STELLINA begins its autumn series of WINE TASTINGS on THURSDAY OCTOBER 12 at 6:30 with CALIFORNIA’S RED GEMS.
We’re stepping away from the usual red wine suspects such as Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Merlot, for a look at some of California’s under-the-radar masterpieces. These bottlings come from the Golden State’s top winemaking regions, and in some instances from vines that are over 90 years old.
Two of the choices are classic Mediterranean varietals: the Aglianico and the Grenache. Grown under the warm California sun, they develop a richness that often eludes the European winemakers.
From renowned vineyard Klinker Brick we will taste the best Zinfandel that they make, which means it’s one of the best in the world.
Finally, from Napa Valley we have two wines that are guaranteed home runs: a meaty Malbec from Mt Brave and a mysterious Petite Syrah from Manville Lake.
As always the wine tasting includes selected antipasti and professional discussion from an industry representative.
Cost for the event is $35 per person. Reservations are required. We suggest that you make your reservations over the phone to insure prompt confirmation.
BECKMEN VINEYARDS GRENACHE, SANTA YNEZ VALLEY
The goal of Beckmen Vineyards is to become the most prominent family owned vineyard estate in Santa Barbara County. Rhone style wines cultivated from Purisima Mountain Vineyard will be their contribution to the next chapter of winegrowing in the Santa Ynez Valley. To appreciate this goal is to be able to understand the history of the Santa Barbara Wine country and the pioneering spirit of Tom Beckmen and his family.
In 1996 Beckmen Estate Vineyards purchased Purisima Mountain Vineyard a 365-acre Estate overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley, where there are ideal soils and climate for Rhone varieties. They began planting in 1997 and have completed a total of 130 acres at this time. The high density plantings are designed to optimize different hillside exposures and elevations.
92 POINTS! Vinous by Antonio Galloni, “The 2013 Grenache is ripe and generous – very much in the style of the year – yet never comes across as overdone or heavy. Deceptively medium in body, the 2013 offers plenty of depth and varietal character to match its translucent personality and fabulous palate presence. All the elements are in the right place. The succulent finish alone is compelling. The 2013 is a blend of fruit from Beckmen’s two estate properties; 85% Purisima Mountain and 15% Los Olivos, done with fully destemmed fruit and aged in neutral oak for nine months.”
91 POINTS! WINE ADVOCATE- Made from 100% of the variety and brought up in neutral oak, this medium to full-bodied, silky, seamless and sexy 2013 has tons of ripe black raspberry, licorice, crushed flowers and toasted spice aromas and flavors. Pure, polished and hard to resist, drink it over the coming 4-5 years, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hold for longer. While I’d have to go back and check the database, these latest 2013s might be the finest set of releases ever for Steve Beckmen. The wines show terrific fruit intensity and texture, with an approachableness and harmony that makes them hard to resist.
Giornata Aglianico, Paso Robles
The journey in creating Giornata started with a dream to create wines from Italian grapes grown in California employing the sensibility and philosophy of Italian winemaking. We work with the same grape vines (clonal material) as the best producers in Italy. The Central Coast of California posseses many of the attributes of the top wine growing regions of Italy. Our winemaking style leans more Italian than Californian in that we favor wines with balance and subtlety rather than intensity and extraction. We pick our grapes at lower sugar levels and handle our must gently in the cellar, thus resulting in wines that belong on the Italian dinner table possesing both ample acidity and tannin. Traveling to Italy on a regular basis, we continue to receive feedback on our efforts while researching Italian winemaking and viticultural methods.
Our block of Aglianico at French Camp Vineyard thrives in one of the warmest sections of the Paso Robles AVA. Nevertheless, it is often the last fruit to be picked in any given harvest, it ripens slowly, and retains beautiful freshness and acidity at relatively low sugars. Thick-skinned and intense, its brooding dark fruit dominates flavors produced early in fermentation. As the intensity subsides, floral and nuanced spice aromas emerge.
More concentrated and powerful due to the low yielding vintage, our 2015 French Camp Aglianico displays its usual nose of violet, game, rosemary, and earthy, blackberry fruit. Its structured palate displays loads of blackberry, cocoa, hibiscus tea, tobacco and black pepper. This wine begs for grilled red meat – particularly Lamb.
Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi’s studies of this black grape are fascinating. This shows a very distinct nose of purple fruit meeting charred wood, with elderberry jam, dried violet, scarlet rose and truffle elements. It’s meaty, with soy, teriyaki and prime rib flavors on the palate, yet also ripe, with plum jam and toasted sage accents. The strong but not overpowering tannins ensure great drinking from 2017–2025.
OLD GHOST ZINFANDEL, KLINKER BRICK (LODI)
The Old Ghost represents the best Zinfandel that Klinker Brick produces each year. For the past eight vintages, this wine has come from 90 plus-year-old vineyard blocks that produce minuscule yields that are less than one ton per acre. Brambleberry fruit aromas intermingled with anise, clove and exotic spice, echo previous vintages. Smaller berries harvested from this vineyard block tend to offer more “skin to flesh,” providing a greater level of smooth yet firm tannin and structure to this wine.
Each vintage this wine has managed to offer our winemaker major challenges!
92 POINTS- WINE ENTHUSIAST
While quite ripe and fruity, this wine is also dry, nicely tannic and firmly textured, so it will pair beautifully with rich proteins. Aged 18 months in oak, mostly French, it has concentrated dark fruit aromas, and a layered array of flavors that recalls blueberry, dark chocolate and blackberry syrup. Bright acidity keeps everything in balance
MALBEC, MT BRAVE (NAPA)
The Mt. Brave Malbec is a very special wine. Planted on a northwest facing slope, the vineyard is small, steep and breathtaking. The fruit is rich, concentrated with notes of spice, rich boysenberry and black currants that carry through to the finish. The sturdy structure reveals that this is a true mountain wine.
94 POINTS!- WINE ENTHUSIAST- Amazingly rich and voluptuous, this shows none of the rustic edges that can sometimes plague Malbec. It’s concentrated in blackberry jam and black currant flavors, with a jacket of smoky oak. The alcohol is high, but not overbearing. This really asserts itself with the customary power and authority of a great Mount Veeder red. Wonderful now, but should continue to develop for at least 10–15 years.
91 POINTS! WINE ADVOCATE- The 2012 Malbec can compete with some of the big boys from Argentina. Aromas of coffee beans, blackberries, chocolate and vanilla jump from the glass of this opaque purple-colored wine. With exceptional intensity, sweet tannin and a long, rich, layered finish, this blend of 98% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in two-thirds new French oak should drink well for 8-12 years.
90-92 POINTS! KEN’S WINE GUIDE. Wine Review: This opaque and dark ruby colored Malbec from Mt. Brave is very good. It opens with a fragrant boysenberry and black raspberry bouquet with hints of coconut. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, slightly acidic and nicely coats your mouth. Flavor profile is a tasty blueberry pie with notes of black cherry. We also detected of strawberry, minerality and clove spice. The finish is dry and its flavors and acidity linger for a bit. The panel suggested pairing this very nice wine with a cherry amaretto chicken along with a mushroom risotto.
PETITE SYRAH, MAXVILLE (CHILES VALLEY, NAPA)
Maxville Lake is nestled deep in the Chiles Valley District of Napa Valley. The land around Maxville, formerly known as Rancho Catacula was part of a land grant from Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Joseph Chiles bequeathed in 1844. Spanish settlers and farmers tilled the land into the agricultural area it is today.
Our 1000-acre Napa Valley estate is located in the esteemed Chiles Valley AVA, a sub-appellation of the Napa Valley nestled in the Vaca Mountains. The climate is cooler than the main Napa Valley floor due to elevations of 900-1200 feet, this allows for development of flavor and color while retaining natural acidity.
Our complex soils are well drained; they are formed of material derived from weathered sandstone and shale on the west facing slopes and alluvial fans along the base of hills.
Our cooler microclimate results in a longer growing season giving our grapes an opportunity to mature with subtle flavors, full body, and overall complexity rivaling those grown in the best sites on the main valley floor.
Additionally, we employ dry farming methods and other viticulture techniques to stress our vines, coxing them to focus on growing rich, concentrated berries.
Petite Sirah (or Durif) is a black-skinned grape variety, with Petite Sirah being its North and South American name. In the rest of the world it is generally known as Durif, named after its discoverer, Dr. Francois Durif. “Petite” here refers to the small, intensely colored berries that make Petite Sirah such a distinctive grape variety. Primary flavors often associated with the wine are blackberry, chocolate and black pepper. Many other characteristics of Syrah can also be noted, like blueberry, licorice and various herbal elements.
93 POINTS! WINE ENTHUSIAST This is a newly released wine, sultry and peppery, with lip-smacking waves of blackberry and raspberry, bold and brooding and ultimately delicious. Full-bodied, it finds balance between its velvety texture and spikes of black pepper and leather.