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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.
Slainte,

 

Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.casinomineranch.com/

2008 Detert Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc

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When looking at the Detert Family Vineyards logo one might expect a “gnarly, rough and tumble” wine perhaps. Nothing could be further from the truth as their Cabernet Franc is smooth, a full mouth lingering pleasant concoction of chocolate, and numerous layers of berries and tobacco. Tom Garret hosted me six or seven years back and with his experience at Turley, Joseph Phelps, Robert Mondavi, and under Heidi Peterson Barrett as her assistant winemaker for Revana, he has “it down pat”. I have consistently drank and rated his wines as one of the top 10 Cabernet Franc’s in Northern California. For six years in a row their Cabernet Franc made the “Best of the Year” on my favorites for the year.

 

Tonight pulled this 2008 Cabernet Franc to go with a seared BBQed ribeye steak medium rare, Yukon Gold potato and fresh garden salad. This 2008 was still strong with fruit, structure and the silky tannins were just starting to settle down. A wonderful wine and could easily go another  3-4 years in the cellar.

 

Slainte,

 

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

http://www.detert.com

2015 Jessie’s Grove Carignane Reserve

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2015 Jessie’s Grove Carignane Reserve, from Lodi, California pulled for last nights dinner. This Carignane Reserve was intense and with freshly crushed berry & cherry aromas. Flavors seem to light up this full-bodied, bold and ripe wine. The fruit flavors were focused and pure and the texture was vibrant, giving the wine a lot of vivaciousness. Tremendous cherry flavors burst in the palate. Paired with pork chops, Bucatini pasta with butter, garlic and mushrooms. #jessiesgrove #jessiesgrovewinery #carignane

See previous story on Jessie’s Grove Vineyard & Winery:

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

 

Slainte,

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

http://www.jessiesgrovewinery.com/

2016 Rosa Fierro Cellars Bittersweet Zinphony (Zinfandel) – A Versatile Wine

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What a refreshing treat last evening of Rosa Fierro Cellars (Livermore) Zinfandel. This wine won Best in Class at the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. On the eyes a dark lush purple with medium to medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, cocoa, nutmeg and cinnamon were the alluring fragrances beckoning one to sip. Once on the palate, a collection of red raspberry and boysenberry danced in your mouth. No big Amador “fruit boom” Zinfandel, a straight fruit forward with a slight tartness. The finish incorporated a spicy pepper and a little nutmeg for an enjoyable duration. This wine is extremely versatile and could go with a variety of foods. We had this on its own last night on the warm patio with another couple (social distancing). He is an avid Zinfandel critic and is a judge at the California Wines & Wineries Cabernet Franc Wine Competition. All of us gave this wine a two thumbs up! Only 125 cases were produced by Rosie. She used 50% one year old French oak barrels and 50% neutral American oak barrels in this 100% Zinfandel wine. Note: Rosa Fierro Cellars is located near the Livermore Airport, but will be setting up shop at 2245 “A” South Vasco Road on July 1st in Livermore. The wine retails for $32 bottle.
Slainte,
Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com
https://www.rosafierrocellars.com/

2017 Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc – An Exquisite Wine/Food Pairing

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Pulled a 2017 Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc to pair with dinner. Dinner was fresh halibut grilled on the BBQ in a homemade Thai sauce (chili pepper flakes, lemon, Himalayan sea salt, brown sugar, honey, ginger, olive oil, etc.). Grilled for 7-8 minutes a side in a aluminum foil “pan” and turned once. Served over brown & long grain rice and with an artichoke. The wine on the eyes was pale yellow straw color with a medium viscosity. On the nose tropical floral aromas. On the palate, lime , mango and trace amounts of minerality. This was an exquisite wine and food pairing. #crockerandstarr #crockerandstarrwines #sauvignonblanc #sauvignon_blanc #napavalleywines https://californiawinesandwineries.com

 

Slainte,

Michael

https;//californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.crockerstarr.com/

2016 Rapp Ranch Carneros Chardonnay – Creamy Vanilla & Butterscotch

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Last night pulled a 2016 Rapp Ranch Carneros Chardonnay while enjoying the warm evening. Rapp Ranch Wines are part of the Shadybrook Estate Winery in Coombsville (Napa Valley). Winemaker Rudy Zuidema has consistently made this one of the perennial top 10 Chardonnay’s in California on my Best Wines of The Year. On the eye is a golden straw color and medium viscosity. On the nose and palate you are embraced with pear, kiwifruit and butterscotch. This wine is creamy with hints of vanilla. The finish has a slight minerality to make this a long lasting episode of enjoyment. The winery lists the price at $40 for the current release, 2017.

 

Previous story on Shadybrook Estate:

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/09/08/2014-shadybrook-estate-winery-cabernet-sauvignon/

 

Previous story on Winemaker Rudy Zuidema:

https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/09/23/rudy-zuidema-a-look-at-the-extraordinary-winemaker-golfer-husband-father/

 

Slainte, 

Michael

https://californiawinesandwineries.com

https://www.rappranchwine.com/

 

 

 

 

2017 Duckhorn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – A Real Champion!

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Pulled this out from the cellar last night and was ecstatic. A couple of weeks back pulled a 2013 Duckhorn Howell Mountain Cabernet and was under whelmed with a “flat finish”. This 2017 came through like a champion. As you probably know, Duckhorn Vineyards has historically made exceptional wines, specifically Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots (Three Palms). This had those great qualities. On the eyes, deep dark crimson coloring and medium heavy viscosity in the glass. On the nose, the aromas of dark fruit, especially blackberries, with a sweet vanilla wafted into the senses. On the mouth licorice, leather and black tea filled the palate. All producing a medium and extremely smooth silky finish. This 2017 Duckhorn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon finished aligned with my expectations of structure and tannins providing a more typical Duckhorn vintage with a strong finish. Aged 16 months in 100% French oak (50% new, 50% used). It is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, .5% Cabernet Franc and .5% Petit Verdot.

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A wonderful pairing with a BBQ’ed seared ribeye steak, Yukon potato and garden salad. A perfect late spring, early summer treat here in California. Retails at $78 and for a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon a real joy to savor.

 

Slainte,

Michael
https://californiawinesandwineries.com
https://www.duckhornwineshop.com/