Month: March 2018

Shadybrook Estate, Rapp Ranch & Zuidema Wines Paired up at Saddle Creek Golf Resort

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On the evening of March 8th at Saddle Creek Golf Resort the Wine Society was treated to several outstanding wines by winemaker Rudy Zuidema and a culinary feast by Chef Nigel Thorne.



The first course consisted of a unique and tasteful poached pear salad with Grand Cru, cranberries, roasted pistachios with a cranberry-pear vinaigrette. This was paired with a 2014 Shadybrook Estate Platine Blanc. This wine was a pale straw yellow with hints of meringue and key lime. Immediately following was were aromas of pear, mandarin and honey with a long and clean finish.


The second course was a sea bass over goat cheese risotto with a savory peach sauce. The tastes and textures were complementary as well as diverse! This was served with a 2014 Rapp Ranch Chardonnay. The coloring was a golden yellow with aromas of poached pear, grilled pineapples to entice the nose. Tropical fruits and creamy caramel ran down the palate.
The next course was tender veal served with a roasted sweet potato and carrot puree & cherry demi. Many thought this was the highlight dish of the evening. This was served with a big and hearty 2014 Rapp Ranch Cutters Reserve Red Bordeaux blend. Unique was the 45% Petit Verdot which produced a deep purple hue on viewing. The nose was greeted by blueberry, licorice and rhubarb. With so much Petit Verdot it was still balanced and produced a long finish.


The next dish was the a powerful coffee spiced filet mignon with Oyster mushrooms, green beans and a serpentine puff pastry. This was served with the 2014 Shadybrook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. This was big, bold and encompassed the entire mouth like a fireworks display! The bouquet as Rudy states, “black cherry, toasted caramel, brown sugar & pipe tobacco entice your senses with subtle secondary of earthly aromas of forest floor, tarragon & kirsch. Full of juicy plum, blackberry, mocha, chocolate & maple notes”. What more could you ask for in 100% Cabernet Sauvignon??
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The final was an artful dessert presentation of salted caramel & white chocolate. This was paired with a 2014 Zuidema Grenache. It was a 100% Grenache from Napa Valley and Rudy’s first vintage showing the blending of old world and new world Grenache. Strawberry and rustic tannins were evident from nose to mouth.
On the whole, the evening and pairings were sensational, exquisite and a delight to the senses and palate. Rudy’s award winning wines should absolutely be sought after (Shadybrook, Rapp Ranch, Zuidema, Red Cap, Alyris, Kent Price, Allora, etc.) and Saddle Creek Golf Resort gets an A++ on creativity, excellent food, presentation and flawless wait staff (Chef Nigel, Tammy and crew).
We all are eagerly awaiting the next event in the fall.


Gianelli Vineyards

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I was looking for a “local Grenache” for a Wine Society meeting and found one in Tuolumne County located in Jamestown, California. The big surprise was understanding their history and passion for Italian wines. It started in the late 1800’s with Giovani Rocca, who married into the Gianelli family. It was a good size plot of land outside of Jamestown which was used for cattle, a gold mining camp and a major stagecoach stop. Fast forward to 1980 and Ron Gianelli purchased the 53 acres of this 1427 foot elevation land from a relative and began thinking about how to farm it.


Ron researched endlessly how wine is produced in Italy. Armed with that knowledge, in 2003 he planted the first vineyard. This is where a typical winery and the Gianelli Vineyards go in a markedly different direction. Ron and Lorie Gianelli wanted to make their winery authentically Italian. So off to Verona to seek out equipment for farming, production techniques, rootstocks to filtration systems, etc. No detail was overlooked. The entire winery is set up like stepping back into Italy and so are the wines!
The wines in production and sale today are: 2014 Montepulciano Reserva, 2015 Petite Sirah, 2012 Nebbiolo, 2012 Grenache, 2012 Primitivo, 2014 Nino, 2012 Sangiovese Grosso, 2014 Bella Rosato and 2012 La Porta Del Paradisio. I want to mention 3 outstanding wines tasted during my visit – 2012 Nebbiolo, 2012 Primitivo and 2014 Montepulciano. All of these were tasted and presented at the historic tasting room on Main St in Jamestown.

The first was the 2012 Nebbiolo from northern Italy, my favorite Piedmonte wines. It had a unique cinnamon spice, with black cherry and strawberry. It was medium weight and very well balanced. The alcohol was 14.7%.
The second wine was the 2014 Montepulciano Reserva. This brought me back to Tuscany with its pointed cherry aromas, soft tannins and yet full body viscosity and flavors. This is the wine to have with a pasta dish and a red sauce. Alcohol was 13.9%. Oh and by the way, it won a Silver Medal at the SF Chronicle Wine Tasting in January 2018.


Lastly the 2015 Petite Sirah which was aged two years in old French oak barrels. This allow as they state to give it “inherently jammy notes of black cherry, dried red cherry, violets and plum while retaining a velvety structure”. The alcohol was 15%. While not one to collect Petite Sirah’s, this one will be going into my cellar shortly!

These three got my highest marks for completeness to their varietal heritage and taste. Every wine tasted was above average, but these stood out! The price range for these three wines were modestly price from $26 to $35. This might start another rush but instead of gold it will be a wine rush to Jamestown! Do not delay!


Per the FTC, any wine purchased from Gianelli Vineyards, was given an industry discount.