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2018 Wood Family Vineyards, Cabernet Franc

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National Cabernet Franc Competition Results

At the National Cabernet Franc Wine Competition held in December 2020, Wood Family Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Franc earned a Silver Medal by both the Professional Judges and People’s Choice Judges. This was a blind competition with two sets of judges in different areas. A great accomplishment knowing that twenty-four quality wines were in the Category 2 (priced at $31 to $50) from around the United States.

2018 Wood Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc

The 2018 Wood Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc is perhaps Rhonda Wood’s best to date. On the eyes a dark ruby red and medium heavy viscosity.  On the nose blackberry, cherry and violets were dominant. On the palate, plum and caramel pipe tobacco engulfed the mouth with a hint of milk chocolate. The finish was medium with soft edges and extremely smooth with an earthiness, an absence of any strong pyrazines made for a soft and smooth landing and lingering finish with a hint of vanilla.

Food Pairing

Since we were both glued to the NFL playoffs, dinner was simple comfort food of cube steak, Yukon potato and fresh garden salad. We ate the meal rather quickly so we could continue watching the back to back games today. The wine was equally enjoyable with dinner and watching the second quarter.

So while watching the Bills and the Raven game and only a field goal up to this point, Rhonda Wood’s 2018 Cabernet Franc was a winning touchdown!

Sláinte,


Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://woodfamilyvineyards.com

2018 Maritana Vineyards Pinot Noir, Moonshine Ranch

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Dr. Pinot or Donald Patz, has introduced to his lineup of Maritana Vineyards a new designated single vineyard Pinot Noir. This now makes four single vineyards for his 2018 released wines. The others are Martaella Vineyard, La Russe and Jenkins Ranch. Stories on the other vineyards can be read at:

Jenkins Ranch and Martaella Vineyard – https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2021/01/04/maritana-vineyards-a-tale-of-two-vineyards/

La Russehttps://californiawinesandwineries.com/2020/07/20/2018-maritana-le-russe-pinot-noir-russian-river-valley-an-alluring-wine/

Moonshine Vineyard is well- known as it is the vineyard that Martinelli Winery farms. They provided a portion called the “Square Block” with two different clones on it (Dijon 828 and UCD 04 “Pommard”) for Maritana Vineyards. This designated single vineyard Pinot Noir from Maritana Vineyards is a new release located not far from the Russian River in Sonoma County. Moonshine Ranch is has its own unique characteristics not found in the other offerings.

Visually on the eyes you see a very light translucent mix of purple and crimson coloring. This immediately leads one to believe you will be introduced to a bantam weight (light) Pinot Noir. But hold on!  On the nose, rose petals and strawberries first waft into the olfactory senses. Once on the palate, the seemingly light weight turns into a mid-weight with raspberry, pomegranate, bright Bing cherries and a slight creaminess in the mouth. The finish shows the balanced structure with a soft and rounded crescendo. 

The food pairing this evening was with a dish called Skillet Cajun Potatoes with Andouille Sausage. The meal was prepared with quartered red potatoes, olive oil, Creole seasoning, salt & pepper, leeks, minced garlic, white onion, fresh chopped thyme, cumin seed and sliced Andouille sausage. The slight spiciness of the meal with a moderately chilled Maritana Vineyards Moonshine Ranch was again “spot on”. The lively interchange of the wine and meal provided an excellent Yin and Yang effect. {Definition: in ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected and interdependent as they related to each other}.

I believe this may be Donald’s most intended crisp and lean Pinot Noir in the lineup but with an abundant bouquet. This is a standalone Pinot Noir to be sipped or paired with just the correct food to be another winner in Maritana Vineyards offering.

Sláinte,


Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://maritanavineyards.com

LangeTwins Single Vineyard Series – Teroldego and Montepulciano Wines

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LangeTwins Winery

Established in Acampo (north of Lodi in the Central Valley of California), they have been around since 1870 as farmers and purchased their first vineyard in 1916. They have historically made some delicious wines but wanted further to enhance their presence in the market with an offering called their Single Vineyard Series. The winery has vineyards in Jahant, Mokelumne River, Clements Hills Appellations of Lodi as well as Clarksburg. The desired goal of the Single Vineyard Series is to make a wine that expresses the character and “terroir” of a specific area and their agricultural skills of sustainability and care.  When you want to go to Italy but have a directive to “Stay at Home”, this is a great Italian style wine!

The 2017 LangeTwins Teroldego from Jahant Woods 02 Vineyard

The Jahant AVA is located in the center of the Lodi AVA. It is geographically the smallest of Lodi’s seven AVA’s, with a total size of 28,000 acres and only roughly 9,000 acres planted. It sits on highly dissected river terraces and old flood plain deposits. The classic Mediterranean climate has Delta fog influence, and receives cold air drainage.

Teroldego was originally grown in northern Italy in the Südtirol and Trentino-Alto Adige regions. Your typical Italian Teroldego wines are dark colored, have bright fruit notes of cranberry and pomegranate along with blackberry and raspberry. Notes of pepper, cinnamon, licorice and earthy aromas and tastes are common.

The 2017 exhibits the dark inky coloring associated with a classic Teroldego. It has aromas and taste of dark cherry, pomegranate and cranberry. The wine is aged in neutral French and American oak barrels for twelve months to allow the strong tannins to soften. This is evident in the smooth and rounded finish in the mouth. Sipping this wine brought me back to northern Italy just after one sip! Only 185 cases were produced.

Awards include 94 points, Double Gold from San Francisco Int’l Wine Competition 2019 and Best of Class from San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2020.

2018 Montepulciano River Ranch Vineyard

Montepulciano is a well-known wine from central and southern Italy. Key areas are Abruzzo, Lazio, Umbria and Apulia.  This is not to be confused with the Tuscan wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano which is made with primarily Sangiovese grapes.  Montepulciano typically is known for its deep color, powerful and sharp tannins with high acidity.  Key traits of Montepulciano are oregano, pepper, tobacco, black fruits, plums and sour cherries. On the finish a smoky tobacco is common as well as a countryside rustic quality.

The 2018 LangeTwins Montepulicano also has many of these characteristics and traits. It is a bright and has on the nose and palate, red berries and dark stone fruit. It is aged for 15 months in neutral French and American oak barrels. The finish is long and pairs with many foods especially with meats and cheeses found in Italy. The finish was a tad “heavy and meatier” but it fit my wine profile perfectly.  The River Ranch Vineyard is also located in the Jahant AVA. Only 399 cases were produced.

Conclusion

LangeTwins Winery which already made some good and expressive wines, just soared in their quest to make excellent wines for the consumer. They also make Nero D’ Avola, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot in their Single Vineyard Series of red wines. They also have a collection of Single Vineyard white wines. Moderately priced for designated single vineyard wines, the Teroldego and Montepulciano are worthy of your tasting! The deal maker is that at $32 each it is a lot less expensive and safer today than traveling to Italy.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://langetwins.com

2017 Lemon Creek Reserve Cabernet Franc

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National Cabernet Franc Competition Results

At the National Cabernet Franc Wine Competition held in December 2020, Lemon Creek Winery Reserve Cabernet Franc earned a Silver Medal by both the Professional Judges and People’s Choice Judges. This was a blind competition with two sets of judges in different areas. A great accomplishment knowing that twenty-four quality wines were in the Category 2 (priced at $31 to $50) from around the United States. The Professional Judges also awarded the 2017 Lemon Creek Winery Cabernet Franc a Silver Medal. This was their first entry into this wine competition.

The Winery

The Lemon Family first established in Berrien County, Michigan in 1834 and at its present farm on Lemon Creek Road in 1855. Benjamin Lemon had a saw mill on a creek near Berrien Springs, MI, the creek thus became known as “Lemon’s Creek”. The soil near Lake Michigan is rolling clay loam and the weather is mitigated by the Lake. They were the first winery planting Cabernet Sauvignon in the state of Michigan.

Lake Michigan Shore is a well-known AVA is the southwest area of Michigan. The AVA is by far the most important in the state with more than 90 percent of Michigan’s vineyards found within Lake Michigan Shore AVA and more than half of the state’s wine output derived from there.

The Lemon Creek Winery has approximately 170 acres of planted wine grapes. They also have about 60 acres of a variety of fruits. They are located at 33 East Lemon Creek Road, Berrien Springs, MI 49103 and their phone number is (269) 471-1321

The 2017 Lemon Creek Reserve Cabernet Franc

The wine is aged over 24 months in French oak barrels. This allows a “depth of color and fullness of body” per their website. From a traditional California Cabernet Franc, it is a bit lighter in color and has a medium viscosity on the eyes.  On the nose is where this wine stands out with both a combination of fruit and a heavy vegetable characteristics.  The pyrazines in the Lemon Creek have a slight classic bell pepper, but also other vegetable flavors as peas, herbs and also mint appear. This coupled with the strawberry and raspberry fruit offer a pleasant change to a hearty Cabernet Franc. The finish is balanced between the fruits and vegetable traits and the silky and rounded tannins slide easily down ones throat.

The Food Pairing

Having the herbal qualities in the wine made for a delightful pairing last evening. A winter comfort food of meat loaf, Yukon gold potatoes and brussel sprouts was perfectly aligned.  The meat loaf was prepared with the following spices: garlic, dried tomatoes, onion, salt, basil, parsley, black pepper, oregano and safflower oil. This with the wine matched seamlessly. The brussel sprouts were slow roasted and drizzled with a balsamic and brown sugar reduction. Again the “green vegetable” with the wine was spectacular.

Personally, I had never tasted a Michigan Cabernet Franc, but having done so last evening, I now can appreciate their “terroir” and why Lemon Creek Winery 2017 Reserve won Silver Medals from two separate sets of judges.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.lemoncreekwinery.com

A Great Meal and 3 Wonderful Wines — 4 Winners in Total

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Saturday night’s dinner was a smash hit! Started out with an Alaskan salmon appetizer. Pan fried in butter, olive oil, garlic, bourbon, white wine, minced purple onion and capers. Served on sliced baguette, half toasted in olive oil/butter and half just plain. Added cream cheese, capers and minced purple onion. Also a bacon smoked Gouda cheese and crackers were plated.

Served with a 2013 Léal Vineyards Cabernet Franc from San Benito, the Popescu Terrace Estate Vineyard. This area is located in California’s Central Coast AVA in San Benito County in the Uvas Valley that is inland from the coast.

The wine was dark violet on the eye and medium viscosity. On the nose, cherries and a hint of cedar. On the mouth a wondrous blend of blueberry, plum and chocolate. The 2013 Cabernet Franc had mild tannins and strong oak but was exceptionally smooth and silky with a long lasting finish. A great pairing with both the salmon and Gouda bacon cheese.

Next up was the entrée of carne asada. This was similar to the recipe about ten days ago but more Habanero peppers were used with the seeds (4).  Cooked in a cast iron skillet, the skirt steak was prepared with fresh squeezed juice from both a lime and orange, soy sauce, garlic, cilantro, Habanero peppers and Chipotle peppers in an Adobo sauce put into a plastic bag and left to marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator. The bag and meat were turned and shaken frequently.

Accompanying this was a very spicy shrimp dish with garlic. The jumbo shrimp was prepared with olive oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, seafood seasoning, fresh lemon zest and juice.

With the above two entrée dishes, three sides were served. The first was Mexican Street Corn off the Cob. This was cooked in a cast iron skillet and prepared with unsalted butter, corn with kernels removed, mayonnaise, freshly grated cotija cheese, smoked paprika, chopped green onion and a small amount of salt & pepper. The other side dishes was a 7 layer fresh garden salad. Grilled garlic French bread also accompanied the meal.

 A fresh baked Meyer lemon pie was served for dessert. Unfortunately it was eaten too quickly to take any pictures!!!  Seriously that is how good it tasted!

Two wines were served for the meal. The first was a 2012 Crocker & Starr Casali Five from Napa Valley. This was a blend of 82% Malbec and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon. Typical of Pam Starr’s Casali, the percentages change yearly, but all are always on the eyes a dark purple coloration and medium viscosity. On the nose and palate, raspberry, dark plum and floral aromas abound. The acidity was mellow and the tannins were rounded and silky smooth. The current release will be “Casali 12” and will be out in April 2021.

The other wine served was from Castillo de Cuzcurrita and it was their 2015 Señorío de Cuzcurrita Rioja from Spain. This has become one of my favorite new wines. On the eyes, a dark ruby red color with medium viscosity. On the nose aromas of blue and black fruits that open up in the mouth as blueberry with strong hints of toasted oak, cocoa, minerality, toffee and licorice. The finish is powerful but still elegant and flavorful.

Both wines were equally excellent with the meal. So after some three and half hours the evening dinner and conversation concluded with the four of us “stuffed to the gills”.  It was a wonderful meal and three spectacular wines. Special thanks to Susan Kelly for preparing an exquisite meal!

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.liveloveleal.com/

https://www.crockerstarr.com/

http://www.castillodecuzcurrita.com/

2018 Maritana Chardonnay, La Rivière – An Incredible Food Pairing

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Dinner last night with a magical 2018 Maritana Chardonnay Sonoma County Russian River La Rivière (meaning the river). While Donald Patz had many years ago produced Chardonnay’s, more recently he has been known as an industry leader for his Pinot Noir’s. I have had this wine before, but what my palate tasted last evening was close to “a perfect Chardonnay”. I know that is a remarkable accolade, but it is deserving!

First on the eyes, clarity and brightness and ethereal straw golden yellow color. On the nose and mouth, it was a refined and delicate Chardonnay with soft lemon custard and a Red Delicious apple, vanilla, slight pear overtones with a caramel finish. Of noteworthy importance is the “creaminess” of the wine. It provided an enormous mouthfeel. As the wine settles in the back of mouth, a minerality of a babbling mountain brook or creek came to mind. This wine was of another spectrum of quality found only in wines in a much higher in price range ($100), it reminded me of the higher end Kistler Chardonnay or Peter Michael Chardonnay, specifically La Carriere. Current price for La Rivière is $55 and frankly a true bargain to treat your palate.

The wine was served with a stir-fried chicken and Bok choy served over a bed of white rice. The chicken & Bok choy was prepared using sesame oil, white onions, ginger root, minced garlic and a smidgen of soy sauce, garnished with sesame seeds.

For a complete story on Donald Patz’s wines see: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2018/12/06/maritana-vineyards-four-aces-on-the-first-vintage/

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

http://maritanavineyards.com/

2017 Ledson Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

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This wine normally makes my list of “Best of Year California Wines Tasted” but with the Covid-19 issues, I unfortunately did not visit Ledson Winery nor happen to open a bottle out of my cellar. On New Year’s Day, I did take a bottle of this to dinner at a friend’s house.  As soon as it was opened I remembered why it made the list for the last 3 years!

On the eyes, a beautiful golden color with a mid-heavy viscosity (odd for a Sauvignon Blanc).  On the nose, aromas of pineapple were dominate with guava and papaya following closely behind. On the palate, a unique soft citrus taste challenged the pineapple. In the mouth it was perhaps the most robust and mouth filling Sauvignon Blanc tasted in recent memory. It was also unique in tasting somewhere between New Zealand and the United States style Sauvignon Blanc on flavors. On the finish, it was medium length with a clean crispness, dry and yet exotic tropical fruits abounded.

Paired with a spicy shrimp and baked cod, this provided a wonderful pairing. The wine has received 93 points and a Gold Medal from the 2019 American Fine Wine Invitational and 90 points and a Gold Medal from the 2019 Winemaker Challenge International Wine Group.

It will once again get mentioned in the 2021 Best California Wines Tasted list at the end of this year!

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://ledson.com/

2014 Grizzly Peak Winery Cabernet Franc – Awarded a Gold Medal and Best of Class!

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At the National Cabernet Franc Wine Competition held in December 2020, Grizzly Peak Winery earned a Gold Medal and Best of Class by the People’s Choice Judges. This was a blind competition with two sets of judges. The Professional Judge’s awarded them a Silver Medal. A great accomplishment knowing that twenty quality wines were in the Category I (priced at $30 and less) from around the United States. The Judges also awarded the 2015 Grizzly Peak Winery Cabernet Franc a Bronze Medal. This was their first entry into this wine competition.

The Winery

The winery is located in Oregon’s Rogue Valley AVA on 40 beautiful hillside acres. The winey was established by Al and Virginia Silbowitz and the vineyard planted in 1998. Situated on the east side of Highway 5 at an elevation of 2200 feet with breathtaking views of Grizzly Peak and Mt Ashland, the winery enjoys warm summers and cool evenings.  

The winemaker is Linda Donovan, graduate of UC Davis in enology. She produces the wines at her custom crush facility called Pallet Wine Company. The 2014 Cabernet Franc has won at other events, Double Gold and Best of Class. Other wines have won awards at Oregon’s Toast of the Coast competition. In talking with Virginia, she mentioned that the Rhone varietals do exceptionally well in their location. She referred specifically to their Marsanne/Roussanne blend and their Syrah wines. An interesting note is that this area now has over 70 wineries.

In their portfolio of yearly production of around 3,000 cases, they also produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, white Cab Franc, white Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris and a Syrah Rose.

The Wine

The Cabernet Franc represents a lighter and more subtle Cabernet Franc described as being a “European style”. On the eyes a soft and almost translucent red color and a light to medium viscosity.  On the nose and palate soft fragrances of raspberry and plum. The finish, perhaps due to the combination of volcanic and alluvial soils, present almost an absence of tannins but did possess a soft bell pepper flavor. The finish was medium long and airy with a soft minerality.  This worked perfectly for the food pairing!

The Food Pairing with the 2014 Cabernet Franc

Paired with a pappardelle pasta and homemade Bolognese sauce simmered for 6 hours. Accompanied by a fresh garden salad with blue cheese dressing. The spicy and flavorful sauce using diced pancetta, chopped onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, ground pork, ground beef, red wine, bay leaves, tomato puree and other items contrasted and embraced the 2014 Grizzly Peak Cabernet Franc perfectly. Garnished with fresh parmesan, Romano and asiago cheeses. I do not believe this would work with many Cab Francs of stronger flavors with sharper and distinct tannins. However this wine was versatile and welcoming to perhaps some typical unconventional food pairings associated with Cabernet Franc’s.

Next up on my list to do is to try their Marsanne/Roussanne blend as well as a Pinot Noir from Grizzly Peak Winery.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.ccom

https://grizzlypeakwinery.com/

2017 Cuda Ridge Cabernet Franc – Best of Class and Gold Medal Winner!

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At the National Cabernet Franc Wine Competition held in December 2020, Cuda Ridge earned a Gold Medal and Best of Class by the Professional Judges. This was a blind competition with two sets of judges. A great accomplishment knowing that twenty-four quality wines were in the Category II ($31 to $50) from around the United States. The Professional Judges also awarded 2018 Cuda Ridge Cabernet Franc a Silver Medal.

The Wine

The Cabernet Franc is part of Larry Dino’s (winemaker/owner) Bordeaux Collection. He has two other “wine labels” called the Black Label and Reserve Collection. His Bordeaux Collection as imagined has besides Cabernet Franc, the other key varietals of Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and most recently added Carmenere.

This 2017 Cabernet Franc showed some “old world characteristics” as well as unique Livermore Valley traits. The coloring of this wine was so dark and alluring with a medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, blueberry, cherry and a hint of plum and floral notes abounded. On the palate, the naturally higher acidity was milder for a Cabernet Franc as well as the tannins subdued as expected. In the mouth, the blueberries and dark cherry were prominent along with a modicum of your typical bell pepper, black pepper and sage qualities. Soft leather, a dry rockiness and sweet pipe tobacco lingered to make the finish long lasting and inquisitive.

The 2017 and 2018 Cabernet Franc also won Bronze Medals from the People’s Choice Judges.

Specifically his Cabernet Franc over the years has won the following awards and distinctions:


• 2017 Wine Enthusiast 91 points; Silver Medal at 2020 SF Chronicle Wine Competition
• 2016 Wine Enthusiast 90 points: Silver Medal at 2019 SF Chronicle Wine Competition and Silver Medal at TVC Uncorked
• 2014 Best Livermore Cabernet Franc; Silver Medal 2017 SF Chronicle Wine Competition and 90 point from Wine Enthusiast
• And many more awards going back to 2008 including more Silver Medals, high ratings from Wine Enthusiast and a Gold Medal from SF Chronicle Wine Competition

The Food and Wine Pairing

Paired the 2017 Cuda Ridge with a pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, fresh garden salad and broccoli for a wonderful meal.

This was Cuda Ridges’ first time participating in the Cabernet Franc Wine Competition and I have a strong suspicion Larry Dino will be entering again to add to his war chest!

Sláinte,

Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com
https://cudaridgewines.com/

Complete Results of the Cabernet Franc Wine Competition can be found at:

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2020/12/04/national-cabernet-franc-wine-competition-results-are-in-happy-cabernet-franc-day/

Maritana Vineyards – A Tale of Two Vineyards

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Donald Patz continues to amaze the wine community with his innate knowledge with Pinot Noirs!  Last evening, a side by side comparison of two of his premier wines was held. Initially it was not planned but as I will explain it developed during the meal.

The Background

First for those who do not know Maritana Vineyards or Donald Patz, here is a quick recap. Donald’s career has spanned some 35+ years making wine. After selling the iconic Patz & Hall Winery, Donald embarked on setting up three separate wine entities. The first, Secret Door, is producing exquisite and sought after boutique Cabernet Sauvignon’s. Why “Secret” as a name? In a face to face meeting, Donald while known for his Pinot Noirs, told me he actually started his career making Cabernet Sauvignon! They have already won national acclaim and are actively sought out. I think the other “secret” is that Donald is rejuvenated and energized with creativity in this venture.


The second wine label is called Terminim Wines. This is a collaboration of Francois Villard and Donald, with small lots of artisan wines called Cepages d’ Or (grapes of gold), a mix of Marsanne and Roussanne from a vineyard in Mendocino County. The name is derived from the “terminus” the Roman God of borders and boundaries. Syrah is also in this lineup of wines. Together they have developed and implemented some unique techniques to the traditional punching down the cap. This new “Methode Francois” allows them to make a wine “without searing levels of tannin and creates a smoother more rounded and elegant presence”.

The third is Maritana Vineyards and this is for his Pinot Noir and Chardonnay line of wines. Maritana Vineyards is a project for developing and producing the highest quality of grapes for both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Here Donald is implementing his strategy to develop a more balanced, “elegant and perfumed version to show through” with choices of grapes with selected aged barrels. On his Pinot Noir, he has secured four vineyards in the Russian River AVA. They are Le Russe, Jenkins Ranch, Martaella Vineyards and Moonshine Ranch. For this varietal he is using approximately 60% new oak barrels.

The Two Wines and Food Pairing

The two wines tried last evening were both 2018 from Jenkins Ranch and Martaella Vineyards. The first, Jenkins Ranch, started out paired with a slow cooked seasoned pot roast for eight hours. Served with broccoli and mashed Idaho potatoes.  The Jenkins Ranch vineyard is located in the hills southwest of Sebastopol. Loam soils provided a soft and layered Pinot Noir. On the eyes this wine was light colored brick with an almost translucent quality. On the palate, Bing cherries, strawberries and airy minerality abounded. The medium finish provided a gracefulness of spirit with a trace of sweetness. While a great wine for sipping and enjoying with the right food, unfortunately this was too light with the meal.

Thus the second Pinot Noir was introduced. This was the Martaella Vineyard which is located west of Santa Rosa in the Russian River Valley AVA. Some of the best Pinot Noir grapes are grown in this valley, with the cool fog from the ocean advancing along the meandering river. The Dijon clone 943 grapes were the majority used for this production. I immediately “fell in love” with it as I had back in June 2020 in a previous story. This 2018 Pinot Noir has enough power and kick to entice and win over any Cabernet Sauvignon drinkers. A bold statement, but Donald Patz has once again provided a “knock out” Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley, specifically the Martaella Vineyard. This is not your “delicate, light and feathery” Pinot Noir. First on the eyes you can see an enchanting purple hue with a deep crimson color. On the nose and palate, this wine wins you over immediately with notes of Bing cherries, cranberries, strawberries and a hint of rhubarb. Spices delightfully dance in the mouth with nutmeg, clove and cinnamon. The interplay between the sweet (fruit berries) and sour (cranberry & rhubarb) was spectacular. Noted was that the wine provides a structure for soft tannin, not typically shown in most Pinot Noir’s. The finish, was chewy and mouth filling, which provided an earthiness, almost a damp forest floor flavor (mushrooms). A strong hint of licorice was also noted on the finish. This wine can be enjoyed immediately or one to age for 5-10 years.

Conclusion

For the meal last evening, both wines were spectacular in their own right. The Jenkins Ranch Pinot was a great wine for introducing Pinot Noir to non-Pinot Noir drinkers with its softness and gentle characteristics. The meal however demanded the Martaella Vineyard Pinot Noir. The tasting once again highlighted the differences of “terrior” (soil, weather, vineyard layout, etc.) and the impact on the grapes. Donald is no one trick pony or “one size fits all” winemaker.   His wines are distinct and unique from vineyard to vineyard. Can’t wait to taste his other two Pinot Noir vineyards!

Sláinte,

Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com
http://maritanavineyards.com/