Tag Archives: Central Coast

Wines to try from the Central Coast, California

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I have a lot of respect for the pinot noir grape and for the winemaker who can turn these delicate grapes into a sensational, elegant wine. Edna Valley Vineyard’s 2011 Central Coast Pinot Noir ($20) proves my loyalty. From the opening of the bottle, a first pour brings forth aromatic delights of rose petals and earthy minerality. The smidgen of zinfandel added gives this wine a bit of a spice, adding complexity. Edna Valley Vineyard grapes hail from the Central Coast of California, five miles from the Pacific Ocean in one of the coolest and longest growing seasons in the state. When I served this wine with chicken dinner, I realized it would pair well with almost any entree.

A nice white selection from Edna Valley Vineyard is the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc ($15) made with grapes from the Central Coast of California as well, but in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. Like a traditional sauvignon blanc, this wine offers notes of melons, a strong minerality and sweet fruit. It’s full-bodied and has a long finish. Oh, and this is a screw-cap wine, easy to take on the go to serve with brie and bread, chips or any hors d’ouevres.

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Rockin’ the reds

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Debbie Juergenson, winemaker at Red Rock Winery in California, knows how to lure women to drink her red wines. Just take a look at the website: www.RedRockWinery.com and you’ll see a picture of a woman in a bathtub sipping red wine from a glass. I’m in.

So, with four bottles in tow, over the next few weeks, I sipped — and shared.

Beginning with 2011 vintages, I first opened the Red Rock California Merlot, with grapes mainly from Paso Robles. Some petite sirah is blended in, which adds to the wine’s structure, supporting the fruity balance. It paired well with a traditional meal of garlic roasted chicken with broccoli, celery root and mashed potatoes. Merlot is known to work with chocolate, so a dessert of dark chocolate cake worked quite well. The next evening, a chicken parmesan sandwich worked with a glass of this merlot quite well. It’s all good. And priced at $13.99, as our all the bottles I’ll be writing about.

Next, the Red Rock 2011 Winemaker’s Blend is a concoction of petite sirah, syrah and zinfandel grapes from vineyards in Lodi, Sonoma and the Central Coast of California. The syrah gives this wine a lot of spicy goodness, and the blend of these grapes is perfection. I love blends when they’re done well, and this wine fits the bill.

Ready for 2012 wines?

First, I put a chicken pot pie in the oven with a whole potato to bake. Comfort food, right? Well, Red Rock 2012 Pinot Noir gave me comfort in a taste that brings me home. The jammy red raspberry flavors get me every time, and the slightest vanilla and caramel from the oak barrels takes the cake. For the next night’s dinner, I enjoyed this wine with butternut squash and braised chestnut ravioli. Works for me.

Last, but definitely not least is Red Rock 2012 Mendoza Malbec, which I had served with roasted turkey and the stuff of Thanksgiving sides. I love the richness of the Argentine signature grape, and this wine did not disappoint. Made with 100 percent Malbec grape, even the zondas of Mendoza (that would be wind) didn’t stop this grape’s worthiness. It may have stopped the volume, however, so you may want to grab this bottle when you see one, or two.

Are you ready for that bath now? I know I am. Enjoy!

Hitched on Bridlewood wines

I’ve been enjoying Bridlewood wines for years, so it’s always exciting to open a new vintage. Adding to the excitement of drinking Bridlewood wines is the fact that I once dined with the winemaker at Harvest Restaurant in Cambridge.

Browsing through a wine list at a restaurant, it’s a thrill to identify the wine with its winemaker, and when a new vintage is released, the excitement is re-lived. I recently shared four new releases with friends, and here’s what we noted:

#1 – Bridlewood 2011 Central Coast Blend 175 ($15)
This is one of my all-time favorites of Bridlewood, mainly because I enjoy a good blend of reds. This one has syrah, cabernet sauvignon, viognier and petite syrah grapes picked from the Central Coast, California. The process of the winemaking for this blend is intricate, racking off of gross lees and again at six months to allow the rich fruit flavors to open fully – you may not understand the process, but you’ll appreciate the end result. Dark, jammy fruit flavors with a touch of oak and a nice smooth finish.

#2 – Bridlewood 2011 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)
There is nothing quite like a good glass of cab, and for this one, the feedback was comprehensive: Very dark purple, very long legs, smells insanely delicious, like plums, prunes, dark purple fruits – with a vanilla scent. Very light on first sip, but then … the finish was long, smooth, satiny on the palate – tasty and sweet. Suggestions from this sipper on pairing: a contrasting dish of garlic-base and sautéed spinach – maybe with a nice herbaceous steak (black pepper, garlic). In the meantime, this wine was enjoyed on a cool afternoon watching the boats on the harbor and listening to nearby musicians playing soft music at the yacht club. Life is good.

#3 – Bridlewood 2011 Monterey County Chardonnay ($15)
Monterey County’s Pacific breezes and sunshine set the stage for this tropical fruit flavored wine mixed with oaky notes of vanilla and spice. If left for a year or two, this wine will open up with caramel aromas and add more complexities to its taste. Great pairing with chicken, fish, cheeses…

#4 – Bridlewood 2011 Monterey County Pinot Noir ($18)
Now for my favorite of the four 2011 releases. Perhaps it’s knowing that the pinot noir grape is so delicate, and harvesting these grapes is an art form in a sense. The end result is worth the effort, as the freshness of the fruity grapes and the perfectly oaked notes of vanilla and caramel give this wine a good standing with intense, rich flavors. But wait, there’s more! The pinot noir grapes did not stand alone in this wine. A small percentage of zinfandel grapes were added to enhance the mouth feel and add more structure. So that’s how they did it…

For more information, visit www.BridlewoodWinery.com.Image