This Week’s Wine Tasting
California Wines from Bedrock, Qupe, and Hendry Ranch
Bedrock- “Bedrock Wine Co. was founded in 2007 by Morgan Twain-Peterson in a 550 square-foot, former chicken coop with 8 foot ceilings and no fermentation space. After six years of Bedrock being a one-man-show, Morgan was able to talk his best friend, Chris Cottrell, into moving to California from New York to join him. They now happily have a little more space to move around in but share the same objectives that guided the winery at the start.
The winery’s objectives are:
- To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.
- To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the North Coast.
- To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.
- To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.
- To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.
- To dream big but keep production low!”
Bedrock Shebang Sauvignon Blanc Cuvee III– California. The Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from the Gibson Ranch in Mendocino. The Muscadelle and Chasselas are sourced from old vine vineyards in Sonoma. “This blend of old-vine 78% Sauvignon Blanc 22% Chasselas and Muscadelle, was fermented in stainless steel with a small portion (15%) seeing new French oak to produce a full and supple wine that delivers aromas and flavors of peaches, nectarines, apricots and honeysuckle, pairing well with seafood and, yes, even grilled flank steak. 1800 cases produced.” $12.99
Thanksgiving Dinner pairing suggestions: apple pie, asparagus, Cornish game hens, fruit salad, green beans, herbed stuffing with thyme and oregano, oyster stuffing, poultry, and green vegetables.
Bedrock Shebang Red Cuvee IX– California. “Sourced from several old vine vineyards throughout Sonoma County. 55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouchet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites for aromatics much of which comes from old vines. Aged in a combination of stainless steel (85%) and French oak (15%). The informing impulse behind Shebang is to create a wine that is long on deliciousness and low on pretense. We do this by vinifying the wines with the same care and love as the higher end Bedrock wines- picking at respectable sugar levels (not too high!), using only native yeast fermentations, and a trace of good French oak to round things out.” “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.” 3500 cases produced. $12.99
Thanksgiving Dinner pairing suggestions: cranberry sauce, dishes with cloves and cinnamon, dessert, duck, game birds, stuffing with onions, sage and fennel, smoked turkey, roasted turkey, and vegetarian dishes.
Qupe– “A California resident since childhood, Bob Lindquist named his winery “qupé” to honor the Chumash, the indigenous people of the Golden State’s Central Coast and Channel Islands. Since many of the sounds of the Chumash language have been obscured by time, Bob gave “qupe” its pronunciation (“kyoo-pay”), with an accent on the final syllable.
In Chumash, “qupé” refers to the poppy, a flowering plant traditionally used for food and medicine. In 1903 the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) was officially designated the state flower, and every spring masses of the bright orange blossoms still blanket local hills and back country.
Pictured on the winery’s label, a stylized poppy stands amid a swirl of stems studded with leaves and seed pods. The arresting image – originally intended as an embroidered motif for bed linens – was selected from designs associated with Gustav Stickley, the famed furniture maker and champion of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s.”
Qupe Y Block Chardonnay 2013– Santa Barbara County, California. “As with all of our Y Block Chardonnays, traditional winemaking techniques were employed – whole cluster pressed; chilled overnight in a tank; racked directly to barrel the next day with most of the lees; complete barrel fermentation, and complete malolactic fermentation in the barrel. Prior to bottling, the wine was aged on the lees for 9 months using Francois Freres Burgundy barrels, about 20-25% new.
This wine comes primarily from the Y Block at Bien Nacido Vineyard, a 15 acre Block planted exclusively for Qupé in 2005 on sandy, gravelly river bench soils directly behind the winery. 2012 was an amazing vintage; very high quality with above normal yields. The vintage started off on the cool side, but then in August it warmed up without ever getting too hot…ideal conditions for flavor development and retaining acidity.
This is classic cool climate Santa Barbara Chardonnay, fresh and crisp but with underlying richness and structure. It has aromas of pears, apples and a bit of citrus along with hints of crème brulée from the oak.” $17.99
Thanksgiving Dinner pairing suggestions: braised poultry dishes, corn, ambrosia fruit salad, herb stuffed game hens, goose, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, mushroom and sausage stuffing, pheasant, roasted turkey, sweet potatoes, turkey sandwiches (leftovers!), and squash.
Qupe Syrah 2012– Central Coast, California. “This wine is 100% Syrah from vineyards in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. The higher percentage of Paso Robles grapes give the wine a more up front fruit character, but still with the trademark spice and savory characters that you expect in our Central Coast Syrah.
This wine is 100% Syrah from vineyards in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. The most prominent vineyards in the blend in order of percentage are: French Camp in Paso Robles, Chabot in the Los Alamos area of Santa Barbara County, Sawyer Lindquist in the Edna Valley, Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley and Carriage Vineyard in the Templeton area of Paso Robles.” $17.99
Thanksgiving Dinner pairing suggestions: casseroles, braised chicken with spices, grilled duck, game and game birds, goose, roasted turkey and gravy, and squab.
Hendry Ranch– “The Hendry Family has been farming the same vineyard in Napa since 1939. The lessons learned in more than 75 harvests provide us with a high level of knowledge and a unique connection to the land. The Hendry Ranch is composed of 203 acres situated in the hills north west of Napa, which include 114 acres of vineyard. This latitude and location in the valley experiences substantial marine influence, and allows us to grow 11 different varietals, each carefully distributed among our many vineyard blocks. All Hendry wines are made from estate grapes. Our wines are crafted to highlight the terroir of the vineyard.
The Hendry Ranch is composed of 203 acres of land in the foothills of the Mayacamas mountains, north-west of the city of Napa. We are one mile from the Carneros growing region to the south, and adjacent to the Mount Veeder appellation, just within the western border of the Oak Knoll viticultural area. Our vineyard represents a transitional climate zone between the southern regions of the Napa Valley which are closer to the cooling influences of the San Francisco bay, and the northern areas, which are farther from the bay and less influenced by its frigid waters.
The ranch includes steep wooded hillsides, a riparian corridor that borders Redwood Creek, and 114 acres of vineyard. We have been farming this property since 1939, and all Hendry wines are produced from our estate.
(HRW stands for Hendry Ranch Winery, as these used to be our “ranch” wines for informal occasions.)”
Hendry Ranch HRW Pinot Noir 2012– Napa Valley, California. “The grapes for this wine come from Pinot Noir Blocks 3 and 6, which are located closest to Redwood Creek, west of the town of Napa, within the Hendry vineyard. The climate here is moderated by morning fog with the surrounding hills protecting this Block from the afternoon maritime breeze.
Alcoholic fermentation was completed in approximately one week using indigenous yeasts. At dryness, the wine was pressed and put into 2 and 3 year old barrels for malolactic fermentation and aged for 11 months.
Brilliant ruby color. Initial aromas are of bright, clean fruit, smoke and leather. Light to medium body. Flavors are of strawberry jam or pie, with persistent smoke and spice at the edges, clean and balanced. Tannins are present but gentle, in balance with the lighter weight of this everyday wine. Great value.” $17.99
Thanksgiving Dinner pairing suggestions: bacon-wrapped roasted turkey, beets, stuffing with cherries and pecans, roasted chicken, duck and turkey, game and game birds, greens cooked with bacon, baked ham, herbed stuffing, smoked turkey and poultry, and root vegetables.
Hendry Ranch HRW Cabernet Sauvignon 2012– Napa Valley,
California. “All of the grapes for the HRW series wines come from our 117-acre Napa Valley vineyard. The grapes we use for the HRW are individual blocks or barrels that have a little less complexity and concentration than our Hendry label yet still represent a good value. In some vintages we make one variety, in others, several.
The vines on the Hendry ranch grow on thin stony soil between 200 and 300 feet above sea level. Morning fog and strong afternoon breezes from San Pablo Bay (the northern end of the San Francisco Bay) moderate the climate. The Cabernet vines are spaced 7’ x 5’, cordon trained and spur pruned. The clones are U.C. Davis 4, 7 and 15, grafted to St. George roots. A seven-foot vertical trellis system supports the cordon and the canopy. The average production is between 2 and 2.5 tons per acre.
Aged for 18 months in French Oak barrels, 10% of which were new. The remaining barrels were 1 and 2-year-old barrels.
Spicy, cedary, berry-blueberry aromas. Solid fruit and firm tannins. Round midpalate with blueberry, blackberry, licorice, dry cocoa and spice. Well-structured and balanced. Blue cheese and bacon burgers, steaks and roasts will all pair nicely with this solid, balanced, full-flavored Cabernet Sauvignon. Great value.” $27.99
Thanksgiving Dinner pairing suggestions: roasted chicken and duck, chocolate pie, roasted goose and turkey, stuffing with sausage and walnuts, scalloped potatoes, red wine sauce/gravy, and vegetable dishes.