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A double treat for lunch today, a 2017 Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc and Japanese sushi and spicy tuna roll. First the wine, which is light straw in color, and medium viscosity in the glass. That said the aromas and palate taste is “other worldly” with phenomenal citrus and liveliness to awaken any seafood be it sushi, sashimi, ceviche, cooked fish, etc. The flavors of mellow citrus, melon, mango, kiwi, guava and key lime together present an explosive mouthfeel and a finish that lasts and lasts and lasts for a prolonged and elongated finish.
Paired with both Maguro (tuna) sushi and a spicy Maguro roll with wasabi & ginger for a fabulous lunch.
See previous article on Crocker & Starr for all their wines: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2016/02/01/crocker-starr-2/
This evening was a 2015 Zuidema Grenache (his 2nd release) and it continues to delivery a refreshing and fulfilling experience. You can read more on the background of this project at https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2017/12/13/zuidema-wines-old-world-techniques-in-a-new-napa-vineyard/ . His Clone 515 Grenache from Chateauneuf du Pape heritage continues to produce a delightful wine. Minerality and a rustic flare still persists in the wine, but the 2015 is aromatic with black cherry and as Rudy states “notes of cocoa and fig newton”. Add to this plum and soft tannins it surrounds the spicy edge of this wine. Rudy describes it as “the aromas are made up of white pepper, bright rhubarb, strawberry and blood orange peel. The bright acidity in the mid palate bursts with mixed berries, holiday spice and layers of anise and tarragon”. Even the finish gives a hint of the Old World with it being rustic and not perfectly polished in a positive manner. On the eyes the color being ruby to brick red with a medium body with a distinct brilliant clarity. On the palate cherries and holiday spices with cranberry fruit, having an old oak flavoring, yet showing the minerality of dry farming.
Tonight this was paired with slow cooked chicken and medium/hot salsa with corn and black beans served over cauliflower rice with a side salad. The wine cooled down “the heat” and provided a nice fruit balance to the spicy salsa. A worthy wine for the cellar and thinking it may go very well with a Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey.
Gemstone Vineyards has a remarkable pedigree of having only two winemakers. The two are Philippe Melka (originally) and today, Thomas Rivers Brown, two of Napa Valley’s well known and talented “Rockstar Winemakers”. The 2010 Gemstone Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was made under the watchful eye of Philippe. On only sixteen acres, Gemstone has produced some amazing wines. For reference, Vivino listed it in the top 3% of wines in the world. Gemstone’s current release goes for $159 and is highly allocated with ratings in the range from 92 to 94 points. This bottle has been in the cellar for 6+ years. On the eyes a deep almost reddish/ black coloring. On the nose cherry and plum. On the palate cocoa, spices and leather. Smooth as silk tannins yet with structure, to make a wonderful long lasting finish.
Paired tonight with a medium rare prime rib, Bok Choy and roasted Brussel Sprouts at The CopperGrille at The Golf Club of Copper Valley. This Gemstone is no diamond in the rough as it is polished and gorgeous.
Sometimes you grab a bottle that is due up in the cellar with little expectation. Tonight this 2014 Black Sheep Cinsaut from Calaveras County blew our socks off! On the eyes a bright crimson hue and medium viscosity. On the nose blackberries and plum dominant. On the palate, raspberries, cranberries, black pepper and spices galore. A long and earthy finish with strong acid. Paired with a crockpot chuck roast tonight this wine enhanced the meat. Black Sheep’s tagline is “Different from the rest…” and I will add differently delicious! #cinsaut #calaveraswines #https://californiawinesandwineries.com
Still the best label on any wine bottle and one of the top ten Cabernet Franc’s coming out of Napa Valley. The label is so simple with no wording but speaks volumes regarding their wine. He a tightrope walker balancing on a rope (hard to see in the picture) with the balancing pole. Here is a definition and use of a balancing pole: “An increased moment of inertia helps withstand external sources of torque, such as sudden gusts of wind. The heavy weights allow the tightrope walker to exert torque by simply rotating the pole slightly, which moves his/her center of mass the other way, helping re-center him- or herself directly over the tightrope”. So now think of the tightrope walker as the winemaker striving to balance a vintage of wine with fruit and acidity, sweetness and dryness, smooth finish and quality tannins, etc. One powerful “little figure” with no wording, provides the insight and vision of the Young Family in their quest in making excellent wine. Jim, Jacky and Scott have a keen insight on how to produce excellent wines year after year.
The 2013 Young Inglewood Estate Cabernet Franc has a deep and dark brick red color with medium viscosity on the eyes. On the nose you get blueberry, cherry, cranberry and a hint of plum coupled with a hint of lavender. Also on the nose, you can get a waffle of licorice, sage and tobacco. On the palate, medium acidity and sweetness but tannins that stir up the senses to be awaken but not be overpowered. The finish is like the tightrope walker, making to the other side with confidence and completing the task assigned successfully. No wonder why their Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and blends, they have made my list of the yearly Best Wines!
Paired last night with a seared BBQed ribeye steak served medium rare provided a wonderful and mouthwatering food and wine pairing.
See previously written articles on Young Inglewood wines.
A wonderful food and wine pairing dinner last night at Copper Grille at The Golf Club at Copper Valley. A grilled whole Bronzini or alternately Branzino (Mediterranean Sea Bass) with ginger lime, coconut risotto and baby Bok Choy. Chef Janet Weissbeck prepared this delicate and mild white fish to perfection to bring out its sweet mild flavors.
This was paired by Susan Tipton’s 2018 Acquiesce Ingénue. Don’t let the name fool you as it’s definition states “an innocent or unsophisticated young woman, especially in a play or film”. This is a unique white blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Bourboulenc and Picpoul Blanc. The gestalt of this wine, when you combine the Grenache Blanc (pleasant minerality with hints of green apple and apricot), Bourboulenc (a rare varietal in the United States with as Susan states “…beeswax on the nose, citrus flavors of orange and key lime…..with a honeyed finish”), Picpoul (with pineapple, lemon custard and floral nose) and Clairette Blanche (again an uncommon varietal in California (with a medium-heavy viscosity, mild grapefruit and a floral bouquet) you have an exquisite and one of kind experience. Each of the varietals received an award winning Gold or Double Gold in various competitions. The Ingénue won Best of Class & Double Gold at the 2019 International Women’s Wine Competition plus Best of Class in the 2019 Sunset International Wine Competition. A great uncommon find and worthy of honor in any cellar!
Not knowing how long we were going with electricity, I had pulled a few bottles to get us thru the electricity cut off by PGE. Figuring we had a few steaks in the freezer, picked a couple of nice wines from the cellar. As it turns out, due to four ice chests, our freezer being kept shut, replacing ice after two days, etc., the steaks were frozen solid. My wife had some ground chuck that was in the line of coolers and had started to defrost, so spaghetti was our targeted meal in the dark last night! Unfortunately and fortunately, the one bottle of wine not left in the sealed wine cellar was an exquisite and well-aged 2007 Rubicon Cabernet Sauvignon. Just as we were about to sit down for dinner, the lights after 3 days and 18 hours came back on!!
This wine is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. In 1995 Niebaum-Coppola acquired this historic property and restored the named Inglenook. Rubicon was their flagship wine with an embossed glassed logo. Today it is their historical paper version. On the eyes it had a deep purple and medium weight viscosity greeted one with anticipation. On the nose, aged leather, coffee, tobacco, black licorice and plum filled the senses. On the palate, the predominance of Bing cherries (which you do not get on the nose) bursts in the mouth. This coupled with vanilla, blueberry and cocoa along with some background floral notes provided so much in this one bottle. The finish was smooth as silk as the tannins were present but tamed. Especially after 12 years being cellared, made this a spectacular wine. With different circumstances I would recommend a prime rib, tri tip or ribeye with this instead of spaghetti, but it was still wonderful. The best spaghetti wine I have enjoyed!