a number of events in Europe during the year. The culmination and global celebration is the third Friday in September, which co-incidentally is mid harvest for most Rhone vintners, self included.
Varietal Days have
become quite popular on Twitter the last few years, and with a little practice is a great way to interact and share with other Grenache lovers.
This is a non commercial, non sponsored event. No monies are collected to participate, advertise, or be a part of. All that is required is a bit of passion, which you will find abound amongst Grenache lovers.
The Rhone buy overnight viagra Rangers Lead The US Charge
The Rhone Rangers are the leading US non profit organization dedicated to the education of American Rhone wines – that is Rhone style wines made from domestic grapes. With Hospice du Rhone seemingly muted and in transition, our organization is more committed than ever to this cause, and have rallied in a big way to support Grenache Day.
I say ‘our’ because I am a steadfast, contributing member. Originally as a ‘Sidekick‘, then on the Marketing committee running Social Media. Ultimately that led to a Board of Directors position, and involvement in multiple committees. In 2011 I proudly also joined as a Vintner.
Not stopping there, most recently, I lead the re-forming of the North Coast chapter, consisting of 32 wineries, mostly in Sonoma county, but spanning Napa, Mendocino, and Lake Counties. If you tapped a vein right now, Grenache might indeed flow.
US Grenache Tastings & Events
Many Rhone Ranger wineries and Grenache producers are doing a number of special tastings, verticals, sales to celebrate.
Highlighted Rhone Rangers events include:
- Four walk around tastings held in Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and Paso Robles, on Friday Sept 21st. These events are being held at no charge, and are an excellent way for you to experience Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Rosé, as well as blends based on Grenache, and intereact with the winemakers. A listing of times and locations can be found here. (You can also RVSP for the Santa Rosa event here, come visit, I will be pouring.)
- As a special warm up for our palates, the Rhone Rangers will lead a two hour Twitter Grenache seminar and tasting, the day before, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Each 30 minutes a special guest winery will lead the tasting and questions:
Ridge Vineyards(5:30 PM)
Bonny Doon, Randall Grahm (6 PM)
Two Shepherds (6:30 PM)
Tablas Creek & Tercero (7 PM).
Any winery can join in with the consumers and bloggers. The more the merrier. Bring a glass of Grenache (we’d prefer domestic for the tasting, but there are no rules) your questions, and be a part of the celebration.
I recommend the use of a tool like Hootsuite for Hashtag sorting, but you can also use the Twitter page via web browser, simply put #grenacheday in the search window.
For more information, and to RSVP, please go to: http://grenacheday12.eventbrite.com/
A Special Day, Amidst Our Most Special (and busy) Time of Year
Harvest comes only once a year, and is a joy filled, sleepless, rewarding time of the year for any passionate winemaker. We get one shot a year to express ourselves in our artisanal craft, factoring in a wealth of moving parts and things we have no real control over. (The largest being Mother Nature.)
Thus it is an extra special gift that wineries are taking precious time away to celebrate this beloved varietal with you. I hope you will by a bottle (or two)
and toast with friends and loved ones, in the spirit of appreciation, and celebration that is intended.
Cheers and Happy #GrenacheDay!
Romance the Rhones This Saturday July 14th at The Old Mint in San Francisco. (AND win a pair of tickets)
Join fellow Rhone Wine Lovers at the “Romancing the Rhones”
Do you love Rhone wines? Share in a deliciously Rhone experience on Saturday, July 14, At The Old Mint in San Francisco, Saturday, J
uly 14, 2012. Getting there is easy: it’s close to BART and there’s also a parking garage across the street!
Enjoy inspired, Rhone-friendly foods from local artisans. Sample amazing Rhone wines from California, Oregon and beyond. Learn something new about Rhone varietals.
As a Rhone enthusiast, I am very excited about this new event. I don’t normally discuss my own small wine brand, Two Shepherds on Simple Hedonisms as I believe in separation, but I will share that Two Shepherds is pouring its new 2011 releases which include the Grenache Blanc recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle by Jon Bonné. I will also be pouring barrel samples of the very limited release 2011 Russian River Valley Grenache and Syrah at the VIP Barrel tasting portion.
Romancing the Rhones: Event Info & Options
- Taste 100+ amazing Rhone wines from 40+ Rhone producers
- Gourmet “Rhone Romance” Lunch with the Winemakers @ Chez Papa Resto in the Mint Plaza. Limited seating (Gold Bar Tickets, $85)
- VIP Barrel Tasting (Gold Bar & Silver Dollar Tickets) – early start at 1230.
- Blind Tasting of 40 top-scoring wines from Rhone Shootout.
Pit your palate against the experts and vote for your favorites!
- Walk Around Grand Tasting in the Vaults – meet the Winemakers
- Perfect Pairings – 8 succulent wine & 8 brilliant bites (optional: $20)
- Awards Ceremony – vote for your favorites
- Gold VIP lunch is at 1130.
- Gold and Silver VIP start at 1230 with Barrel Tasting and regular wine.
- The Grand Tasting is from 2-430
Enter to Win A Pair of Tickets (Ends Tuesday Evening July 10th)
To Enter To Win is Easy – simply tell us in comments below, from the list of participating wineries below:
Which is your favorite and why/which wine you like most
Which Winery are you most eager to try
Please include your first and last name for ticket will call in your entry.
Good luck and see you Saturday, Bastille Day!
- Anaba Wines
- Art Farm Wine
- Aver Family
- Bonny Doon Vineyard
- Bourassa Vineyards
- Canihan Family
- Cass Winery
- Cinnabar Winery
- Cornerstone Cellars
- Crooked Vine Winery
- Derby Wine Estates
- Dierberg Vineyard
- Drytown Cellars
- Eden Springs
- Fenestra Winery
- Field Stone Winery
- Fortunati Vineyards
- Gatt High order viagra Eden
- Gatt Wines
- Grizzly Peak Winery
- Guglielmo Winery
- Hahn Family Wines
- Hearthstone Vineyard and Winery
- Holly’s Hill Vineyards
- Hug Cellars
- Jazz Cellars
- Jessie’s Grove Winery
- Leucadia Red
- Mangels Vineyards
- Michael David Winery
- Midsummer Cellars
- Nottingham Cellars
- Perrucci Family Vineyard
- Poetic Cellars
- R&B Cellars
- R2 Wine Company
- Rahn Estate
- RoxyAnn Winery
- Skylark Wine
- South Coast Winery
- Spangler Vineyards
- Tallulah Wines
- Tercero Wines
- The Winery SF
- Two Shepherds
It’s been a fun month of Rosé tasting, as part of my Rosé Panel/Series (see: A Call For Rosé – May Panel Rev
iew (Drink Pink!)
iew (Drink Pink!)) I am about half way through 60 or so samples, which means I need to crank up the pace! Rather than sit down and do 10-20 at once, and risk palate fatigue, and insufficient attention, I have been tasting in small batches. You can see results, so far, on my Cellartracker event. By early June, I will release a series of summary articles and standouts, take a quick break, and then dive into a special Sauvignon Blanc themed series I will announce shortly.
My apologies for less writing this month – it’s a perfect storm of many things; end of the quarter for my new day job, viagra gel online lots of travel, the winery project, the vineyard and more. June promised a bit more normalcy.
Now, onto the business at hand.
Santa Barbara County and Rhone Wines
Santa Barbara county is a Rhone destination, I am long overdue to tour. (I make a quick in/out trip each year tSanta Ynez to pick up Grenache Blanc grapes.) While Paso Robles is considered the motherlode of Central Coast, and indeed California Rhones, Santa Barbara county is not far behind, and with its cooler climate and nights, typically produces wines well balanced wines of lower alcohol.
I am hoping sometime this summer or fall, to make an 2-3 media tour and visit wineries, whom many I have tried, but never visited. Curtis is one of these, especially after tasting this Rosé, one of the standouts in my panel so far.
2011 Curtis Heritage Rosé – Santa Barbara
Curtis Winery and winemaker Chuck Carlson, have been dedicated to Rhone wines since its inception. In fact they state:
..we put down roots as one of California’s first wineries dedicated exclusively to Rhône-style wines. Since then, nothing has changed. We still live for Rhônes.
The 2011 blend has changed cheap viagra from the 2010 to be Mourvedre, not Grenache based. (54% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 21% Grenache.)
To The Eye: The color is a light pale pink.
Nose:A Fresh fruit bowl of wild strawberry. rose hips, and watermelon
In The Mouth: The wine is a delight; bright, lively, with very quaff-able flavors of strawberry, watermelon Jolly Ranger, citrus and raspberry, The acidity is bright and pleasing, and the alcohol, while not high at 14.3, is a reminder that numbers are numbers, and a wine, including Rosé can taste balanced in a wide range of empirical values. The finish is long, lingering, and mouth watering….making you want another sip.
Recommendation: A must buy, if you like Rosé. 92 points.
At $18 online, stock up for the summer while some is left. Media Sample. Call 805.686.8999 or email@example.com to find out if distributed near you, or have them ship 6 bottles, it won’t last long.
You will be reading a LOT more about pink, or Rosé wines here this month. As I have shared a few times, I am passionate about (properly made) Rosé wines. This month, I am tasting through about 60 for my Rosé panel. (See cialis online purchase
Call For Rosé – May Panel Review (Drink Pink!)” href=”http://simplehedonisms.com/archives/7257″ rel=”bookmark”>A Call For Rosé – May Panel Review (Drink Pink!)
I am well into the tasting and will release some of these notes separately, all will have notes released on my CellarTracker notes.
This is an interesting new brand, for sure. The heritage is unmistakable – Benziger family. But if this Rosé is any example, a fresh new direction from the classic, consumer grade wines Benziger produces. I won’t know until I taste them all , but am interested to try.
Their website is well done, with a good vibe and energy. Off to a good start it seems.
Kudos for having tech sheet on your website. As I taste through dozens of Rosé right now, its annoying how many don’t. What caught my eye first on this, was a vineyard with a large planting of Rhone grapes, I had not heard of before, Dragonsleaf Vineyard. Per their notes “There are 50 acres, planted predominantly to Rhone varietals (Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault). ” Sonoma County is still playing catchup with Rhone plantings, and Cinsault can be very hard to find. As a Rhone Ranger board member, and President of our North Coast chapter, Bravo!
Wine Review: 2011 Envolve Sonoma Mountain Rosé
This rosé is a blend of 92% Syrah, 8% Grenache. 2011 was considered one of the most challenging vintages in decades for much of the county, and this seems no exception as they note: “The 2011 vintage in Sonoma Mountain and Bennett Valley AVAs was a challenging one. We never received our usual August heat spell, and it prevented a lot of the fruit in these AVAs to struggle reaching optimal ripeness. We were quite lucky, however,
and picked around 21.5 brix to lock in the acidity and still have enough sweetness to add the necessary phenolic complexity
and picked around 21.5 brix to lock in the acidity and still have enough sweetness to add the necessary phenolic complexity.”
Bravo – in my opinion the acid and alcohol are where they should be. One of my biggest disappointments as I taste through this panel are rosé of 14%+ alcohol, that have drifted closer to being a red wine than
a rosé. Not that its impossible to make a great balanced rosé thats not the classic 12-13% alcohol, but in my experience its the exception not the rule.
To The Eye: Medium Pink color
On The Nose: Expressive red fruit, strawberry and raspberry. Subtle hint of earthiness.
In The Mouth: In The Mouth: A wonderful expression of Rosé; cherry, strawberry, watermelon in the mouth. Its bright and fun on the front palate, it gains complexity and some wet stone minerality mid palate, and finishes nicely with juicy acidity. A wine that makes you smile, sip, and reach for a refill. There is a tiny bit of RS sweetness. I don’t think it adds to the wine personally, and would have fermented it dry, or I’d rated it a tad higher, but its a stylistic choice, and others may actually prefer it.
Recommendation: Worth grabbing a bottle for your summer fare, or an aperitif, if you see it. Or buy it online $24. 89 Points. Media Sample received for Pink Out Tastelive.
Wine Geek Info:
- Harvest Date: September 17th 2011
- Bottling Date: January 18th 2011
- Release Date: February 1st 2012
- pH: 3.34
- Total Acid: .68
- Alcohol: 12.7%
- Residual Sugar: .50
- Production: 536 Cases
Winery of the Month: Highlights of Bonny Doon Vineyard's 'Day of the Doon' at San Juan Bautista 'Popelouchum' Vineyard
On Sunday, September 18, 2011, Bonny Doon Vineyard celebrated Day of the Doon IX, its annual gathering of the tribes honoring its faithful D.E.W.N. Wine Club members.
As an advocate and brand ambassador, I was pleased to be able to attend, doubly so because the day was to conclude with a special naming ceremony for the new San Juan Batista vineyard.
Reader input: You will notice this blog post is lighter
on verbiage, and more focused on picture content. It’s a format I am borrowing from food bloggers, that allows me to publish faster, and share more – let me know want you think.
on verbiage, and more focused on picture content. It’s a format I am borrowing from food bloggers, that allows me to publish faster, and share more – let me know want you think.
Whats Going on in San Juan Bautista?
Several years ago, Randall Grahm made a decision to refocus, after having grown into high volume producer of wine, across multiple labels. The successful Big House and Cardinal Zin labels were sold off, and the funds used to purchase a 280-acre site in San Juan Bautista, combined with a decision to focus solely on the Bonny Doon brand.
The San Juan Bautista project is home to a number of revolutionary agricultural and viticulural experiments, centered on a new substance called “biochar” a form of highly porous charcoal that increases water retention and promotes beneficial microflora and soil fertility, and hybridizing a grape variety from seed, rarely done, and yet to be commercial success.
There is an excellent article in Edible Monterey Bay – I highly encourage you read for more details: “GRAHM’S GAMBLE: A risky quest to make a unique
American wine in San Juan Bautista“
I am a fan and admirer of Randall, and have been fortunate enough to get to know him a bit more these last few years, and even get occasional advice. Recently he took time out of a busy day hauling pears from Mendocino to Santa Cruz, to stop and taste the Rhone whites from my new tiny label about to launch – Two Shepherds.
Randall Grahm is often referred to as the original “Rhone Ranger.”
In honor of his vision, unwavering dedication, and always boldly willing to gamble and go where others have not tread before, the culmination and result of 30 years of contributions to the US Wine industry, that we name Bonny Doon as Winery of the Month.
(edit – the phenomenal, dedicated, Bonny Doon team, equally share and have earned this. )
Day of the Doon 2011 – Photo Journal
The event started with a special ceremony and songs by members of the Ohlone native Americans, who originally inhabited and were caretakers of this area.
Next we had a walking tour and overview of the property.
As a special treat, we then paired sparkling wine with a tomato tasting, and compared tomatoes grown in biochar and dry farmed versus normal.
Next Randall spent some time answering questions about biochar, the vineyard, and other things, while we enjoyed some wine. (Truly a rough day.) As you can see, I was paying rapt attention.
Also for your enjoyment, I captured a bit of video footage – here Randall talks about the challenges of planting grenache from seed.
Next we were treated to a special vertical tasting of magnums of 2001, 2003, and 2005 Cigare Volant (and/or some lovely Sangria.) and some nibbles. (No pictures of food sorry, I need to get better at food porn.)
And then it was time to eat and drink! Dinner that is – as if we hadn’t already been all afternoon.
After many great courses of food and wine, we moved outdoors, under the stars for a special naming ceremony of the San Juan Bautista vineyard.
DEWNies traversed labyrinth builder Lars Howlett’s site-specific creation, lit by candlelight. Ohlone Chief Sonne Reyna delivered an invocation, inviting the spirits of the land to return to this sacred place. The 280-acre property was formally given the name “Popelouchum.”
Pronounced “Pop-loh-shoom,” is the Mutsun language word the Ohlone natives historically used for the site. Its secondary meaning is “paradise,” a quality evident to all who visited this special day.
In his official press annoucement Randall Grahm said:
“Day of the Doon events have always been perhaps a bit theatrical, but the intent of this year’s celebration was to set aside theatricality for its own sake. Sharing Popelouchum with our dear friends, we proclaimed our unremitting dedication to the discovery of the terroir of this very special place, and to letting the land speak in its own unique voice.”
Indeed. I look forward to next year and following the progress of this great labor of love. Perhaps I can even convince Randall to let me have grenache seedling for my own new grenache vineyard!
Terroir: My Spiritual Journey (Part 1) (Randall Grahm blog)
I am overdue to write about Quivira. In the same vein as my review of Tablas Creek a few months ago, I am negligent in not reviewing Quivira. Certainly they are a winery I always recommend to Rhone lovers, as well as visitors to Dry Creek Valley. (I should note they also make Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.) There is lots to like about this winery and their wines.
I joined Quivira’s wine club on my first visit some years ago, and they have always taken excellent care of me, first as a consumer, and then as I migrated into wine writing and geeking. They are also a staunch advocate of the Rhone Rangers and GM, Director of Marketing Nancy Bailey has been very supportive in our new North Coast Rhone Rangers chapter about to emerge.
My once large stable of personal wine clubs has dwindled, thanks in part to the expense of the new farm, (grenache) vineyard, and the new wine label, and departure from my non wine job. Add to the fact my cellar is out of control with >1000 bottles, and the fact that as an , recognized member of Media after two years, samples and industry discounts are normal. (And always greatly appreciated, writing is a labor of love.) Quivira has remained in my ‘Queue’ , both due to their quality of wines & dedication to Rhone varieties, as well as the personal attention they give their members. (Thanks Stephanie!)
Quivira also has an excellent wine club, with a feature I love. The first 30 days of a new release to wine club, Queue members benefit from the ”30 for 30″ re-order opportunity:
Taste your wine club shipment, re-order within 30 days, and get 30% off – that’s on par with Industry pricing. They also have excellent future pricing every year for Wine Road Barrel tasting, which I take advantage of to buy a case of Mourvedre.
The hospitality and marketing team seems to be better than ever, and winemaker Hugh Chappelle, who came over from Pinot producer Lynmar, seems to have found an excellent home, of mutual respect and appreciation, allowing him to express the creativity that exists in all talented artisans, winemakers included. Hugh is a great addition to the Quivira family.
In addition to having a strong Rhone program, Quivira is a committed member of the certified Biodynamic community, with gorgeous gardens, chickens, cows and more. The property and tasting room is worth a visit, and their Farm to Table dinners are not to be missed. After spending several days earlier this year at the Paul Dolan biodynamic writers camp, I have a new appreciation for the commitment to the process and our planet.
Quivira Vineyards 2009 Grenache, Dry Creek Valley
Its appropriate that I picked a Grenache this week, albeit it more by chance, as I actually reviewed the wine last week. Recently, I wrote that Sept 23rd is Grenache Day. Quivira is one of the wineries attending my tasting, and will be pouring the 2009 Grenache.
On The Nose: Cranberry, red berries, grenache red hard candy
(love that!), spice
In the Mouth: Classic Grenache profile in the mouth; expressive but balanced red fruit, good structure but not as tannic (yay!) as several previous vintages, thanks to a more forgiving season. Supple tannins, nice acidity. Would pair well with many foods, ranging from Grilled fare and burgers, to leaner cuts of meat and lamb. A wine with both body and elegance.
Learn to train your palate you don’t need to have your taste buds crushed by excessive oak and tannins to be ‘good.’ This vintage is an excellent training ground for the wine lover looking to broaden past Cabernet, and perhaps not yet in love with Pinot Noir. (You will be one day though. )
Recommendation. Buy and drink now, or cellar for a few years. 92 points. Retail $26 online. Media Sample – although I purchased several bottles via my Queue Club shipments.
Wine Geek Info:
- APPELLATION Dry Creek Valley (Wine Creek Ranch Vineyard)
- VARIETAL MIX 92% Grenache, 6% Mourvedre, 2% Syrah
- FERMENTATION Open top fermentors, native yeast
- AGING A mixture of small French and eastern European oak as well as traditional 600-gallon foudre casks, 10% new
- ALCOHOL 14.8%
- PRODUCTION 961 cases