Posts Tagged ‘Wesley Ashley’

Tasting Notes: Wesley Ashley Wines 2009 Intelligent Design Cuvée – And Why Rhone Blends Rock

Last week I kicked off the Rhone Countdown, as we almost one month away to the March 24-25 Rhone Rangers “viagra cheap

and_tasting.php” target=”_blank”>Weekend Celebration of American Rhones” and the April 26-28th 20th anniversary of Hospice du Rhone, “the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhone Variety Wines” in Paso Robles.

I am frequently asked “why Rhone wines.” I love, drink, taste, and buy wines of many varieties and categories, but I REALLY love Rhones. Why? I will write a more in depth article soon, but highlights were captured in an article a year ago in: Why Rhone Wines & Wine Review: Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design Cuvee.

I’d recommend reading the full post, but if I can capture one meaningful paragraph:

Rhone wines have more diversity across the varietals and give winemakers a huge flavor portfolio to work with, and thus consumers a myriad of combinations and flavor profiles. In Rhone wines, often the Sum of the Whole, is greater than the sum of the parts.”

Palate Evolution – Blends Are Good!

This is an important turning of enlightenment for the American wine consumer, who is lead to believe over the last three decades that single varietal wines are best. When one visits and tastes the Old World wines of Spain, France etc you learn quickly how untrue that is, and how uncommon. (There are of course some exceptions, like in Burgundy for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.)

That isn’t to say that 100% varietal wines are bad – I think the French are missing out by not making 100% Grenache Blanc. I can also readily admit often White Rhone blends with Grenache Blanc, are better, and easier to make, than many of the mediocre 100% Grenache Blancs. Blending gives a winemaker aroma and flavor profile tools you otherwise don’t have with a single varietal.

Anyway, I digress. Tonight’s review is about a Red

Rhone blend, from a brand that pays homage to Rhone blends: Wesley Ashley Wines. The above principles are sound, and the same.

Red Rhone blends, because of the great diversity of their components, offer the exploring wine drinker an infinite number of flavor profiles, far more than a Bordeaux blend. The variance between Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec etc, especially (sadly) when made in a New World style provides a far less range of differentiation than the red fruit of Grenache or Cinsault or Counoise, meatiness of Mourvedre, smokey complexity, white pepper of Syrah, and the raspberry of Carignane. Red Rhone blends are a never ending series of new discoveries as they vary by their composition and region.

 

Wine Review: 2009 Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design – Cuvee – Santa Barbara2009 Intelligent Design Cuvee

Even before tasting, I knew I was going to likely love this wine when I saw that it had changed from the previous release, and Grenache was now the primary vintage. I also knew they had a hit on their hands when I was a guest at a wine club event last summer, and a few bottles sneaked out, and crowds went loco, even though owner Jim Sloate thought it wasn’t ready and didn’t want it released yet.

This red Rhone blend is comprised of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Petite Sirah, a big change from the online pharmacy viagra uk previous Carignane dominant release.

To The Eye: Translucent, nearing opaque dark red. (As it should be, Grenache is by its nature not a deep purple color producing wine.)

On The Nose: This nose knows its Grenache. That classic undertone of cherry hard candy, strawberry, hint of spice. Fortunately the Grenache was kept in neutral oak, allowing its essence to shine through.

In The Mouth: Red fruit at the front, the syrah’s meatiness comes through mid palatte, with hints of coffee & mocha at the finish.

Recommendation: Buy. A Great Rhone red blend. I like it solo, but would love to pair it with lamb, grilled pork or chicken. $38 online or taste by appointment in Santa Rosa. (As well as the upcoming Rhone Ranger event.) Media Sanple.

 

 

Experience 6 Micro-Wineries You Normally Can't Taste, Feb 4th, In A Unique Try& Buy Tasting, Santa Rosa

My mantra that Wine Tasting events must evolve remains steadfast, as I have written numerous times. (See buy cheap cialis online

href=”http://www.simplehedonisms.com/archives/date/2011/12/archives/5237″ rel=”bookmark”>Wine Tasting Events Must Evolve, Taste of Mendocino June 13th, A Fresh Unique Format.)

In the ongoing competition of events, organizations need to evolve what they offer consumers. Likewise, for small wineries to survive, they can not simply continue to pour dozens of bottles of wine at events, without some level of ROI, beyond brand recognition.

Thanks to the concept of custom crush, where winemaking facilities can be shared, the advent of virtual, microwineries continues to grow. Yet if these wineries don’t have normal hours, how does one get to taste, and purchase these handmade (often hand bottled, labelled) true artisan, very small lot wines?

The state of California does not make premise wine sales very easy, but the industry and technology continues to evolve to facilitate wine tasting combined with sales.

One of these events is occurring Feb 4th in Santa Rosa.

Micro-Winery Collective Open House at Inspiration Custom Crush

Many wineries now share their facilities with other small winemakers. This win win arrangement allows them to faster recoup their large capital investment, and simultaneously allows new, small wineries to get started without the capital investment up front, albeit at a higher production cost per bottle.

Inspiration Vineyards, itself a micro-winery producing ~1000 cases a year, is one of these facilities. Under its roof, Jon Philips has other wineries making wine. These small vintners have no tasting room, and sell by appointment only, and to restaurants.

 

Taste Small Lot Wines You Can’t Normally Try or Buy

Feb 4th, from 11 am to 5 pm, you will be able to try and buy these wineries.

Ticket Price Includes Wine Purchase Credits

The event features small bites to go along with the

wines, and Ultra Crepes, one of my favorite food trucks will be on hand.

Tickets in advance are $20, but come with $10 credit towards wine purchase, and $5 towards food, reducing your cost for the event to a mere $5.

You may purchase tickets online at: http://inspirationvineyards.eventbrite.com/

Don’t miss the great opportunity to taste wines you can’t normally!

Why Rhone Wines & Wine Review: Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design Cuvee – #WBW71

Wine Blogger Wednesday (#WBW71) snuck up on me, and a slammed day.  I had hoped to write several articles, given the topic is one near and dear to my heart:  Rhones Not From The Rhône aka France. As a passionate Rhone Ranger I HAD to write, even if if its one of the last blogs of the day for WBW.

Rhone Wines Popularity Surging in The US

Rhone wines are suddenly getting a huge amount of attention. Paso Robles, the mecca of US Rhones, made the cover of Wine Spectator last month. Wine writers have been pumping out pieces like Jon Bonne’s “.. make way for Grenache”.  Grenache Blanc (thats a white grape Sonoma peeps) crushed tonnage doubled in 2009 (I need to see 2010 stats.) Articles on Mourvedre, Syrah and more are more abundant that ever before.

The Rhone movement is everywhere and its easy to understand. There are 22 Rhone varietals, though in the U.S. we commonly see about 2/3 of them. Tablas Creek a leading producer of Rhone wines, and who paved the Rhone viticulture movement, has more under quarantine. We also much to Rhone icon Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard for his tireless pursuit in advancing Rhone wines in the US.

Rhone Wines & Blends

Why do people go Rhone loco once they discover them? Its a huge category of wines, with endless permutations of white and red blends. And for those tired of big over oaked tannic Reds, or white flabby oak bombs. Rhone wines are often more subtle, nuanced. Wine consumers often consume ‘big’ with complex – and if anything its the opposite.

Don’t get me wrong, New World Winemakers can and do screw up Rhone wines. Nothing makes me want to beat a wine maker or owner with a punchdown tool than a lovely Grenache thats been subjected to new oak, over extracted, and the fruit entirely masked. Fortunately the revolution against big wines has been growing as well as more new Rhone winemakers realizing that Carignane and Mourvedre aren’t Cabernet Sauvignon and shouldn’t be made in the same method.

Tablas Creek Vineyard

Rhone wines have more diversity across the varietals and give winemakers a huge flavor portfolio to work with, and thus consumers a myriad of combinations and flavor profiles. In Rhone wines, often the Sum of the Whole, is greater than the sum of the parts.

Those of you in the Bay Area interested in Rhones should not miss the Rhone Ranger event in San Francisco this month. Most think of it as just the Grand Tasting, but its two full days of Seminars with wine, a wine makers dinner and auction, and a tasting.

Thus tonight, I present a Rhone blend, from a new producer I recently met. It’s an ever increasingly small place here in the wine world.

 

Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design Cuvee

‘Intelligent Design: Wine With a Soul’ is the mantra for the brain/love child of Jim Sloate. The name Wesley-Ashley come from the combination his middle name, “Wesley,” which is an old family nae and “Ashley,” his little girl’s middle name.)

The Genesis of Intelligent Design & ‘Wine with A Soul’

Jim was thinking about the label for his new wine, and one night, perusing photographs from various trips came across the picture of the bike, shot during a trip to Cuba. The bike looked like it belonged in a junkyard. But, it was also very functional, and it had obviously been kept working by a very resourceful person. Then, it hit him that the blends he wanted to make were very much like that bike—multiple components coming together cialis price in canada to create something very functional, and even beautiful.

Jim thought – “That’s my label. Now what about the name?” Sitting there at the table sipping my glass, wine in my hand, my mind wandering randomly, it came to me: “Intelligent Design.”
Playing off of the debate between “Intelligent Design” and the theory of evolution, Wesley Ashley Wines asks you to ponder:

is a fine wine is simply the sum of its parts, or is there something else, something indefinable, that makes it truly special? Is a great wine a matter of science … or is it something more?

Jim feels ‘A working knowledge of enology is all you really need to make a good wine, but it takes a bit of the divine to make a great wine. A great wine has a soul.’

I for one, tend to agree…

Review: Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design Cuvee, Red Rhone Blend

Color: Medium-Dark Purple. Mostly clear

On the Nose: Rhubarb. Spice. Black Cherry. Earth.

In the Mouth: The primary varietal is Carignane (52%) and it’s presence, while not overpowering, is a wonderful base 6 varietals total). Good red fruit, dark berry, earth, detectable all front, mid palate and a nice finish with excellent acidity and food friendly nature. Modest tannins, and 13.8% alcohol. A wine that is great by itself,  shines brightly with food.

Where to BuyOrder online, or look for it in these stores and restaurants. $38

Rating: Outstanding. 90 points.

Varietals: 52% Carignane, 15% Grenache, 14% Cinsault, 11% Petite Sirah, 5% Mourvedre

 

Cheers and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog !

Related Articles:

Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand Tasting – A Complete Rhone Weekend, not just a Tasting

‘Sonoma William’ Joins Forces With the Rhone Rangers; Some History & New Directions

A New Beginning & Old World Renaissance? Robert Parker to Cease Reviewing California Wine

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