Tag: Counoise

The Withers 2015 Counoise

Counoise is a rare varietal to find as a 100% bottle. It is a dark-skinned grape used primarily for blending, adding a slight peppery note to a wine when combined. It’s one of the Rhône grape varieties allowed in a Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine, where some producers will use up to 5% in their blend. Not a lot in the scheme of things. So, often, grape-growers will plant just enough to satisfy this need. But every once in awhile, you’ll come across someone with the patience to grow a few more acres, enough to source out to a vintner crazy enough to turn it into a 100% varietal wine. And patient and crazy they must be: Counoise is one of the, if not the, last grapes picked at the end of harvest; as a single-varietal wine it’s lack of tannins can lend itself to a flat flavor and flabby texture. But The Withers works with vineyard manager Ron Mansfield of Goldbud Farms, who produces some of the most critically acclaimed fruit in the region. Mansfield provides the patience while Tow and team provide the crazy. And guess what? It just works…

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Barton Family Wines Hot Blooded: 2014 Counoise

I came across Barton Family Wines during my most recent Paso Robles visit. It’s absolutely one of my top recommended wine stops when visiting the area. Winemaker and proprietor, Joe Barton, took me through a full line up of his current releases (including those in his Grey and Grey Wolf line). I loved that his Chenin Blanc had actual body and substance; appreciated that his rosé still had a bit of tannic red wine quality; and was impressed by his confidence to bottle a single-varietal (face-puckering) Tannat. But what truly turned me on, the wine I walked away with, was the Barton Family Wines Hot Blooded — a single-varietal bottling of 100% Counoise.

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