As the trend continues in the industry, today, we celebrate #GrenacheDay over the social media world. This is a day to give focus to a well loved varietal around the world!
There are two types of Grenache grapes: white and red. Garnacha originated in Spain. It quickly made its way up to France where it is best known in the Rhone Valley, mostly in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region where Grenache consists of 80% of most blends. It is one of the most widely planted varietals around the world. It needs hot and dry conditions, such as those found in Spain, south of France, and California.
With lots of spicy, berry flavors, soft on the palate, and relatively high alcohol content, this vareital does lack in acidity, tannin, and color. Because of this, it does best being blended with another varietal that provides where it is lacking while enhancing what it offers. In Spain it is often blended with the firmer Tempranillo grape to produce red table wines. In France, it is more traditionally blended with Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault.
Grenache Blanc is the white grape varietal that is thought to have originated as a mutation of the red version of Grenache in Spain. Today, it is mostly found in the Rhone Valley of France as well as northeast Spain though it is gaining momentum in California, especially in the Central Valley/San Luis Obispo county.
Like its relative, Grenache Blanc lacks in acidity and has high alcohol levels. It provides some great citrus and herbaceous notes. When well controlled, this varietal provides great flavor and length in blends and on its own.
Some great Grenaches to celebrate #GrenacheDay include:
Cheers!Leave a comment
Sauvignon Blanc is a well loved varietal. So much so that it has its own day where we celebrate it thanks to St. Supery Winery who started it.
Sauvignon Blanc originiated in Bordeaux or Loire Valley, they are not exactly sure where in Western France. The name is believed to come from “savage” (wild) and “blanc” (white) from its early origins as an indigenous grape in southwest France.
It is a varietal that typically buds late but ripens early, therefore it likes a sunny climate but not overwhelming heat. When exposed to continuous high heats, it has a tendency to become over-riped and produces wines with dull flavors and flat acidity.
Some of the best known Sauvignon Blanc growing regions are Bordeaux, Loire Valley (both in France), New Zealand, and California. In California, it falls under two main categories: tropical fruit undertones with citrus and passion fruit tones or round with melon notes.
In the California/US market, you will also find a wine called Fumé Blanc. This wine is the same varietal and characteristics as Sauvignon Blanc. This name started in 1968 when Sauvignon Blanc had a poor reputation to grass flavors and aggressive aromas. Robert Mondavi had a vintage he was particularly pleased with and wanted it to stand out, so he name it Fumé Blanc after Pouilly-Fumé from France. He succeeded in his marketing, never trademarked it and so today, many use it.
Celebrating #SauvBlanc Day today, May 17th, here are a few that we really want to point out:
#SauvBlanc, Monterey County, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc, Wine Tasting | Leave a comment
There is a lot of buzz these days about wines that are hard to pronounce are more attractive to American consumers than the simple named wines.
A study shows that those who tasted wines they couldn’t pronounce liked the wines more and were willing to pay more for them, even if the price was the same and/or of a lesser quality. This brings up an interesting point.
Many say they appreciate how eclectic these wines are. It makes them feel they are drinking something more expensive and exclusive. So you would prefer drinking a Piquepoul because it’s hard to pronounce or a Sauvignon Blanc which most of us know? They are similar in the sense that they both have high acidity, so much so that Piquepoul translates to “stings the lips” due to its naturally high acidity. A Sauvignon Blanc, depending on its region, offers this strong acidity as well, but the profile of these two wines are different.
Would you drink a Zweigelt over a Pinot Noir? They are both easy-drinking wines with soft tannins, no hard edges, and all around friendly and approachable.
I would go for the Zweigelt if the opportunity came to me, but that’s because I am fortunate to try great (and not so great) Pinot Noirs regularly and this varietal is more unique in the United States. That being said, I would never say I like it more for its name or would spend more for it. To me the quality of the wine is SO much more important than the label, price, or brand.
So are American consumers really going for the hard-to-pronounce wines to be more eclectic?Leave a comment
Tomorrow starts the annual Santa Barbara Wine Festival! With a variety of events to keep you busy exploring new wines around California and learning more about wine and everything it encompasses!
The 3-day event start tomorrow evening with the Old Spanish Nights Wine Tasting. You’ll enjoy Spanish music, Spanish appetizers, and flamenco dancing all while you sip on Santa Barabara wines and Spanish imports! ($49; door: $55)
Can’t make it tomorrow? No problem! Friday evening is full of amazing wines as well!
If you don’t know how glassware affects your wine, then the Riedel Wine Glass Seminar and Tasting is a must! You’ll explore the shape and size of glasses and how it affects the wine on your palate. It’s an incredible experience right in front of your eyes! A Riedel Glassware expert will take you through the seminar in a fun and interactive manner. The best part? You get to keep the set of 4 varietal specific glasses (a $123 value!) For the best deal and to make sure you have a spot, buy your tickets here for $79 (door: $100).
After all that knowledge and excitement, join other fans to enjoy a champagne reception and limited reserve wines at the Sunset Rare and Reserve Wine Tasting! Under the stars and at arm’s length from the Pacific Ocean, you’ll enjoy awesome wines, gourmet appetizers, jazz and of course, strawberries dipped in a chocolate fountain! ($110; door: $140).
Saturday is the main Beachside Wine Festival tasting where you can explore over 200 California wines from every region of the state with some great food and live music! You can enjoy this tasting one of two ways:
What are you waiting for? Take a road trip to Santa Barbara for a guaranteed fabulous weekend! For all details, check out their website or purchase tickets before it’s all gone! You can find a list of participating wineries here.
ENJOY! That’s most important when taking pleasure in wine.Leave a comment
Yesterday, I had the pleasure to go explore Sodaro Winery in Napa Valley. It felt like I was in Tuscany!
With only 700-1400 cases produced a year, they are one of the secret gems of Napa Valley! They have 8.5 acres surrounding the winery and whatever Mother Nature provides them that year, is what they produce. As we all know, the last 2 years in California have sucked weather-wise , so, like everyone, they had smaller crops and therefore only producing about 700 cases in 2010 and 2011 vintages.
The winery is located in Coombsville, which became a new AVA (American Viticultural Area), a government-designated wine grape-growing region, in Napa Valley in December 2011. The charm of this appellation is that it’s filled with small family-owned producers.
Coombsville is located 10 minutes from downtown Napa and close to the Vacas Mountain Range. It is most known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordelais blend varietals, including Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Merlot. Known for its cooler climate, this offers greater acidity and mineral flavors to the wines. Because the fog settles in more frequently and burns off later in the day, the grapes bud early and are harvested later offering a longer ripening season.
Felicity is a Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc blend. This wine has a softness to it that is addictive yet offers a powerful experience through its aromas and flavors of blackberries and bright cherries! This wine offers soft tannins, great complexity, and an intense smoothness. ($55)
The Estate Blend is their vineyard’s finest lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. This wine is full-bodied with a great mix of black and red fruit aromas, not to mention the touch of spiciness that hits you. This is a gorgeous and elegant wine. ($68)
We recommend making Sodaro Winery a must-see on your next wine country trip. Andrew will take great care of you and give you a wine country experience you will not forget!
ENJOY! That’s most important when taking pleasure in wine.Tags: Coombsville, Estate Blend, Felicity, Napa Valley, Sodaro Winery | Leave a comment
It’s not often you get a day off on hump day, but we’re not complaining! We’re always happy to enjoy great wines and food with great friends! Here’s what’s in store to help us celebrate the 4th of July!
We will of course be starting out with rosé! Tomorrow’s selection is Cave de Tavel “Lauzeraies” 2011. Tavel, the original rosé appellation, is located in the Rhone region just north of Avignon. By French law, the only wines allowed to be called Tavel are the rosés. No other sort of wine from this region can take the name! Made from 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, and 10% Mourvedre, this wine is awesome to enjoy in the sun! With crazy strawberry flavors, it still has good acidity and some spicy and floral notes to it and with 13.5% alcohol, it respects the AVA’s required over 11% alcohol. ($15)
Next is a winery I enjoy their wines and personalities. Started by a family in the 1960s, they brought in some close friends to become part of the team and become family. Trefethen Quandary 2011, made from Chardonnay, Riesling, and Viognier from Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, is a pleasure to enjoy with friends in the sun…and not complicated. As they say, it’s like being on a tropical island! With cantaloupe and lemongrass filling your nose, the citrusy and bright mouthfeel keeps making you wanting more. ($25)
Through all the feasting we will be doing, we are staying healthy and enjoying an organically farmed wine, Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir 2007. Black cherry, black tea, with a touch of spice tones, this wine delivers in all parts with a bright acidity to round it all out. A winery that prides itself for its varietally correct, lower in alcohol, and food friendly wines, this was a no brainer for our get together with friends! ($28)
Of course we don’t go celebrating America’s Independence Day without Zinfandel, the nation’s noble grape! This is unique to the United States and should be a part of your day’s festivities! We thought we would enjoy Quivira Zinfandel 2010 from Dry Creek Valley, a well known appellation for Zinfandels. A wine that is berry driven with accents of plum and a touch of oak. They even promote this wine having an affinity for barbecue! Well, we agree! ($22)
Rumor has it that wine helps you not burn in the sun, so enjoy! Happy 4th everyone!Tags: Copain, Independence Day, July 4th, Pinot Noir, Quandary, Quivira, Trefethen, Zinfandel | Leave a comment
Today, known as one of the best Pinot experiences in the country, Pinot Days is for those who love Pinot Noir, are still looking to learn more about it, or still figuring it out!
Pinot Days offers a way to enjoy the varietal through restaurant-based events throughout the week finishing with the Grand Tasting on Saturday. This tasting gives you access to 150 producers and over 400 wines from California, Oregon, New Zealand, and Burgundy under one roof!
The beauty of Pinot Noir is that there’s a great diversity, from an incredible elegance to a more powerful and WOW! intensity. There is wine for everyone and you can continue to explore everything the varietal has to offer.
Pinot Days 2012 Grand Tasting
June 16, 2012 – 2-5pm
Festival Pavilion – Fort Mason Center
Marina Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94123 (map)
The Right Blend offers 10% off your ticket price using promo code: TRBSF12. You can purchase your tickets in advance here to avoid long lines day of. If you want more information on the week’s events, visit their website for more details.
Don’t forget to write your favorite wines on our Facebook page or tweet to @TRBevents with hachtag #trbwine. Whoever writes the most Facebook posts and Twitter tweets throughout the week and during the tasting, will win some Pinot Noir of course! Let us know which one you prefer!
ENJOY! That’s most important when taking pleasure in wine.Tags: Fort Mason, Pinot Days, Pinot Noir | Leave a comment
The thing I love most about going to wine country is finding gems throughout the big wineries that take all the attention. One of our gems here at The Right Blend is Olabisi Wines. They are interesting, fun, and non-pretentious.
They started with their Syrah and Petite Sirah. I love both of these wines. With summer coming up, they are great BBQ wines!
Olabisi Syrah is like someone you see that is wearing a big, bright, and bold outfit, yet it looks so chic! It is luscious and big yet had so much fruit and good balance. It takes you through an experience of aromas with the traditional Syrah black berries (black cherry, black cherry, plum), tobacco, and spices getting blended with more unique flavors of pomegranate.
Known as one of the highest-quality varietals in the world, Syrah is dark, full-bodied, fairly tannic, and has enormous complexity in flavor. It is best known in the Rhone Valley in France. Though we still don’t know its exact origin, we do know it originated in France. Along with the Rhone Valley, it is said that Australia and California are the three best growing regions for this varietal. Though Syrah does marvelously on its own, it is sometimes blended to help “beef up” other wines. In blends, Syrah adds color, tannin, and its own spicy aromas and flavors.
Their Petite Sirah is quite fabulous as well! It is, by nature, a bigger style wine, so you have the tannins similar to a Cabernet Sauvignon with many incredible aromas including, cocoa, tobacco, and herbes de Provence. This is a killer BBQ wine! It will complement and marry all the flavors you find around a grill!
Also known as Durif, Petite Sirah is originally from France named after Francois Durif, the one who discovered this varietal at Montpellier. They believe it to be a blend of Syrah and Peloursin. Today, it can be found mostly in California, Australia, France, and Israel. It produces dark, inky wines that are relatively acidic, firm in texture and mouthfeel. Petite Sirah is noticeably darker and purplish in color than Syrah as well being rounder and fuller in the mouth.
Olabisi Wines also makes Chardonnay and Zinfandel. They offer you a unique tasting experience in downtown Napa, so enjoy their wines before going to lunch or dinner! It’s well worth it!
ENJOY! That’s most important when taking pleasure in wine.Tags: Olabisi Wines, Petite Sirah, Suisun Valley, Syrah | Leave a comment
With over 6,000 attendees last year and over 250 wines to try, Lodi’s ZinFest is the place to be this weekend, May 18-20! You will have the opportunity to enjoy great wines you are familiar with as well as learn about some new gems, such as Charbono, Teroldego, and Marzemino.
You will enjoy getting to know 50 Lodi wineries, local foods, learn more through their seminars, or simply relax while listening to live music. For those looking to dive more into the education, there is ZinFest Wine and Cooking Schools, where you can learn about food and wine pairings and become more familiar with Lodi Zinfandels!
Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the gate. Your ticket includes a ZinFest wine glass, wine tasting, participation in seminars and entertainment. What are you waiting for? Get your ticket!
For more information, please visit www.zinfest.com.
ENJOY! That’s most important when taking pleasure in wine.Tags: Lodi, Zinfandel, ZinFest | Leave a comment
You better believe it! Jean-Charles Boisset, a friend and creative genius, has launched Frenchie Winery, the first winery designed exclusively for dogs! With more than 46 million dog owners, now they can go wine tasting with their dogs who will have royal treatment during their visit! From dog beds made from barrels, to Frenchie’s historical icons decorating the room, to Barkarrat chandlers lighting their palace…and of course the two wines available for tasting: Frenchie Napoleon Red Blend 2009 and Frenchie Louis XIV Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. Frenchie Marie Antoinette to be released soon.
You can learn all details of Frenchie Winery here.
Who’s Frenchie you ask? A beloved French bulldog of Jean-Charles Boisset he gave to his wife so she would always be a great company of a French man! Get to know him better here.
Four-legged friends, enjoy taking your two-legged friends wine tasting!
ENJOY! That’s most important when taking pleasure in wine.Tags: Frenchie Winery, jean-charles boisset, Raymond Vineyards, Rutherford | Leave a comment