Eden Canyon 2005 Jolie Bordeaux-Style

edencanyonjolieThis is a classic Bordeaux-style wine, made with 88 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 12 percent Petit Verdot. this is no heavy fruit bomb, but it’s no lightweight, either, even with only 13 percent alcohol.  Which means you get the flavors of the wine without the “hot” alcohol taste.

It has a rich ruby color with a deep cherry fruit nose and French oak perfume. The acids are centered with some softer tannins and no residual sweetness. There’s a dry fruit taste and a very good finish. Match it with a nicely grilled steak or herb garlic-crusted prime rib.

Eden Canyon 2006 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

edencanyoncabOf the flight of several wines that Elaine Villamin was pouring when we stumbled onto her at one of our local wine stores, Red Carpet Wines in Glendale, CA, this one was easily the best of the flight.  It’s made from 100 percent estate grown cabernet.  That is, Villamin made the wine from grapes her father grew on his property – and the care they took shows.
It has a deep ruby color, in fact, it’s almost black.  There is some grassiness in the nose – which a classic trait found in cabernet sauvignon grapes grown in the cooler regions of Bordeaux, France.  Best of all, the wine is extremely well balanced – no acid or fruit leaping out of the glass. Just the rich flavor of a classic red wine.  It’s good by itself or better with a hunk of red meat and/or something good and garlicky.  It’s a perfect wine to celebrate the good things in life, like some good cheese and bread.  Or the fact that it’s Friday night and you’re still alive and employed.

Eden Canyon – Small and Interesting

edencanyon

It was just a fluke that we happened upon Elaine Villamin, of Eden Canyon Vineyards, when we stopped in at Red Carpet Wine in Glendale, California.  We were trying to kill time before our dinner reservation and had no intention of doing any tasting.  But Villamin was not only there with a nice selection of her winery’s offerings, she spent some significant time with us, telling us her story.

In 1996, her father, Danny Villemin, suddenly decided to grow grapes on his 10 acres near San Luis Obispo.  He wasn’t even a wine drinker, but being the kind of guy he is, that didn’t stop him.  Neither did the August 2006 wildfire that burnt down the vineyard.  edencanyonfire

Well, you know how you can use the process of crushing grapes to make wine as a metaphor for coming out a better person after suffering a crushing blow?  Well, the Eden Canyon is another one.  Elaine told us that all that ash from the fire has actually made a better vineyard.  Indeed, even winemaker Kenneth Volk was buying their grapes.

“That’s how my dad got started,” Elaine said.

Eventually, both she and her dad studied viticulture at one of the U.C. Davis programs, and Elaine went on to enroll in the L’ecole de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France.

“It’s like a boot camp,” she said.

She’s now the wine maker, although her father still gets plenty of input.

You can get Eden Canyon wines through Red Carpet Wine (redcarpetwine.com) or through the Eden Canyon Website (edencanyon.com).  They’re also on FaceBook

Coral Mustang 2006 Tempranillo Rosé

When you’re ready to drink this rosé, pull it from the fridge about half an hour to an hour before you drink it.  You want it chilled, but not too cold or you’ll miss all the lovely complexities in the wine.

It’s light in color with a strawberry nose.  There are none of the herbs, leather or smoke that you normally associate with tempranillo.  That’s because those elements, along with the color, come from the skins of the grapes.  Red wines are red because they are initially fermented after the whole grape berry has been crushed to release some of the juice, but before that juice is pressed out of the grape. Roses are usually made from juice that’s been in contact with the grape skins for a short time before being bled off a larger red wine batch or pressed out of the skins.

Whe you taste the Coral Mustang rose, you should get dry lighter fruit with some acidity to cleanse the palate. Modest in alcohol, it’s an excellent summer sipper on its own or a best friend to a salad of any kind. This was one of the first Roses we tried and it still stands out as one of the best against French, Spanish and our own home made.

Coral Mustang 2005 Tempranillo

This is seriously yummy stuff.  Not to diss Kenneth Volk, because he makes some very, very good tempranillo, but the Coral Mustang Tempranillo is even better.  The deep ruby color sets you up for dark fruit and bramble fruit – think blackberries.  It’s extremely well balanced with the perfect acid/tannin/alcohol triumvirate.  It made Mike take a second long taste to see if he had missed some critical detail. Nope.  It’s just rich and satisfying.  It’s great on its own but would go well with any dish you want to take off the grill or even a nice little pan-fried steak with mushroom gravy.  Or chicken breast with blackberry and traditional beurre blanc.  Or whatever richly flavored meal you can think of.