Bechthold Vineyard – A Tale of Three Lodi Cinsaults

Over the last couple of weeks, I had the chance to try several bottles of Cinsault from Lodi’s Bechthold Vineyard.  Bechthold Vineyard is the home of some of the world’s oldest Cinsault plantings.  The vines were originally planted in 1885 by Joseph Spenker.

Beautiful shot of Bechthold Vineyard - courtesy of Lodi Winegrape Commission
Beautiful shot of Bechthold Vineyard – courtesy of Lodi Winegrape Commission

Today, there are 25 acres of wine in Bechthold Vineyard managed by Michael David Winery.  The vineyard is farmed organically and produces beautiful fruit.  Currently, the Cinsault fruit is sold to 9 wineries and makes it into the hands of a few other lucky producers.  There are 5 acres of Cinsault fruit that are reserved for making Rosé.

Bechthold Vineyard Cinsault cluster - courtesy of Lodi Growers Association
Bechthold Vineyard Cinsault cluster – courtesy of Lodi Winegrape Commission

What I really love about these wines is that they destroy the stereotype that Lodi wine is high in alcohol, bold, and overpowering.  In reality, the Cinsault from Bechthold Vineyard is light, bright, and refreshing.  Here are three diverse Cinsaults I recently tasted from Bechthold:

Turley 2013 Lodi Cinsault

Turley, an iconic Napa Valley winery, produces an excellent Cinsault from Bechthold Vineyard.  The wine has layers of red fruit with bright acidity and excellent texture.  There are also savory and earthy notes to go along with the tart fruit.  To me, this wine really showcases the beauty and terroir of Bechthold Vineyard.  (13% alcohol, $17)

Estate Crush 2012 Cinsault

The Estate Crush Cinsault is the most fruit-forward and heaviest (although still relatively light) wine of the three.  There are notes of strawberries, cranberries, and cherries balanced with savory and herbal notes.  Fruity, smooth, and enjoyable! (13.8% alcohol, $26)

Two Shepherds 2013 Ancient Vines Cinsault

Two Shepherds Cinsault offers beautiful aromas showcasing strawberries along with hints of white pepper and herbs.  Abundant, bright red fruit flavors sing in harmony on the palate and throughout the finish.  The most elegant wine I have tasted from Bechthold Vineyard!  (12.7% alcohol, $34)

*Media Samples

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Spotlight on Finger Lakes Riesling

If you are a Riesling fan, you should definitely have the Finger Lakes wine region on your radar.  New York’s Finger Lakes region has an ideal climate for producing diverse Rieslings that range from dry and crisp to sweet and fruit forward.  The region is mostly composed of small family wineries and they are increasingly producing world-class Riesling.

Last week, I joined in with several other bloggers and wine lovers on Twitter to taste through 8 Finger Lakes Rieslings from 8 different producers.  We progressed from dry to sweet and each wine was distinct and expressed totally different flavor profiles.   Here are a few standouts from the lineup:

Finger Lakes Riesling
Finger Lakes Riesling

Fox Run Vineyards 2013 Dry Riesling

Tons of grapefruit on the nose and palate of this dry Riesling.  There are also notes of lime, peach, and golden delicious apples.  Racy acidity and a zesty, tart finish! (11.2% alcohol, $18)

Red Newt Cellars 2013 Dry Riesling

This wine opens with aromas citrus and honeysuckle.  The palate is balanced with tastes of apricot, grapefruit, peach, and lemon.  Crisp acidity and a refreshing finish.  One of my favorites of the lineup! (11.8% alcohol, $15)

Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2013 Semidry Riesling

Enticing floral aromas with hints of pineapple.  The palate has addicting flavors of melon, citrus, and pear.  Slightly sweet with balancing acidity.  Super food-friendly and delicious! (11.5% alcohol, $15)

*Media Samples

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Incredible Rhones from Kale Wines

This past week, I attended Rhone Rangers at the Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles.  As I made my way through the winery booths, I stopped to taste at Kale Wines out of Napa; a winery that was totally new to me.  Kale Wines is the personal project of winemaker Kale Anderson, Director of Winemaking for Pahlmeyer.  The small production winery features well-made, terroir-driven wines. I tried their 2013 Napa Valley Rosé and their 2010 Alder Springs Vineyard Syrah.  Both wines are outstanding and ended up being among the best wines at the event.

Beautiful wines from Kale
Beautiful wines from Kale

Kale Wines 2013 Napa Valley Rosé

Bright, red fruit abounds in this crisp, refreshing wine.  There are also tastes of white pepper and hints of citrus.  The lengthy finish allows nuances of minerals to shine through.  A seriously good Rosé! ($22)

Kale Wines 2010 Adler Springs Vineyard Spirit Rock Syrah

This cool climate, Mendocino County Syrah is outstanding.  Soft notes of blackberries and blueberries are coupled with earthy undertones.  At second sip, I noticed a subtle spiciness.  Great flavors yet restrained and elegant.  With bright acidity, this wine should improve a bit with a couple of years.  ($45)


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Maison Angelot Bugey Mondeuse 2011

I love when I get to try a grape for the first time.  Maison Angelot Bugey Mondeuse allowed me the opportunity to do just that.  Mondeuse is commonly grown in Savoie and Bugey yet very little is grown outside of the region.  The grape is characterized by being low in alcohol and also a bit tannic if not grown in optimum conditions.

Maison Angelot Bugey Mondeuse

Technical Stuff

100% Mondeuse from the Bugey wine region in France.  Unoaked and undergoing 100% carbonic maceration.  12% alcohol and a retail price of around $14.

Tasting Notes

The nose of this wine is captivating with aromas of earth, licorice, and hints of minerals.  The palate is fairly straight-forward but definitely unique.  The are tastes of black cherries and licorice with noticeable tannins and a bit of black pepper.  The wine is lighter in body but very present in taste.  A great first experience with Mondeuse!

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