Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why Wine: Cline Cellars: Giving Back with Cashmere 2008

One of the great things about social networking is that you often get in contact with friends and classmates from a time when all was great, life was fun and we were all going to live forever.  Well, all was great, life was fun, but the reality of living forever soon wears off as some of those friends and classmates and those we meet in our adult life begin to pass on.  I was reminded of just that this past week as I chatted with an old friend and High School classmate from the mid-60's. She noted that one of our classmates succumbed to breast cancer this past year and that her own cousin, just this past week, also died of breast cancer. We probably all know some body that died of this disease and may also know survivors.  I am fortunate to know a few survivors, including one male, now retired, co-worker.  This disease is not reserved for just women.  Another male co-worker is now dealing with breast cancer.
I thought is was kinda ironic that just a few hours after hearing this news, I spotted a wine bottle in one of my favorite shops, with a pink ribbon on the label. With that mornings conversation still fresh in the mind, I was not going to pass up buying that wine and researching the winery.  Here's what I learned.
The winery is Cline Cellars. 
One of the first wineries on the road to wine country, Cline Cellars is located 45 minutes north of San Francisco in Sonoma-Carneros. This historic property was once the site of a Miwok Village and the first camp of the Sonoma Mission. The tasting room is located in an 1850s farmhouse and the wine is the Cline Cellars Cashmere 2008.

Cline Cellars is a proud sponsor Breast Cancer’s Network of Strength’s "Ride to Empower."
Now most of my readers know I have another blog..My Pro Cycling Blog.   I have for many years, even before Lance, followed pro cycling.  I also like to bike a little on my Trek road bike.  Not what I used to and nowhere near being a true cycling enthusiast.  Because of that, Cline Cellars involvement with Ride to Empower has sparked my interest.
On October 24th nine Team Cline members and 70 others participated in Breast Cancer Network of Strength's Ride to Empower in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Cyclists rode 37, 64 or 100 miles.With the support of friends, family and colleagues, they raised more than $23,000. Cline Cellars is a national sponsor of the event and contributes $25,000 from the proceeds of 2008 Cashmere sales.
Cashmere is a silky and wonderful blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah.  
Winemaker Notes:
We initially created this blend as an auction lot for the Hospice du Rhone held in Paso Robles each year. Cashmere is a very flavorful, smooth wine offering big cherry, raspberry and chocolate notes with hints of cracked black pepper and plum.
I drank a glass last night at what was a ideal serving temperature for most reds.  The wine reminded me some what of Beaujolais.  There was a lot of cherry and strawberry with some hints of sugar plum. Since I like my Beaujolais a bit chilled I put the rest of the wine in the cooler and chilled it a little for tonight and that made a world of difference. The cherry aromas came out and with the chocolate notes added this was more aromatic.
In the mouth, Cashmere is light and velvety with lots of berry and plum. The finish was a little sweet and little short, but over all was a great value at $15.
Definitly not Beaujolais, but fruit forward with much higher alcohol.  I did pair with some Brie and crackers, which was OK.  I'd like to try with a pork tenderloin or even a thick hamburger, but just sipping was great.
Wine type:       Red Wine
Varietal:           Blend
Appellation:      California
Acid:                .67 g/100ml                                                           
PH:                   4.06
Bottling Date:    August 2009   

Residual Sugar:  .20%
Alcohol%:          15%

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why Wine: Atwater Estate Vineyards Cabernet-Merlot 2007

Sometimes when you least expect it, you open what may becomes your new favorite bottle of wine. Tonight I opened one of my remaining bottles of Finger Lakes wine purchased at my last tour in December. An Atwater Estate Vineyards, Cabernet-Merlot 2007. A blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 47% Merlot. ($25)

The aromas were of plum and a hint of licorice, almost like a holiday fruit cake, without the spices. In the mouth, the taste was more mature than I thought it should be at it's young age, soft and mellow with a hint of chocolate.  The finish was like drinking a masterpiece of wine blending, long, smooth and dry.  Very early in the year to pick a favorite for 2010, but this one is way out in the lead.

Winemakers notes:
This dynamic duo combines the brawn of Cabernet Sauvignon and the suppleness of Merlot.  Harmonious notes of juicy plums and bittersweet cocoa, pair this wine with hearty cheeses and grilled steak.

I didn't have any steak, so I diced up some New York extra sharp cheddar and settled down in front of the TV and enjoyed an evening of college hoops and Finger Lakes wine.  Can't do much better than that.  So much so, at half time of game, I got on-line and ordered more Atwater Cab-Merlot and Syrah.

Atwater wines can be ordered here..

Residual Sugar:                                 0.1%
Alcohol:                                            13.0%
Acid:                                          .71g/100ml
pH:                                                    3.39
Cases Produced:    158

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why Wine: Lakewood Vineyards Riesling 2007

Big break in weather today here in Central New York. Temperatures will reach about 30F. Must be the annual January thaw! To celebrate I figured to open one of my usually reserved for warm weather whites. My choice is one that was recently purchased at Lakewood Vineyards on Seneca Lake at the December 'Deck the Halls" event. A 2007 Riesling.
I really liked the zesty aromas of citrus and melon with some peach. Nicely balanced with a lot of citrus, peach, melon and a hint of sweetness in the mouth with a long dry finish.
Riesling is one of the few whites that I have come to enjoy alot over the past two years and this is one of the best I've had.
At the event it was paired with a delicious Christmas salad, but today I am having it with a left over baked chicken breast from last night. Very nice with the chicken and believe this would be wonderful with a roast turkey or with seafood. $13

Monday, January 4, 2010

Why Wine: Bonterra Vineyards Zinfandel 2007

Somewhere among my 50 New Year's resolutions (99.9% failure rate) was to leave my wine comfort zone more often as I continue to expand my trapped palate. To do so, I will have to taste, I mean drink, more wines that I never tried or wines I just never liked. So, to start off the new year I opened one of my least favorite wines, Zinfandel.
Zin is one wine that over the years I tried earnestly to enjoy. It just never happened. That was not until I tasted and reviewed a Paso Robles Zin from Agent for Change. Today I opened an organic Zin from Bonterra Vineyards in Mendocino County. I purchased the Bonterra, because I have already reviewed two other of their wines, the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Sauvignon Blanc and enjoyed both.
Color was a dark purple with aromas of red raspberry, blueberry and spice. More intense than the last Zin I tasted and liked, but still not as bold or peppery as most I've had. A lot of berry and some plum, spice and pepper with a long and smooth finish.
The first two glasses I drank with a very good mushroom pizza and finished later while watching the Fiesta Bowl. The wine went very well with the pizza dinner, but I felt it was still not going to go into my list of nice sipping wines. I still though, see and feel the change in my acceptance of good wines that before I would not have finished the first glass. The Bonterra Zinfandel is one that I will buy again. It was also organic, and I am becoming fond of organic wines. It will take a lot of testing or tasting to prove that organic grown grapes makes a difference in quality of a wine and I'm ready to volunteer as a test subject, someday! Price $15

8 months with 40% in once-used new French and American oak toasted medium plus, 25%
twice-used French and American oak, and the remaining 35% in mostly neutral oak.

Total Acidity 0.61g/100ml
pH 3.65
Alcohol 14.5%
RS: .06
Varietal Content
86% Zinfandel
11% Petite Sirah
3% Syrah
Limited Release of 33,000 cases