Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rosemary's Blind Tasteing

As we have mentioned before,

Rosemary's is one of the best

restaurants in town. We took

advantage of Rosmary's half price bottles on Sundays to enjoy some blind tasting. Michael Shetler Sommelier and Director of Operations and Sommelier Michael Jones selected three red wines for us to try blind.

Wine # 1 appeared to us to be 2003-2005 vintage and deep purple in color. On the nose we all agreed it was old world with hints of cassis, leather , barnyard and wet wood. On the palate we got tastes of raspberry, cassis , dark bakers chocolate and white pepper. The finish was long with medium tannins. We all thought this was a Bourdeaux blend from France. The only disagreement was left or right bank. Everyone decided it was from the right bank. There was one person who thought there may be some Cabernet Sauvignon so they stayed with the left bank. The wine was reveled to us as a Pauillac 2003 a Chateau Latour third growth from Pauillac appellation in Bourdeaux. All of the group did well guessing at the wine. I did a little research on the wine and region.

Located in the famous Medoc wine region, about 40 kilometers north-west of the city of Bordeaux, the vineyard of Ch√Ęteau Latour belongs to the Pauillac appellation.The quality of its wine depends partly on the type of grape variety that is being used, but also on the exceptional combination of natural elements (geography, geology and climate) that constitutes its "Terroir".
The are appellation surrounding Pauillac contains three of the five Premier Cru ( first growth ) along with fifteen other Cru Classe'. The dominant grape in this region is. Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine # 2 was brought out to us. We felt confidant being that we did well on the Pauillac. In the glass its color was a deep purple red with a medium body. On the nose hints of herbs, green vegetables , beet water and spice were reported by most members of the group. On the palate spice, cassis , blackberry and red fruit came through with dry woody tannins. Most of us thought it was Italian maybe a Super Tuscan. The was identified as a Pasanau Priorat Finca La Planeta 2002 , Spain. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Grenache.

Ricard Pasanau, whose family has farmed vineyards in Priorat since the 13th century, and in 1995 built a modern winery there. Of the three Priorats that his winery, Cellers Pasanau, makes, Finca La Planeta) from a 2400 foot-high, seven-acre vineyard planted predominantly in the early 1980s) is his flagship wine. La Planeta yields 13,000 bottles of wine each year, an 80-20 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and old-vines Grenache. Poor soils, many hours of sunshine and a long, dry growing season restrict the vines' productivity and concentrate the grapes' flavors.
Because Pasanau's vineyards are situated high in the interior of the Priorat zone, they are less influenced by the Mediterranean than those from vineyards elsewhere in the zone; day-night temperature variations are more distinct, for example, the weather is dryer and the gravelly scree from the Sierra de Montsant overlays the region's typical llicorella slate soil. (The gravelly soil is one reason that Pasanau decided to feature Cabernet in the Finca La Planeta vineyard.) As a result, his wines are less Mediterranean in style than most other Priorats, and show a bit less herbal nuance and more purity of fresh fruit.

We were finally ready for wine # 3. In the glass its color was deep dark purple and medium bodied. The nose gave us hints of spice, french oak , white pepper , high alcohol , dark fruit and molasses. On the palate licorice, acid , black berry liqueur , jammy red fruit , white pepper and green vegetables. This wine finished with fine dusty medium tannins. This wine really had us guessing from new world, old world , all kinds of blends and varietals. To our surprise it turned out to be a Shadow Canyon Cellars Larner Vineyard Grenache 2003 Santa Ynez , Valley . We had to find out more about this vineyard.

Larner Vineyard is located on a 150-acre family-owned parcel of land in Ballard Canyon in the Santa Ynez Valley (Santa Barbara County, California). Of these, 33 acres are planted to Rhone grape varietals (Syrah, Grenache and Viognier) in addition to the "Larner Clone" Grenache and Malvasia Bianca (the grapes are dried and pressed into a dessert wine). There are both clay and sandy soils over rolling hills, and like clockwork at noon, a soft breeze picks up off the Pacific (about 20 miles away) to aerate the clusters. The well-exposed vineyard is drenched in sunlight and luminosity and boasts exceptional sunsets. The vineyard is dotted with hundreds of centuries-old California oak trees and is located at the junction of two valleys near Solvang, which makes for a unique positioning within the Santa Ynez Valley.

We plan to be in the area for harvest and crush in a few weeks. This is one vineyard we will not pass up ! As usual , the food, wine , company and staff made this another enjoyable evening at Rosemary's . Cheers.

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Elaine and Scott

Elaine and Scott
Elaine and Scott