One of the biggest draws for our move from Southern California to the Central Coast wine country was, of course, the wine. We completely delight in going to wineries and tasting rooms, and we continually try to find the right wines to drink with whatever we're cooking.
I'm planning to write wine posts more regularly, but here's a list of some of our current favorites from the Santa Ynez Valley:
• 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 26% Counoise, 14% Cinsault
• 88 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
• Tasting notes from Epiphany's site: "Garnet in color, the 2010 Gypsy
offers up some delicate notes of Bing cherries, sage and sandalwood. On
the palate, it becomes expansive, with vanilla, blackberry, licorice and
raspberry notes evident through to the pleasant finish. After the Gypsy
has been open for some time in the glass, elegant notes of black tea,
acacia flowers and rosemary start to arise, signaling that this is a
true Rhone-style blend."
We like this one because it kind of goes with everything. We've had it with red meat and Italian dishes, and it's always solid.
Unfortunately I couldn't find the tasting notes for this exact wine, but here are the notes from the 2010 Melville pinot. I know it's a wine faux pas to offer notes from a different year, but it's the best I can do!
• Robert Parker gave the 2010 92 points
• Tasting notes from Samsara's site: "Vivid ruby-red. Sexy red berry preserve and cherry aromas display a suave floral character and appealing spiciness. Juicy and refreshingly brisk, offering fresh black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors along with a touch of cinnamon. Finishes fruity and appealingly sweet, with excellent clarity and seamless persistence."
Mr. W loves pinot and this is one of his very favorites.
• Tasting notes from Carhartt's site: "This beautifully colored Zin opens with aromas of slightly candied or
dried red fruit, allspice, and pepper. The flavors of dried cherry,
sweet spice and light caramel linger toward a soft finish that speaks of
elegance and finesse wrapped in a silky texture. This wine has nice
acidity, but is well balanced and rich in mouthfeel. One of the most
versatile wines, Zin can be paired with barbequed meats, blackened fish,
vegetarian cassoulets, even carne asada tacos.Try it with your
favorite spicy dishes. Viva LaVista!"
Mr. W doesn't usually like Zin but he liked this one. It's not too heavy and has the perfect combination of flavors. Even my wine expert friend, Foodie, bought a bottle of it when she came to visit.
Had a hard time finding tasting notes for this one, too! But I tracked these down, here: "2011 Inspiration is a white Rhône blend of marsanne, grenache
blanc, roussanne and viognier. As you might expect from this line up,
the mouthfeel is more supple than something like a sauvignon blanc. The
nose has floral notes of peach and vanilla. The taste is balanced
between apricot, tart citrus, cool melon and a continuation of vanilla
that you'll find on the nose (probably due to the light oak on this
wine). The white Rhônes are great with white cream sauces on meat and
delicious, fatty, buttery shellfish."
We just had this one last night with mushroom risotto and roasted broccoli. I have liked every white I've tried from Epiphany—their roussanne, marsanne and grenache blanc pure varietals are also fantastic.
• Tasting notes found here: "Fresh honeydew melon, bright citrus and
piquant mineral aromas, with subtle herbal and earthy scents adding
complexity. On the palate, the wine's rich, mouthwatering and perfectly
structured honeyed melon and grapefruit flavors culminate in a long,
succulent finish full of zesty guava, spice and mineral tones. Still a
youngster, this vibrant wine will continue developing in bottle for
another couple years, but you'll find it delicious now with your
favorite seafood, poultry and salad dishes."
Gainey is a really lovely winery to visit. In addition to the Sauv Blanc, we're fans of the Semillion and have a bottle of the dry Riesling waiting in our wine fridge.
• Tasting notes from Tre Anelli's site: "Albarino, aka Alvarinho or Caino Branco is a popular Spanish varietal
that is also grown in Portugal. Whatever you call it, this is one
beautiful wine! In Europe, Albarino is typically fermented in stainless
steel tanks in order to preserve its crisp acidity. Here at Tre Anelli
we are inspired by the Old World methods, but we add a New World twist;
our Albarino is aged in neutral French oak barrels. This adds
complexity and richness and balances out the acidity. This yields a
lively wine that is soft and rounded on the palate with well integrated
aromas and flavors of lemon curd and white peaches. This tempting
combination makes our Albarino an incredibly versatile food wine. Pair
it with ceviche and grilled pineapple shrimp on the patio. Kick off
your shoes and taste summertime in Spain—without the jetlag!"