I had the pleasure of attending the Wine Bloggers Tasting at Monte Bello, Edition II at Ridge Vineyards on Friday, July 9th. The tasting took place at the Ridge Montebello Road tasting room. Their wine club members are in for a treat based on the upcoming Rhone varietals I tasted.
Thank you to our gracious host, and organizer, Christopher Watkins, the Montebello tasting room manager at Ridge, for putting this event together.
Ten wines were poured: 1 Chardonnay, 3 Carignane, 2 Syrah-Grenache blend, 2 Syrah and 2 Petite Sirah.
Here is a short summary of my tasting notes. More detail tasting notes for the nine Rhone varietal wines are found in the attached pdf document.
- 2008 Chardonnay, Mikulaco Vineyards
A youthful chardonnay, dry, tastes of green apples, lemon, lime, hints of tarragon, hints of curry, ginger and almond. I would enjoy this wine with a lobster sala
Paul Draper continues his reputation of producing great Carignane wines from California. Regions outside the US that produce Carignane include Languedoc-Roussillon, France; Sardinia and Lazio, Italy; Cataluna, Spain and Chile.
- 2002 Carignane, Buchignani Ranch, Sonoma
Ready to drink, fruit forward of mainly plums with cloves and allspice. Suggest pairing with grilled lamb.
- 2005, Carignane, Buchignani Ranch, Sonoma
A complex wine with earth, floral and fruit aromas, and taste included dark, dried fruits, heavier spices and herbs. A wine that can be served with a rich Italian red sauce pasta dish
- 2008, Carignane, Buchignani Ranch, Sonoma
A youthful wine with bright fruit and spice in the background. A wine that should be aged for a few years.
All I can say about the Syrah & Grenache wines is, “different wines and both yummy!”
- 2006, Syrah (50%) & Grenache(50%), Dry Creek
Jammy black cherries dominating over the spice and reminded me of red whips. Suggest serving this wine with fruit glazed grilled pork chops.
- 2005, Syrah (50%) & Grenache(50%), Dry Creek
The 2006 had black cherries and the 2005 had red cherries. Both were complex wines but the 2005 had a silky texture.
The addition of 9% Viognier made the Syrah more aromatic and interesting.
- 2003, Syrah & Viognier (9%), Lytton West, Dry Creek
Off dry, slightly sweet and very intense, included plums, figs, and unique mixture of spices. I would pair this with a dark chocolate molten cake.
- 2005, Syrah & Viognier (9%), Lytton West, Dry Creek
A dry, developing wine, full of red cherries, plum and spice. Velvety, complex, and well defined. Suggested pairing with BBQ pork chop or ribs with finger licking sauce.
Ah, yes…Christopher saved the best for last: impressive, elegant, big and yummy Petit Sirahs.
- 2006, Petite Sirah, Dynamite Hill, York Creek
Complex, well integrated wine with plums, berries, mint, allspice, tobacco and smoked Italian meat. This would pair nicely with slow cooked, braised short ribs.
- 2003, Petite Sirah, Dynamite Hill, York Creek
Very elegant, not quite fully developed (almost there), complex wine. Jammy blackberries, blueberries, dill, cinnamon, cloves, and Spanish green olives. This was my favorite wine of the day. I would serve this wine with my favorite cut of steak, filet mignon on the grill.