Welcome to November Wine of Month! We’ve been searching over the last couple of months for the perfect complements to the Holiday season – suitable for the table and for simply enjoying a glass. We’ve found an interesting take on an American red (Zinfandel), a fresh, energetic example of a classic European red (Tempranillo), and a surprising white grape from a region you wouldn’t normally expect (Viognier). Don’t worry about pairing these wines with specific dishes. Just pop the cork and let the celebration begin!
Cline Sonoma Estate Viognier 2015
Cline at Cru Cellars? You mean that brand you see on the shelves everywhere? That’s correct but you will not find this wine anywhere else. Viognier is an aromatic white grape that produces wines with lush, silky texture. Its traditional home is in the northern Rhone Valley (France) but has found a new home in Cline’s cool-climate Sonoma Coast and Carneros vineyards. Cold nights and morning fog allow the grapes to ripen slowly providing aromatic complexity, freshness and crisp acidity. Lots of afternoon sunshine adds just the right amount richness and body. We taste apricot and other orchard fruits with hints of orange blossom and citrus. $19.99
Tomàs Cusiné Llebre Tempranillo 2013
The winery Tomàs Cusiné is in the highest elevation vineyards in Catalunya, eastern Spain. This is rugged, mountainous terrain where the grapes grow in calcareous/gravel soils amongst oak trees, pines, and juniper. Tempranillo is the age-worthy red grape most often seen in Rioja and Ribera del Duero. There is a small amount of Garnacha, Carignan, and Syrah blended into the Tempranillo. The grapes are farmed organically and hand-harvested. Josh Raynolds from Vinous loves the wine, “Bright violet color. Fresh red fruit scents are complicated by suggestions of candied flowers and allspice, with a hint of cola in the background. Sweet and silky on the palate, offering juicy raspberry and cherry flavors that firm up slowly on the back half. Shows good energy and thrust on the finish, which is firmed by smooth, slow-building tannins.”
Neyers Vineyards Vista Luna Vineyard, Borden Ranch Zinfandel 2015
Neyers Vineyards is one of our favorite California producers. Bruce Neyers has had a long career working with French wine importer Kermit Lynch. That experience has had an undeniable influence the wines. Neyers farms organically, harvests by hand, and uses minimal intervention in the winery. Borden Ranch is a tiny Sierra Foothills AVA in an outcropping of hard rock – mostly quartz and granite. This rocky base serves to reduce vigor in the vines, and provides a host of mineral components that reveal themselves in the finished wine. Borden Ranch’s cool climate (due to brisk westerly winds) produces low alcohol, highly aromatic, fresh Zinfandel. Only wild yeasts are used in the fermentation. The wine rests in large, used oak barrels to soften the texture without masking the true Zinfandel aromas and flavors of blackberry and pepper with dusty tannins at the finish.