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Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip. Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com
Sleep City Missoula www.SleepCity.com
Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.
Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.
Good Sunday morning and welcome back to the WineGuyMike show. It’s the middle of winter and it’s time to move with my shifting palate and that can only mean one thing. It’s time to break out the big guns, some familiar and some not so familiar. Today I’m going to share three great full bodied wines with you, and they’re all from The big “C”, California.
In recent weeks my focus has been on Old World wines that pair so well with food.
I’m hunkered down here in the Rocky Mountains of Montana sitting with Gia the wonderdog, she is my tasting partner, and we are sipping and tasting wine. As I have mentioned in previous weeks New World wines are made to be drunk, not necessarily with food but paired correctly are excellent companions. Today though Gia and I are just tasting wine, no dining.
The wines we are sharing with you today are from artisanal family owned wineries in California and all produce beautiful examples of the single varietal wines. All three of these wines are full bodied, powerful, yet are made with finesse and elegance.
Today I have two Zinfandel’s and one varietal you may not be familier with, Cabernet Franc, the spicy cousin of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Remember Cabernet Sauvignon is a big, powerful red wine that is full in body, rich, and very flavorful imparting nuances of fruits, berries, currants, and plums. Cabernet Franc has traditionally been used as blending wine but now is gaining popularity as its own stand alone wine type or varietal. This is a full bodied wine and in the hands of a good winemaker is lovely to drink as a single varietal wine.
Zinfandel is full bodied wine that is fruit forward, spicy wine that is one of California’s favorites, and most plentiful. Berries, cherries, tobacco, oak, and vanilla, this wine seems to have it all.
The wines I’m sharing with you today are all delightful examples of the varietals they represent. The Zinfandel wines are different, yet both are very good wines. J Dusi’s Zin is a wonderful wine made with the delicate touch of a woman, so easy and nice to drink. The Truchard Zin is powerful, complex with structure and such a nice Zinfandel to drink.
The Cabernet Franc from Lang & Reed is also a great wine to enjoy in these long Winter months. This wine is affordable, very well made, and elegant with just a hint of spice. Enjoy these wines that Gia the wonderdog and I share with you today from the WineGuyMike world headquarters here in Montana.
Welcome to J Dusi Wines
Janell was born and raised on the Dusi Vineyard where her grandfather Dante taught her the Old World Italian style of winemaking.
Her family’s heritage dates back to the early 1920’s, where grape growing has been a craft that has deep roots in the Dusi family. The farming practices that were implemented by her great-grandparents eighty years ago, are still the standard that they follow today. The unique, hand crafted quality of J Dusi Wines results from Janell’s intimate involvement in every step of the process: working in the vineyard, driving the tractor, hand picking their own fruit, crushing the grapes and fermenting the juice from the bins to the barrels to the bottle. One thing that Janell knows and understands is that; winemaking is part science, part art and 100% passion.
She takes great pride in blending tradition with progress. Her family has partnered together to purchase other vineyards, with different grape varietals, so with an adventurous spirit; Janell is able to produce more hand crafted wines that highlight her “spice rack” in the cellar.
Her name is Janell Dusi. Her true passion is Zinfandel. Her label is J Dusi Wines. She is a farmer and a winemaker. She carries on the legacy and also the dream: A family tradition with a new perspective.
Big bright fruit envelopes you on the front palate with a hint of spice towards the end. This garnet Zinfandel gives you the essence of 100% Zinfandel from the westside terroir of the Dusi Vineyard. Brambleberry essence and a dry finish that is medium in body.
Truchard Vineyards is a small, family-owned winery in the Carneros region of Napa Valley. Proprietors Tony and Jo Ann Truchard have managed a successful vineyard and grown exceptional grapes for over 30 years. Through their hard work and devotion to this unique property, they helped pioneer grape growing in the Carneros. In 1989, the Truchards established a winery and began producing wines using only their estate-grown fruit.
Truchard Vineyards produces the only Zin made entirely from Napa Carneros fruit.
2009 Truchard Zinfandel
Beautiful aromas of cherry, cranberry and cassis; with a touch of cedar and mint. The mouth is filled with ripe jammy flavors of plum, wild berries, and sweet vanilla. Round tannins and firm acidity provide a long, delicate finish of spice and red fruits.
Lang & Reed
In the last century Lang & Reed began their exploration into Cabernet Franc, they did so with a constant sense of resolve to stay keenly aware of all things ‘Cabernet Franc’. So it was with resolve that they investigated and strived to understand the source material, the clonal selections as they were evolving throughout the 1990’s. The choice of Cabernet Franc clones before this time was minimal, but in those roaring 90’s a number of great clones made their way into the vineyards of Napa Valley. One of these unique selections was Clone 214, a cultivar that originated in the Loire Valley of France, home to some of the worlds’ most renowned Cabernet Franc vineyards and producers.
In 2007 Lang & Reed found a vineyard located on ideal rocky soils on a beautiful hillside slope in the southeastern corner of Napa Valley. The Sugarloaf Mountain benefits from moderate temperatures and cooling breezes that emanate from the northern reaches of San Francisco Bay. This New World climate combined with this Old World Loire Valley Clone provides the basis for a unique and immensely gratifying presentation of the Cabernet Franc grape.
When Lang & Reed began their exploration of Cabernet Franc they set out with the goal to present a wine that was ‘true to type,’ or in wine-speak, a wine that showed ‘typicity’ – boldly saying ‘Cabernet Franc’! Their exploration, in progress for over a decade, brought them to the rows of many vineyards in very diverse growing conditions. For seven vintages we have been focused a little north of us [north of Napa Valley that is] in the hills of Lake County. They have been working with vineyards ‘up’ in Lake County long enough to have found growers who are passionate in providing them with the grapes they needed to realize their Cabernet Franc vision.
The 2009 is a compelation of grapes from four vineyards, two located in the Napa Valley and two from the northern reaches of Lake County. Though only a small percent, the Stanton Vineyard in Oakville provides that bright crisp cherry aroma and flavor component. Sugarloaf Mountain, located in the cool southeastern reaches of Napa Valley contributes to the effusive aromas and texture. The High Chaparral Vineyard, located high up in the real red hills of Lake County just north of Kelseyville was planted back in the 70’s. It is the only Cabernet Franc vineyard Lang & Reed know of that is planted on its own roots – a true Franc de Pied providing deep structure and lovely fruit tannins. Also above the 2,000ft elevation in the High Valley appellation of Lake County are the Cross Spring Vineyards. The grapes from this vineyard provide them with an exciting facet in their quest to express ‘typicity’ in our North Coast bottling.
The 2009 North Coast Cabernet Franc has a bright, clear and brilliant red color rimmed in youthful violet-blue. Sweet cherry, herb and spice aromatics push forward accented with lightly toasted top notes. The flavors call forth bright cherry fruit and a mélange of dried herbs – all with a beguiling softness that begs for another glass.
All of these wines receive the WineGuyMike Seal of Approval®