Author Archives: Thaddeus Buggs

New Zealand Dirt

Welcome to NZ Dirt – The Inside Story on New Zealand Wines, our news update for the US market. We are pleased to present you with our second issue of 2019 of the NZ Dirt e-Newsletter
Lasting Impact: American Sommeliers Reveal Their Impressions Following New Zealand Wine Excursion

New Zealand and Oregon Team Up to Spark Enthusiasm and Intrigue

Lasting Impact: American Sommeliers Reveal Their Impressions Following New Zealand Wine Excursion
By Jessica Dupuy

It’s often said that there’s no better way to understand the wines of a region than to see the landscape from which they come, to walk around in the vineyards, feel the soils in your fingers, and engage with grape growers and winemakers in their own space. It’s an opportunity four American sommeliers were invited to experience earlier this year in New Zealand as part of the 2019 New Zealand Winegrowers International Sommelier Scholarship. And as each of them can attest, the experience enhanced their appreciation for the range of wines offered by the country’s unique and varied regions.

The American sommeliers — Vanessa Da Silva, of New Jersey’s Ninety Acres; Jillian Riley, of Chicago’s NoMI; Winn Roberton, of Bourbon Steak at Four Seasons in Washington, D.C.; and Emily Tolbert, formerly of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Houston — joined 14 sommeliers from the likes of Asia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia as participants in the fourth annual Sommit™ in Hawke’s Bay, as well as the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in Marlborough and the Chardonnay and Sparkling Symposium in Gisborne. The 11-day excursion was led by the New Zealand Winegrowers staff who offered a deeper dive into the country’s distinctive winegrowing regions.

Despite a rigorous schedule that had these sommeliers traipsing from Auckland and Gisborne on the North Island to Marlborough and Central Otago on the South Island, a distance akin to traveling from New York to South Florida, the experience was uniquely eye opening.

For Da Silva the opportunity to gain such comprehensive exposure to New Zealand wine was invaluable. “This experience really helped me comprehend the scale of everything going on in New Zealand wine,” said Da Silva. “I think in the States we see a decent amount of wine from Marlborough, Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay, and even some from Martinborough, but we don’t really see just how small these regions are! Hawke’s Bay is just 4,700 hectares, Central Otago is only 1,900, and the Wellington wine regions are just 1,000! When you compare that to the 24,000 hectares of Marlborough, it really put things into perspective for me. Seeing just how close-knit these winemaking communities are really impacted my desire to champion these wines even more.”

Roberton praised the chance to be able to personally interact with the winemakers. “Getting to have time with producers is always eye-opening because you get to see their passion and struggles in a place that is so far from home,” he said. “Talking clones and lees and sales numbers are all super-important, but as a sommelier, the people behind the wine are what make the difference. Their insight and personal stories give us so much more to share with our restaurant guests.”

The tour kicked off with the two-day Sommit™ in Hawke’s Bay, where participants were not only introduced to the region’s star grapes — Chardonnay, Syrah, and Bordeaux varieties — but also given the opportunity to contrast young and aged Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as smaller yet successful plantings, including Albariño, Fiano, Grüner Veltliner, Gamay, St. Laurent, Tempranillo, and Lagrein. Sommit™ leaders Master of Wine Stephen Wong and UK Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn used the immersive experience to encourage discussion with participants about how New Zealand wines fit within their home markets.

“I was very impressed with Hawke’s Bay Syrah,” said Riley. “It hovers in a very interesting space between New World and Old World. But I also thought Chardonnay showed great potential, and the Riesling from Central Otago was incredible. When we consider how young the industry is in a world context, it’s very exciting to see how the wine production will develop in the next 10 years.”

At the three-day International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in Marlborough, sommeliers explored the complexity of New Zealand’s flagship variety, emerging styles, vineyard practices, winemaking influences, and future trends. The themes of “place, purity, and pursuit” anchored the content. The topic of place drew on Tūrangawaewae, the geographical terroir of Sauvignon Blanc. Purity explored topics such as climate, sustainability, and flavor. And, on the final day, pursuit explored what the New Zealand industry and its stakeholders should pursue domestically and globally, outlining future challenges and opportunities. Among the highlights was a discussion of sustainability in New Zealand by Dr. Roger Boulton of the University of California whose work focuses on the chemical and biochemical engineering aspects of winemaking and distilled spirits production.

“Dr. Boulton’s talk on sustainability was inspiring and authentic,” said Da Silva. “His research and ingenuity on the subject is vital in the world climate we live in today. It was truly heartwarming to hear that his more than 40 years of work to create a self-sustainable winery is finally being utilized successfully.”

Guests took a chartered low-altitude flight from Blenheim over Nelson, Martinborough, and Hawke’s Bay to Gisborne for the Chardonnay and Sparkling Symposium, where participants spent a day exploring Chardonnay clones and styles, yeasts, malolactic fermentation and reduction, and the evolution of the country’s sparkling wine.

“I thought the tasting that compared various clonal varieties of Chardonnay was fascinating,” said Tolbert. “To sensually experience through taste and smell the effect of different clones and the type of proportion of flavor compounds they express was mind-blowing. It’s uncommon to view wine through the lens of chemistry, but this tasting really dove into why wines taste like they do, why the same variety has different characteristics, and why the geology and climatology affects the genetic makeup.”

After nearly two weeks in country, each sommelier left with a deeper appreciation not only for the wines but for the land and culture from which they come. More importantly, they had a better handle on how these wines could best be represented back home.

“Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc remains incredibly popular in the States,” said Tolbert, who sees this as a good thing and a jumping-off point to talk about other New Zealand wines. “As a sommelier, it’s vastly easier to get a consumer to try a new variety from a region they already know. Recommending a New Zealand Chardonnay or Riesling because they already know Sauvignon Blanc makes it easier to take a leap of faith.”

In addition, Riley sees a big opportunity for some of the smaller producers from the lesser-known New Zealand regions to get their foot in the door. “We are seeing a new generation developing more and more buying power, and they are increasingly concerned with sustainability,” she said. “The smaller, eco-friendly producers making a handmade product will grow in popularity if they have adequate support in the right markets. It definitely helps to show other varieties at an entry-level price point. The inexperienced customer is more willing to experiment on wines in the $20 price point, which could serve as a great gateway for New Zealand wine.”

Indeed, the takeaway for these American sommeliers was much more than the stunningly beautiful landscapes and the magnetically warm and welcoming culture of New Zealand. These elements, coupled with the versatility and quality of the wines, have left a lasting impression to share with their guests long into the future.

New Zealand and Oregon Team Up to Spark Enthusiasm and Intrigue
By Courtney Schiessl

What happens when two of the New World’s most progressive and exciting wine regions join together for a comparative and educational tasting? Would their offerings seem incongruous and disjointed, or would a certain symmetry be evident, despite their origins on opposite sides of the world? It’s a question recently posed by New Zealand Winegrowers and the Oregon Wine Board during a collaborative event held in New York on May 7. In attendance was sommelier Courtney Schiessl, an editor for SevenFifty Daily and a writer for publications such as Wine Enthusiast and Forbes. As Schiessl shares in the following narrative, the experience was a provocative exercise that revealed that together, the two regions make an excellent partnership.

“You’re part of a bold and potentially reckless experiment today.” So began the first-ever collaborative master class series between New Zealand and Oregon, dubbed “Wine From the Edge.” Led by Bree Stock, MW, and Cameron Douglas, MS, and backdropped by panoramic views of New York City from the Glasshouses in Manhattan, the day of in-depth tasting seminars turned out to be an eye-opening opportunity for members of the wine trade.

From America’s Pacific Northwest to the world’s southernmost winegrowing reaches, Oregon and New Zealand may not appear to have much in common. But, though they fall in different hemispheres, both regions lie along the 45th parallel, making them equidistant from the equator and the North and South poles, respectively. While New Zealand technically spans a wider latitudinal range—from 36 to 46 degrees, compared with Oregon’s 42 to 45 degrees—this sweet spot along the 45th parallel offers both regions abundant sunshine, a factor that simultaneously creates ripe fruit flavors and nuanced complexity. Both regions are also situated along the Pacific Rim, where mountain influences juxtapose with Pacific coastlines that help to cool vineyards, preserving acidity and freshness in the wines of these particular regions.

The master class kicked off by showcasing two grapes with which New Zealand and Oregon have become masters: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. For this seminar, aptly titled “Distinctive Styles of the Burgundian Theme,” we tasted an impressive selection of 18 wines from the two regions and discovered that many of the New Zealand and Oregon offerings more than held their own. At the same time, while each of the wines was bound by a common level of quality and complexity, all offered particular nuances representative of the subregions from which they came, be it Martinborough or Columbia Gorge, Central Otago or Dundee Hills. Side by side, the New Zealand and Oregon selections revealed that both regions offer a fine balance of lush fruit concentration and mineral-driven, savory complexity that is not easily achieved in other parts of the New World but falls right in line with what one expects from Burgundy.

The next section of the day, “White, Rosé, and Sparkling Wine From the 45th Parallels,” made for a provocative lunch session and walk-around tasting. Attendees were invited to sample options from traditional-method sparklers to co-fermented Grüner Veltliner and apple cider, as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer. The opportunity offered a chance to taste the pairing versatility of these wines alongside the midday meal.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of both New Zealand and Oregon is the forward-thinking, experimental energy within their winemaking communities, which is why the day’s closing session drew considerable interest. “The Futurists: Regions, Varieties, and Trends” pivoted from classics to creatives, giving attendees a taste of new avenues of potential. A biodynamic Viognier from Gisborne balanced opulent floral aromas with the kind of acidity that even Condrieu typically fails to achieve, while a North Canterbury Cabernet Franc was a pure and elegant expression of an often-blended variety. A lineup of Syrahs from Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay, and Northland sparked chatter about the grape’s potential in New Zealand, as the three were distinctive, yet also remarkably well-structured, nuanced, and poised for aging. In Oregon, the sheer range of offbeat varieties and styles—textured, salty Chenin Blanc; fragrant, juicy Vermentino; herbal, exotic, deep pink-hued Pinot Gris—opened a treasure trove for exploration. In tasting these 18 wines, it seemed everyone was left wondering: What else is there to discover in these regions?

For most of the guests in attendance, including myself, the largest takeaway from the day was that in addition to the quality many have come to expect from these regions, both versatility and progressive winemaking philosophies are lesser known truisms of both New Zealand and Oregon that have simply been waiting for wine professionals to discover. If this clever partnership between these New World regions was just a casual experiment to reveal these truths, based on the insightful takeaways of the day, I’d say this collaboration is long overdue and makes you wonder, Why didn’t these two exciting winemaking regions team up ages ago?

This Article is the sole property of NZ Dirt.

 

 

 

VINOUS 2016 BORDEAUX REVIEW

2016 Bordeaux: It’s Now or Never, Baby

BY ANTONIO GALLONI | APRIL 25, 2017

The 2016 growing season presented château owners with plenty of challenges, but ideal weather at the most critical time of the year made up for the early struggles of the vintage. The best 2016s are deep and intense, yet also pulse with a real sense of energy. For the 2016s to be successful in the market, however, owners will have to be sensible with prices. That’s why for Bordeaux It’s Now or Never, Baby.

The 2016 Growing Season

The 2016 growing season did not get off to an auspicious start. Rain during the first three months of the year was three times the historical average. Warmer than normal temperatures led to an early budbreak, which is always a concern, as it exposes the vines to severe damage in the event of frost. Temperatures dropped into the spring and vegetative growth slowed. A window of serene conditions opened just in time for flowering, which took place under benign conditions that allowed for a fast and even set. Potential yields, which are always determined by the pre-formation of clusters in the previous year, looked to be abundant.

Temperatures soared above historical averages during the summer months, especially during July and August, both of which saw the vines receive more sunlight than either of the two preceding vintages.  Rain, such a constant during the early part of the season, was essentially non-existent in July and August. Curiously, while daytime temperatures were above historical averages, nighttime temperatures were cooler than average, which is an unusual combination. Heat and lack of rain took the vineyards into hydric stress and caused sugar accumulation to stop.

Rains in mid-September could not have been more opportune. Parched vines responded positively and ripening resumed. By this time, daytime highs began to moderate while the nights remained cool. Average temperatures had moved to below historical averages. One of the key elements of 2016 is that the final phase of ripening took place in September and October, a time of year when the days are shorter and the nights are longer than they are in July and August. In 2016, this phenomenon was accentuated by wide diurnal shifts between daytime highs and nighttime lows. Strong diurnal shifts are essential for the development of color and aromatics.

Tour Saint Christophe as seen from Barde-Haut, Saint Émilion

In most years, rain and disease pressure start to become an issue in the fall, but in 2016, conditions remained stable throughout the end of the season, which gave winemakers and vineyard managers the luxury of harvesting at their choosing. The late harvest allowed for the full maturation of tannins, one of the many hallmarks of the 2016 vintage. Most properties brought in their fruit from late September to mid October.

As predicted, yields were generous across the board. One exception is Cabernet Sauvignon. A number of winemakers commented that by the time much of the fruit came in, the berries were small and the juice yields were lower than expected. Quality in many cases is exceptional, but one result of the lower yields in Cabernet is that a number of wines in the Médoc have less Cabernet in their blends than normal.

Tasting the 2016 Mouton Rothschild in barrels from the main coopers used in the blend of Grand Vin

2016 Bordeaux: A Game Changer?

The 2016s are absolutely remarkable wines. The word that comes to mind, unfortunately so often overused, is balance. In technical terms, the 2016s boast off the charts tannins that in many cases exceed those of wines from massive vintages such as 2010. And yet, the best 2016s are absolutely harmonious, with the tannins barely perceptible at all. The 2016s also have tremendous energy and bright, acid-driven profiles, with many wines playing more in the red-fruit area of the flavor spectrum. One of the results of the unusual growing season is that alcohols range from 0.5% to 1% lower than what has been the norm in recent years.

From a stylistic standpoint, the recent vintage that comes to mind is 2014, also a late-ripening year, but the 2016s have more mid palate depth and greater density. Some observers have suggested that 2016 is a hypothetical blend of 2009 and 2010, but I fear that is mostly an attempt to recreate the hype of those two highly speculative vintages. The 2016s don’t have the opulence or volume of the 2009s, and although they are very tannic, they feel nothing like the overtly powerful, structured 2010s.

Intuitively, it makes sense that a late-ripening vintage might favor Cabernet Sauvignon, especially given the intense heat of the summer that cause sunburn and overripeness in some of the Merlots. But a more in-depth analysis reveals that 2016 has much to offer on both banks. Excellence is highly correlated with quality of site, regardless of whether those vineyards are on the Left or Right Banks. Specifically, moisture-retentive sites and older vineyards with deeper root systems fared best.

Not all Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines are overachievers, while many Right Bank wines are.

Many producers opted for longer macerations (time on the skins) than normal, but at lower temperatures and with gentler extractions than in the past. It will be interesting to see if one of the outcomes of 2016 is a move towards greater finesse and less overt power than in the past. Almost all of the winemakers I spoke with told me they think the 2016s are more a reflection of the vintage than in any large scale changes in philosophy and that the next time a riper vintage presents itself the wines will once again be built on opulence. I am not so sure. Two thousand sixteen is a vintage that will be thought provoking on many levels for years, and probably decades, to come.

The entrance to Saint-Julien, where many of the finest 2016s of the Left Bank are found

The Left Bank: Saint-Julien Stars

If there is one commune on the Left Bank where quality is exceptional across the board, it is without question Saint-Julien. Most vintages have a sweet spot or two. In 2014, it was the northern Médoc, Saint-Estèphe in particular, that benefitted most from the Indian summer. Last year, quality in Margaux was superb, as it was in a number of pockets on the Right Bank. Saint-Julien is the unquestioned star of 2016.

An uncharacteristically refined Léoville-las-Cases and a gorgeous Ducru Beaucaillou lead the pack, but readers will also find a sublime Branaire-Ducru an unusually exotic Beychevelle, a fabulous Léoville-Poyferré, a regal Léoville-Barton, along with a number of other stunningly beautiful, compelling wines. Even better, many of the second wines from Saint-Julien are absolutely delicious and will give readers a good look at the quality of the year before the big guns are ready to deliver maximum pleasure.

Neighboring Pauillac is larger than Saint-Julien, so quality is naturally more variable, but the best Pauillacs are magnificent. Pichon-Lalande is a must-have, Mouton-Rothschild is tremendous, while Lafite-RothschildLatour and Pontet-Canet are all sublime. The 2016 Pauillacs are marked by extraordinary purity of fruit, even among the lesser châteaux. Of course, it is very early, and some of the rusticity that is found in the more modest properties may well emerge over time, but today, the Pauillacs are quite impressive.

In Saint-Estèphe, the wines are very good, but quality is mixed. Calon-Ségur and Phélan Ségurare both overachievers, but most other wines, while excellent to outstanding, don’t necessarily punch above their weight. Montrose is still very raw to the point of being monolithic, while Cos d’Estournel is unusually delicate and medium in body. A number of less touted properties did well in 2016, which is a positive, and also great news for consumers looking for value, but overall, the Saint-Estèphes aren’t as consistently brilliant as the wines of other appellations.

In the southern Médoc, readers will find plenty of terrific wines from the better properties in Margaux, although 2016 is not the across-the-board success that 2015 was. Macau, which is just south, is a fertile hunting ground for value-priced reds that deliver high quality.

Technical Director Nicolas Glumineau and his team made one of the wines of the vintage at Pichon-Lalande

The Right Bank Dazzles

I tasted a large number of absolutely stunning wines on the Right Bank. The brutally dry summer was especially penalizing to younger vineyards. Moisture retentive soils and vineyards with deep root systems where the vines could access water during the summer did best. In some places, hydric stress was highly problematic. I tasted some wines with a distinctly roasted, overripe character, especially in Merlot, while the intense heat also affected some of the Cabernet Franc. But where conditions were less extreme and where producers were able to cull out lower quality fruit, the wines are simply dazzling. The 2016 Right Bank reds are remarkably polished and sensual. Even wines like Trotanoy that are often broad and powerful show a level of finesse that is quite rare at this early stage. In Pomerol, Vieux Château CertanLe PinPétrusLafleur and L’Eglise Clinet are all knockouts. Cheval BlancLa ConseillanteL’EvangileFigeacPaviePavie-Macquin, Larcis Ducasse and Beauséjour Héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse are among the most exceptional wines of Saint-Émilion.

L’Evangile as seen from La Conseillante, Pomerol

Pessac & Léognan Reds

The theme of brightness, elegance and finesse carries over the communes of Pessac and Léognan, where the wines are often powerful, virile, and in some cases, also quite rustic. Smith Haut Lafitte, Domaine de Chevalier and Haut Bailly are both absolutely brilliant, both in quality and personality, while La Mission Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion express all the pedigree of their respective sites. Partially because of its high percentage of Cabernet Franc and fermentation with whole clusters, Les Carmes Haut-Brion remains the most distinctive wine of the sector.

 

Haut-Bailly’s Gabriel Vialard and Véronique Sanders

Dry & Sweet Whites

As compelling as 2016 is for reds, it is a far less interesting vintage for dry whites. The summer conditions were not favorable for the production of high quality whites on a par with the best vintages. Sémillon was especially challenged. For that reason, and in order to give the wines as much freshness as was available, producers made a decision to favor Sauvignon Blanc over Sémillon in the blends. Overall, the 2016 whites are blowsy and lacking in both focus and energy. With a few exceptions, the 2016s come across as wines that are best enjoyed on the young side.

The sweet whites of Sauternes and Barsac fared better than Bordeaux’s dry whites. Late season rains created good conditions for the onset of noble rot. In general, the 2016s sweet wines are open-knit and gracious, qualities that will make them easy to enjoy relatively early. I don’t see the precision or energy of truly great years such as 2013, but 2016 is certainly a pleasant, above average vintage with a number of overachievers.

Looking for Value

As always, most of the attention this time of year focuses on Bordeaux’s top estates and most famous wines. But Bordeaux is so much more than just 20-30 elite properties. Readers will find a bevy of affordable wines in this article and my accompanying piece 2016 Bordeaux: 30 Top Values. The Haut-Médoc and various satellite appellations on the Right Bank, most notably Fronsac, are all worth discovering. These regions excel with delicious, flavorful wines of real pedigree that the average consumer can still afford to buy. Wines listed in Sleepers & Under the Radar Gems, while not all inexpensive, do offer serious quality and tons of relative value.

The cramped cellar at L’If, Saint-Émilion

And Then There is the Market…

The big question now for the 2016s is price. Every spring, the same debates ensue around the market for Bordeaux wines. Some people believe the en primeur system is broken, obsolete, or both. I am more inclined to think issues with wines selling through are more related to pricing than just structural factors. As of this writing the few estates that have released pricing have done so at 2015 levels, which is a highly encouraging sign.

This year there are a number of factors at play. One of these is volume. In 2016, total production is estimated at around 6 million hectoliters, which is equivalent to 800 million bottles of wine. Some of that is, of course, very inexpensive, low quality wine. Even so, the numbers are staggering when compared with other regions like Champagne (itself considered a very large region) with its annual production of 330 million bottles, or Burgundy, which produces around 200 million bottles (both red and white) in good year.

The UK, one of Bordeaux’s oldest and strongest markets, has seen the GBP lose approximately 15% relative to the EUR over the last year. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that even if prices remain unchanged, the UK consumer is looking at 15% increase over the 2015s, which is not an easy proposition. And of course, any meaningful increase over the 2015s could be utterly crushing to the UK consumer’s interest in the 2016s. From what I have been told by those in the know, interest in futures does not appear to be especially strong across Asian markets. As if that were not enough, the macro geopolitical and economic outlook in many parts of the world is best described as highly uncertain.

Terracotta amphoras at Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Bordeaux

In this climate, most businesses would take the sure cash, even if it means sacrificing some upside. Who knows what the world will look like when the 2015s and 2016s are sold in bottle, or what the 2017 harvest will bring? No one. Châteaux that raise their prices by more than 5-10% in this kind of environment are telling the world they don’t really need the money from the futures campaign and have the financial wherewithal to handle sitting on unsold wine. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but that is the message.

No one needs a $50 or $100 wine, much less a bottle that costs many times that. But we as consumers are often willing to spend sums of money most normal people consider insane for a bottle of wine. Why? Because of the intangibles that make the world’s best wines the objects of desire. When it comes to Bordeaux, what I hear most often from consumers is this: “Buying futures is not fun anymore.

Even if investment is not the main objective, consumers who put down cash today for a wine that will be delivered in two years time and then may need a decade or more to be at its best want to see some return on that money. When owners raise prices to the level that virtually all of the economic rents accrue to them, they leave very little potential upside for members of the trade at various levels. For the consumer, wine is a passion, a hobby. And some element of buying wine has to remain fun.

Two thousand sixteen presents a great opportunity for owners to gain back a considerable amount of consumer confidence that has been lost in past years largely through the excessive pricing of some previous vintages. High production and an uncertain economic climate create easy, face-saving reasons to keep price increases modest without tarnishing the prestige that many estates have built up over time. If the 2016s do not sell well, it will be a damning indictment that one or more things is seriously wrong with how the wines are sold. That’s why 2016 is Now or Never for Bordeaux.

This article is from Vinous.  Cheers

WHITE ZINFANDEL TO ROSE

 

White Zinfandel saved the American Wine industry.  In the late seventies until the early nineties White Zinfandel was very prevalent in America because there was a shortage of good quality wine.

It was not only a shortage of good quality in America but wines throughout the world. Italy was producing a lot of bulk wines yet the quality was very poor, France continued to produce very good wines but the wines were only available throughout the European Community.

In America, after prohibition and other restrictions on the alcohol community, there were several wineries making poor quality wines.  Beringer Vineyards and Sutter Homes wineries were producing White Zinfandel in bulk. These wines were very sweet, and acceptable to the American palate.  After drinking several glasses of this high sugar low alcohol wine you would go to bed and wake up with a sugar hangover.  I could make a very credible argument that White Zinfandel was the wine that not only saved America wine industry but brought the wine trade back in abundance to America.

Americans wanted to enjoy good wines and White Zinfandel manipulated  lots of new wine drinkers into accepting what they thought was quality wine. This was the beginning of a wine culture and generation of Americans who slowly became the number one importer of wines throughout the world.

Now as we proceed to the present, America is now the number one importer of wines throughout the world and specifically Rose Wines from Provence in Southern France.  Who now produce 80% of all Rose, throughout the world. Most of them are dry with very little residual sugars. These wines are exceptional on their own or paired with food. they are very low in alcohol therefore, you can enjoy them on a hot sunny afternoon by the pool. Provence is a very diverse wine growing region where you can get Rose Wines that are dry with minerality, exceptional fruit characteristics, and a refreshing finish.

Rose Wines from Provence France are made from the grape varietals #Grenache, #Syrah, #Mourvedre, and #Cinsault planted on the best soils in southern France and produce some of the most mouthwatering refreshing wines in the world. These wines are to be enjoyed whenever you’re in the mood for a very light refreshing  wine. Cheers #goodjuice

Thaddeus Buggs

 

PASO ROBLES WINE COUNTRY

Paso Robles is located at, approximately halfway between the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Paso Robles is where the region of Southern California ends. The elevation of Paso Robles ranges from 675 to 1,100 feet (340 m), but the majority of the main downtown area of the city sits at about 740 feet (230 m) above sea level.

The topography of the area consists of gentle rolling hills on the eastern half of the city, and foothill peaks which rise in elevation to the Santa Lucia Coastal Range on the west, which are all blanketed in the Californian chaparral environment, which is mainly dry grassland and oak woodland. Simply “Paso,” as it is referred to by locals, sits on the eastern foothills of the Santa Lucia Coastal Mountain Range, which lies directly to the West of the city, and runs in a North-South direction, starting at Monterey, then runs down South to its terminus, in the San Luis Obispo area. The city is located at the southern end of the fertile Salinas River Valley.  Paso Robles sits at the border where northern San Luis Obispo County and southern Monterey County meet, and is situated roughly 24 miles (39 km), or 20 minutes, inland from the Pacific Ocean.

For a time, Paso Robles was known as the “Almond City” because the local almond growers created the largest concentration of almond orchards in the world.

Paso Robles’ wine industry has a long history within the area. Wine grapes were introduced to the Paso Robles soil in 1797 by the Spanish conquistadors and Franciscan missionaries. Spanish explorer Francisco Cortez envisioned an abundant wine-producing operation and encouraged settlers from Mexico and other parts of California to cultivate the land. The first vineyardists in the area were the Padres of the Mission San Miguel, and their old fermentation vats and grapevine artwork can still be seen at the Mission, north of the city of Paso Robles.

Commercial winemaking was introduced to the Paso Robles region in 1882 when Andrew York, a settler from Indiana, began planting vineyards and established the Ascension Winery at what is now York Mountain Winery.

Following Andrew York’s early success in the wine business, Gerd and Ilsabe Klintworth planted a vineyard in the Geneseo/Linne area in approximately 1886. They were licensed to sell jugs of Zinfandel, Port, and Muscatel, as well as some of the area’s first white wine made from Burger grapes. The Casteel Vineyards in the Willow Creek area were planted just prior to 1908. Casteel wines were stored and aged in a cave cellar. Cuttings from the old vines provided the start for other vineyards, still producing in the area today.

As the popularity of wines began to grow, so did the Paso Robles wine region.  The Templeton Winery was the area’s first to be bonded following the repeal of Prohibition.

The Paso Robles wine region gained more notoriety when Ignace Paderewski, the famous Polish statesman and concert pianist, visited Paso Robles, became enchanted with the area, and purchased 2,000 acres In the early 1920s, he planted Petite Sirah and Zinfandel on his Rancho San Ignacio vineyard in the Adelaide area. Following Prohibition, Paderewski’s wine was made at York Mountain Winery. The wines produced from grapes grown on Rancho San Ignacio went on to become award-winners.  Paso Robles’ reputation as a premier wine region became firmly established as a result of this and later successes.

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