September Wine Club 2012

September 2012                                   

The Oconee Wine Club

We hope everyone enjoyed the two Portuguese wines from last month.  There was a lot of great response on the red wine so far.  Please comment to this blog with your thoughts on past wines, present, or future selections you would like to receive.

This month I chose two wines from a new up and coming winery called Vina Robles located in Paso Robles California.  Here, proprietor Hans Nef and managing partner Hans – R. Michel bring their Swiss heritage to California’s Central Coast, where they aim to unite the best of both experiences.  “I want Vina Robles to express a unique balance of European heritage and American opportunity. As individuals, we are rooted in the Old World. As winemakers, we are empowered by the New World. But both worlds bring value to what we do, and we endeavor to capture this distinction in our wines.” -Proprietor Hans Nef 

They first discovered Paso Robles in the early 1980s and became enamored with this emerging wine country. Along golden slopes, where the Pacific coastline unfolds into rugged ranchlands and cowboy ambiance, a new generation of California winemakers was turning Paso Robles into one of the world’s most dynamic winegrowing regions.

In the mid 1990s they planted our first estate vineyard and established Vina Robles as a family winery specializing in varieties that excel in the region’s diverse terroir. The vision for Vina Robles is summed up by our motto: European Inspiration – California Character.

Here, the growing season is distinguished by a reciprocating climate of warm inland afternoons and cool marine-moderated evenings. Temperature swings of 50 degrees are not unusual during the summer months. Such conditions are optimal for Rhône and Bordeaux varietals, among others.

The red wines for this month is the Vina Robles Red 4.  The Power of 4 — this Paso blend is more delicious than the sum of its parts. It combines grapes from our prestigious Huerhuero Vineyard, located in the rolling hills of Paso Robles, where warm afternoons and cool evening breezes guide the grapes to perfect ripeness. Vina Robles’ RED4 blend showcases the structure of Petite Sirah, the forward fruit of Grenache, the spice and cherry qualities of Syrah, and the rustic character of Mourvèdre. An intriguing, youthful wine; your perfect dinner companion.

  • Color:Dark cherry
  • Aroma: Dark fruit and dried prunes with notes of clove and allspice
  • Taste: Opens with juicy ripe fruit, hints of oak and spice; medium bodied with elegant tannins and a long
  • Food Pairings: Leg of lamb braised with garlic and thyme

Santa Maria style BBQ tri-tip or dry rubbed BBQ baby back ribs

Pasta with fire roasted tomato sauce and grilled chicken

The white for this month is the Vina Robles Sauvignon Blanc 2010.  They source this Sauvignon Blanc fruit from a small lot on our Jardine Vineyard. Sauvignon Blanc heralds the beginning of the harvest in late August to early September. The fruit is hand picked in the cool morning hours and immediately delivered to the winery. The membrane press we use to process the fruit leaves a very low level of solids in the resulting juice and therefore preserves more of the varietal characteristics and acidity in the finished wine. The wine is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to preserve the aromatics of the variety. Following fermentation the wine is transferred into smaller tanks for four months and lees stirring takes place to soften the wine and increase mouthfeel and texture. This Jardine Sauvignon Blanc did not undergo malolactic fermentation to preserve the fresh, crisp finish.

Color: Brilliant straw with green hues

  • Aroma: Green apple, white peach with notes of minerality
  • Taste: A medium bodied, smooth wine balanced with fresh acidity and a lingering clean finish

88 Points – Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Nov/Dec 2011

  • Silver Medal – Central Coast Wine Competition 2011
  • 95 Points, Gold Medal – CA State Fair Wine Competition 2011
  • 87 Points – Wine Enthusiast, May 2011

click on this link to see this wine showcased on TV!

Excellent as an aperitif and with hors d’oeuvres, light appetizers or tapas

  • Fresh shucked oysters with a soy-wasabi dip
  • Seared scallops with a mango or papaya salsa

Connoisseurs Club

Both of these gems come from an northern Italian producer called Ceretto.  For most, Ceretto is predominantly recognized for its extraordinary red (and white) wines, estate vineyards, exceptional quality, unique and architecturally modern wineries, and design.

The family DNA is engraved with the constant pursuit of excellence.  In fact, over the last 20 years, they have extended their interests beyond the production of fine wines to include other local products and activities such as hazelnuts, authentic traditions of Langa, the production of torrone, or nougat, haute cuisine, the selection of excellent cheeses, and the importation of a carefully selected group of foreign wineries.

The white for this month is the Ceretto Blange 2010.  Made from 100% Arneis grapes located in the Vezza d’Alba, Castellinaldo and Castagnito areas of Northern Italy.  The grapes are cold pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks.  The temperature is controlled via a centralized computer system, which guarantees a uniform development of the wine in its evolution, intervening directly on the biometabolism of the yeasts.

Arneis is a native varietal producing a very fruity wine with hints of pear and apple. Its fragrance and flavor are also enhanced by the small amount of CO2 maintained from the fermentation, which also helps to make up for the varietal’s typically low acidity.

The Arneis, among the first ventures undertaken by the Bruno and Marcello Ceretto, has just celebrated its 26th birthday.  This famous white, fruity with a bit of effervescence, is appreciated worldwide, its curious French-inspired name evoking an idea of elegance.  The name Blangé is derived from the word “boulanger,” or baker, from the French residing in the nearby village of Cherasco long ago.

This wine was rated 93 by Wine & Spirits Magazine!  Retail $ 19.99

The red for this month is the Ceretto Barolo 2006.  Made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes using floating-cap fermentation.  The fermentation process takes place in stainless steel tanks for 14 to 15 days.  After malolactic fermentation, the wine is transferred into 300 liter French oak barriques half of which are used just once and the other half are new for 12 months.  The wine is then transferred into smaller casks for another 12 months before it is bottled.

90 Rating by Robert Parker!

“The 2006 Barolo Zonchera is a pretty, somewhat ethereal wine laced with crushed flowers, berries, spices, minerals, all of which come together in a firm, classic style for this house. The 2006 is one of the finest recent vintages of the Zonchera I can remember tasting. It isn’t a huge wine, but the balance and the integration of the oak in particular are both first-rate. I would prefer to drink this relatively early as I am not sure there is enough fruit to support extended cellaring. Still, it is a fabulous effort from Ceretto in what has often been an underachieving bottling in the past. Well done. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2024. ”

Retail $ 44.99