2016 Casino Mine Ranch Marcel – Two Good Varietals Becomes Great Wine

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Last night pulled a wine on the “to drink” list for 2020. This wine was purchased almost a year ago from Casino Mine Ranch in Amador County. As a refresher, Casino Mine Ranch is a fairly new operation in Amador County. Jessica Tarpy is the winemaker with Andy Ericson as consulting winemaker. Andy Ericson (Screaming Eagle fame) is his first and mostly like only Amador consulting he will do based on a long time relationship with the owners. See the complete story at: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/07/23/casino-mine-ranch-a-tale-of-family-friends/


I was thinking this would be a good after dinner wine but was I wrong!! This provided a tremendous mouth filling experience. It is a combination of two varietals, 80% Tempranillo and 20% Teroldego. Both varietals do extremely well in the heat in the Sierra Foothills. Tempranillo is a diverse grape with its pedigree being Portugal and Spain. It is known as Spain’s noble grape and used primarily in making some of the best Rioja’s. Tempranillo means “early” as it typically ripens a few weeks earlier than most of Spain’s red grape varietals. It is a black skin grape.


Teroldego is a red Italian grape varietal hailing from the northeastern region of Italy. It gets its name from “tirelle” or wire harness for its method of cultivation. The first recordings of Teroldego goes back to the 15th century with a sale mentioning this varietal. Teroldego generally possesses spicy red fruits, tar, pine and almond and possess a bright acidity which goes well with a variety of foods.


Both of these varietals were brought over to California during the Gold Rush in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The wine name being Marcel is to honor a lifetime resident of the property, Casino Mine Ranch, Marcel Tiquet who was the custodian of the land for over 60 years. The dark skin Tempranillo and hearty Teroldego, went thru an extended maceration on the skins and thus the inky dark, almost black, coloration on the eyes. Then the wine spent 18 months in new French barrels.


On the nose, the softness of cherry, plum, vanilla and clove beckons you to sip the wine. Once on the palate, an old world feel of Tempranillo and Teroldego pop into your taste buds. The tastes of a rock solid Spanish Rioja like Tinto de Toro come to mind. The sweet flavors of cherries, vanilla and plum are counterbalanced by bramble, earthiness, tobacco and spiciness of Teroldego. As their winemaker notes these two wine create an “incredible tension, balanced with a lushness that leaves you reaching for your next sip”! The finish was long and obviously complex with these two wine varietals with acidity filling the palate.


The key here is that two very good wine varietals formulated a great wine! Upon just one sip, I knew this wine would make my list of the Best Wines of 2020. Today, the 2017 is released and goes for $35.





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