C&C, Byron, Still Waters, and the Wrath of Grapes!
I have deemed today to officially be Red and White day! And not just any red and white, it’s Red and White WINE time! So in the spirit of the day let’s alternate between the two and talk WINE!
Starting with the first red, a lovely 2010 Byron Pinot I had recently at Marisol at the Cliffs Resort. Byron is located on the Eastern edge of the Santa Maria Valley, and was founded in 1984 by Ken Brown. And since 2003 with the addition of wine maker Jonathan Nagy the winery has become one of the more prominent Pinot Noir houses in Northern Santa Barbara. The 2010 Pinot is a cool climate Pinot with a 14.5% alcohol content it is rich red in color with a rose petal and black fruit nose. On the palate flavors of plum, blackberry and smoke are added to a hint of cherry and tobacco that rolls across the tongue in a velvety finish. I drank this wine with a deep fried coconut crusted prawn and the Pinot enhanced the sweet, succulence of the shrimp.
I had the Wrath Sauvignon Blanc at one of our new favorite places Sidecar Restaurant. Wrath is located in the Santa Lucia Highlands, 25 miles southeast of Monterey, and practices sustainable farming. Because of their sustainability practices they have been recognized and certified by SIP. The 2011 Ex Anima Sauvignon blanc is a wine I could sit and smell for days!!! The concentrated aromas are floral bouquet, and fruity with notes of citrus and grass. On the palate the acid was balanced, with grass, minerals and honeydew melon. The wine is crisp and refreshing, and great for a picnic. I drank it with the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and biscuits at Sidecar. It picked up on the saltiness of the breading (so if salt isn’t your thing be prepared for it in this pairing) while elongating the soft yet not overwhelming gaminess of the chicken. Aged for 3 months in stainless steel with an alcohol level of 12.9% the Ex Anima Sauv blanc is a 100% Musque clone sauvignon blanc which is what affords it the high aromatics.
The Still Waters’ 2007 Clone 3 Cuvee was drunk at Luis, it’s a Merlot based Bordeaux blend that is 40% Merlot, 37.5% Malbec, 12.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petite Sirah, 5% Cabernet Franc and 100% from Still Waters Vineyard in Templeton. Located in the El Pomar district, the ranch sits where the soil is rich with nutrients and a perfect climate for growing grapes. They harvested the grapes early in the morning and processed them right away to make sure the fruit stays cold and fresh. All this tender loving care creates a wine imparted with a deep, crimson color that is fruit forward with a black cherry, pomegranate and bitter chocolate nose and black cherry, raspberry, blackberry and dark chocolate flavors. It was fairly well balanced with medium tannins and when paired with the Bacon S’more, the chocolate brought out some of the acid and made it more prominent, while reminding me of a chocolate covered cherry cordial.
Claiborne and Churchill is one of our favorite wineries, they are consistently good. In fact it was one of the first wine clubs we joined and we have been members for several years ever since. Claiborne “Clay” Thompson and Fredericka Churchill are the owners and left being professors at the University of Michigan to set about opening their winery in 1983. Since opening their environmentally friendly, straw bale winery they have specialized in Alsatian style whites. Wines that are typically sweeter with higher sugar content like Gewurztraminer and Riesling, are made into an aromatic, fruity, and uncharacteristically dry wine. Their wine maker Coby Parker-Garcia truly is gifted and makes wonderful wines, both red and white varietals. And right now, their new 2010 Edna Valley Chardonnay is quite delish. One of the reasons is they sourced grapes come from one of my favorite Chardonnay vineyards, Oliver’s Vineyard located at the Talley Family Vineyards. The Chard has a 13.9% alcohol level and was aged in 3 year old French oak barrels imparting a touch of oak and butter, while allowing the fruit to shine through. It had tropical fruit notes with a hint of minerality and creamy apple with apricot and citrus on the palate. There were only 140 cases of this Chardonnay produced making accessibility very limited, so if you have a chance to get a bottle or 2 or 3, you probably should.
“What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch” W. C. Fields