CLUB CRUSH RED AND CABERNET SAUVIGNON 4.20
First let us say we hope that as you are reading this you and yours are doing well and staying healthy. We also would like to thank all of our club members for their continued support and enthusiasm for trying new wines, it means the absolute world to Adam and I. Now, let’s get to what you are really here for, the wine. This month Club Crush Red features our first import for this year and a favorite Petite Sirah of mine. Club Crush Cabernet Sauvignon features a new vintage of a Cabernet we did in the very early days of Club Crush Cab and a new one for us from Sonoma Mountain.
It seems like it has been forever since the last time we did a Tempranillo in Club Crush Red so we were excited to come across one in the right price range that meets our admittedly high level of standards in terms of quality. Located in the Northern part of the Ribera del Duero region of Spain (just southeast of Rioja), Bodegas Vizcarra has been farming grapes for several generations. It wasn’t until the current generation however that Juan Carlos Vizcarra made the step forward to start producing wine from the highly sought after grapes his family normally sold to other wineries. When he was younger, Juan Carlos noticed that some of the most highly acclaimed bodegas (such as Vega Sicilia and Pesquera) would turn to his family vineyards to buy fruit if their own crops didn’t produce enough fruit or wasn’t up to snuff. He knew from then on that his family was doing something right and he decided make wine to truly express the terroir he had inherited.
Juan Carlos’ namesake wine JC Vizcarra is made utilizing a gravity flow winemaking style. For those unfamiliar, imagine a winery being built into a slope. At the top of the slope, the grapes are brought in from the vineyard, sorted, destemmed, and then dropped down into the lower level, where fermentation takes place and the wine is pressed off the skin. The wine then flows down to a lower level where it is put in to barrel and aged. Finally, the aged wine then flows down to the lowest level of the slope where it is bottled and packed. This system minimizes electricity usage and is much gentler on wines, preserving freshness and elegance in the final product. This bottling of estate fruit is built to age and will surely improve in bottle over the next 6-10 years.
This vintage is all about the balance between finesse and power, hallmark traits of quality Ribera del Dueros. Take a deep whiff and you’ll find rich, ripe black and blue berries, leather, vanilla cola, and delicate violet notes. You’ll find all those notes on your first sip as well, accompanied by subtle mineral nuances. As for the pairing, I would really recommend keeping with the local tradition from Ribera del Duero and matching this up with a nice roast lamb.
Technicals: 100% Tinto Fino (a localized name for Tempranillo). Aged 15 months in American and French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% two years old. ABV 14.5%. 1500 cases produced. 92 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
With over 25 harvests under its belt, Jaffurs Wine Cellars is dedicated to produce the best representations of the varietals that Santa Barbara is known for, Rhone and Burgundian grapes. Originally founded and led by Craig Jaffurs, who established himself as one of the preeminent winemakers in the area and created the relationships with some of the best vineyards in Santa Barbara County, Jaffurs is now owned by his protegee, Dan Green and winemaking is led by Stephen Searle. Sourcing 100% of the fruit used for their wines (Jaffurs owns no vineyard sites of their own), their philosophy is to focus on single varietal, single vineyard wines that showcase the region’s and vineyards’ terroirs and how they impact the grape.
Those of you who have been in the club for awhile probably recognize Jaffurs. We’ve featured two of their Sryahs (Bien Nacido and Thompson Vineyard) in past shipments. And if you’re not familiar with Jaffurs, chances are good you’ve heard of the vineyards they source from. Bien Nacido, Larner, Kimsey, Thompson, and Stolpman are Jaffurs’ most frequent sources. Jaffurs’ Thompson Vineyard Petite Sirah is regularly one of my favorite Petite Sirahs every year. The varietal can easily create wine that is too tannic, raisiny, or hot if done poorly, but they absolutely nail the balance every vintage. We’ve actually earmarked this for previous club shipments on multiple vintages, but can never get enough allocation because of its small production. With the current market however, there was finally enough for us to get for all of you (silver linings and what not).
For this vintage, expect inky purple, almost black hues in your glass and powerful aromatics. On the nose you’ll find dark blue and black fruit, black licorice, tar, Asian spices, and dried herbs. This Petite is anything but, and you’ll feel that when you take a sip and are greeted with a rich, mouth coating texture and ripe, grippy tannins. This is a wine for steak if there ever was one, so fire up the grill and keep it simple with just a little bit of salt and pepper.
Technicals: 100% Petite Sirah. Aged 10 months in 18% new American Oak. ABV 15.4%. 405 cases produced. 93 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. 92 points Jeb Dunnuck.
Post Parade Wines had their inaugural vintage 10 years ago and was founded by three friends and horse racing enthusiasts from Kentucky. Their goal: to create a wine that was truly worthy of appreciation, much like the time spent together with friends. The term Post Parade refers the moments when race horses are showcased as they walk up to the track and starting gate. The Stretch Drive is the final length of the race where the all the stops are pulled.
Both wines for Post Parade are made by highly acclaimed and prolific winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown (Schrader, Rivers-Marie, formerly Turkey). The namesake wine is from a single vineyard in Napa Valley, full-bodied with firm tannins, and is designed to be cellar worthy. The Stretch Drive was created to be more approachable out of the gate (that’s a little racing pun) but still highlight all the hallmarks of a classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
This vintage is all Cabernet Sauvignon, with a deep garnet-almost purple tint in the glass. Aromas abound, with notes of blackberries, black currant, vanilla, and dark chocolate. The plate is rich and juicy, leading with fruit notes and brought together with hints of baking spice, soft and velvety tannins, and a long finish. This is going to go great with a red wine braised short rib dish, just make sure to use a bottle of something else for the recipe.
Technicals: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 20 months in 78% new French oak. ABV 14.7%. 350 cases produced. 93 points Jeb Dunnuck. 90 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
Laurel Glen Vineyard, situated at an elevation of 1,000ft on the slopes of Sonoma Mountain has a long and well earned reputation as one of the most iconic Cabernet vineyards in Sonoma County, and indeed all of California. A combination of altitude, sun exposure, a rocky soil composition, and microclimate lead to a classic, nuanced, terroir driven Cabernet Sauvignon.
Originally planted and developed in the 1960s and 1970s by then owner and Sonoma wine pioneer Patrick Campbell, the vineyard was sold in 2011 to a group equally passionate about the site and the wine it produces. Since then the vineyard has transitioned to meet certified organic standards and vineyard management has become more precise and with purpose.
In music, counterpoint is the term for the relationship between voices that are harmonically codependent but independent in rhythm. The Counterpoint Cabernet reflects this concept with Laurel Glen’s estate Cabernet Sauvignon, offering a wine that represents the vineyard but is wholly unique from the vineyard’s flagship. While Counterpoint is predominantly comprised of estate grown fruit, some of the Cabernet Sauvignon and all of the Merlot and Malbec used for this vintage come from the neighboring Pickberry Vineyard, also on Sonoma Mountain. These sites will blend together to showcase aromas of red currant, black cherry, potpourri, and dried herbs. The mouthfeel is soft, round, and full-bodied with a perfect balance of upfront fruit and ripe tannins. Personally, I’m looking forward to pairing this up with a rich osso buco.
Technicals: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Malbec. Aged 16 months in 30% new French oak. ABV 14.6%. 1,505 cases produced. 92 points Jeb Dunnuck.
So that’ll do it for August’s Club Crush releases. We think it is a pretty exciting lineup of wines and hope after learning a little more about them you’ll agree. While I have recommended some more specific pairing ideas, as we approach Labor Day and the “end” of barbecue/grilling season, I think opening any of these up with a nice chargrilled ribeye is a no-brainer. Luckily, it looks like the heat wave should break just in time for the long weekend, so fire up the grill, pop a cork, find some shade, and enjoy.