American Wine: A to Z, McManis, and B.R. Cohn

This week we will explore a variety of wine from three wineries; specifically Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from A to Z of Oregon, Barbera and Malbec from McManis of California, and Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from B.R. Cohn of Sonoma.

A to Z Wineworks, founded in 2002, is located in Oregon and is one of the fastest-growing wineries there. They do not own any vineyards, but source wine and fruit from various (unnamed) estates throughout the state and blend the juice to create balanced wines that reflect the “essence of Oregon.” They combine multiple lots from numerous producers and make only one cuvee of each wine each vintage. Their overall goal is to create wines with outstanding “quality to value” ratio. A to Z was started by two families who collectively had experience with highly-regarded Oregon producers including Domaine Drouhin, Archery Summit, Chehalem, and The Eyrie Vineyards. For the tasting we will sample the Pinot Noir 2009 and Pinot Gris 2010.

McManis Family Vineyards is a family-owned and operated California producer that was founded in 1990 by Ron and Jamie McManis, fifth-generation California grape-growers. The McManis Family have been growing grapes in California since 1938. Today they farm more than 2,600 acres of vineyards throughout northern California where they grow premium grapes to both sell and use for the McManis wines. They practice sustainable farming and are currently pursuing green certification. For the tasting we will try two varietals that are not traditional to California, Barbera and Malbec. Barbera is indigenous to northern Italy, while Malbec is a traditional blending grape in Bordeaux and today is the most important grape of Argentina.

B.R. Cohn Winery, located in the heart of Sonoma Valley, was founded in 1984 by Bruce Cohn. It is a small, family-operated winery that’s surrounded by 90-acre Olive Hill Estate Vineyard. Their focus is to create wines that emphasize balance, elegance, and consistent high-quality from vintage to vintage. Tom Montgomery has been the head winemaker at B.R. Cohn since 2003. At the tasting we will sample the Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon (containing some fruit from the Olive Hill Estate Vineyard) and Silver Label North Coast Chardonnay.

We hope to see you this Thursday!

The specific wines for the tasting are:

A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris 2010– Oregon. A blend using fruit from 26 different Oregon vineyards; individual components fermented separately and malolactic fermentation was intentionally prevented to retain freshness of fruit. Bright aromas of tropical fruits with hints of melon and mineral suggestions are followed by a juicy, fruit-filled palate. Notes of peach, pear, and apple are enhanced with bright acidity and a clean finish. Tasting $13.99

A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir 2009– Oregon. A blend using fruit from at least 30 different Oregon vineyards. The goal of this wine is to create a complex blend that embodies the “essence of Oregon” Pinot Noir. The nose gives off scents of spice, plum and cherry fruit, and cedar hints. In the mouth it is gentle and persistent with rich flavors of ripe berry fruit that linger on the finish. 90 points Wine Spectator “Smart Buy.” Tasting $17.99

McManis Barbera 2009– California. The fruit comes from a single plot called Jamie Lynn Vineyard. After fermentation the wine aged for 6 months in oak, 70% new. Barbera is an Italian grape variety that is best-known for producing deeply colored, rich and juicy reds from the northwestern region of Piedmont. This example is fruit-forward with lush cherry, plum, and blueberry fruit flavors with undertones of oak and vanilla spice. Tasting $10.99

McManis Malbec 2010– California. The wine fermented in stainless steel then aged in a combination of French and American oak, both new and used. Malbec, indigenous to France (Bordeaux and Cahors) is today the most important grape grown in Argentina. The McManis Malbec is deep purple in color with inviting aromas and flavors of raspberry, toasty oak, and hints of coffee and cocoa. Tasting $10.99

B.R. Cohn Silver Label Chardonnay 2010– North Coast. 100% Chardonnay, half of which aged for 7 months sur lie in a combination of new and one year old French oak barrels. Scents of pear, apple, and citrus are followed by a full-bodied, depthful palate. Green apple and citrus flavors are met with notes of gentle oak and enhanced with crisp acidity. Tasting $19.99

B.R. Cohn Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2008– North Coast. A blend of 86.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot, and 4.7% Cabernet Franc that aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. The cuvee includes fruit from the Olive Hill Estate Vineyard as well as select North Coast Cabernet vinyards. Dark fruit aromas of blackberries, plum, and black cherries, and hints of cedar and spice are followed by briary notes within a textured framework. Substantial, juicy fruit and gentle tannins make this an approachable offering. Tasting $19.99