Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

La Motte – All the Way From South Africa

Edmund Terblanche of La Motte

One of the advantages of massive tastings like Hospice du Rhone is that you get to try wines that are harder to find and from places you don’t get to see every day.  Such as South Africa.

We met a couple of really interesting producers from there, including Edmund Terblanche, of La Motte, in the Franschhoek Valley in the Cape winelands.  It being Hospice du Rhone, Terblanche was pouring the winery’s shiraz wines.  Yes, shiraz is the Australian name for syrah, but apparently, it’s also the preferred term in South Africa, too.

“That’s

Continue reading La Motte – All the Way From South Africa

Irish Family Vineyard 2007 Viognier

Type: Dry White Made: In Calaveras County, California, With viognier grapesPlays well with: seafood, salads, mild cheeses

 

The 2007 Viognier from Irish Family comes with the expected florals in the nose – honeysuckle in this case. A grape of the Rhone region wines in France, viognier has an instantly recognizable nose of flowers like honeysuckle or citrus like tangerine peel and also honeyed. A little blended into syrah contributes aromatics to a traditional red wine in the Rhone from France. Viognier is a handy grape to have around.

 

There is a flinty minerality as well that wasn’t

Continue reading Irish Family Vineyard 2007 Viognier

Chateau d’Aqueria 2007 Rose Tavel

The good folks at Blackwell’s wines and spririts were featuring Chateau d’Aqueria 2007 Tavel when we wandered in there a couple months ago. The winery is one of the oldest in the Tavel region of France’s southern Rhone region (French wines being labeled after where they’re grown and made rather than by the grapes in them, with each region using basically the same grapes to make the wine, anyway, so a Bordeaux is always going to have cabernet sauvignon and merlot in it, no matter who in Bordeaux made it). Tavel is best known here in the States –

Continue reading Chateau d’Aqueria 2007 Rose Tavel

Robledo 2006 Pinot Blanc

Pinot blanc, one of the 22 varietals common to the Rhone region of France, has become a star in its own right.  Here in California, there are a few plantings in Paso Robles and Lake County.  And it was from Lake County that the Robledos got their grapes for their 2006 bottling. The aroma of peach and related stone fruits fills the glass with a hint of something special and different. That something is the gooseberry and grapefruit flavors that blend with the peach taste.  This is a cool region grape, but there is no grassiness like you often

Continue reading Robledo 2006 Pinot Blanc

Halter Ranch 2006 GSM

GSM is shorthand – 1980s Australian shorthand –  for a classic Rhone blend of three grapes – Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. The basic formula will vary from year to year as one grape stands out over the others. The 2006 contains 45 percent grenache, 33 percent syrah and 22 percent mourvedre. The nose is full of cedar, cherries and berry fruit. The fruits are dry in the mouth with no residual sweetness but lots of flavor and acids that show off the brightness of the grenache and yet allows the spiciness of the syrah to display itself on the

Continue reading Halter Ranch 2006 GSM

Halter Ranch – Growing the Good Stuff

Courtesy Halter Ranch

Every so often, it doesn’t hurt to remember that wine is, ultimately, an agricultural product and that you get grapes by farming them.  Fortunately, when Mitch Wyss came in to grow grapes for Halter Ranch Winery owner Hansjorg Wyss, he came in as a farmer.  However, one with not much experience growing wine grapes.

“It was a real trial by fire,” said Leslie Wyss, Mitch’s wife.  But Mitch is still there and it’s not because of a family connection.  He and Hansjorg are not related.  Leslie explained that Mitch is of Swiss

Continue reading Halter Ranch – Growing the Good Stuff

Carmichael Sur Le Pont 2005 Monterey County

While the Carmichael Sur le Pont is not technically an oddball bottle of wine.  The fact that it is made up of 80 percent syrah means it can be legally called a syrah, and that’s hardly oddball these days.  But that other 20 percent of lesser known grapes adds something really special to the final product. We promise tastings of grenaches, mouvedres and carignans in the future. But for now they are all present in the 2005 Carmichael Sur Le Pont, with 14 percent mouvedre, 5 percent carignan and 1 percent grenache. These are all Rhone varietals, meaning they

Continue reading Carmichael Sur Le Pont 2005 Monterey County