As summer comes to a close I want to share many of the wines I have enjoyed during this past season. All merit recognition as they each define their own region, varietal or style. The wines are from France, Spain and California.
The first three wines come from Domaine de Bila-Haut in France. Rhone winemaker Michel Chapoutier owns this Roussillon Estate. Located very close the border of Spain, this estate sits on the slopes of the Agly Valley in the commune of Latour-de-France.
Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rouge Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2012 is a medium bodied balanced blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. With its fragrant aromas one finds a deep purple wine that is reminiscent of stewed fruit with hints of cinnamon. It is a red wine that one could serve chilled.
Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rosé Pay D’Oc 2013 is a delicate light Provence styled Rose. This rosé blends Cinsault with Grenache. The marriage of these two brings out red fruit and floral aromas as well as crisp mineral flavors. There is a lot of citrus and stone fruit such as apricot flavors.
Les Vignes De Bila-Haut Blanc Côtes Du Roussillon 2013 is an unusual blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Vermentino and Macabeo. The combination makes this a very good crisp and dry wine with citrusy melon flavors with a savory finish.
One of the Spanish Denominación de Origen is Rueda, which is known for wines in and around Castile and León. This region is known for its white wines, primarily those from the Verdejo grape. This grape originated in North Africa and came to Spain in the 11th Century. Originally it was used to make a sherry-like wine but in the 1970s wineries began to utilize the grape for white wine and in 1980 the Denominación de Origen was established. I recently experienced two excellent Verdejo’s. The first was the 2012 Palacio De Barons Verdejo. This Verdejo was a little like a Viognier. One found tropical aromas and flavors such as pineapple. There were also hints of citrus and green apple. The wine is crisp and bright with a spicy finish.
The second wine was the 2010 Shaya Habis Verdejo. This Verdejo is created from grapes from older vines. The nose is one of pear and florals. The wine has a heavier texture, almost the thickness of a Chardonnay. The palate was tropical fruits, melon and pear with a bit of honey and hints of spice on the finish.
The summer brought tastes of a light Rosé from Mouton Cadet. This 2013 Rosé was dry yet sweet. The Aromas were subtle hints of peaches, nectarines and florals. The flavors were that of stone fruit and raspberries.
I had the opportunity to sample the 2009 The Paring, a blend of primarily Syrah with Grenache, during a dinner at the West Restaurant. The Paring grapes come from those vineyard blocks that don’t qualify to fit the standards for Jonata Wines. The grapes are sourced primarily from Ballard Canyon in Santa Ynez. The wine is smooth and balanced with smoky flavors of red fruit and white pepper.
The 2011 Earthquake Cabernet Sauvignon is a big round earthy with flavors of black cherry, while the 2012 Zinfandel is very jammy with hints of dried strawberry. I think of jam on toast when I think of this Zinfandel.
I would be remiss if I did not share about the wine we enjoyed for my birthday, a 2010 Sea Smoke Ten Pinot Noir. This Pinot Noir is one of my all time favorites of the summer and a wine that is meant for a special occasion, as you want to celebrate each sip.
Chandon’s 2012 Pinot Meunier is an unusual varietal that is typically used in sparkling wines. The wine is earthy and leathery with a palate of currants, licorice and allspice. I felt this wine could use more aging time so will be anxious to revisit it again in a years time.
Kanzler 2011 Pinot Noir is a medium bodied wine with flavors of raspberries and a nice spice on the finish.
Kosta Browne’s 2009 Russian River Pinot Noir was a lovely medium bodied Pinot that was exceptional.
Although we have moved into autumn and harvest is upon us, these wines can savor one’s palate at any time of the year.