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Kinsella

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Kinsella Estates offers several Cabernet Sauvignon’s and a zesty Zinfindel

William Harrison Vineyard & Winery

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How could something good become great?  Simply add one of the best “up and coming” and perhaps already there, winemakers, Chuck McKahn.  Let me backtrack for just a moment, William Harrison has always made good solid Cabernet’s and Cabernet Franc over the years. I have sought out their Cab Franc out for several years. William Harrison is a family run business and has had great success over the years especially at the SF Chronicle tasting events. Now add Chuck McKahn, at age 27 he is already a seasoned and proven winemaker. I have no doubt in 10-20 years he will be one of the top ten winemakers in Napa Valley. He has just become their head winemaker. It will take a few harvests before his work can be showcased however. 

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While not a “fancy or eloquent” tasting room, they are friendly, down to earth and make most definitely produce already a solid and good assortment of wine. Besides their award winning Cab’s and Cab Franc’s they also produce award winning Chardonnay’s, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Most of their wine production is between 100-400 cases per varietal. Quality over quantity.

 

2011 Rutherford Red –297 cases, Gold Award:  2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon – 409 cases, Bronze Award:  2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2011 Cabernet Franc – 320 cases, Silver Award:  2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2013 Chardonnay – 325 cases, Gold Award:  2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2013 Pinot Noir – 150 cases, Gold Award:  2016 American Fine Wine Competition

2013 Sauvignon Blanc –100 cases

Next time you are on the Silverado Trail, by all means stop by and experience some good wines, knowing that they will be producing even greater wines.

Slainte,

http://whwines.com

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Zucca Wines

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A delightful wine tasting experience will be had when visiting Zucca Wines in Murphys. Key is being a bit of a contortionist in getting into the “basement tasting room” without hitting your head. Once in the tasting room / basement, you will be surprised on various levels of enjoyment.

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First the wines are true to their varietals, a bit of a rarity in Calaveras County, so that is an awesome welcome! Secondly they opened the tasting room literally in the basement in the building. They expanded a gift store on another half level with a variety of unique gifts and crafts to be purchased. Sue, the hostess, mentioned that the wine bar and courtyard are on yet another level. Thus their claim of being the only three story winery with tasting on all three levels. The upstairs has both an indoor wine bar and quaint outdoor tasting area called Zucca After Hours (see pictures).

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Gary and Carol Zucca have a very solid business model and follow it up with tasty wines. One of the stand out wine for me was their 2014 Barbera. They source their grapes from the award winning Cooper Ranch in Amador County. They also in 2015 received a double Gold Medal at the SF Chronicle Tasting for their Bella Nipote a smooth summertime Rose.

They do offer a wide assortment of wines such as: 2013 Zinfandel; Touriga Nacional Port (a native wine from Portugal and has “smooth dark fruits such as blackberries and blueberries with strong hints of almonds”; a couple of unique Grenaches’; 2014 Sorprendere (Italian for surprise blend and taste); and a few other predominant Italian varietals.

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Slainte,

http://www.zuccawines.com

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Coppermine Winery

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Coppermine Winery is located in Vallecito, California whose 2010 US Census data shows a population of 442. Blink and you will miss this winery just off Highway 4. Their focus is on handcrafted Bordeaux wines using French oak barrels produced by one of the best, Tonnellerie Quintessence.

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The wines produced are: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and a couple of fortified wines. Only the Petit Verdot comes from Calaveras County and the others are from Amador County and El Dorado County.

My personal favorites of the day were the 2011 Malbec which had a nice crimson color with dark cherry and raspberries notes. The other which “surprised me” was their 2012 Canary dessert wine. It is a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc with “aromas of ripe Bartlett pears and agave nectar”. It is fortified with Brandy and has a vibrant yellow hue to it. Thought so highly of it, it is now in the “port cellar”.

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Their tasting room is quaint and offers an optional chocolate pairings with the wine—a must do for sure!

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While generally not one to comment of “items for sale”, their selection definitely highlighted the Copper portion of their name sake with unique platters, bowls, etc.

Slainte,

http://www.copperminewinery.com/

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Potpourri of Interesting Wine Articles

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Study Finds Monsanto’s Glyphosate in 100% of California Wines Tested — Even the Organic Ones

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/study-finds-monsantos-glyphosate-100-california-wines-tested-organic/

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The Changing Tastes of US Wine Drinkers

http://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2016/03/the-changing-tastes-of-us-wine-drinkers?platform=hootsuite

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Wonder Women: 10 female California winemakers to watch

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2016/03/wonder-women-10-female-california-winemakers-to-watch/11/

*personal footnote: 3 great women winemakers were missing from this article—Rhonda Woods (Wood Family Vineyard), Pam Starr (Crocker & Starr)  and Laura Swanton (Laura Michael Wines).

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Spain is now the leader in wine production

http://fortune.com/2016/03/03/spain-wine-most-popular/

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Number of women winemakers are growing quickly

http://www.winemag.com/2016/03/17/the-number-of-women-winemakers-is-growing-and-fast/

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Prospect 772

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While only open to the public on Saturday’s, this is one winery worthy of visiting in Calaveras County. They can make appointments during the week.  Founders Ron Pieretti and Wendy Sanda, are producing some exceptional Rhone varietals with winemaker Jeff Cohn.

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The grounds are beautifully maintained and the tasting room has a “down home comfortability” welcoming factor. To find Prospect 772, it is just off Highway 4 a few west of Angels Camp. Signs show where to turn and approximately one mile down this private road leads to 25 acres which comprises both the vineyards and tasting room.

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Prospect 772 has stayed true to their mission of producing exciting Rhone varietals. Each of their wines has a descriptive name so I will provide that and then the varietals used in the production. Currently being tasted are:

                2013 Brawler – 93% Syrah, 7% Viognier

                2013 Instigator – 100% Syrah

                2014 Black Tie Charlie – 50% Petite Syrah, 50% Syrah

                2015 Baby Doll – a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre

                2014 Stepping Stones – 100% Grenache Blanc

                2012 The Brat – 69% Grenache and 31% Syrah

                2013 The Truant – 54% Grenache, 31% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre

All the wines were true to their heritage and two stood out as “outstanding”. The first was the 2014 Stepping Stones a Grenache Blanc. A perfect summer wine of 100% Grenache Blanc with concrete fermentation. The tasting notes detail the complexity having “aromatics of lime blossom and passion fruit tempered by a fine minerality. Lush, pure flavors of grapefruit and orange marmalade with herbal notes of anise and tarragon.”

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The second noteworthy wine was The Instigator which is 100% Syrah. It had one of the deepest dark purple hue that I have seen in a wine! Ron mentioned it would pair nicely with a steak, prime rib, etc. I purchased a bottle to have with our BBQ steak that evening. He was spot on, as it was a delightful wine with “black fruit tones mixed with roasted herbs and black licorice. Flavors follow with dark cherry and blackberry and a backbone of vanilla & spice”. This was aged in 100% French oak and they produced only 98 cases.

Slainte

https://www.prospect772.com

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Hatcher Winery

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Exploring up in the town of Murphys in Calaveras County is always a fun experience. I recently had the opportunity to visit Hatcher Winery. Matthew Hatcher has been located here since 2002 and as is both the owner and winemaker. One of his desires is to use only “mountain fruit” from the foothills. This includes Calaveras, Amador and El Dorado Counties.

Another unique trait of Matthew’s is matching the barrel with the wine. In their daily offerings you will find French, Hungarian and even American oak barrels fermenting his various creations and varietals.

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On the day I visited the tasting room, I was pleasantly taken by surprise on two standout wines. By the way, it is a “sub-terrarium tasting room” one level below the street. The first wine was their 2011 Parcel 17 from a vineyard in Salt Springs Valley. It is a varietal made up of Spanish varietals of Mazuelo, Monastrell and Granciano.  It is aged eighteen months in French Oak barrels. While the “dark red fruit with aromas of blackberries and cola” it is actually a medium body wine and light. This is a perfect summer drinking wine to augment Pinot’s, Grenache’s, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay’s. For twenty-eight dollars a provocative alternative.

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The other outstanding wine was their 2010 Malbec. Again, typically rich, tart and having a pronounced cherry flavors, it is as the notes described provides “aromas of pomegranate, forest floor, pine needles and fresh rain” – a very descriptive narrative. It is a very good wine and worthy of a twenty-nine purchase.

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Many other wines are available for your enjoyment, but these two rang true to their varietals. Hatcher Winery has many events including a host of winemaker dinners which I have put on my schedule. One last comment, check out their clothing accessories for that special person.

Slainte

http://www.hatcherwinery.com/

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