While there is undeniably art and craft in making wine from a single varietal- some might argue more so even than in making a blend- I’d argue that blending, while it still allows for an expression of the fruit as well as the place it’s grown, also allows for more of an expression of the winemaker as well. On the last Sunday of this month, under the auspices of our friend Mary Grace Rodarte our tasting features wines that are all blends of several varietals, and delicious ones at that. The tasting is here at Feast at 3:30 pm on the 25th, it costs $35 plus tax and tip, and it includes food pairings that will, with any luck, complement the wines. If you’d like to join us, please note that web and email reservations don’t hold you a place at our tastings, so you’ll want to call us at 326-9363.
Blends from around the world
2012 Hugel Gentil “Hugel,” Alsace $18.00
From Serge Dubs, who has held the title of World’s Best Sommellier (1989): “Very bright young pale green colour with silvery hints, fresh and lively, it clings quite tightly to the glass. Frank, open and crisply aromatic, it has blossomy floral tones (rose, jasmine, may, linden, acacia, almond), with fruit (white peach, pear, bitter orange) and spice (citron, cardamom, liquorice). Its bouquet is fresh, young and deeply fragrant. Discreetly elegant and dry, with nice body and length, lightly opulent, its finish is crisply scented and aromatic. Enjoy this wine young, for its frank, aromatic bouquet, reflecting the diversity of each Alsace grape variety.”
2012 Torbreck “Cuvée Juveniles,” Barossa Valley $21.00
Bold and seductive, this youthful, unoaked blend encapsulates all that is great in natural, pure, unseasoned wine.Its fragrance, intensity and energy are all reminiscent of freshly fermenting must, with ripe juicy flavours of blackberry, spiced cherries, minerals and Asian spices wrapped around a skeleton of fresh acidity and fine mineral laden tannins.Soft and sensuous, this wine is frightfully drinkable already, but as with itspredecessors will greatly recompense those who choose to give it a few years in the cellar.
2012 Zaca Mesa “Z Cuvée,” Santa Ynez Valley $17.00
“We have been producing this Rhône-style blend since 1992. It is inspired by the wines of the Southern Rhône, where they have been blending these varieties together for centuries to create wines that are greater than the sum of their parts. Our 2012 Z-Cuvée is a complex Rhône-style blend. Grenache adds rich raspberry aromas and flavors; Mourvèdre brings notes of blueberry, meat and spice; Cinsault brings a touch of dusty berry.”
~ Eric, Kristin, Agustin, Ruben, Jose, Angel, Gregorio & Ramirez, Winemaking and Vineyard team
2010 Marchesi Fumanelli “Squarano” Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC $54.00
The region saw a cold spring followed by hot weather in the early summer leading to moderate temperatures in the second half of the summer. The grapes are hand harvested and selected from 30-40 year old pergola and 8-10 year old guyot vines on the Squarano Estate. Part of the grapes, (about 30%), are let to dry in plateaux for 30 to 40 days during October/November. A very expressive color of cherry red with violet hints. The bouquet is pronounced with mature red fruits such as cherries and blackberries with black licorice, sandalwood, cedar and spice notes. Fine tannins linger on the spiced finish. A full bodied harmonious wine.
2006 Château Lassegue “Lassegue” St.-Emilion Grand Cru $60.00
In the glass the Lassègue is dark, pure and wears a glossy sheen. Initially it kicks off with a blast of coffee and very primary blackcurrant fruit, but this soon fades to reveal some more cerebral, reserved notes; there is a slightly roasted, dried-fruit edge, with a touch of pepper too. The palate is full and composed, quite richly textured, velvety with a little of that dried fruit character coming through and its structure allows us to gauge the wine’s potential; it has a very firm grip to it, with solid tannins, not drying but certainly the most notable feature in the mouth, This is not any easy-going St Emilion for drinking young, but one that needs (and has now had) some time in the cellar. It has a ripe concentration, and perhaps reflects the winemaker’s many years spent working in California, but it certainly isn’t pushed too far.
2014 Ca’ Marcanda “Promis” by Gaja, Toscana $38.00
The proprietary name Promis was created by the Gaja family to denote commitment, expectation, fulfillment, and hope. The promise of quality and the reward of diligence and excellence. The grapes are grown in the terre brune (rich, dark soils) which consist primarily of loam and clay. The climate – hot summer days, freshened by brisk sea air and cool nights – is ideal for the grapes grown here. The 2014 vintage was an overall small crop due to the challenge of a very cool and rainy year. However, the wine is pleasing, expressing intense and mineral flavors. The Merlot core of the wine is open and fulfilling, lightened by the juiciness from Sangiovese. The finish is remarkably fresh, with notes of moist earth, fresh-cut grass and roots.