Friday, April 9, 2010

Monterey County - superb wines in an exciting region - part 2

Cambiata Tannat Vineyards
As stated in the previous article, Monterey County is a very unique and special place for winegrapes. The perfect climate, soils and elevations have resulting in a wide range of premium wines.

Sub-appellations in Monterey County include Carmel Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco and Chalone in the north. The southern portion of the county includes San Bernabe, San Lucas, Hames Valley and San Antonio Valley.
Examples of the unique premium red wines from Monterey are the Consensus Rhone Blend from Graff Family Vineyards and the Cambiata Tannat.

The 2006 Graff Family Vineyards “Consensus” Rhone Blend from Chalone is an elegant, yet powerful wine with intense aromas of cherry, spice, black pepper and blackberry. The fruit flavors are stricking with plums and overripe cherrys prevalent but plenty of spices to give it character. The price is approximately $22.00.

This wine has 90% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre and 2% Viognier. The Syrah gives it backbone with dark smoky character and smoky peppery qualities. The Mourvedre provides the mid palate with plums and overripe black cherry notes, with the Viognier delivering the brightness and fruitiness. It will pair very well with smoked or wood-roasted braised meats.

Chalone is on the east side of the Salinas Valley at the west entrance to Pinnacles National Monument
The Cambiata Winery 2005 Tannat from Rocosa Loma Vineyard is a full-bodied wine with aromas that include dark berries, leather and spice. On the palate, it delivers strong dark berry flavors and herbal qualities. It has more acidity and far drier than a Cabernet and goes better with food. It is 100% Tannat and will pair well with grilled steaks or pork chops. The price is approximately $27.

Cambiata Winery favors the less know varietals, focusing on Albarino for the white wine and Tannat for the red. Both have unique flavors and both pair beautifully with food.

The Tannat is from a vineyard in the heart of Santa Lucia Highlands with rocky soils, cool ocean breezes and sunny afternoons to allow longer growing season and riper fruit. Tannat is not very common in California, and originally comes from Southwest France in the Madrian AOC in the Basque area of France near the Pyrenees. It is also considered the national grape of Uruguay.

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