One of the first grapes that Joel and Eric had to work with was Carignan. It’s a bit of an “oddball” variety, especially for a new label’s first wine. But that’s what they had to work with and, in fact, the first, 2016 vintage of Sweet Berry Wine was 100% Carignan.
I love what Joel has to say about the variety:
General thoughts on Carignan…Carignan is such an intriguing variety for us at Las Jaras. It is juicy, brambly and spicy when it is at its best. At its worst it is tannic, sour, and tastes like cabbage. It can also be quite difficult to grow. They are generally old vines that stand 7-8 feet tall and can be vigorous. The vine is extremely prone to powdery mildew infection, so it needs meticulous canopy management to avoid disaster. Site location is important for this variety to perform at its best. It needs to be on bench land, with properly draining sandy loam soils and a hot climate. This is because the acids can be absolutely searing on this variety, so you need to have it in a place where it can burn off some acid without over-ripening the fruit to get it into balance.
Unlike many of you, I was unaware of Las Jaras Wine brand having never watched the show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! But like many others of you, I came into contact with the brand through Instagram.
For those who are still unfamiliar, in 2017, Eric Wareheim, co-creator and co-star of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, a comedy show that ran on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim from 2007 to 2010, released a wine based around one of the show’s sketches. The name, the label art and the wine’s initial popularity all centered around a character played by actor John C. Reilly. The sketch features Reilly as the character Dr. Steve Brule, slobbering down glass after glass of red wine. “What kind of wine are you drinking?” asks co-star Tim Heidecker, playing TV anchor Jan Skylar. “Sweet berry wine!” answers Reilly.
Las Jaras is now celebrating their second vintage. So I caught up with winemakers Joel and Eric to learn their personal story, branding techniques, and outlook for the future of Las Jaras wine. You can read the full story here: Burt and Wareheim Awesome Wine, Great Job!
Joel and Eric were kind enough to send me a few samples in conjunction with the article. So I jumped right in and started with the obvious suspect…SWEET BERRY WINE!
This is my first taste of Kobza Wines, but not my first taste of Ryan Kobza’s wines. He’s winemaker for the previously reviewed Big Sur Vineyards Chardonnay and Big Sur Vineyards red blend. Ryan was kind enough to send me a sampling of wines under his eponymous label and I started with this red blend.
I can’t even put into words how delicious this wine was. It was just a straight up experience drinking this wine. Everything was so in balance, that we just kept pouring glass after glass. I’ll use the word gluggable because, at the end of the day it is. But, oh please do not glug this wine too quickly.
I used to be the kind of wine drinker that would absolutely shy away from Riesling. That is until I met a new sommelier-friend who showed me that many Americans have a misconception about what Riesling really is, what it tastes like, and how versatile it can be—especially when it comes to German Riesling. Since that time I’ve been more open minded, tasting Rieslings from both abroad and at home and have been impressed what our New World winemakers have to offer. What I love about this expression of Riesling is that it tastes, for lack of a better expression, naked. As if I’m really tasting, not just the grape, but the vineyard—the dirt, the surrounding fields, the river that runs through it all. There are wines that you drink and then there are wines you experience. Experience Kobza Wines 2016 Wirz Vineyard Dry Riesling with me…
There’s a running theme when you drink Kobza Wines. Ryan Kobza, winemaker of his eponymous private label crafts wines that are not just elegantly restrained, speaking of vintage and vineyard, he makes wines that are just down right gluggable.
Open a bottle of anyone of his wines and you’ll find yourself looking at an empty bottle in no time asking, “Where’s the wine?” But I encourage you not to, actually, glugg this, or any, of his wines. I urge you, instead, to sip and savor. Because wines like this don’t come around too often. Enjoy.