California Wine!

California Wine- Manifesto!, Wagner Family and Shooting Star

manifesto labelshooting starconundrummeiomi

This week we will try some old favorites from California from producers Manifesto!, Wagner Family of Wines and Steele’s second label Shooting Star. Altogether there will be three whites and three reds including a white blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.


Manifesto! Wines are made by Jamie Whetstone
“Proprietor and winemaker Jamie Whetstone learned the business at Turley Wine Cellars beginning in 1998. Prior to that he found his calling while working as a manager at Mustards Grill in Yountville. He started his own brand in 2002, is a partner in Manifesto! Wines, and hires out as a winemaking consultant. He spent a summer in 2001 working at Domaine Dujac in Burgundy (he is fluent in Spanish but this was of no help here!). Life is not all work and he is also an avid surfer. His winemaking approach is minimalistic, using native yeasts, and bottling without filtering.”

“We make long-term commitments to our growers and pay them more than we have to. We put immense amounts of attention into the winemaking process. We have a relationship with the vineyards, not just a casual thing. That’s the kind of commitment it takes.”

Growers: “These are guys, and families, that know what “place” means and know what “connection” means. These are guys that know their home and their land in a way that many of us—most of us—will never know. These are guys that do what they do because that’s utterly and perfectly just the way it is. It chose them and they chose it.”

Manifesto! Sauvignon Blanc 2012
North Coast, California. “The vintage was one of the coolest in over a half century which made us extremely happy with the regards to the lively flavors we look for in our Sauvignon Blanc. The primary wine comes from our usual vineyard sources in Suisun Valley but we branched out into Lake County as well. The red soils in Lake County helped to add melon and pear flavors to our trademark orange creamsicle and red grapefruit flavors we typically get from Suisun. The Musque Clone Sauvignon Blanc is the backbone and it really shines through in this year’s wine. Tropical nose of pineapple, melon, ripe pear, beeswax, peach and a touch of cut herbs. Big mouthful of pink grapefruit, melon, the trademark orange creamsicle, with a bright, full bodied finish of lime, meyer lemon, and a touch of honey.” $10.99

Manifesto! Zinfandel 2011
California. “2011 was a long, cool vintage in most of the California AVA. The fruit we get from Lake county comes from red soils that tend to make for high-toned fruit without the searing acidity. The vineyards in Solano make up backbone in the wine and add in the Asian spice component along with earthier nuances. Yields were super low for a second straight year. Ruby red in color with high-toned nose of currants, red raspberry, wild strawberry, and Asian spice with a touch of dusty earth. Medium bodied flavors of red raspberry and currant follow through with hints of baking spice, citrus and garrigue. Finishes long and lean.” $11.99


Wagner Family of Wines
“We are the Wagner Family of Wine: Chuck Wagner continues to direct the world-renown Cabernet program at Caymus Vineyards in Napa Valley; Charlie is making exquisite Chardonnay at Mer Soleil in the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County; Joseph is making fine Pinot Noir under the Belle Glos label in the coastal areas of California; Jenny is learning the ropes here at Caymus and ah yes, our longtime winemaker for Conundrum, Jon Bolta, continues his craft of making that puzzling, white wine blend.”

Conundrum White “was one of the first white wine blends made in California and it is very near and dear to winery owner Chuck Wagner’s heart.  Chuck recalls, “It was inspired by my father, Charlie Wagner; who way back when, would sit at the dining room table blending all sorts of wines together to create the ‘perfect glass’ to pair with his meal.”  For over twenty years we have been blending a ‘conundrum’ of white varietals together to create a complex, yet harmonious symphony of flavors that will complement an array of different cuisines.  And more recently we introduced Conundrum Red; yet another intriguing blend, like no other.”

Conundrum Proprietary White Blend 2011
California. “Aromas of tangerine, green apple and honeysuckle with exotic flavors of peach, apricot and tropical fruit.  Wonderful as an aperitif, or pair it with an array of flavorful dishes such as fresh seafood, salads, spicy cuisine, fish tacos and burgers.  Best served chilled with family and friends.” $22.99

Belle Glos- “Joseph J. Wagner is a 5th generation Napa Valley winemaker and viticulturist. In the production of Belle Glos he makes decisions about the cultural practices in the vineyard, harvest dates, fermentation technique and barrel aging. Stylistically his wines are produced from ripe grapes – as ripe as is possible before the onset of winter. Pinot Noir is often considered feminine as compared to the rustic boldness of Cabernet Sauvignon – but Joseph’s Pinots are not quite so subtle – they are intriguing, flavorful and textured. Belle Glos is named after Lorna Belle Glos Wagner (wife of Charlie and mother of Chuck). It is a tribute to one of the founders of Caymus Vineyards and one of the few who can remember back when Napa Valley was a sleepy little valley. Born in 1915, Lorna “Belle Glos” is 97 years young and has always loved Pinot Noir wine.”

Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir 2012
Monterey, Santa Barbera and Sonoma Counties, California. “The word Meiomi, (pronounced May-OH-mee) means “coast” in the language of the native Wappo and Yuki tribes. Meiomi draws its profile from the abundant choices presented along California’s lengthy Pacific coastline. The three appellations where Meiomi’s Pinot Noir vineyards are located – Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties–produce grapes with wide differences in character and style. The unique characteristics of each vineyard combine to enhance Meiomi’s broad flavor profile. The lots are aged in French oak for nine months before blending.” $18.99


Steele Wines
“At Steele Wines we have a minimalist winemaking style in that we use standard, non-GMO yeasts, natural fermentation, no extra additives or enzymes. We use a gentle pump-over during fermentation, inert gas to move the finished wines, and use gravity flow rather than pumping as much as possible. The use of gentle pumping and gravity flow decreases the chance of bruising the wine during cellar movement and is important to keeping fresh aromas and flavors in our wines. From hand picked grapes to gentle processing and our own bottling facility we know how our grapes are cared for from vineyard to bottle. We believe a lighter hand in the winemaking will highlight the aromas and the flavors of the quality fruit we source.”

“The fruit we source for the Steele label is the same as Shooting Star. The Shooting Star wines are more appellation blends and off-the-wall varietals that are fermented in stainless or aged in oak for a shorter period of time to ensure bright, fruit forward wines that are meant to be enjoyed while young.”

Steele Wines ‘Shooting Star’ Chardonnay 2010
Mendocino County, California. “The grapes for our Shooting Star Mendocino Chardonnay are grown in the Redwood Valley north of Ukiah in a family-owned organic vineyard. The Lolonis family has been growing organic grapes since the 1950’s. The vineyard typically produces lush, fruit forward wine. Typically this Chardonnay shows citrus and mineral characteristics with a hint of stone fruit flavors and bright acidity. The perfect pairing for this wine would be a poached rock fish drizzled with mornay sauce and lightly buttered seasonal vegetables.” $12.99

Steele Wines ‘Shooting Star’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Lake County, California. “Cabernet Sauvignon has not been the best red grape for most parts of Lake County, making vineyard site selection a crucial decision. A long season is needed to get the proper sugar development and to help reduce some of the natural herbaceous character. We always blend in a small percentage of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from the Dorn Vineyard. We age this wine in American Oak barrels for 12 months.” $13.99



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