Posts Tagged ‘blend’

A taste of the Pacific Northwest – Owen Roe Winery

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Owen Roe Tasting 5/5It’s hard to imagine, but not so long ago, wine experts turned up their nose at Napa. California wines, competing with their French counterparts? C’est ridicule! Yet, starting with the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 where Napa swept the reds and whites, new meccas of wine goodness have been popping up all around the country. One of the latest hotbeds to hit the vino shelves is the great Pacific Northwest. Between its diverse regions of soil and climate favorable for producing fruit with low pH and on point acidity, the Pacific Northwest has burst into the wine scene with distinct flavor, power and personality.

Owen Roe Sinister HandOne of our favorite labels from the Pacific Northwest has to be Owen Roe from David O’Reilly. From its memorable labels (like the severed hand of Sinister Hand) to its complex layers and balance of fruits and spice, Owen Roe’s wines are silky on the palate and big on personality. Such a strong core can only be developed by the history and soil it comes from. Steeped in Irish heritage, the winery is named after Owen Roe O’Neill a 17th century patriot from County Cavan Ireland (where David is originally from) who led an army against Cromwell based principles of integrity and liberty, two ideals that inspire the wines at Owen Roe and are commemorated through images on each of the Owen Roe labels. Continuing the tradition of integrity in his vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Washington’s west end Yakima Valley, Owen Roe’s grapes are hand harvested and bin fermented with manual punch downs and finally aged in French Oak bringing forth the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Yakima Red Owen RoeThe result? A powerful Pacific Northwest offering of some of the best Pinots and Syrah’s we’ve tasted.

  • Syrah Ex Umbris ’09: Latin for “out of the shadows”, this started as a one-off produced from the smoky grapes of a wildfire, but has become a signature Syrah. Deep plum and dark cherry greets you on the nose with a velvet palate of blackberry, peppercorn and black licorice against plush tannins.

Sinister Hand GSM ’09: Besides having one of our favorite conversation labels (depicting the result of a rowing competition between the O’Neills and O’Reillys where in order to reach land first and own it the lagging rower sliced off his hand, tossed it on shore, and became king), this Grenache blend brings a complexity that’s hard to pass up. 79% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 3% Mouvedre, and 2% Counoise.

Yakima Red Bordeaux-style Blend ‘09: Showcasing the world-class Merlot and Cabernet-Franc grapes of the Yakima Valley, the fruit is from several small vineyards from the cooler western end of the region, where the long days of sunshine and moderate temperatures in the evening conspire to produce lush aromatic grapes with lovely acidity and low ph. The result is a lush black cherry, bright red berry and cassis layers with a toasty spice finish.

Owen Roe Ex UmbrisDon’t have a weekend to jet up to the Oregon / Washington border? Never fear my wine enthusiasts, we’ll bring the Pacific Northwest to you (minus the weather). Join us this Thursday 5/5, Cinco de Mayo, to take a tour through Owen Roe’s great Northwest best paired with our own Southwest feast.

Cheers!
Davina DaVino

Blends – the Varietal All-Star Team

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Blends - the Varietal All-Star TeamI love a good blend. I’m not talking about the bland, throw-together-whatever-we-have-leftover blends. Thanks, I’ll pass on those. I’m talking about the perfectly balanced masterpieces of vino. I’m talking about the blends that in one sniff, swirl and swallow celebrate the unique attributes of each varietal in a single, powerful union. Maybe it comes from my sports background or maybe because it’s impossible to turn on the T.V. right now without running into another March Madness game. (I’m not bitter the Gators beat my Gauchos…no, not at all.) Blends are like an all-star varietal team. Sure you could have a team of Zin power forwards dunking fruit bombs all day, but who’s going to run the court and bring some color balance to that game? Now throw a little Petite Sirah point guard in the mix, maybe a Grenache guard, and now you’re talking a power team!

Thursday 3/31 Moonstone Cellars Wine TastingWhy blend? According to one of the blend’s best, Moonstone Cellars (featured at this Thursday’s 3/31 tasting), color and balance are the top two reasons. Blending can brighten up a wine, smooth the acidity, balance the alcohol level, and bring complexity to the palate.

In our opinion, Paso Robles has taking the blend to a true art form and has a bounty of blends to pick from.  We thought we’d share a few of our favorites for your all-star vino team consideration.

  • Justin 2007 Isosceles
    A big money player, but packs a punch worth the ticket. Offers an opaque, dense purple-black core with little color change to the rim. The nose brings black and blue fruit, firm but inviting oak notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a sense of just-roasted dark-roast coffee beans with a later note of dark cocoa, a dash of black pepper, and a drop of vanilla. The palate reveals an immensely flavored wine, repeating the black fruit intensity and powerful tannins.The roster: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot
  • Chronic Cellars 2009 Sofa King Bueno
    Not every player demands a huge contract; Chronic Cellars’ 09 Sofa King Bueno brings power playing for an approachable price. Offering juicy fruits, Bing cherries and ripe blackberries followed up by notes of toasted vanilla, cinnamon spice and clove. Consistent flavor, well-integrated fruit and delicate tannins. Mouth-filling and seductive with no hard edges.The roster: 27% Petite Sirah, 25% Syrah, 20% Tempranillo, 14% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre and 4% Tennat 
  • Herman Story 2008 Tomboy - 90 Points, Robert Parker!
    Who said all great blends are reds? Not us! Herman Story’s 08 90 point white is a full-flavored, balls-to-the-walls, intensively flavored blend. The 08 Tomboy blend brings balance to the court with a powerful, rich white blend of marmalade and tropical fruit aromatics to a boat load of glycerin and concentration. Drink over the next 1-2 years.The roster: 40% Marsanne, 40% Roussanne, and 20% Viognier

So who makes your roster?

Cheers!
Davina DaVino