Browsing the archives for the Lodi tag

Varietal Voyage No.13 – 2007 “337″ Cabernet Sauvignon

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Varietal Voyage

Over the past few months we’ve tasted twelve white wines from around the world.   The next wine represents the beginning of the second half of our journey. For the next three months we’ll explore the world of red wines, starting with cabernet sauvignon.

337 Cabernet Sauvignon is made by, ironically, 337 Wines, one of the many brands owned by Delicato Family Vineyards,  “337″ is more than a catchy brand name strategy, it is the name of a special clone of cabernet sauvignon that originated in Bordeaux, France. The winemakers at 337 cultivate this clone in the fertile, but rocky soils of Clay Station Vineyard, north of Lodi, at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  The climate here is well suited to this clone, where hot, dry days force the vines to struggle for water and cool nights allow the grapes to rest, slowing the ripening process and concentrating the fruit flavors.

Over the years I’ve gotten used to the idea that if you wanted drink a good California cabernet you had to endure some sticker shock – not so with 337. This one came as a pleasant surprise to the palate and the wallet!  Since this is such a young wine, the color is very intense with a captivating reddish purple hue that is nearly opaque (Don’t spill it on anything you can’t afford to throw out).  Being that it is so young, I expected lots of aggressive tannins.  Again I was surprised.  337 has well balanced tannins with juicy flavors of black cherries and currants and fruity aromas that seam to jump out of the glass. These rich flavors are followed up by layers of vanilla and black pepper toward the finish.  Enjoy this one with your next grilled steak or as a guilty (but affordable) pleasure!

2007 “337″ Cabernet Sauvignon ($11)

Varietal Voyage – See how it started…

Varietal Voyage No.10 – 2008 Rosenblum Cellars "Kathy's Cuvée"

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Varietal Voyage

Up to this point we have tasted wines made from several different grapes including: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay. The fourth and final white varietal on this voyage brings us to Viognier!

This strange sounding varietal, pronounced Vee-yoh-N’YAY, is a finicky grape that is difficult to grow. Most prevalent in France’s Rhone Valley, it has been grown with much success in many places around the world. The United states is one of these places but it has only been grown here for the past twenty years.

This week’s Viognier is from Rosenblum Cellars. In 1978, Kent Rosenblum, his wife Kathy, and several friends founded Rosenblum Cellars. Using grapes sourced from several now famous vineyards, they quickly became known for top quality Zinfandels. Over the years Rosenblum has grown in size and popularity, producing numerous award winning wines. All of Kent’s successes have earned him title: “King of Zin.” Grape Radio interviewed the King of Zin recently, Click here to listen.

“Kathy’s Cuvée,” named after Kent’s wife, is one in a series of wines called the Appellation Series. This particular wine is made from a blend of Viognier grapes from three different California appellations, each with very differnet soils and climatic conditions, rendering very different aromas and flavors.

The first thing you notice is how aromatic this wine is. As soon as the cork is removed, rich floral and tropical fruit aromas fill the room. The flavors are equally as rich and even more complex. Sue’s described her first sips as “fireworks” exploding with different flavors. This is where the three appellations shine through. The cooler location (Fess Parker Vineyards, Santa Barbara) provides the structure with bright, citrus flavors and well balanced acidity, while the warmer areas (Ripken Vineyards, Lodi and Lange Twins Vineyards, Clarksburg) flesh it out with lush, ripe apricot and pear flavors. Careful aging in a variety of oak barrels and some time resting on lees offers a creamy, honey-like texture that reminds you of silk. All of these aspects blend together so well that you hardly notice its high alcohol content (14.5% ABV).

2008 Rosenblum Cellars “Kathy’s Cuvée” ($18)

Varietal Voyage – See how it started…