Hello Wine Lovers!

Hello  Wine Lovers tonight April 28  at 5 pm the  tasting is a challenge between two areas of the world with the same types of wine.  Meritage  from the United States, vs European Blended Red wine.  Yes Bordeaux will be involved !.  The players in tonight’s competition will be as follows.  Estancia Meritage from Paso Robles, St Clement Orropas from Napa County, Mouton Cadet Bordeaux and Chateau Marguax  Lacombe’s  from Bordeaux.   In California blended wines with classic French Bordeaux varietals are called  “Meritage” since the wines have the 5 classic blends of Bordeaux: Petite Verdot, Cabernet, Cabernet Frank, Merlot, and Malbec.   Malbec is  a popular wine in Argentina  in its own right.  Here  it is only used a component  to add character and spice.   French Wines are traditionally more minerally in character with subtle fruit character.  This style  is due referred to as “Terroir”.  Terrior, pronounced (tear-waaa) terrior refers to the climate, which plays a major role in any wine-growing region.  Sun rain soil sand or loam chalk or loam volcanic or diatomatious this is all terrior.  These mitigating factors are the building blocks of terroir.  The Bordeaux region is split into a left and right  “Bank”.  The divide is the Gironde River which snakes through the region flows and finds its way to open ocean.  The river provides a cool climate in winter months as large bodies of water tend to do.  This is the major source of water for the region along with some rainfall  through out  the year.  It always  is amazing  to me how the same varietals can taste so different when grown in different locations  across the world this is one factor that makes wine  a mystery  to many. 

 Bordeaux can be very warm in the summer months which is necessary to ripen the grapes  and ready them for harvest.  Upwards of 100 degrees Farenheight  during the summer months is not uncommon.  This weather too hot to drink red wine even for the most ardent of wine lovers!.  Most of the same can be said for  Paso Robles where Estancia  is from.  Bitter cold in the winter keeps the vines dormant during the winter months along with a cool wind from the coastal influence of the Monterey Bay.  Monterey bay is the coldest upwelling  of seawater along the entire California coast.  This cold water is responsible for climate changes in most of the region including Paso Robles.   During the summer months Paso can become  very hot   well into the 100-degree mark during the day.  But almost like clockwork the winds from the coast blow in after 3 or so and begin cooling the vines till evening.  This effect on the vines requires the vines to stress and work hard to find ground water to nourish the grapes on the vines . Stress plays an important part in all wine growing.  Stress on the vine is actually a good thing, Stress produces strong intense berries(grapes on vine before harvest) .  When the vine is made to work hard to find water it is thought to produce smaller  more intense flavored juice and thicker skin of high quality.  This is  where the growers start manipulating water and choosing proper growing regions for specific varietals . 

 Napa Valley clearly the most famous of California wine growing regions, has become one of the worlds best producer of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Thanks to the founding fathers of the wine industry this relatively small  valley has taken the world of wine to new levels of excellence.   Terrior plays an important role here as well.  Rutherford is a specific region along  highway 29 which splits Napa into a west and east division.  To the West are the hills of Sonoma and the chalk  and volcanic mountains ranges heavy with rains in winter.  To the east lies the Mayacamas Range almost an arid dessert scrub hillside and mountain slopes.  This ancient mountain range is full of volcanic mineral laced soils which have eroded over the millennia filling the valley full of loamy volcanic rocks pebbles and sands creating fertile soils needed for grape growing.  The Napa River also winds through the valley giving life to sun drenched vines in summer.  Napa can reach sweltering temperatures in the summer adding to the stress necessary to produce high quality berries on the vine.    Many single vineyard parcels of land dot the landscape of Napa’s growing region “Three Palms” in Calistoga north of the valley produce some amazing merlots.  St Clement Orropas red Wine is  one of the blends from Napa deep rich black fruit character give this wine rich mouth feel  and well  rounded flavor  finishing with a  soft chalky tannin leaving  your palate ready for a fine grilled steak or succulent  rack of lamb.  Well gang hopefully I will see you between 5pm and 8pm tonight  at Ralphs  wine tasting.   Looking forward to a great night of  Cheers !

 Mike the wine guy 



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