Feb 7, 2020
by John Haggard, Sophie's Cellars
Martinelli 2017 Pinot Noir, Zio Tony Ranch, Russian River Valley: This pinot has a deep, rich burgundy color. A nose of cinnamon, red hots, caramelized sugar and vanilla. I find this pinot to have a pleasant bright spicy quality on the palate and the cinnamon spice correlates directly throughout. Ripened strawberry leads to black raspberry, dried blueberries, plum and vanilla with hints of cola toward the finish. The acidities run the full length of the palate. The tannins, though firm have a silky quality with hints of tobacco mid to finish. The integration of the flavors in this wine will begin to show with age, however, the 2017 Zio Tony Ranch is ready to pair with food now. You could go as bold as gamey meats for pairing, such as rack of lamb or loin of venison, though this pinot is perfectly structured for braised or slow-roasted pork. Enjoy now through 2028, if properly cellared. No decanting necessary. For more information, visit martinelliwinery.com.
Balletto 2017 Zinfandel, Estate Bottled, Russian River Valley: There is a nose of black cherry, rhubarb, nutmeg and caramel. The palate leads with raspberries, dried fig, pomegranate and finishes with black plum. The acid in this zinfandel is relatively soft with very smooth tannins. This wine will pair perfectly with barbeques whether gas or charcoal grill, with dishes of flat iron or skirt steak using a simple seasoning of black pepper and salt. Grilled vegetables will also be a great pairing. Enjoy now through 2023, no decanting necessary. For more information, visit ballettovineyards.com.
Kokomo 2018 Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley (new release):Nose of baked black cherry, sweet honey and roasted red beet. The acidities are firm, making this a well-driven food wine with flavors of tart red crabapple, red licorice and pencil shavings. This is a wine deserving of pairing with rich cheese such as Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt Tam triple crème organic brie or Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk washed rind aged cowsmilk cheese or pairing with rich dishes such as roasted pork butt or a braised pork sandwich with red cabbage – the acid and firm tannins will cut through their naturally fatty qualities. Enjoy now through 2022. No decanting necessary. For more information visit kokomowines.com.
Just in time for your Valentine’s!Woodenhead has made a two-pack available, perfect for your Valentine. It’s their Woodenhead 2015 Sparkling Brut Rose and their Woodenhead 2015 Pinot Noir “Wet Kiss” (which I reviewed in my January Wine Banter Column). Both wines are from the Russian River Valley. They make the perfect Valentine gift, whether you are cooking that meal for your Valentine, or just to celebrate paired with your valentine. The two-pack is available now on their website for $81.60 or $71.40 for club members – that’s 20-30% off their retail prices. Woodenhead are honoring this special pricing through the end of February. For more information or to purchase, visit their new website at woodenheadwine.com.
Reminder 43rd Annual Barrel Tasting March 6-8 & 13-15, 2020. 11 am – 4 pm each day Tickets On Sale now January 21, 2020
It’s all about the WINE. Many wineries offer “futures” on their barrel samples. This is a chance to purchase wine now, often at a discount, then come back to the winery when the wine is bottled, typically 12-18 months from now. Many wines are so limited, buying futures is your only chance to purchase them. The ticket price includes the opportunity to sample wine from the barrel and in most cases also trying a limited number of current release wines. This is not a food pairing event so not all wineries provide food during the event. INFO: wineroad.com
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