Fàilte! Welcome to the next installment of Exploring the Wine Glass. Mike and I are big proponents of you should drink what you like and you are the only one who can taste like you. We advocate the fact that everyone experiences the wine differently, so in these posts we do not discuss our tasting notes. Instead we include basic information about each of the wineries, and/or a bit about what was happening in our lives while we were enjoying them.
Want to know what we think of the wines? Do you want a little insight into our palates? Then head over to Delectable and check us out. We tell it as we taste it over there. Click here to see the chart we use to describe the color. A video of them as they are poured is found at the end of the post. Visit our YouTube Channel to see other wine videos. As always, since as oenophiles we love to celebrate #WineWednesday, our week runs from one Wednesday to the next.
A Night Out with Friends
My girlfriend and I spent the afternoon in the city! I can’t tell you exactly why we decided to go in since it involves a secret mission for my mom, and she reads each and every post! [Too bad Mom, you are still going to have to wait!]
We went in around 1pm and walked around town. It was a beautiful day. I think Spring has finally arrived. After we completed our original mission, we stopped into a few bars for some beers before heading over to meet up with Jim and Anatoli! Yeah! I love meeting with my social media friends in real life!! If you are unfamiliar with their blogs, please click the link to find out more about them!
Jim recommended we meet up at Aldo Sohm in midtown. I was immediately impressed as soon as we walked in. So ‘swanky’ [yep- I just used that word and it is an accurate description] It was beautiful inside. The lighting, along with the couches, everything about it screamed midtown, and I loved it!
We opened up the evening with a Riesling from Alsace.
Maison Kuentz-Bas was first established by the Kuentz family in 1795, and the domaine as we know it today was forged through a marriage that joined the Kuentz and Bas families in 1895. Nestled in the town of Husseren-les-Châteaux, it sits at one of the highest points in Alsace, and the vineyards stretch out from the village over an area of ten hectares. More than two hundred years of tradition and vineyard pedigree have made these wines perennial favorites, with the grand crus of Eichberg and Pfersigberg earning the highest esteem. However, when the family sold the property to famed vigneron Jean-Baptiste Adam in 2004, many wondered what direction the new team would take. Adam, like the estate’s former owners, has a reputation for being an advocate of Alsatian terroir, and he is the fourteenth generation to continue a family winemaking tradition that began as early as 1614. Eager to restore Kuentz-Bas to its former glory, Adam lowered yields significantly and reverted to natural methods, following organic and biodynamic approaches to vineyard work.
We left France and came back to the New World and chose a Chardonnay from Sandhi. This is a small producer in California that focuses on select vineyards from the Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County. It was founded in 2010 by Rajat Parr, the wine director for Michael Mina Restaurants, and winemaker, Sashi Moorman.
Sandhi represents a union essential to the production of wine: the collaboration between man, earth, and vine. The willing participation of all three elements is necessary to make great wine, and the winegrower must make this collaboration rich and nourishing for all involved. An understanding of these joint efforts informs Sandhi’s exploration of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines throughout the Santa Barbara County terroir.
For our third wine, we returned to France with a Burgundy Santenay “Gravières.”
Domaine Paul Chapelle is a very young domaine by Burgundian standards, having only been started in 1976, when Monsieur Chapelle inherited a parcel of vines in the fine premier cru Santenay vineyard of Les Gravieres. Over the course of the next several years he pieced together a small estate with vineyard parcels in Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault and Santenay. Prior to starting his own domaine, Monsieur Chapelle had made a name for himself as a consulting enologist at some of the very best estates in all of the Cote de Beaune, including Domaines Ramonet, Michel Lafarge, Francois Jobard, Paul Pernot, Simon-Bize, Hubert de Montille and Domaine de la Pousse d’Or. Veritably this is a who’s who list of the greatest estates in the southern half of Burgundy. He began as a consultant in 1967, and based on the caliber of his previous clients, it is quite easy to see that Monsieur Chapelle brought to his own domaine a wealth of experience and winemaking savvy. He retired after the 1995 vintage, handing over the reigns of the estate to one of his two sons in law, Jean-Francois Beck, who was responsible for the vineyard management and winemaking from 1996 thru 2009. The reigns have since passed to Paul Chapelle’s daughter, Christine Beck Chapelle, who has re-immersed herself in the domaine and today oversees all aspects.
We decided to visit Spain for our final wine. A Viña Ardanza Reserva from Rioja was chosen. In 1890, Five Riojan and Basque families founded the ‘Sociedad Vinícola de La Rioja Alta’ in Haro’s Station Quarter. On September 28, 1942, the brand Viña Ardanza was registered. This is the brand that brought the company the largest amount of fame. Leading the way in technology, they acquired a bottling line in 1952, which was the first in La Rioja and had a capacity of 1000 bottles/hour. Always striving to produce the highest quality wines, they We built a new winery in the municipality of Labastida in 1996.
It was a fun evening filled with exceptional wine and wonderful friends. Here’s to hoping we repeat this on a regular basis!
Anatoli, Jim and Me
Argentina Isn’t Only Malbec
I am participating in another #winestudio this month and am learning all about Achaval Ferrer. Although their name is synonymous with Malbec, they produce other varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and even Cabernet Franc!
Achaval Ferrer’s pursuit of quality allows them to produce world class wines that express the hilltop vineyards of Mendoza’s terroir. Their story began in 1995 when Santiago Achával, Roberto Cipresso, Tiziano Siviero and Manuel Ferrer came together with a single goal of creating exceptional wines from Mendoza. In 2007, they achieved their goal of producing 200,000 bottles and reaching 25 international markets. Today, Achaval Ferrer is found in over 65 markets around the world.
It was a very busy day. I left for work at 6:30am and didn’t return home until after 7pm. I knew I was opening the Cabernet Sauvignon but I didn’t want to have just any meal with the wine. So I decided to choose chorizo to pair with it. I went the easy way out and ordered a chorizo burrito from Chiptole. Let me tell you, this pairing rocked!
Definitely Not a Horror Story
Do you remember Lori Petty? She is an actress probably most known for her role in A League of Their Own. Well, she was in a sort of cult horror show named Master’s of Horror that ran from 2005-2007 in which there was an episode named “The Fair Haired Child.” In this episode, a warlock couple abduct a young teenage girl to sacrifice her to a mysterious and evil entity as an offering to resurrect their long-dead boy. I’m guessing she is not quite as proud of this performance, since it isn’t even listed in her IMDb biography.
Anyway, you may be asking why I brought this up. It because Mike and I discovered a little gem in the middle of the Creston Trail in Paso Robles. This gem goes by the name of Shadow Run Winery and they produce a Viognier blend known as Fair Haired Child. [I’m going to go out on a limb and say it has nothing to do with this show] The 2015 wine is 70% estate grown Viognier and 30% Grenache Blanc. The grapes were fermented and aged in 50% new, 50% neutral French oak puncheons. This is a small family run winery with beautiful sitting area outside. One of the family members are pretty much always there. Located on Paso’s east side, they are a bit out of the way but well worth it.
Kettlecorn and Chardonnay
Tonight, we sat down to just relax. We decided we would pick up a movie at RedBox and stay in. Well, that plan went to Sh*^ when the Redbox was out of order. But thank goodness for Amazon Prime. We hunted through the available selections and found a movie starring Bryan Cranston. This movie is a 180 degree turn from Breaking Bad. In this movie he plays a “gentle-souled family-man law enforcer who goes undercover as a money launderer to Pablo Escobar.” And damn it was an awesome movie! Over two hours, but a sit on the edge of your seat kind of movie.
A movie is not a movie unless you have some popcorn. So we shoved a bag of kettle corn popcorn in the microwave and we popped open a bottle of 2013 Passaggio New Generation Unoaked Chardonnay. Let me tell you, it was as if Cindy had this pairing in mind when creating this wine. We bought this wine while we visited Cindy in her tasting room a couple of years ago. It was a fun time, as we also met up with Dave Razzari and spent the afternoon sipping through Cindy’s lineup and tasting some amazing Merlot chocolate.
Cindy is true to her Italian heritage in all the wines she creates. Passaggio is Italian for “passageway.” This has been a big year for Cindy in that she is now in her own winery. It was fantastic to follow her journey as the building was coming together and ultimately completed. One thing that is quickly observed when you meet Cindy for the first time is her passion. It is contagious. As she has on her site: “Passion is a driving force. Following your passion is not about the money. It’s about finding life’s path that is caring, sharing, connecting, loving, and fulfilling. It’s inside each of us.” As on of our tagline states, “Pursue Your Passion,” Cindy definitely does and you can read her guest post about passion here.
Brought By Santa Poured for the Easter Bunny
We were having pulled pork for our Easter dinner. While we were waiting for it to finish up in the slow cooker, we thought we would start the evening off with some Sparkling wine. Santa, aka Mike, left some wonderful wine for me under the tree this past Christmas and I thought we would open one of them. I chose a Brut by Roederer Estate.
Roederer Estate Brut is the first California sparkling wine to be produced by Champagne Louis Roederer. Roederer Estate is locatd in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. It was founded in 1981 when Louis Roederer wanted a California property to produce sparkling wines based upon the centuries old traditions of Champagne. The vineyard location near the ocean provides for a gentle diurnal shift which allows the grapes to mature slowly and develop their full varietal character. The fruit is maintained using an open lyre trellis system or high density plantation. The vineyards are organically and biodynamically farmed.
Pulled Pork and Syrah
For dinner itself, we opened a 2012 Austin Hope Syrah. Let me just say that after I took my first sip, I might have let out an actual “Mmmmmm.” Austin Hope is the winemaker of Hope Family Wines, in Paso Robles which encompasses the Liberty School, Treana, Austin Hope, Troublemaker and Candor wine labels.
Austin studied at Cal Poly, and was an apprentices under Chuck Wagner and in the Rhône Valley. He maintains high quality small production wines that are often only available in to the wine club and in the tasting room. The estate fruit comes from the Templeton Gap which is one of the cooler sub-AVAs in Paso Robles. The use of native clones and high density vineyard planting help to produce these expressive wines.
Hope you have had some great wines and times these past two weeks. Remember, always Pursue Your Passion. We would love for you to leave a comment telling us what your favorite recent wine was.