Month: June 2022

Noche Española at Verona 18 Restaurant

Posted on Updated on

Last evening Noche Española was put on by Verona18 at the Copper Valley Golf Course Grandview room. Jaime Alderete, Executive Chef and part of the new management team, prepared some excellent and creative dishes for the evening. This was the new management’s first wine pairing dinner and it was a solid effort by all involved.

Upon entering the Grandview room, you were treated to 2018 Juan Gil Jumilla Blanco white wine. This is from 100% Moscatel grapes from the northern portion Jumilla. This area is just north of Murcia in the southeast of Spain. This wine is a light straw color on the eyes.  Aromatic included both Jasmine and honeysuckle. On the palate a very dry acidic taste with gnarly mineral flavors with a soft finish of lemon. This was paired with Manchega, Jamon Serranto and slices of spicy chorizo.  

Next up was a 2018 Albariño from O’Fillo da Condesa from Rias Baixas. The area is located in the northwestern area of Spain near Portugal. This wine on the eyes was a bright golden yellow. On the nose, orange blossom, lime and lemon zest. On the palate, grapefruit, salt and a tingly finish. One of the better Albariño I have tasted in the last year. This was paired with Gambas al Ajillo (garlic shrimp) and Patatas Bravas (spicy potatoes). No idea what was in the sauce, but our entire table fell in love with the shrimp! The wine and shrimp provided the best pairing of the evening.

We then moved on to Spanish summer salad called Ensalada Verano de Espana. The salad was tasty but the dressing desensitized any wine pairing. This was more of an intermezzo, so nothing was lost.

This was followed up by one of the more creative Gazpacho (cold tomato soup) dishes I have experienced. This was paired with a 2017 Tridente Tempranillo using 100% Tempranillo grapes. This comes from the Castilla y Leon region about a 2 hour drive north from Madrid. The wine is dry farmed and then aged 15 months in French oak. A symphony of aromas and tastes filled the nose and palate. Blackberries, plum, leather, cedar and oak swirled around with beckoning enticement to sip the wine.

Now for a dish of Paella Valenciana with Saffron Risotto. This is a tradition dish from the Valencia region with ingredients including bell pepper, chicken, paprika, green beans, tomato, saffron, rosemary, seafood and other spices. While rabbit is commonly found in this dish, I don’t recall eating or seeing any! The wine pairing included a 2016 Atteca Granacha “Old Vines” and 2017 Termes Tinto de Toro, Tempranillo. Both wines were delicious and the Granacha “Old Vines” provided raspberry, cocoa, vanilla and black licorice. The Termes Tinto de Toro, meaning blood of the bull, is obviously very dark in color with flavors of black cherry, earthiness and pepper. This is balanced out with plum and boysenberry on the finish. Both wines were enjoyable with the Paella.

The grand finale was the Crema Catalano, crème brûlée. Topped with blueberries, raspberries and sprinkled with powdered sugar! This was a beautifully orchestrated and welcomed semi-sweet dessert after the Spanish meal. This was served with a choice of Vino Dulce de Pasas, Pedro Ximenez de Cosecha and/or Licor Cuarenta Y Tres (43), Diego Zamora.

Live Spanish guitar music filled the background from the talented Nicholas Lefler.

Everyone was genuinely impressed by the foods from Jaime Alderete and wines offered by Verona18. A lovely culinary excursion through Spain.  A hint was leaked that in August a French themed dinner may occur.

Sláinte,


Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.coppervalleygolf.com/

2018 Bianchi Winery, Cabernet Franc Reserve – Best of Class at International Cabernet Franc Wine Competition and Celebration

Posted on

The Awards

At the April 2022 International Cabernet Franc Blind Wine Competition and Celebration held in Copperopolis, California, the 2018Bianchi Winery Cabernet Franc won several awards. This was their first time entering the competition. Two sets of judges presided over the tasting, one being the Professional Judges and the other being People’s Choice Judges. The People’s Choice Judges for category 4 ($76 to $100), awarded a Silver Medal and Best of Class to the 2018 Bianchi Cabernet Franc. The Professional Judges also awarded it a Silver medal. For more information on the Annual International Cabernet Franc Wine Competition and Celebration click on the following links:

Blind Wine Competition: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2022/04/09/3rd-annual-cabernet-franc-wine-competition-celebration-results/

Wine Tasting & Appetizers: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2022/04/11/wine-tasting-appetizers-at-the-3rd-annual-cabernet-franc-celebration/

Winemaker’s Dinner Featuring Cabernet Franc: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2022/04/14/cabernet-franc-wine-competition-and-celebration-winemakers-dinner/

The Winery

(Photo from Bianchi Winery)

Located at 3380 Branch Rd, Paso Robles, California, this was their first time entering the competition.  While their history goes back three generations starting in Central Valley, in 2000 they acquired 50 acres in Paso Robles. Today they have a world-class and state of the art winemaking facility (real time tank temperature monitoring, moisture content in the vineyards, micro-oxidation system, hand sorting, variable pneumatic press, etc.) creating exquisite boutique and artisan small lot wines. Additionally they have a tasting room located just off Highway 1 in Laguna Beach, a small community in Southern California.

Today the winery is run by Beau Bianchi, grandson of the founder and the winemaker is Todd Weiher. Todd has worked at Bianchi for the last 14 years and less than a year ago, got the nod to become the head winemaker. The transition with so much history will be seamless. Todd had done some of his education at UC Davis and Cal Poly before taking on jobs at various wineries, primarily in the Central Coast AVA.

A new logo was introduced just over 1 year ago which is an interpretation of a grape cluster on a vine. This new logo is for their Signature Series label. The cursive and stylized “B” is for their Reserve wines. Currently their wines have three distinct labels: Signature Series, Reserve Series and Shadow Ridge. Each has a unique identity and market for the winery from Wine Club to restaurants to consumers. The wine varietals include Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Sparkling, Zinfandel Port, Merlot, Chardonnay, Rose, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a few others. Today the Reserve label produces approximately 2,000/cases per year and the Signature label produces 5,000/cases per year.

Additionally on the property they host weddings, private parties and have a beautiful Vineyard House for rent.

The Wine, 2018 Bianchi Cabernet Franc Reserve

Had not tasted this wine until last evening and what a wonderful treat! First on the eyes, a lush purple and magenta color and medium viscosity. On the nose soft floral aroma of violets, soft leather and sweet vanilla pipe tobacco. Blackberries and Boysenberries rise from the glass to entice one to taste.  Once on the palate, black cherries and embracing fruits (not sweet) almost overwhelm the senses in a phenomenal sense and a bit uncommon for Cabernet Franc. This is by no means a criticism but a praise of unique quality and enjoyment wine. The finish is soft and rounded with tannins hiding and in stealth mode in the background. Once the wine opened up for two hours, it changed and showed its structure and multi-facetted layers. Noticed a lack of pyrazine characteristics but it did not diminish the taste or quality of the wine. Found out later, that they harvest the grapes when ripe to purposely produce a less vegetal characteristics. This wine just made my Annual Best Wines Tasted for 2022 (official list will be out in December 2022). The wine was aged in 100% new French oak for 24 months. The wine sells for $80/bottle. This is the first time they have submitted their Cabernet Franc Reserve for a wine competition. Talk about a great start!

The Food and Wine Pairing

Paired last evening with a 24-hour marinated tri-tip in a mixture of Chaka and teriyaki sauces (70/30).  Seasoned with black coarse pepper and Applewood salt. Seared to 650 degrees and served medium rare. Accompanying the meal was a Yukon potato and fresh garden salad topped with onions and bacon. Truly a remarkable food and wine pairing.

Category Four was one of the most difficult flights for the blind competition as all were excellent wines. I have tasted almost all of them and would be proud to have any or all in the cellar. So when Bianchi Winery won the event, you now know why it already made my annual listing of Best Wines Tasted.

Sláinte,


Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.bianchiwine.com/

2019 Titus Vineyards Cabernet Franc, A Big Winner at the International Cabernet Franc Competition and Celebration

Posted on

The Awards

At the April 2022 International Cabernet Franc Blind Wine Competition and Celebration held in Copperopolis, California, 2019 Titus Vineyards Cabernet Franc won several awards. This was their first time entering the competition. Two sets of judges presided over the tasting, one being the Professional Judges and the other being People’s Choice Judges. The Professional Judge’s for category 3 ($51 to $75) , awarded a Gold Medal and Best of Class to the 2019 Titus Vineyards Cabernet Franc. This was the only wine in this prestigious category to receive a Gold Medal from the Professional Judges. The People’s Choice Judges awarded it a Silver medal

The Winery

(Phillip on the left and Eric on the right)

The winery is run by Eric Titus and Phillip Titus, which they took over from their father. Both brothers spent their youth and summers working around “the farm” which sold the grapes to various local wineries. Eric went off to pursue his degree (and PhD) in Biology focusing on marine science and toxicology. He continued this work through the 1990’s. He returned to the winery full time in 2002 to help with the management of the family’s flourishing business. Today he is the General Manager and Vineyard Operation Manager of the winery. With his background, he has adopted both green practices and sustainable farming of the property. Eric has served as President of Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, St. Helena Viticultural Society and promoting the St. Helena Appellation.

Phillip studied agronomy, viticulture and enology at the University of California at Davis. He also traveled extensively, getting an appreciation of many wine areas including Bordeaux. Phillip began his career working at Quail Ridge Winery, Stratford and Chappellet. In 1990 he was named Winemaker at Chappellet and continues to make the wines there today. That same year he also became Winemaker at Titus Vineyards. It was on the Titus Ranch Estate, some 40 acres, with 34 planted in 14 separate parcels/vineyard blocks with varying soils and clones that provided the background for Phillip to understand the difference and unique characteristics of each. His goal was to showcase the highest quality of fruit from each lot to make distinct Titus Vineyard wines.

Again, fast forwarding to 2015 when the new production facility was constructed, they hired Stephen Cruzan. Stephen a graduate from North Carolina State in biochemistry, was gearing up for a life in research. While working at a restaurant, he met with a winemaker from California. He decided to combine his enjoyment of fine wine and his technical degree to making wine. He started at Kathyrn Hall in the lab, then harvests at Sacred Hill in New Zealand, Domain d’ Ardhui in Burgundy and Clemens Busch in Germany’s Mosel River Valley. In 2009 he joined the team at Chappellet under Phillip Titus and worked his way up the ladder to Enologist and thru Phillip met Eric. Later he went to Cade Winery as the Assistant Winemaker.  His focus was on the differentiation of wine barrels completing the end desired result.

(View from tasting room)

The totality of the three as a biologist focused on ecology/sustainability, an enologist focused on the unique characteristics of each vineyard block (14 on the estate and 3 at their Ehlers Lane Vineyard) and a well-traveled winemaker with a keen focus of barrel selection, Titus was well positioned to launch even further in the wine business from 2015 on. Currently some of my favorite wines from Titus are their 2019 Zinfandel, 2019 Titus Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and of course the 2019 Cabernet Franc.

The Wine

On the eyes a radiant crimson with purple hues and medium-heavy viscosity. On the nose, aromas of cranberry, strawberries and majestic violets rise up to greet you.  On the palate, black cherry is the predominate taste in the mouth. Secondary flavors of soft leather, black tea and vanilla are discernable. The finish is extremely soft and enjoyable with rounded tannins with enough structure to make you desire another sip. The wine received a score from AG of 94 points and sells for $62/bottle. The wine was aged in 65% new French oak for 20 months. It is 86% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Malbec.

The Food and Wine Pairing

Paired with a seared (650 degrees) BBQ ribeye steak served medium rare and extremely juicy. Accompanied with a Yukon baked potato and fresh garden salad. A delightfully integrated meal with the capstone of the 2019 Titus Vineyards Cabernet Franc wine!

Titus Vineyards was pleased they entered this competition, and I can hardly wait for their next vintage Cabernet Franc!!

Sláinte,


Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.titusvineyards.com/

2021 3 Steves Winery Reserve Chardonnay

Posted on

Pulled this wine out of the cellar for tasting last evening. It is their 2021 Reserve Chardonnay generally held for wine club members. Their story is fairly simple, three men all with first name of Steve went into business in 2010 and then opened their tasting room in 2013 at 5700 Greenville Road, Livermore, California. For more information on their background you can read it at: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/01/30/3-steves-winery-the-livermore-valley-california-cachapoal-valley-chili-wine-connection/ . They also feature some great wines such as their Carmenere from Chile, a red blend wine called How U Doin’ (ode to New York wine drinkers), Cabernet Franc and many others.

The Wine

The 2021 3 Steves Reserve Chardonnay is from Livermore, California. A light golden straw color on the eyes and light to medium viscosity. A mild bouquet on the nose, with white fruit and extremely soft citrus. On the palate, mild acidity and oak with an almost old world (non-buttery) taste in the mouth.  White peach and kiwi flavors expand on the palate. It provided a mouthful sensation due to not being filtered or fined before bottling. The finish is extremely clean, crisp and creamy.  Definitely a refreshing wine for the warm summer months while sitting on the patio or lake cruising with friends.

The Food and Wine Pairing

Fresh Ahi tuna from Ohana Seafood (Modesto) which is a rare treat in the Sierra foothills! Prepared with fresh minced cilantro & parsley, chopped pineapple, fresh squeezed lemon juice, minced garlic, diced purple onions, wasabi, ginger, red dried pepper flakes, Himalayan Sea salt, sesame seeds, freshly grounded black pepper and a few other items. A wonderful food and wine pairing last evening.

The last time I enjoyed this wine was with their 2019 vintage and the 2021 is every bit as enjoyable. More than worthy for your summertime enjoyment.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://3steveswinery.com/

2019 Wood Family Vineyards Malbec

Posted on

The Wine -2019 Wood Family Vineyards Malbec

This wine on the eyes is medium viscosity with a deep royal purple coloration, yet around the rim it is almost translucent. On the nose blackberries and dark red plums are the leaders rushing in to claim dominance in the olfactory senses. Also present were violets and roses. On the palate almost overpowering black and dark red fruits (blackberries and plums) come to the forefront with tobacco, French oak, chocolate, black licorice and fresh leather. The finish is velvety smooth with medium acidity and rounded embracing tannins with no sharpness. Also on the finish the presence of ground stone minerality provide a juicy and mouth filling finish. Alcohol was 14.8% and listed at the winery at $36/bottle. This Malbec has been on my list of Best Wines Tasted Yearly for the last three years!

The Food and Wine Pairing

The meal was a Mongolian Beef recipe. Ingredients included cut up Coulotte steak, cornstarch, canola oil, minced garlic cloves, soy sauce, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, water, red pepper flakes, black pepper and green onions. The wine paired terrifically like two old friends shaking hands, firm and with warmth and understanding of each other’s personalities. Other possible wines Included Zinfandel, Grenache and Riesling but this hit the bullseye! Long grain rice, broccoli and a fresh garden salad accompanied the dish for a complete meal.

If you like Malbec, this is surely one to have in your cellar not just for the appealing taste, but for great versatility with a variety of meals.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://woodfamilyvineyards.com/

2017 Grial Carménère from Colchagua, Chile

Posted on Updated on

Opened this bottle last night and thought it worthy of repeating a quick history of Carménère and one a lot of people are not familiar with today.

History of Carménère

The history of Carménère varietal is as fascinating as it is happenstance! It was once a blending wine in the Medoc region of Bordeaux. It served a similar purpose as Petit Verdot does today – producing a deep red ink on wines. It was part of the original seven red grapes of Bordeaux. Carménère originates from the French word for crimson (carmin) which refers to the crimson color of the autumn foliage.

When the Phylloxera plague hit in 1867 destroying most of the vineyards in Europe, many thought the Carménère grape was extinct. It wasn’t until approximately 150 years later that it was discovered that Chile had mistakenly preserved the Carménère grape thinking it was Merlot (from clippings planted from France). DNA confirmed it was the missing 6th varietal of Bordeaux. The 7th missing varietal of Bordeaux can be found at the following link in the third paragraph:

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2018/07/22/hanna-winery-vineyards/

(From Vineyards.com)

Carménère grows mainly in Chile, specifically the Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley and in the Maipo Province. This Grial wine comes from Colchagua, specifically Apalta Valley. It is also grown in Italy, in Veneto and recently several wineries in Lodi, Napa and Calaveras are producing it, albeit in small quantities. 3 Steves Winery, in Livermore actually produces a Carménère in Chile. Walla Walla also has some root stock growing in Carménère. A different winery from Livermore Valley has produced and showcase a locally grown Carménère (Cuda Ridge Winery).

Uniqueness of Carménère

As a blend varietal it has the deep ruby coloring and aromas of red & dark fruits, plum and berries. Tannins are softer, milder and more refined than a Cabernet Sauvignon tannins, thus its use in blending to soften a strong Cabernet Sauvignon.  Chile produces a 100% Carménère which has a cherry and fruity flavor but has traces of smoke and earthy notes with the inky coloration.

2017 Grail Carménère

The 2017 Grial Carménère is among the very best Carménère wines produced today and comes from 70-year-old, un-grafted vines.  Extreme measures were taken in fruit selection which results in a rich, extracted and bold wine capable of many years of extended cellaring. Its seductive flavors of blackberry, pipe tobacco, leather and spicy cherry linger on the palate. The wine is aged in French and American oak barrels with 25% being new. Total aging is 18 months in the barrel. On the GVI wine site it sells for $65/bottle and 7300 bottles were produced. This is one of the better Carménère I have tasted in recent years.

To repurpose a phrase, what happens in Chile, does not stay in Chile, but is exported and we get to enjoy some exquisite wines.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://gviwines.com/

2010 Hewitt Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford – Napa Valley

Posted on

Last evening on a very warm patio deck, opened this wine near sunset which had been cellared for almost ten years. What a surprising treat revisited indeed. The Hewitt Vineyard of approximately 60 acres in the historic center of Napa Valley in Rutherford Bench has always made fascinating wines. World famous for their Cabernet Sauvignon’s “Rutherford dust”, a quality bestowed on wines from this area in Napa Valley.

 

The wine on the eyes was a luscious dark berry red almost black and with heavy viscosity. On the nose, violets and floral aromas waft into the senses. On the palate, black cherries, blackberries and cocoa are the predominate flavors. Secondary flavors of leather, sweet pipe tobacco and black licorice were present. On the finish, the “Rutherford dust” and tannins of immense proportions, but soft and inviting, along with vanilla completed the sip. Complexity and layers of enjoyment are the words that spring forth in describing this beautiful wine.

The wine was produced by the famous and iconic winemaker Tom Rinaldi (no longer there). Still one of the top winemakers that has produced wines in Napa Valley (IMHO). The wine is 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot. It was aged 22 months in 100% French barrels with 77% being new. Wine Spectator rated it 96 points and in 2013 it was ranked #4 wine in the top 100 wines! K & L wine wholesalers still show a price of $140/bottle on their website.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.hewittvineyard.com/

2017 Crocker & Starr Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine – Surprised Me!!

Posted on

In full disclosure, I am not a big fan of California sparkling wines. I am a fan of Champagne, but that is just my taste preference. I actually did a search on over 1500 articles I have written and only one other was on a sparkling! So about ten days ago, when we visited one of my favorite wineries in Napa Valley, Crocker & Starr and they poured a sparkling, I was a bit taken back. They made this sparkling wine for their 25th anniversary. It was served just after their Sauvignon Blanc and while it was a warm day, the first sip was refreshing.

Upon further consideration and examination, this sparkling caught my attention. Here was a wine with a bouquet, color and tasted, dare I say, almost like a Champagne. At least the closest sparkling I have tasted that reminded me of Champagne tasting in the unofficial capital of Champagne in Reims, France. Reims is the headquarters for many of the Champagne houses. Reims and its Cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims is where French Kings were crowned for a thousand years. Definitively a must see visit when doing Champagne tasting. As an aside, Reims is the site of the unconditional German surrender in 1945 at the end of World War II.

On the eyes, effervescent bubbles dance in merriment to the top of glass with the excitement they are about to bestow.  A beautiful soft and pale golden color. On the palate, white peach, mild lemon meringue with a creaminess envelops the mouth. The finish has a distinct flavor, dare I say chalkiness like its cousins in Champagne? No the wine comes from the Carneros region, so really “no chalk” like the wondrous caves of Champagne regions soil.  Yet the finish produced a smoothness, with the acidity kept in check, provided an elegant finish. The finish beckoned one to sip again and with only a 12% alcohol level, this on a warm afternoon hit the bullseye.

It is listed for $58. We had a “devoted Champagne aficionado” tasting with us (C.A.D.D. standing for Champagne All Day Darlene) and even she was taken back and wanted to immediately order some. It is made from 96% Pinot Noir grapes and 4% Chardonnay grapes.

While having Champagne in the cellar and even some Prosecco, I have up to this point, not kept any sparkling filling the racks. As the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus stated, everything is always in a state of flux and changing, so now is my view of sparkling’s!  Another great job by Crocker & Starr.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.crockerstarr.com/

2016 Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon – A Treasured Find

Posted on Updated on

One of my “non-California wine” stories for the month. However, this was too delicious a wine not to write about! Domus Aurea (“House of Gold”) is a single-vineyard wine made from old vines in the renowned Clos Quebrada de Macul Vineyard. It overlooks Chile’s oldest wine-producing region. Not dissimilar from Napa Valley or Russian River in California allowing the cooling winds from the Pacific Ocean to come up the river or San Francisco Bay. The area is known for their full bodied red wines with strong flavors of black cherry and bold tannins.

(From Vineyards.com)

The Wine: 2016 Viña Quebrada de Macul “Domus Aurea” Cabernet Sauvignon

This was a new wine for me, but from a very well-known region of Chile that I have enjoyed over time. 2016 Domus Aurea, one of the most classical among the Cabernets from Maipo, contains 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot. For production 53% new French oak barrels and aged for 16 to 18 months.

First on the eyes a radiant purple in the glass and medium-heavy viscosity. On the nose, a blast of dark cherries, combined with oak and tannins awakes you instantaneously! But once opened and swirled for a while, you get the “real character” of this wine. Fresh cherries and hidden chocolate present themselves with freshness and balance. Something else was on the nose and a mystery until the second glass – a soft eucalyptus note that was truly enticing. On the palate, the purple and black fruits danced in merriment and were only calmed down with the earthiness of the region. The finish was like having a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon aged in oak from Napa. This was a “he-man Cabernet Sauvignon” and not for the faint-hearted red wine drinker. Right up my alley. It is unfiltered and the tannins were very present with just the right amount of angular enjoyment. Wine maker Jean-Pascal Lacaze produced one of the better wines coming out of this region. Robert Parker even rated it 97 points! Pricing is a bit scattered ranging from $55 to $87 from the well-known wine merchants.

Perhaps the best drinking Cabernet Sauvignon wines I have experienced from Chile.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

2018 Kautz & Kramer – A Love Affair Story

Posted on

Background Story

This is a “newer label”, begun two years ago by Joan Kautz to honor her mother and father, Gail and John for their 60th wedding anniversary. They presented the wine and label as a surprise on their anniversary.  Gail Kramer and John Kautz were married in 1958 and started farming grapes in Lodi. Eventually deciding to produce their own wines. They hired Steve Miller in 1989 as their winemaker. They built Ironstone in Murphys and today are ranked in the top 10 family grape growers with over 7,000 acres of vineyards. Besides their renowned Ironstone label, they also have Leaping Horse, Drifting Wines, Obsession Wines, Devil’s Fog (Pinot Noir) and a few others. Ironstone while getting many of their grapes from Lodi, has a magnificent winery in Murphys, California in Calaveras County. A complete story of the area, geography, climate and history can be found at: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/02/14/both-liquid-and-actual-gold-in-the-sierra-nevada-foothills-calaveras-county/ .

Ironstone Vineyards, besides their award winning wines with wine tasting, is a venue for weddings, concerts, corporate events, wine caves, jewelry shop, restaurant, museum and much more!  They also have a beautifully working restored pipe organ from the Alhambra Theatre in Sacramento.  Additionally, Ironstone offers custom crushing and juice for sale. Picture below is the largest gold nugget on display at Ironstone Vineyards weighing in at 44 pounds!

Kautz & Kramer Wines

This new label came during the Covid-19 pandemic. Joan and the business have not had sufficient time to “really introduce” and develop the market for this label. That said, it was not their original intent but to honor Gail & John and make wines to showcase their commitment for excellent wines. Today they have two other varietals besides their Cabernet Franc, a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon both of which are produced from single vineyard locations. The Chardonnay is called Sentimental Journey which was the song being played at Joan and John’s first dance. Today they make about 1,000 cases of these artisan and boutique wines, hand picking the grapes from single vineyards and Steve Miller handcrafting these varietals to an ultimate level of quality. Since starting this label, here are just some of their awards in the very short time the label has been in existence, a remarkable feat.

2017 Lodi Block 50 Cabernet Sauvignon

Sunset International Wine Competition, Jun 2021 DOUBLE GOLD, 96 Points

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Mar. 2021 GOLD

Critics Challenge, Aug. 2021 Silver 

2015 Lodi Block 50 Cabernet Sauvignon

Restaurant Wine, Dec. 2020,  **** Stars

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Jan. 2020 GOLD

2018 Lodi Sheldon Ranch, Block 72 Cabernet Franc

Annual Cabernet Franc Competition, Apr. 2022 Best of Class, Peoples Choice

Critics Challenge, Aug. 2021 Silver

Decanter Wine Awards, Jul 2021 Silver 90 Points

Sunset International Wine Competition, Jun 2021 Silver

2015 Lodi Sheldon Ranch, Block 72 Cabernet Franc

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Jan. 2020 GOLD

California State Fair, 2019 DOUBLE GOLD (99 Points), Best of Class of Appellation, Best of California

2018 Kautz & Kramer Cabernet Franc

In April 2022, at the 3rd Annual Cabernet Franc Wine Competition and Celebration held in Copperopolis, Kautz & Kramer submitted their 2018 wine. The wine won Silver Medals from both the People’s Choice and Professional Judge’s panels. Additionally the People’s Choice Judges awarded them the Best of Class in Category 1, Cabernet less than $30. This was their first time competing and this wine is destined to continue to win awards. The wine uses grapes from Sheldon Ranch Block 72 exclusively. The wine is aged 15 months in 30% new French barrels. The wine on the eyes is a dark luscious deep crimson color and medium viscosity. The nose is amazing bold with black cherries beckoning one to sip. On the palate, besides delicious black cherries, blackberries, nutmeg and fig burst into the mouth. Secondary flavors of sweet pipe tobacco and vanilla beckon in the far reaches of the mouth. The finish provides sufficient and rounded tannins to enjoy alone or with a meal. Only 260 cases were produced and sells for $28/bottle.

The Food and Wine Pairing

Paired last evening with a seared BBQ ribeye steak served medium rare, this wine was strong enough to hold up and compliment the ribeye. Served with a baked cheese and potato casserole and a fresh garden salad. They paired wonderfully like a handshake between good friends.

Kautz & Kramer Cabernet Franc has definitely captured John and Gail’s love in a bottle. Can hardly wait to try their Kautz & Kramer Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon based on the high marks the Cabernet Franc received.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://kfwines.com/kautz-kramer/

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2022/04/09/3rd-annual-cabernet-franc-wine-competition-celebration-results/