This Week’s Wine Tasting
Bedrock Wine Co. ‘Shebang’
Pietra Santa and ‘Route 152’
Lucas and Lewellen and ‘Queen of Hearts’
“Sherman & Hooker Shebang is a project by Morgan Twain-Peterson, the son of Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson. Morgan grew up in the world of wine in California. In addition to this project, Morgan also produces tiny amounts of old vine, heirloom red and white blends, Pinot Noir, and Syrah under the Bedrock Wine Co. label. Also noteworthy: Morgan passed the prestigious Master of Wine exam and, upon successful completion of the dissertation, will become one of the less than thirty American Masters of Wine!
Sherman & Hooker is named after the two Civil War generals who founded Bedrock Vineyard in 1854. It is a blend of declassified Syrah, Petite Syrah, and Zinfandel from Bedrock Wine Co., along with selected bulk lots from other small producers.”
Robert Parker says of Shebang: “Shebang! is the appealing project of Morgan Twain Peterson, son of the long-time Ravenswood winemaker Joel Peterson. His objective is to fashion innovative, old vine cuvees that satisfy the most demanding wine enthusiasts. Doug Polaner is his name, and high quality wines in all price ranges is his game. I have been tasting with Polaner over a number of years, and these notes represent his very finest value selections.”
‘Shebang’ White Cuvee III- North Coast, California. Varietal notes: 78% Sauvignon Blanc 22% Chasselas and Muscadelle. “Vineyard: The Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from the Gibson Ranch in Mendocino. The Muscadelle and Chasselas are sourced from old vine vineyards in Sonoma. Vinification: Fermented in stainless steeel using indiginous yeasts. Primarily aged in stainless steel with a small portion (15%) seeing new French oak. Fresh aroma- tropical and peach notes are inviting. Soft entry but lively with juicy fruit flavors and a gentle finish. Easy to drink and approachable.”
‘Shebang’ Red Cuvee VIII– California. A blend of 46% Zinfandel, 40& Grenache, 5% Alicante, 5% Petite Sirah, 4% Sangiovese. “Sourced from several old vine vineyards throughout Sonoma County. Fermented using native yeasts in stainless steel. Aged in a combination of stainless steel (85%) and French oak (15%). Production: 3500 cases. This is a delicious blend that is spicy and full bodied. It’s a fun wine that is perfect for everyday drinking but also has some serious pedigree. The base for Shebang comes 100+ year old vines from the Bedrock Vineyard.” 88 Wine Advocate– “The finest value continues to be the terrific non-vintage Shebang Cuvée VIII, a blend of 60% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah and the rest a kitchen sink assortment of Grenache, Barbera, Alicante Bouchet, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignane. Made from purchased grapes and vinified in the winery, as opposed to buying bulk wine and blending it, it is indigenous yeast-fermented, and comes across as a high-octane, delicious/yummy, big, full-bodied red with lots of pepper and meaty notes intermixed with red and black fruits, earth, and spice. I believe some of the declassified lots from the Bedrock cuvées also end up in this blend. A terrific bargain, it should drink well for several years.”
“Pietra Santa is a family-run estate producing artisanal wines and olive oils in California’s Central Coast. The site was planted to winegrapes in the 1850s by Frenchman Theophile Vache who chose the location because of the maritime climate and unique soils. Pietra Santa is 25 miles from Monterey Bay and benefits from cool coastal breezes that allow for a long growing season. The estate’s location on the San Andreas Fault creates soils rich with granite and limestone that naturally lower yields and add distinctive flavors to the wines. The winery was named PIETRA SANTA, Italian for SACRED STONE, in honor of these exceptional soils.
In 2005, the property was purchased by the Blackburns, a family dedicated to preserving and building upon this magnificent winemaking history.
Due to the mountainous terrain, only 120 of the estate’s 450 acres are planted with winegrapes. An additional 25 acres are planted with olive trees. The oldest vines consist of a treasured block of Zinfandel planted in 1905. Completed in 2000, the Mission-Style Winery was designed for fine winemaking combining traditional methods and state-of-the-art technology.”
Pietra Santa ‘Route 152’ Pinot Noir 2013– Central Coast, California. “Route 152 crosses one of the most scenic sections of the famous “OxBow Trail” that carried stagecoach passengers through California’s coastal hills on the way to the Pacific. Today, this beautiful and rugged landscape is the site of some distinctive vineyards including our “Home Ranch” near the Pacheco Pass. This wine has a floral bouquet and bright fruit flavors of wild strawberries and raspberries with a hint of earthiness. It is medium-bodied making it easy to pair with a wide variety of food including grilled salmon, roast chicken or pasta.”
Pietra Santa Merlot 2010– Cienega Valley, California. Aged 30 months in neutral French oak. “The Merlot is produced solely from our estate vineyards where yields are typically as low as 2 tons/acre. After fermentation, the wine undergoes extended skin contact prior to aging in French oak barrels. A quintessential Merlot, this wine is made from grapes grown on our estate and boasts concentrated flavors of ripe plum and cherry with a hint of cassis and cedar. A velvety texture makes the perfect foil for the extracted flavors, while balanced structure allows this wine to stand up to many cuisines. For a special evening, try this merlot with a grilled leg of lamb.”
“The vineyards of Lucas and Lewellen are located in the three wine growing valleys of Santa Barbara County: Santa Ynez Valley, Los Alamos Valley and the Santa Maria Valley.These valley vineyards benefit from a rare transverse mountain range topography, an east-west orientation which channels the cool ocean air of the Pacific into the coastal valleys, allowing warm days and cool nights to produce a long, gentle growing season.”
Goodchild, High 9, & Old Adobe Vineyards- Santa Maria Valley. “Along both sides of the acclaimed Foxen Wine Trail, these vineyards consistently produce prize-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The soils vary from clay and gravel river deposits to hillside and hilltop sites reminiscent of the great vineyards of Burgundy. The remains of the historic Foxen adobe still stand guard over these vineyards.”
Los Alamos Vineyard– Los Alamos Valley. “Stretching for over a mile of Highway 101 frontage just south of the town of Los Alamos, these vineyards are home to over 20 varieities of grapes, representing the principal varieties of the Rhône, Burgundy and Bordeaux regions of France, as well as Italian varieties. With some of the vines planted from cuttings brought over from Europe over 25 years ago, these vineyards have long been a favorite source for many of California’s most acclaimed wineries.”
Valley View Vineyard– Santa Ynez Valley. “Sloping gently toward the Santa Ynez River, the south-facing lower vineyard features what many consider Santa Barbara County’s best Cabernet Sauvignon, in addition to Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, much in demand by local wineries. The hilltop vineyard produces outstanding Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Small quantities of Petit Verdot and Malbec are grown as single varietal offerings and to provide the Bordeaux accent to our Valley View Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Lucas and Lewellen Chardonnay 2012– Santa Barbara, California. Los Alamos Valley Vineyards. “100% Chardonnay. Fermentation: Stainless Steel. Alcohol: 14.5%. Production: 1,016 cases. Winemaker: Megan McGrath. The hand-harvested grapes for this Chardonnay, farmed using sustainable practices in our Los Alamos Vineyard, were cold-pressed and fermented to capture their pure fresh flavors and aromas. A beautiful, buttery, creamy experience in Chardonnay.”
Lucas and Lewellen ‘Queen of Hearts’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2012– Santa Barbara, California. “Estate Vineyard: Valley View Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley. Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fermentation: Pump overs. Alcohol: 14.5%. Production: 1,238 cases. Winemaker: Megan McGrath. Grown in our family-owned Santa Barbara County vineyards, the grapes for this Cabernet Sauvignon were hand-harvested at the peak of their flavor. This wine exhibits flavors and aromas of blackberry, raspberry, and chocolate; perfectly balanced with supple tannins and a lingering finish.”