September 2021 | Terroir Wine Clubby Caileen Brison
Kimsey 2015 Grenache
In 2008, William and Nancy Kimsey established a small, 22-acre vineyard in the Ballard Canyon appellation of Santa Barbara County. The development of this vineyard was a purposeful one. Devotees of pleasurable, cerebral wines, Bill and Nancy had long searched for a site amenable to growing grape varieties they found most compelling; namely several found in the Rhone region of France; syrah, grenache, viognier and roussanne.
Grenache is sort of the unsung hero of domestic red wines – the varietal can work quite well in California regions with a warm climate to promote ripening and a variety of terroirs to express the varietal. This expression from Kimsey displays the savory side of Grenache with notes of BBQ, cumin, and cured meats on the nose. In addition to the gamey notes there’s also forest floor, mushroom, and a flint like smoke all in the foreground of a textured, but elegant grip. On day two the wine became more deep purple in tonality and on the nose and began showcasing aromas of chocolate, black pepper oil, and lavender oil. Both days the wine is showing beautifully and evolving gracefully, which I believe is a testament to the overall wine quality. For food pairings you could venture to porchetta, roast rabbit, or duck breast. Drink now – 2032.
Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot Les Carretals Minervois
From North Berkeley
The cool elegance of Burgundy, the warm soul of southern France — winemaker Anne Gros (of Domaine Anne Gros in Vosne-Romanée) is without question crafting some of the more harmonious, captivating red blends in the Languedoc today. The estate’s 35 acres of old vines in Cazelles grow on a plateau at the foot of the Montagne Noir, 660 feet above sea level, the same altitude as Vosne-Romanée in Burgundy. This breathtaking region boasts exceptional terroir, as both limestone and chalk-rich fossils are abundant. Cooler temperatures allow grapes to ripen slowly, the result being balanced, mineral-infused wines without excessive levels of alcohol.
This Grenache and Carignane blend from the Languedoc region comes from 100+ year old vines on pure limestone soils. On the pop the nose jumps out of the glass with fresh violets, wet asphalt, and white pepper oil. The palate is silk upfront fading to just the slightest bit of tannic grip that is near perfect – neither grippy nor absent, and is no way shadows the elegant acid. The finish lingers with that wet asphalt, cacao, and dried sage/tarragon. On day two the wine retains its elegance and overall tones – the only note worthy change in character is the enhancement of toffee and cocoa, but the notes of flint, asphalt, lavender and vanilla are still present and welcomed. Drink now – 2032.
Marisa Cuomo 2018 Fiorduva Costa d’Amalfi
From the winery
The over-ripe grapes are hand picked and brought into the cellar whole. After soft pressing the grape must, which undergoes cold static fining and is inoculated with selected yeasts, ferments at a temperature of 12°C for about three months in oak barrique.
Maturing technique and duration prior to bottling:
4 months in stainless steel tanks.
This wine is a blend of three indigenous grapes, 30% Fenile, 30% Ginestra, 40% Ripoli, and gives rise to a dynamic and evolving wine. On day one the wine is lush golden in color with topical notes alongside cardamom, clove oil, and a saline finish, nostalgic of the Amalfi coast. The wine retains much of its integrity on day two and almost becomes more silk-like on the palate. The notes of green papaya, honeycomb, and light oak are still evident, but there’s also an appearance of pineapple upside down cake in a way that transports you to some sweet and salty paradise. Drink now – 2036, serve close to 50 deg F, and pair with shellfish, white fish, and beurre blanc love.