winemaker

Revisit Wine Co Spring 2019 Shipment

Storm Wines 2015 Pinot Noir – Duvarita Vineyards

· Sta. Rita Hills AVA

· Owner and Winemaker: Ernst Storm

Notary Public 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

· Happy Canyon AVA

· Winemaker: Ernst Storm

J. Wilkes 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon

· Paso Robles Highlands AVA

· Winemaker/Brand Ambassador: Wes Hagen

A special note to our members: "I am Wes Hagen, Winemaker for J Wilkes Wines (and the Cabernet in your current shipment). To me, wine is about keeping friends at table so we can have a great, live conversation with our eyes and mouths--not our thumbs and phones. When I met the owners of the Revisit Wine Club last year, I was excited that our local culture was starting to create small businesses that support our local products in Santa Barbara County, and really wanted J. Wilkes Wines to be part of that. I hope you enjoy the Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles Highlands District, and you will send me your thoughts at whagen@jwilkes.com. I love hearing from those who enjoy my wine, and I hope the wine takes you to the time and place it was grown. Wine is a 'visit' in a glass, and with every sip you can 'Revisit'. Thanks to the Nash family and to you for supporting J. Wilkes!"

Wes Hagen, WSET 2, SWE, AWS, J. Wilkes Winemaker, Brand Ambassador, Raconteur

(805) 450-2324 Voice/Text @weshagen (social media) whagen@jwilkes.com, http://millerfamilywinecompany.com

Greetings members!

We hope you’ve been enjoying your Winter Shipment! Thanks for all the positive comments about the wines. That is why we started this business…to bring you wines that you love, that will be fun to share with friends and family, creating memorable experiences.

For the “Spring” Shipment, it’s more like a second Winter shipment because it’s still cold in most places, so we’ve chose to send you a shipment of all red wines. One of the fun things about a wine club should be to explore new wine regions and new wines. For this shipment, we’re featuring two Cabernet Sauvignons: one is from the Happy Canyon area of the Santa Ynez Valley, a small up-and-coming AVA, and the other is from grapes sourced from Paso Robles, which is more established for bolder wines but still in the process of becoming a globally-recognized region. We have several members who like Cabs and bold wines. Remember for the optimal experience, open bigger wines at least an hour before you will drink them – it will smooth out any rough edges, especially with younger wines. Finally, we’re including a beautiful Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir which truly typifies the area.

Two of the wines, one Pinot Noir and one Cab, are made by winemaker Ernst Storm. We are so lucky to have met Ernst and his family as he has such a great attitude about life, and about making wine. He is featured in one of our first blogs. His philosophy is to source from the best vineyards the area has to offer, and to guide the wine-making process to produce wines that truly reflect the area. His roots are in South Africa where he and his brother still make wine under a different label. Now he’s enjoying the unique climate of California’s Central Coast. You may see his Sauvignon Blanc on some restaurant menus as it’s become very popular. His other wines are very small production, so you are one of the few that get to enjoy them!

Our third wine is made by the same winemaker, Wes Hagen, who wrote the note to you above. He also made the Clos Pepe wines that many of you have really liked in our first shipment. Note: we still have those limited-edition wines available if you’d like to order them while they last! He is now working for J. Wilkes as Winemaker and Brand Ambassador, working his magic with those wines. Wes is truly dedicated to the wine industry and spends most of his time traveling around the country educating people about this special wine region. He knows more about wine that anyone else I’ve met!

As always, we appreciate your membership, and would truly appreciate any referrals to other wine-lovers who would enjoy the Club! And if you have any questions, suggestions, or need any information, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Cheers!

Mike and Mary

THE DETAILS

2015 Storm Wines Pinot Noir – Duvarita Vineyard:

Ernst Storm produces a few Pinot Noirs from different vineyards, all great, but this is our favorite. Duvarita Vineyard is six miles from the Pacific Ocean, in the renown Sta Rita Hills AVA, making it one of the closest to the ocean in Santa Barbara County. Biodynamically grown grapes, meticulous winemaking and a combination of three Dijon clones create a wine that captures both vintage and site. When a vineyard is biodynamic, it is free of pesticides and other chemicals and the focus is creating a self-sustaining ecosystem to produce the best organic fruit possible. It takes a very hands-on approach to make it work. The evidence is in the wonderful aromas of dark fruit, forest floor and spice, with delicate dark fruit and fine tannin filling out the rich palate.

2012 Notary Public Cabernet Sauvignon – Star Lane Vineyard:

Ernst is also a partner and winemaker in another venture, Notary Public Wines. Notary Public was created with a desire to explore the diversity and potential within Santa Barbara County as a wine growing region. Santa Barbara County is blessed with various climates and soil diversity due to the unique East-West Mountain Ranges that open to the Pacific Ocean. The focus at Notary Public is Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc, grown in areas where they can craft wines with personality of both vintage and site, with the goal of making wines that are approachable, elegant and yet structured. This Cab is more balanced than some of the big Cabs you might associate with Paso Robles or Napa Valley, offering delicious ripe flavors, textured tannins and fresh acidity. You’ll have more pairing options with this Cab since it is not overly oaked, so you can drink it with lighter meats as well as the traditional beef pairings. No fining or filtration was used to make the wine.

2016 J. Wilkes Cabernet Sauvignon – Paso Robles Highlands

Many of you may be familiar with Paso Robles as a rapidly growing and recognized wine region. It has had a surge of growth of Cabernet Sauvignon wines as the climate works well for the varietal. We will be researching additional Paso Robles wines so that we can share the wines of this special region. It’s also a fantastic place to visit! This J. Wilkes Cab sources grapes from Paso Robles Highlands, where it is quite hot, and the vines must struggle to survive. This is actually good for the grapes because the roots must create a broad infrastructure, and the vines do not have so much water that it dilutes the fruit (think table grapes). I’ll talk more about this another time.

Winemaker Notes: Classic Cab aromas of blackberry, cherry, currant, clean earth, hint of toasted oak - enticing and complex. Fruity, dense and luscious with vicious and ripe berry flavors; shows great depth of flavor and admirable structure. Plenty of baby fat to make Paso and Napa Cab fans very happy. This wine will pair with traditional Cab pairing foods. Wes suggests Ribeye or New York Steak grilled over red oak or pecan wood, highly flavored/aged cheeses such as Gouda, Tomme or Cheddar, or polenta with lamb or pork shoulder ragout. Yum! In terms of when to drink, it is delicious now, and will shed some baby fat over the next 5-7 years, showing more earthy and complex notes. What, you may ask, is “baby fat” in a wine? The term “baby fat” is a metaphor sometimes used to describe characteristics that a wine will outgrow as it matures. These will vary from wine to wine, typically the juicy qualities and fresh fruit flavors. Depending on the context, a wine’s “baby fat” might also refer to a lush or rich texture, or a showy quality. These notes will fade as a wine ages, and with a good wine, secondary characteristics will emerge, such as toast, baking spices, forest floor, earth, etc.

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!

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!