wine making

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!

Center of Effort Tasting with Nathan Carlson

After enjoying Center of Effort wines a few times, we decided to schedule a tasting with winemaker Nathan Carlson, who has been making wine in the area for many years. Center of Effort is located in the beautiful Edna Valley. If you’ve never visited the Edna Valley before, we highly recommend it! It’s a laid-back hidden gem just east of San Luis Obispo with rolling hills and a small number of wineries throughout. After many years of operating in a small facility, the COE facility is undergoing major reconstruction and the new tasting room and hospitality center look to be amazing. In the meantime, we met Nathan to taste wines where the action is (which we like) – the warehouse where we saw many barrels and also those concrete “egg-like” vessels which are becoming popular.

Per Nathan, the “Center of Effort” wines are created from the best locations, blocks, and lots in the vineyard. To expand their line, COE has recently launched another label titled, “Effort” which are also excellent wines but at a lower price point. Stylistically, Effort wines exhibit a more approachable, fruit-forward style, bringing diversity and dimension to our portfolio. We started our tasting with a 2017 beautiful light peach colored dry rose’ of Pinot Noir followed by:

2016 Effort Chardonnay: Notes of citrus and nice minerality with bright acidity. Fermented by native yeast and aged in new French oak barrels. A great deal for $24/bottle. We took a bottle of this home.

2014 Center of Effort Chardonnay: A refreshing mineral note joins with notes of pineapple and guava. Fermented in 30% new French Oak, concrete, and acacia wood vessels. Interesting things to note: acacia wood barrels – never heard of this before! Does add an interesting flavor.

2016 Effort Pinot Noir: Per Nathan, this wine uses the best of COE’s blocks and barrels. A recent review by Matt Ketterman, Wine Enthusiast, described the wine as having baked black cherry, vanilla, raspberry, rose petals and a touch of licorice light up the nose. The lightly poised but intensely focused sip reveals a wild combo of fruit and spice, with sage, bay leaf, thyme and fennel laced through black cherry. It’s like walking through the Central Coast scrubland. We took a bottle of this home with us. It’s a great deal for $27.

2013 Center of Effort Pinot Noir: This wine includes 15% whole clusters per Nathan. For more info on “whole cluster fermentation” click here for a Wine Spectator article. Tasting notes from Nathan have this wine showcasing a classic Pinot Noir nose of orange peel and Montmorency cherries, this wine expresses the land in which our vineyard lies. The palate is mid-weight with ripe plum, cocoa dust, and a balancing freshness. Earthy notes of new leather and faint campfire lead to a lengthy finish.

Nathan is a very down-to-earth winemaker who made the tasting experience comfortable and informative. He is also working on bringing some Rhone varietals to the COE portfolio.Other great wineries to try in the Edna Valley include Kynsi (fantastic Pinot Noir), Chamisal – beautiful scenery. Talley has a beautiful estate with a grassy area for groups and kids, and an outdoor tasting area, in addition to a farmer’s market.

BOTTLING WINE AT CARIVINTAS – BLENDING WINE WITH PHILANTHROPY

Good friends Lynn and Tony Golden recently invited us to help out with bottling Carivintas wines (www.carivintas.com).  Mike was on a fishing trip but I took them up on their offer, always interested in learning more about the process.  Since it was a relatively small number of bottles, it was all done manually with a small bottler/pump instead of with the bottling truck that we’ve usually seen.  We developed an assembly line and got to work.  I mostly prepped the bottles by injecting nitrogen into them to eliminate some of the oxygen before they went on the bottling machine.  Key to the process was having a good DJ to keep the team going.   Tony has a great selection and we settled on some old 90’s hip-hop tunes which worked well with some wine sampling along the way.  There is no better way to understand a process than to do it yourself!  And it is always educational to speak with experienced winemakers like Fleet Hamilton.

In the crowded world of wine, it’s important to have something that makes you unique.  In addition to making good wine, Fleet and Diane Hamilton decided they would incorporate their love of dogs.  A portion of all the wines they sell goes to support charities that support animals, such as Best Friends Animal Society, Return to Freedom, and many other animal shelters and support groups around the country. Their creative wine labels also feature dogs and other animals, and their tasting room in Solvang is of course, dog (and kid) friendly.  They also have many interesting varieties – we bottled Sangiovese, Merlot, 3 different Pinot Noir vintages, and a Rose’ of Tempranillo. We recently stopped in for a tasting with Beth who always does a fantastic job taking care of you.  Fleet is always experimenting with his creations and they currently have a really interesting herbal vermouth that is fantastic with some flavored sparkling water.  If you visit on a Wednesday afternoon, you can attend the popular Solvang Farmers’ Market.  If you stop by, you may taste or buy one of the bottles we filled!