Month: January 2019
This article will show how a local Livermore winery made a connection in Chile to import a spectacular wine Carménère. 3 Steves Winery has been around since 2010. They originally made wine at a custom crush facility in Livermore and sold their wine in a small shop in town. In 2013 they purchased a winery of their own in Livermore, California. I visited the first week they opened and met one of the 3 Steve’s, Steve Burman. He is the principal winemaker with the other two Steve’s handling marketing, sales, administration, assisting in winemaking, etc., Steve Melander & Steve Zigant. Upon ending high school, Steve Burman enlisted in the Army. After completing his service, Steve earned his Electrical Engineering degree at Temple University and later received his Master’s in Manufacturing Systems at Stanford. After a stint with Ford Motor Company and Sun Microsystems, he then found work in Silicon Valley with various startups. For fun he planted some grape vines around his house and in the garage he launched his winemaking skills! He and the other two Steves met in 2006 as they all invested in a winery. 2010 is when they officially launched 3 Steves Winery.
(shown above are the 3 Steve’s, L to R, are Steve Zigant, Steve Burman and Steve Melander) photo by 3 Steve’s and used with permission.
In 2014, their Zinfandel was voted Best Red Wine of Show at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. They have never looked back! The vineyard where the Zinfandel was grown is owned by a person who owns a winery in Chile. Over the past 5 years, Steve Burman and the two other Steve’s have been traveling to Chile where they produce and bottle their South American wines.
Located in Livermore, they produce many varietals such as Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, “Three Red Heads” Blend (Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and Petit Verdot), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Brut Sparkling wine. They also offer a couple of blends from Chili and make two varietal wines from Chili, Malbec and Carménère. The focus of this article is on their Carménère as it is exquisite and worthy to be sought after! Not to take away from the 3 Steves other wines which should also be sought after and enjoyed but is not the focus of this story!
(Photo by Alchemy Winery and used with permission)
Now to find out more about Carménère (one of the lost Bordeaux varietals) and it’s Phoenix rise from the ashes, a quick history can be found at Wine Folly https://winefolly.com/tutorial/10-cool-things-to-know-about-carmenere-wine/ . Suffice it to say, it was transported from Bordeaux to Chile in the 1800’s as Merlot but was only recognized in 1994 as actually being Carménère. This vineyard is located in the famous Cachapoal Valley know to produce the best of the best Carménère.
What makes the pedigree of this wine so outstanding is that it is “handmade” by the local village people in Chile. No automated equipment or optical sorters, only manual labor removing each berry from the cluster by hand and destemming by hand. This allows each bin brought into the winery to be “perfect” with no leaves, stems, MOG (material other than grapes) of any kind contaminating the wine. The results are silky and full of fruit. They also using “water bladders” to gently increase pressure during the press operation. This insures a long but high end extraction of a clean and gentle press to get bottled. The net of both of these intense manual labor processes allow one of the most flavorful Carménère wines I have tasted.
The wine is a deep red color, with medium viscosity on the eye. Bold fruit notes of black cherry and raspberry abound in each sip. Key to the taste beyond the typical Carménère flavors of bell pepper is as Steve describes it as having “mild spicy components, smoked paprika and hints of cinnamon”. It is slightly oaked with round & gentle tannins and a strong lingering finish.
I can tell you today, this will make my Best Wines $50 or less in 2019 and that is why it is my cellar! When they started out to make wine, 3 Steves developed a tag line, which is “3 friends striving to make the perfect wine”. I feel they have achieved their goal with their 2014 Carménère! More information on a previous article on 3 Steves and their wines at https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2016/03/03/3-steves-winery/ .
What makes Gossamer unique today is Gary Grant’s mission to make as many wine varietals as possible. In today’s quest for deep knowledge on a specific topic or discipline, Gary is striving to go “wide” as opposed to “deep”. This is not to state in any manner that his quality or robust wines have suffered. Just the opposite. Gary meticulously strives to get the best grapes for new varietals often waiting years to find them. Once he has them, he seeks out wise counsel, both local friends and UC Davis, where he had enrolled for his winemaking skills.
In the tasting room in the quaint village in the Sierra Foothills, Murphys, he is keeping a list of the wine varietals he has produced and soliciting customers as to what they would like to see him produce. You can see the ones he has checked off on the wall called De Long Wine Grape Varietal Table. As of this writing, Gossamer is offering Torrontes, Nebbiolo, Teroldego, Negroamaro, Alicante, etc., just to name of few. His passion to bring forth different grapes to beautiful wines, has set Gossamer apart from the street lined with wineries. Their total production is less than eight hundred cases over all the varietals.
Today, Gary and his wife Sue, have “done it all” in the winemaking field – from hand planting 7500 root stocks, to opening two wineries, started up tasting rooms, etc. Located on Main Street in Murphys today, his shop (a mere 10’ by 50’) is warm and inviting mostly due to Sue Grant (wife and self-proclaimed Cellar Rat-it states that on her business card!). Today their goal is to acquaint wine tasters to new varietals and “taste outside the box”. You will not find your everyday Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon listed on the non-pretentious chalk board! You will find this quotation on the chalkboard “Adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you“- Anonymous. Gary can lead your wine palate on a new adventure if you so desire. For example his Nebbiolo, upon first smell and taste, will transport you back to the hillsides of Piedmont, Italy in an instant.
The etymology of the word gossamer originated in Middle English as “goose summer” or “gos mer”, late summer warmth, when the geese where in prime condition to be eaten! Over time it we have morphed it into an adjective “gossamer” meaning “light, delicate or tenuous” like a butterfly wings. Thus on the bottle of Gossamer Cellars a delicate butterfly or fairy is depicted. To this end, it is appropriately named as Gary “flitters from varietal to varietal” making unique, high quality and lesser known wines for those open to experience the vast world of wine!
The results are in from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, which is the largest competition of American Wines in the World. This year 6,800 wines from over 1,132 wineries were entered. That said many, many wines and wineries did not enter. I do however want to congratulate those listed below as I have done a website story, BLOG, wine review or other media acknowledgement of their California pedigree.
3 Steves Winery 1 Gold, 2 Silver
Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
Anaba Wines 1 Gold, 3 Silver
Bell 1 Double Gold, 1 Gold, 6 Silver
Black Sheep Winery 1 Gold, 3 Bronze
Bokisch Vineyards 1 Double Gold, 1 Silver 2 Bronze
Capiaux Cellars 1 Silver
Dante Robere Vineyards 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 6 Bronze
deLorimier Winery 3 Double Gold, 2 Gold, 5 Silver
Dracaena Wines 2 Gold
Fog Crest Vineyards 4 Gold
Gracianna 3 Silver, 3 Bronze
Hanna 2 Double Gold, 1 Bronze
Jazz Cellars 1 Silver, 3 Bronze
Jeff Runquist 4 Double Gold, 8 Gold, 12 Silver
Jessies Grove Winery 1 Gold, 2 Silver
LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards 1 Double Gold, 2 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze
Las Positas Vineyards 1 Red Sweepstakes, 1 Double Gold, 5 Gold, 11 Silver, 2 Bronze
Ledson 1 Gold, 2 Silver
McKahn Family Cellars 1 Double Gold, 5 Silver
Oak Farm Vineyards 5 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
Paskett Winery 1 Gold, 2 Silver
Pedroncelli 1 Double Gold, 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 4 Bronze
Prie Winery 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
Shadybrook Estate 1 Gold, 1 Silver
The Federalist 3 Silver
The Steven Kent Winery 2 Silver, 1 Bronze
Theopolis Vineyards 1 Gold, 2 Silver
Wente Vineyards 4 Silver
William Harrison 3 Silver
Wood Family Vineyards 1 Best of Class,1 Double Gold, 1 Gold, 4 Silver
For more future award winning and excellent wines see: