syrah

Revisiting Wine Tasting - Shokrian Vineyard & Winery

At Revisit Wine Co., part of our mission is to share wine-related experiences with you as we explore wine country. We’re even going to attempt some video! Stay tuned!

About a year ago, we were driving around and saw a small sign on Cat Canyon Road (a very isolated road near Los Alamos) which said, “Shokrian” and looked to be a vineyard. We made a note to check it out later. We discovered that part of it used to be Melville’s “Verna’s” vineyard, an excellent Syrah we enjoyed as members of Melville’s wine club. We also found that there were some renown area winemakers involved with the project, including Drake Whitcraft (Whitcraft Wines, Santa Barbara) and Morgan Clendenen (Cold Heaven Wine).

On a beautiful January day, we decided to venture back out to explore Shokrian. The gate was closed and the sign said, “Appointment Only.” Not to be deterred, we called the number to see if we could stop by. After some effort, we were able to get in touch with Babak Shokrian, the owner, who happened to be there with his estate winemaker, Alice, and his beautiful dog, Cocoa. The tasting room is tiny, funky, and cool - The property is spectacular. Babak has been working on the project since 2013. We tasted a number of wines, including Viognier (Clendenen’s specialty), a young, dry Rose’ of Grenache, Pinot Noir, a Syrah, and a GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre) blend. While tasting, we had a wonderful chat with Babak and Alice about the vineyard and the wines. Babak has a house on the property with a few goats, sheep, and chickens (and maybe 1 cow) that we saw grazing from a distance. We explained our project and agreed it would be a perfect winery to feature in one of our shipments.

We enjoyed every wine, and walked away with a Pinot Noir and a Syrah. The Pinot is described by Matt Kettman of Wine Enthusiast (92 pts) as “lush and think with boysenberry paste, clove, star anise, and vanilla” – yes, it is one of those fuller-body richer Pinots that are sometimes found in this area.

The 2015 Syrah was somewhat known to us as Melville Verna’s which we always enjoyed. It is described by Clendenen as having velvety tannins with hints of blueberry, pepper, tobacco, spiced meat, and plum. We definitely tasted the complexity of the wine, but it was also very smooth.

What most impressed us was the feeling of ease about the entire place. From the welcoming of the team for an unplanned tasting visit, to the casual talk about our mutual love of the area and of future collaboration, we thoroughly enjoyed the visit and look forward to featuring these wines in our Club shipment and in our soon-to-launch online store!

2018 Revisit Wine Co Winter Shipment

Greetings members! Since the holidays are such a popular time to share wine with friends and family, we are sending you a holiday shipment! Our next shipment is not planned until late February or early March so this will have to last you until then. Of course, you can re-order any of our wines at a discount while supplies last. And, we’ve included a special gift in this shipment as a thank you for being members.

For this shipment, we’ve selected wines from a very special winemaker, Clarissa Nagy. Clarissa is a well-known winemaker in the Central Coast with an extensive pedigree, starting in 1995. She worked her way through a variety of wineries you may know: Firestone Vineyard, Curtis Winery, Byron Vineyard and Winery, Longoria Wines, Rancho Arroyo Grande Winery, Bonaccorsi Wine Company, honing her skills throughout the years. She is currently the winemaker for Riverbench Vineyard and Winery, a favorite stop along the Foxen Wine Trail, specializing in beautifully-crafted Pinot Noir and Sparkling Wines. We’ve included a 2015 Riverbench Cork Jumper Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine in your shipment to kick-off your holiday celebration. If you’re not a sparkling wine fan, it’s the perfect gift to share with friends! Riverbench is an award-winning, beautiful, boutique winery at the top of Foxen Canyon Road in the Santa Maria Valley. Clarissa recently launched her own wine label, CNagy Wines. The tasting room is in quaint Old Town Orcutt near Santa Maria. Clarissa sources her grapes from some of the best vineyards in the area. In this shipment, we’re sharing her 2013 CNagy Garey Ranch Pinot Noir and 2013 CNagy White Hawk Syrah – something for the Pinot-lovers in the group and a bolder wine for those who enjoy the big reds. Syrah is one of the most common Rhone varietals. Last shipment, it was part of a cuvee’, and in this shipment it stands alone. Clarissa’s wines are very polished and smooth, artfully combining primary fruit characteristics with secondary aromas and flavors. Tasting notes are included below.

Clarissa was kind enough to invite us up to see her in action, processing one of her 2018 grape selections. What amazed us is the amount of work that goes in to making the wine. We observed the press, and the measurement of sugar (brix) in the wine. Also, the meticulous cleaning and sanitization that ensures no unwanted bacteria gets in the mix. The larger wineries with names you’ve heard of have teams of people and large equipment to process their wines, but Clarissa and many of the small wineries we’re featuring in the Club do it all themselves with minimal assistance, and pay very close attention to every detail, sorting the grapes by hand. This is what ensures that the wines you receive are the very best.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

Cheers!

Mike and Mary

THE DETAILS

Riverbench Cork Jumper Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine: This sparkling wine is crafted using the traditional French Champenoise method, like the great French Champagnes. This wine is deep, complex, and suitable for the most elegant occasions. This vintage is full of deep rich tones of pear mixed with a hint of tangerine and orange zest. It’s clean and refreshing with zippy acidity and triple crème brie on the finish. Pair this wine with…almost anything! One of our family favorites is to have sparkling wine on Christmas morning while opening presents, and transitioning to my Mom’s favorite eggs benedict – cuts right through that rich, yummy hollandaise sauce!

CNagy 2013 Garey Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir – only 91 cases were made of this special wine and you are lucky enough to have some! Look for notes of potpourri, blueberry, hints of blackberry, raspberry, and cranberry aromas lend to chalky, mineral, and spicy notes on the nose. Brown spices, smoky, toasty, and silk tannins finish with hints of walnuts. Great to drink on its own, or pair with lighter meats or heavier fish – Clarissa suggests pork loin with balsamic vinegar reduction and carmelized onions, or barbecued salmon.

CNagy 2013 White Hawk Vineyard Syrah - Black and white pepper, purple violets, with blackberry and black cherry notes. Silky and savory, with touches of coastal sage and crushed wet stone on the finish. Only 192 cases produced. We drink Syrah on its own sometimes, but it’s best with heavier meats. Clarissa’s ideas are rack of lamb, steak with blue cheese sauce, or scallops wrapped in bacon!

Thanksgiving Wine Suggestions

Fall Wine Club Shipment

Fall Wine Club Shipment

As we approach the holiday season, many of you may be thinking about what you’ll serve for your special holiday meals, so I wanted to provide you with some suggestions to help you on the wine-pairing side. One of the fun things about wine is that everyone’s palate is different. But that also makes it more challenging as a host! So I recommend having a couple different options available. Let’s focus on Thanksgiving, and I’ll follow up with some December holiday recommendations.

You typically can’t go wrong starting with a sparkling wine or Champagne. Handing a guest a glass of bubbly gets the celebration off to a great start! For your meal, for the white wine, I recommend a fuller-bodied wine – a Chardonnay. Why? Because that is the white wine that will stand up to some of the richer flavors of a Thanksgiving meal. Or you can even continue into the meal with your sparkling wine. The bubbles and acidity balance out the rich flavors of the meal without overpowering them.

On the red side, the best choice is on the lighter side because turkey is a light meat. One of the common pairing recommendations is a Nouveau (young) Beaujolais – a bright, fruity option. However, I prefer something which balances the fruit with a bit more interest and substance. I think the perfect choice is a Pinot Noir with some nice earthiness which should blend well with savory sides like stuffing, and turkey gravy. Some people don’t realize that there is a broad spectrum of Pinot Noirs, from light to full-bodied. If you’re not a Pinot Noir fan, you could also do a Grenache, which is a lighter Rhone varietal, but it’s harder to find a good one. For those who prefer a full-bodied red, I recommend a Rhone blend, like a GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre). Again, a bit more difficult to find a good one. A straight Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon would overpower the turkey, but the blend with Grenache softens it. The gold standard in Rhone blends is a Chateauneuf du Pape from the French Rhone region, but there are also some excellent options from the Santa Barbara or Paso Robles area. Whatever wine you choose, it will bring that special touch to your meal which melds all of the wonderful flavors and personalities of the holiday!

The Revisit Wine Club Fall Package contains 3 wines perfect for your Thanksgiving feast. Scroll down to see our blog below, or www.revisitwineco.com to learn more about our wine club!

Revisit Wine Co. Releases Inaugural Club Shipment

We’re excited to announce our first REVISIT WINE COMPANY Wine Club Shipment! For this first shipment, we wanted to feature some special wines from our local area, which will always be a focus for us – wines from Clos Pepe and Crawford Family Wineries. The people behind these wineries also have a similar philosophy about making wine. One of the main commonalities is authenticity. These winemakers don’t manipulate their wines – they let the grapes speak for themselves. The second commonality is related to the purpose of wine. One favorite quote of Clos Pepe winemaker Wes Hagen states, “A bottle of wine is an investment to keep the people we love at table for an extra hour every day.” Winemaker Mark (Crawford) Horvath discusses his brand, represented by a key, which “unlocks” a new experience in every bottle. This is exactly what we want to bring you at Revisit Wine Co. Great reasons to share more time (and wine) with special people, creating memorable experiences.

CLOS PEPE 2013 Pinot Noir

· Sta. (Santa) Rita Hills AVA

· Best in class and Gold Medal at the LA International Wine Competition

· Owners: Steve and Cathy Pepe; Winemaker: Wes Hagen

· Pairs well with salmon, pork, lighter red meats

· Drink now until 2025

CLOS PEPE 2013 Chardonnay

· Sta. Rita Hills AVA

· 92 Pts., Josh Reynolds, Vinous

· Owners: Steve and Cathy Pepe; Winemaker: Wes Hagen

· Pairs well with richer cheeses, flavorful white fish, salmon, poultry

· Drink now until 2023

CRAWFORD FAMILY 2015 2nd Street Cuvee

· 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 10% Mourvédre from Santa Barbara County Vineyards

· 91 Pts., Jeb Dunnuck

· Owners: Mark and Wendy Horvath; Winemaker: Mark Horvath

· A fuller bodied red wine that pairs well with beef and grilled meats

· Drink now until 2028+

THE DETAILS

Clos Pepe Vineyard presents a unique opportunity that we wanted to share with you. I first tasted Clos Pepe wine at a corporate event at the Bacara Resort and have loved it ever since. The Sta. Rita Hills vineyard was purchased by Steve and Cathy Pepe in 1994 as a horse ranch, and was established as the 9th vineyard in what would become the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Specializing in cool-climate, small production, craft-based Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Clos Pepe is recognized as a leader in local and national wine culture and wine education. The vineyards were recently leased to other wineries, so Clos Pepe wine is no longer being produced. We thought it would be the perfect wine to offer our members – limited edition and delicious! We were given a comprehensive tour by Andrew Turner, Winery Manager, who relayed the meticulous farming and production practices conducted by the team, and winemaker Wes Hagen, a well-known and respected winemaker in California. Wes has taken a new position with JWilkes (www.jwilkes.com), but we really enjoyed listening to, and learned a lot from his awesome blog: http://clospepe.com/wes-blog. We recently had lunch with Wes and his lovely wife Chandra. He has a no-BS style which cuts through the pretentiousness sometimes present in the world of wine.

The Clos Pepe 2013 Estate Pinot Noir typifies the best of the Sta. Rita Hills area. Pinot Noir wines from this area are something special due to the unique climate and soil conditions near the ocean. This is a well-balanced Pinot Noir that delights all aspects of the palate, featuring beautiful berry fruit followed by complexity and earthiness.

Experience pairing: it’s the perfect time to drink now – great on its own, or pair with richer seafood, poultry, or lighter meats such as pork or lamb. How about a backyard BBQ party if the weather is still warm where you are living?

Clos Pepe 2013 Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay is very balanced with the right amount of primary fruit characteristics, with interesting secondary characteristics, minerality, acidity, and the right touch of oak. California Chardonnays have really evolved over the last few years – they are usually not the oaky, buttery wines of the past. I have come back around to them and found many that I really like, including this one!

Experience pairing: A picnic anywhere with a beautiful view – out on the water perhaps, with some great cheese, meats, and a fresh baguette?

Crawford Family Wines (www.crawfordfamilywines.com) is a small, family-run winery. Mark and Wendy are fabulous neighbors and friends of ours in Los Olivos, who have created a very small, highly-focused winery. They do not have an estate vineyard, but select the best grapes the county has to offer and gently coax it into the bottle. They embrace the "garagiste" style of winemaking, producing tiny lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Albariño that provide a glimpse into the unique Sta. Rita Hills vineyards they come from. Now, with a small Rhone program underway, the winery is becoming more complete and a true showcase for these meticulously farmed vineyards.

For this shipment, we wanted a wine that would complement the Clos Pepe wines and transition us into Fall, so we selected the Crawford Family 2015 “Second-Street Cuvée”, a delicious blend from a group of vineyards throughout the county that show off the beautiful, earthy fruit quality Rhone varietals take on in this ideal location. The blend is dominated by Syrah this year and it was a good year for dark, rich Syrah, so it has more punch than some GSM blends.

Experience pairing: Similar to a cabernet pairing; a red meat or main course with some substance to hold up to the Syrah – will pair very well with burgers, steaks, or lamb. Great on the grill for a casual dinner with friends!

Learn more about how to receive the best hard-to-find artisan wines as a member of our Wine Club!

It’s Stormy in the Santa Maria Valley…

STORM WINES

As we search for special wines to bring to our club members, we ran into Ernst Storm and his family at a Los Olivos community function.  We struck up a conversation and arranged for a visit to his winemaking facility near Presqu’ile Winery to learn more about Storm Wines.  Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by his boxer, Jake, who we’re told also has a passion for wine.  Ernst was kind enough to spend time with us tasting through a number of wines.  What struck me is, as with many other winemakers in the Santa Ynez Valley, his authentic style, both personally and in his winemaking.  There is no BS here…the focus is on selecting great vineyards, guiding the process, and letting the grapes shine.  Of course, his Sauvignon Blanc is well-known and a favorite in the area, with refreshing citrus and acidity.  We also had the opportunity to taste the very limited production Grenache Rose’, an excellent dry wine from Demetria vineyard, and a series of excellent Pinot Noirs:  the SBC Pinot, The Presqu’ile Vineyard Pinot, the John Sebastiano Vineyard Pinot, and my personal favorite, the Duvarita Pinot, made with three Dijon clones.  Duvarita is a small, family-run vineyard in Lompoc off La Purisma Road, known for biodynamic farming practices.  The balance of fruit with earthy undertones was excellent.  We finished with the Slide Hill cool-climate Syrah from Edna Valley, which is owned by the same folks as the Duvarita Vineyard.  We’re really enjoying the cool climate Syrahs that we’re seeing in the area, such as this one, which was very well-balanced with dark fruit, dried herbs, and pepper.

We look forward to featuring Storm Wines in an upcoming Club shipment soon! For more information, please see www.stormwines.com