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2020 DéTENTE Wines Sauvignon Blanc, Still Waters Vineyard

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Background

I visited Paso Robles last December for the Paso Robles Cabernet Franc Day tasting and symposium. Having just two hours of free time, I asked a friend where I should go to taste some excellent wines besides their wine (Dracaena Wines) in Paso Robles. What a great recommendation going to DéTENTE Wines tasting room, which was no small chore in finding them!  The tasting room is located in the alley between 12th & 13th and Park & Pine Street, in the back courtyard of Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ. A bit tricky in finding but well worth the adventure.

The Winery

This may sound like an odd name for a winery, but in reality it is a great name for a winery in Paso Robles! It has been a long tradition of claiming that the best wines from vineyards come from either the West or East side of Highway 101 in Paso Robles. Thus calling for DéTENTE (definition being easing of hostility or strained relations) believing both sides of Highway 101 offer excellent wines! As DéTENTE Wines produces small lot boutique varietals from both the best vineyards on both sides of Highway 101.

The winery is co-owned by three individuals. Chris Eberle, winemaker, has spent 15 years working in well-known wineries across the globe building on his resume and experience. From a wine cellar in Weinsberg, Germany to harvest at Hartenberg Winery in Stellebosch, South Africa, Kim Crawford in Marlborough, New Zealand, Howard Park Wines in Margaret River, Western Australia and Chateau angelus in Bordeaux, France. He also currently is the head winemaker at Eberle Winery in Paso Robles.

Another co-owner is Trevor Iba, who has an extensive background in the wine industry. He was Director of Accounting and Finance for some of the well-known wineries on the Central Coast. He also owns a mobile wine cross flow filtration company called TS Wine Services serving the Central Coast AVA’s.

The third co-owner and Creative Director belongs to Julian Caustrita. His responsibilities are to execute the brand’s expression. Julian’s focus is on design and strategy for the past 15 years, with a design background to capture the team and brand vision with cross platform design and media development. This is one label you need to read every word printed on it as there are typically double meanings behind each label.

The Wine- 2020 DéTENTE Wines   Sauvignon Blanc, Still Waters Vineyard

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

This wine comes from the east side in the El Pomar District. The vineyard was established in 2003 by Paul Hoover and today is farmed sustainably and SIP Certified. The vineyard is on a gentle sloping hillside, enjoying late afternoon sunlight and afternoon cool breezes from the Pacific Ocean. Paul is obsessed with the vineyard management from drainage to proper nutrition for the vines/grapes. Paul graduated in Agricultural Business from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and was named Wine Industry Person of the Year in 2017 and in 2019 Grower of the Year by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. This is no ordinary vineyard, but one of utmost pedigree.

Purchased this Sauvignon Blanc just after two sips at their tasting room. First on the eyes, it possessed a deep golden color and a medium heavy viscosity, a bit unusual for a Sauvignon Blanc. That was just the introduction! On the nose a wonderful bouquet of floral notes and tropical fruits. On the palate, this was not your New Zealand citrusy mouth puckering and zesty Sauvignon Blanc, but an opulent creamy and rich juice. Soft passion fruit with a brioche quality filled the mouth. This has to be from continual stirring of lees/yeast sediment, but I did not have a chance to ask this question of Trevor or Chris. Just a tinge of lemon zest was present on the finish. This is a great transitional wine for the newer wine consumer transitioning from a Chardonnay bent/leaning to Sauvignon Blanc. Still crisp and clean, but a rounder and more subtle Sauvignon Blanc than most. This wine will make the Best Wines Tasted in 2023 that comes out annually December 15th. It sells for $28 and the next vintage will be the 2022 skipping 2021.

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The dinner was a sautéed fresh shrimp in garlic and butter. Whole wheat pasta and spinach were added into the final dish. Ingredients included garlic cloves, black pepper, red chili flakes, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and a touch of Himalayan sea salt. Plated with a topping of Parmesan cheese and accompanied with a fresh garden salad. The shrimp and Sauvignon Blanc made a beautifully constructed food and wine pairing.

I am now planning my next visit to Paso Robles as soon as possible with the first stop being Dracaena Wines to thank them for the recommendation and next to DéTENTE Wines to taste their complete portfolio!

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.detentewines.com/

https://dracaenawines.com

Two Wines Last Friday Night –2018 Cuda Ridge Wines Malbec & 2020 Wood Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc

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(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Enjoyed two refreshing wines last Friday night after a dinner with our children, one son-in-law and two grandchildren. The first at a wine bar called Brentwood’s Co.Co. County Wine Co located downtown. Live music and one loud and dynamic environment but fun to get out for a change! Enjoyed the 2018 Cuda Ridge Wines Malbec on the wine list. It was “dark and handsome” and gently coated the palate with “inky purple hues” and flavors of juicy plum. Beautiful velvety smooth tannins and surprisingly paired well with cheese popcorn on the table!

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Made it back home and wanted another glass to top off the evening. Pulled a nice 2020 Wood Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc. On the eyes a dark ruby red and medium heavy viscosity.  On the nose blackberry, cherry and violets were dominant. On the palate, plum and caramel pipe tobacco engulfed the mouth with a hint of milk chocolate. The finish was medium with soft edges and extremely smooth with an earthiness, an absence of any strong pyrazines made for a soft and smooth landing and lingering finish with a hint of vanilla.

It was a Livermore wine night and yet never made it to Livermore!

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.CudaRidgeWines.com

https://woodfamilyvineyards.com

2019 Kelly Fleming Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – Triggering A Good Memory

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Background

I was asked in December if I would be interested in receiving and preparing a story for Kelly Fleming Wines. Since my wife and I were members there for many years and had purchased their delicious wines it was a no brainer! In fact today I still have one of the 2008 proudly displayed in the wine cellar. It was most likely purchased in 2010 or 2011 as we followed Celia Welch as winemaker for years.

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The Winery

Kelly Fleming fell in love with Napa Valley many years ago. In 1998 she purchased 300 secluded and hilly acres outside Calistoga. There she planted a 12 acre vineyard, constructed a cave, winery and full kitchen for events. The stone building is pristine and straight forward, but not opulent, it reminds one of the family run wineries in France or Italy built and taken care of with true pride of ownership.

(photo from Kelly Fleming website)

The winery today produces five wines: Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, The Big Pour and The Bears & The Bees. Celia Welch was the original and founding winemaker who has made wine for many wineries in Napa and most notably Scarecrow Wines.  She also has been the consulting winemaker for many wineries. Rebecca George worked alongside Celia for many years and the 2019 was made solely by Rebecca. Rebecca has made wine on three continents for over 15 years. In 2020 Andy George took over as head winemaker.

The Wine – 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Grown

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Just being released in January of 2023, this wine made me remember why I joined the Kelly Fleming Wine Club. The wine stands in contrast to land which the grapes hail from, rough and steep hillsides. The wine is opulent, exquisite and refined from the first waft of aromas to the long lasting finish. First on the nose, red and black fruits abound along with a floral bouquet followed by blueberry being the most aromatic. The coloring is not as dark as I remembered, more of a crimson red and medium heavy viscosity.  On the palate, raspberry and fresh firm plum provide an outline for the savory flavors. Secondary flavors of soft and mellow vanilla pipe tobacco and a modicum of cocoa swirls in the mouth. The finish with structure and velvety tannins surround each tooth and roof of the mouth claiming friendly dominance.  The wine is 100% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon being aged in 85% new French oak barrels and 15% neutral oak for 20 months. 917 cases were produced and will be selling for $185/bottle.

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The meal last evening was a flank steak marinated in Chaka sauce. We normally prepare this on the BBQ, but the seemingly never ending rains, prepared it on a cast iron skillet. Served medium rare and accompanied with sautéed asparagus & mushrooms and a Yukon Gold potato with chives. The meal was wonderful and the wine exquisite, but just a “B level” pairing as the marinade was a bit too strong to enjoy the fullness of the wine. After dinner, we sipped the wine by itself and it fully blossomed without the food.

This was how I remember Kelly Fleming wines and now can’t wait to open the 2008 which is on my “To Drink List” in 2023.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.kellyflemingwines.com/

A Community Supporting a Community

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This 36th annual “First Taste of the Year” event was held on Saturday January 14th, 2023 at the Armory on Main Street, in Copperopolis, California. It was sponsored by the Copperopolis Community Center a volunteer staffed organization that restores and preserves the two publicly owned historical buildings in town. 2023 marks the 36th Annual wine tasting event and coincides with the 163rd anniversary of Copperopolis. The two buildings are the historical brick Congregational Church and the Armory. Both buildings were constructed during the copper rush in the mid 1800’s, the Armory in 1863 and the church in 1865. Copperopolis was the center of the “Copper Rush” (after the gold rush). These are two of the four buildings in town on the National Register of Historic Places: Copperopolis Armory and the Congregational Church. From 1860’s to the time the mines closed in 1945, 72,598,883 pounds of copper were mined in Copperopolis and the copper used in the Civil War, WWI and WWII for ammunition casings.


With advance purchase the cost of $25/pp which included a commemorative wine glass, hors d’ Oeuvres, a raffle and of course many wines to enjoy. Wineries present were: Hurst Ranch Wines (Jamestown), Gianelli Vineyards & Winery (Jamestown), Jazz Cellars (Murphys), Stevenot Winery (Vallecito), Aloria Vineyards (Murphys), Above the Rush Wines (Vallecito), Ironstone Vineyards (Murphys), Indian Rock Vineyards (Murphys) and Jessie’s Grove Winery (Lodi).

Many volunteers contributed setting up & decorating the event, preparing and serving appetizers, greeting guests and making sure wineries each had their “station assigned”. A big thank you to the Board, Volunteers and participating wineries for preserving the local history. And of course the supporters who braved the rain storm to enjoy the event.

Also a special shout out to the local community who supported the event with donations for the raffle. For example, Copper Cove Restaurant, The Golf Club at Copper Valley, Griff’s Restaurant, IGA Market, Cooper’s Coffee Shop, Mi Pueblo Restaurant and many others.

This year the participants voted for Best White Wine and Best Red Wine tasted during the evening. For the Best White Wine, it was a three way tie with Ironstone Vineyards Obsession Symphony, Ironstone Vineyards Verdelho and Aloria Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. Second place was also a tie with Jazz Cellars Blanc de Blanc and Indian Rock Winery Chardonnay.

For the Best Red Wine it went to Hurst Ranch for Miss Leslie’s Last Surrah (a blend). Second place went to Stevenot Winery for their Zinfandel.

Here are a few of the links to previous stories on specific winery participants this year:


1. Jessie’s Grove Winery –

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/09/09/saddle-creek-wine-society-features-jessies-grove-winery-the-golf-club-at-copper-valley/

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2018/04/26/jessies-grove-winery-and-vineyards/

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/10/03/2015-jessies-grove-winery-westwind-zinfandel/

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2020/05/11/2015-jessies-grove-carignane-reserve/

2. Jazz Cellars –

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2020/10/07/2012-jazz-cellars-rhapsody-one-of-my-favorites/

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/09/16/2012-jazz-cellars-pinot-noir-lone-oak-vineyard/

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/08/28/2012-jazz-cellars-rhapsody-50-50-blend-of-roussanne-marsanne/

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2018/06/07/jazz-cellars/

3. Stevenot –

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/12/02/2016-stevenot-barbera-gran-reserva-a-wine-for-everyone/

4. Above the Rush Wines –

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2022/09/24/above-the-rush-wines-2019-tempranillo/

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2022/10/04/above-the-rush-wines-2021-verdejo-a-rare-and-unique-wine/

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2022/10/10/above-the-rush-2021-albarino-from-the-sierra-foothills/

5. Ironstone Vineyards

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/02/14/both-liquid-and-actual-gold-in-the-sierra-nevada-foothills-calaveras-county/


Sláinte,

Michael


https://californiawinesandwineries.com

2013 Detert Family Vineyards – A Twist on The Birthday Celebration

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The Winery

Those familiar with Detert Family Vineyards know that Detert is an established winery. W.F. Detert came to the US in 1866. He operated a gold mine in Jackson, sold it and in 1912 he owned 22,000 acres in Guenoc Ranch in Lake County as well as other ranches/gold mines in Amador Placer and El Dorado Counties. W.F. died in 1929 and it was managed by his son Richard Detert who died in 1951. Tom Garrett, one of the current owners, great-grandmother Hedwig Detert, sold the Guenoc Ranch and purchased 50 acres of the To Kalon Vineyard from Martin Stelling estate in Oakville in 1954.That is when the Detert Vineyard was named. Today it is known as one of the most prestigious vineyards in all of Napa Valley. In 1966 Detert Vineyards started selling their grapes to Robert Mondavi. For many years Robert used Detert Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc for blending.  Today the owners of Detert are all great grandsons of Hedwig Detert: Tom Garrett, John Garrett and Bill Cover. Their first commercial wines were Cabernet Franc (2000) and Cabernet Sauvignon (2002).


The Winemaker

Tom Garrett is the winemaker for the Detert Family Vineyards. Tom started in 1999 at Turley Wine Cellars and then over the next 15 years worked at various wineries. The list shows some exceptional wineries such as Joseph Phelps, Robert Mondavi and Revana Family Vineyards. Tom focused his time with Detert and his other winery Dakota Shy. Tom is well known and perhaps one of the most congenial and pleasant people in Napa Valley. Over the last fifteen years I have known Tom he is always flexible and available to assist, even dropping off wine at another winery for me to pick up on more than one occasion!

The Wine – 2013 Detert Cabernet Franc

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

This week we pulled a bottle of their 2013 Cabernet Franc out of the cellar. The reason behind grabbing this bottle is that it was our eldest daughter’s birthday. My wife had this thought that once a child is grown and out of the house, married with her own children, that on the child’s birthday, the mother should be celebrated for child birth! So with that thought a “solid bottle” was selected for the occasion. The bottle was the 2013 Cabernet Franc. The extremely dark and lush color and medium-heavy viscosity entices one to sip and taste. On the nose black cherries engulfed the olfactory senses. On the palate, soft vanilla pipe tobacco, black pepper contrast with chocolate flavors.  The finish was long and extremely enjoyable. This is a quality Cabernet Franc and something special to drink. Even being 10 years old, (8 years in the cellar), it was bright with fruit, well-structured with tannins and layers of enjoyment. The current allocated release of their 270 cases of 2019 Cabernet Franc sells for around $100.

Their wines, both Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, have for many years made my “Best Wines of The Year List”. I know this trend will continue.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

http://www.detert.com

When Time Stops Enjoying a Good Meal

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(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Last evening a gourmet meal and hours of conversation with good friends. Opened some very nice wines and enjoyed a wonderful meal. Started out with some appetizers and two Chardonnay’s to sip on. The first was a 2018 Hill Family Reserve Chardonnay. The wine was inoculated with X16 yeast and placed in French oak barrels for 8 months. Just before bottling it was placed in stainless tanks for four weeks. Flavors of peach, caramel and toasted hazelnut & almond were noted. The wine is from Yountville in Napa Valley, California. The second wine was a 2016 Montunal Chardonnay from Lugana, Italy near Lake Garda. The Montunal has received 96 points from Decanter. The owner-winemaker Robert Girelli refers to the wine as being full of “white fruits and picking up the minerality of the area”. He uses only indigenous yeast and ages the wine in stainless steel tanks. The results produce lovely herbal qualities that are “intense and compact”. We commented while sipping the layers of flavors during the meal. We then moved on to dinner, taking the remainder of the wines to enjoy with the meal.

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Dinner was prepared by Susan Kelly who once again pulled out all the stops! A Mediterranean spinach tomato Feta cheese stuffed chicken breasts. The flavors pulled one to the shores of Italy with the herbs and spices. The dish was first seared in a skillet and then baked to perfection. Ingredients included in the filling and topping of the chicken breast garlic powder, kosher salt, paprika, chopped spinach, sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped shallot, garlic cloves, chopped fresh basil, gluten free panko, chopped fresh oregano and grated Parmesan cheese. Accompanying the meal was a whole wheat spaghetti and a medley of fresh vegetables consisting of Baby Bella mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Brought out two other wines to enjoy with the meal.

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The first being a 2020 Prospect 772 Wine Company called “The Brat”. It is a blend of 87% Grenache and 13% Syrah from Calaveras County in the Sierra foothills. The Grenache blend with the tomato, spices and herbs was beyond excellent. Or as the winemaker Ron calls it “seductive, elegant and complex”. The next bottle was a 2015 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru a white Burgundy (Chardonnay) from France from Domaine Jomain.  A quick background on this wine. It is pronounced “mon-rashay” and is considered to produce some of the most exquisite Chardonnay’s in the world. The community of Puligny-Montrachet is in the eastern Burgundy region. Prior to the addition of Montrachet in 1879, the village was known as Puligny. The Mont-Rachet slope is above the community. Mont means “hill” and rache translates to “scab or rash” built near a quarry. In the western portion of the vineyard is the Les Perrieres Vineyard with “pierre” meaning “stone”.  It is entirely planted in Chardonnay grapes, with just 11 acres with limestone/clay mix soils, allowing the wines to provide both a freshness and minerality. Other grapes from the region include red wines from Pinot Noir. In France, specifically in Burgundy, a wine term called Premier cru or abbreviated “1er cru”, is the second highest classification level. Grand Cru is the demarcation of wines better than Premier cru or 1er cru. Wines from Montrachet are dry and are noted for the richness and structure. Good bottles can range from $100 to almost $3,000, with some being even higher. They possess a varying depth of flavors and are exceedingly rich in texture and aromas.

As I started out stating “when time stops”, as we were now some four plus hours into the meal and robust conversations. That is what a combination of good friends, wonderful food and exquisite wines will produce.

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://hillfamilyestate.com/

https://www.montonale.it/

https://www.vins-jomain.fr/

http://www.prospect772.com/

2020 Hindsight Wines Sauvignon Blanc and Spicy Shrimp Pad Thai

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The Winery

Previously I have written about the Hindsight Winery in Calistoga and their excellent red wines, especially their Cabernet Sauvignon’s.  About six months ago their long time winemaker, Jac Cole retired. Now some excellent news—they hired Michael Weis, who was the head winemaker at Groth. He is well known for making spectacular wines and I believe he received 100 points from Wine Spectator for one of his Sauvignon Blanc vintages. Additional reading about the winery and ownership can be found at:

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2020/07/16/hindsight-wines-cabernet-sauvignons-calistoga-estate-howell-mountain/

The Wine – 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Their inaugural Sauvignon Blanc release under Michael Weis was handcrafted with an artisan touch. First on the eyes it is a golden straw color and medium viscosity. On the nose, floral aromas waft into the senses, along with green apple which is most prominent. On the palate, citrus accents of lime and lemon come into play and are kept in check with flavor but not overpowering. The finish provides a mouthful feeling of a much heavier wine rather than a “light Sauvignon Blanc”. This is most likely due to the addition of nine percent Viognier. This also helps lower the acidity. This wine goes for only $25.99/bottle. It is not an “in your face” over citrusy Sauvignon Blanc and thus makes it perfect for standalone drinking pleasure or to be paired with a variety of foods. They also make a 2021 Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley which I have not tasted and goes for $29.99/bottle.

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The Hindsight Wines Sauvignon Blanc was pulled from the cellar for last night’s meal due to the spiciness of the dish called Shrimp Pad Thai. Thai, Pad Thai or Phad Thai, is commonly served as a street food and at restaurants in Thailand. Last evening went with a much more flavorful and spicy recipe. The ingredients were thin whole wheat spaghetti, virgin olive oil, minced garlic, uncooked fresh shrimp, eggs, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, green onions, chopped peanuts and lime juice. The Pad Thai sauce included, low sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, Sriracha (lots!) and creamy peanut butter!  Accompanying the meal was a fresh garden salad with an Asian dressing. The meal packed a punch of flavor and warmth! The 2020 Hindsight Sauvignon Blanc Riesling was a godsend. The wine was refreshing, quenched the palate and tasted wonderful with the shrimp. The mouth filling Sauvignon Blanc was a perfect match for this food.

While this 2020 Hindsight Sauvignon Blanc can easily be enjoyed by itself, it was a delightful and an especially refreshing wine to be shared with this food. Another reason it has made my Best Wines Tasted of Year the last two years!

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwines.com

http://www.hindsightwines.com/

2018 Lavender Ridge Vineyard Roussanne

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The Winery

2018 Lavender Ridge Vineyard tasting room is located in the town of Murphys in the lower Sierra Nevada foothills. Lavender Ridge specializes in Rhone varietal wines. They included Cotes du Calaveras Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, Rolle, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Rose, Grenache, Cotes du Calaveras, Mourvedre, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet and Vin Doux. They also feature an artisan cheese selection that is unique and has something for just about everyone. To read more about Lavender Ridge, see two previous articles:

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2020/04/08/traveling-to-wine-regions-while-staying-in-place-today-lavender-ridge-vineyard-in-murphys-california-in-the-sierra-foothills/

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/06/01/lavender-ridge-vineyard-you-get-to-pick-the-title-of-this-article/

The Wine

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The Roussanne is powerful with floral aromatics, with hints of peaches, pears and with a rich and silky smooth mouthful texture, almost creamy. Roussanne on the eyes is a medium golden straw color with medium to medium heavy viscosity. On the nose floral aromatics, hints of pear, green apples, apricots waft into the senses. On the palate, you are treated to a silky smooth mouthful texture. The finish provides a soft nutty almond, compounded with a hint of honey and distinct minerality. This wine has made my Best Tasted in The Year for the last 3 years in the category of under $51. The current release is their 2020 and sells for $30/bottle. An invigorating alternative to Chardonnay.

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Paired this evening with a “lighter” stir fried chicken with Bok Choy. Ingredients included sliced purple onions and topped with sesame seeds.  A very nice pairing with the lighter stir fried chicken, the wine softened the garlic and ginger components. The creaminess of the wine along with the fruit elements provided just enough to frame the meal.

Sláinte,

Michael


https://californiawinesandwineries.com
https://lavenderridgevineyard.com/

2011 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt. Veeder – A Delicious Wine

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The Winery

Sitting high up on Howell Mountain, O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery has been making great wines for over 20 years. They have twenty nine acres planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and six acres planted for blending. Those varietals include Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec, Carménère and Gros Verdot. The Wools Ranch, located in Mt Veeder, is a property having 32 acres planted featuring mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, but also has similar “Bordeaux varietals as the Howell Mountain property and St. Macaire. One last vineyard is in Oakville planted with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon totaling 32 acres. Paul Wools and Betty O’Shaughnessy are the owners and Sean Capiaux is President and Winemaker. To visit and see the vineyards is a thing of beauty that is well manicured by viticulturist Alan Peirson.

The Wine

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The 2011 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt Veeder has been resting comfortably in the cellar for eight years! It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and is a dark luscious red/purple color on the eyes and medium heavy viscosity. On the nose fresh blackberries, blueberries waft into the nose. On the palate, a combination of leather, minerality and gorgeous fruits. The finish is strong with structure and edgy tannins, yet provided a polished experience of the wine. Later versions of Mt Veeder, integrated all the typical “Bordeaux style” grapes into the wine. Current release is the 2019 and goes for $150/bottle.

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The weekly Friday Night Wine & Dine Group had not gotten together for a while due to the holidays and family/travel obligations. It was a fun time with 13 participating last evening at Verona18. Paired with a Filet Mignon served medium rare topped with Gorgonzola, and accompanied by fresh vegetables. A tasty piece of beef that paired well with the O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon and a few others.

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Other wines tasted and enjoyed last night included 2019 Prospect 772 Black Tie Charlie (Calaveras County), 2018 Hanna Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley), 2019 VJB Cellars Negro Amaro (Sonoma Valley), 2013 Young’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Amador), 2018 Harney Lane Petite Sirah (Lodi) and 2020 Windwalker Vineyard Alicante Bouschet (Amador).

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.oshaughnessywinery.com/

https://www.coppervalleygolf.com/homepage/current-operations

https://www.coppervalleygolf.com/

2018 Tenbrink Family Vineyards Chardonnay – A Beautiful Wine & Family

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Tenbrink Vineyards owners Linda and Steve Tenbrink came to Suisun (pronounced Sue-Soon) Valley in 1982 and established a home and made a living as farmers. Arriving with no experience, they now have about 60 acres in walnuts, heirloom tomatoes and various fruit trees. In 2006, they embarked in yet another venture into unchartered waters to make wine. Fortunately, with their friend and winemaker Abe Schoener acting as a mentor, they launch Tenbrink Vineyards. Years later, their daughter Lisa Tenbrink (and now Lisa Tenbrink Howard) and her husband Cliff launched in 2015 Tolenas Winery.

The name Tolenas has a significant history. The “upper valley” area where some of the vineyards are located was once part of the original Rancho Tolenas, part of the Mexican Land Grant incorporating a good portion of Napa and Sonoma Counties. A historical marker near their homestead denotes this information.

You can read more about the winery and wines by clicking on this link:

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2020/01/09/tenbrink-vineyards-and-tolenas-winery-a-family-story/

The Wine – 2018 Tenbrink Chardonnay

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Pulled this wine to have a glass at lunch with fresh tuna sashimi which was delicious from Ohana Seafood. I was told years ago one should always have a beer, whisky or wine with fresh uncooked sashimi. Saved the balance to have with dinner (see below).

When I first tasted this wine in January 2019, I immediately rated it as one of the Best of Year Wines Tasted, just on the nose alone without even tasting it. I can’t recall giving a “score” to any wine before tasting it! When I first sipped the wine it was inspirational. The pale straw coloring provided an array of honeysuckle, pear and apple on the nose and later on the palate. It had a touch of citrus on the finish and was clearly going to be a winner! All the kudos for this wine still ring true! It made my Best Wines Tasted in 2021. I am so pleased I continued to purchase this wine. Still a tremendous bargain today at $32 retail price for the 2021 release.

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Paired this evening with a blackened Swordfish served over long grain and wild rice. Accompanied with a chopped Asian cabbage salad with a light dressing. Picked up the fresh Swordfish in Modesto at Ohana Seafood. When plated the fish was drizzled with Steward & Jasper Orchards Apricot Pepper Sauce that I recently purchased. What a wonderfully delicious combination of spices from the blackened Swordfish, the tangy sauce and the full body coating in the palate of the Chardonnay. Definitely a “perfect 10” on the pairing combination! This wine will make The Best Wines Tasted in 2023!

Sláinte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

http://ohanaseafood.net/

https://www.stewartandjasper.com/