Tag: Rhone wine

Matthes Vineyards 2015 Rhône-style white blend

According to Henry Matthes, owner and proprietor of Matthes Vineyards, this Rhône-style blend is a bit of an anomaly. His intention is to always focus on Grenache Blanc, using just enough Marsanne to give the wine some backbone and structure. But due to a difficult growing season in 2014 in which much of the Marsanne failed, Henry and his vineyard team ended up grafting Grenache Blanc onto much of the Marsanne rootstock. Somehow, as Henry says, “The remaining Marsanne grew with unexpected vigor, yielding a huge crop of perfect fruit.” And so it is that he was able to create, for his portfolio, this unique white blend. “A serendipitous event for sure,” he adds.

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Cellars 33 2016 ‘The Betty’ Rhône-style white blend

When it comes to white wines, Cellars 33 is all about Grenache Blanc sourced from California’s Lodi AVA. When asked about this Rhône-style white blend, which includes a significant amount of Viognier and a trace amount of PicPoul, John Fones (owner and winemaker of Cellars 33) said that it’s simply a chance to create a “different expression” of the varietal he’s come to love. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the name, just remember “The Betty” is a white wine.

So cheers to everyone’s favorite Golden Girl…

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The Withers 2016 Rhône style Rosé

As a vintner, when you find a vineyard site you love, it’s truly something special. You come to know the lay of the land, the quality of the fruit, and can taste — even at bud break — the potential for the wine you want to create. As a vintner, when you find a vineyard site you love, you’ll do everything in your power to keep the relationship with the landowner, ensuring that year after year you can keep on creating. As a vintner, when you find a vineyard site you love and the landowner decides to sell — this can be a tragic change of events. Unless you decide to purchase it. Which is exactly what Andrew Tow did.

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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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The Withers 2014 Bel Canto Rhône style red blend

You can’t claim to make Rhône-style wines without at least one GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) in your portfolio. Well, The Withers has not one, but three, each highlighting one of those core ingredients. A traditional GSM will always have more Grenache than either of the other two varietals, though exact percentages will vary from vintner to vintner (based on yields, the grapes’ flavors, and the resulting wines of each varietal before blending). The reason it’s called GSM is because that’s the order, from highest to lowest, of percentages of each varietal. But every once in awhile, a winemaker will mix it up. Again, this could be because of the success of certain grapes (or lack of it) during harvest; it could be that once all the individual wines were created, they just blended better “out of order;” or it could be that the winemaker is looking for a specific flavor profile in the blend. And so, I present to you, The Withers “GMS”…
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