Saturday, March 26, 2011

Travieso Wines - the devil made you do it!

Travieso Winery winemaker Ray Sliter has several new releases, including their first white wine, La Llorona white blend.  Travieso wines have received 90+ point ratings by Robert Parker as well as winning Gold medals and Double Gold medals at other competitions.  It is a hidden gem right here in Campbell in Silicon Valley.  Fans not only remember their intriguing labels and names, but the wonderful wine held within. 

Founders Ray Sliter and Mats Hagstrom started producing wine in Ray’s living room in 2000. Ray is a marine geologist and Mats is a doctor. By 2003 they teamed up with John Pinder at his small winery in Campbell. By 2005 Travieso was a fully bonded winery. They work closely with premium vineyards around California and focus on quality wine production using 30 to 50 percent new French Oak barrels to age the wine for 2 – 3 years.

Each Travieso wine is named after a Hispanic legend.   La Llorona is a Hispanic legend about a beautiful woman named Maria who, in a fit of rage about her ranchero husband, killed her children by throwing them in the river.  She realized what she did and ran down the river searching for them.  Villagers found her body along the river the next day.  But the first night Maria was in the grave, villagers heard the sound of crying down by the river as Maria cried, “Where are my children?”  They saw Maria in her white robe she was buried in weeping through the night.  They called her La Llorona, the weeping woman, and in Mexico children are warned not to go out at night, that La Llorona might snatch then.   

The new 2009 La Llorona Sonoma County white blend has 45% Viognier form Dry Creek Valley, 45% Chardonnay from Russian River Valley and 10% Roussanne.  This wine shows off the floral notes and citrus would expect from such a blend.  It has a nice crisp acidity with taste of citrus and sour apple. 
Travieso introduced a new second brand this year with Traviesito, “Little Trouble”, a 2009 blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Mourvedre, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  It has an intense nose of smoke, jam and black fruit.  On the palate you will enjoy the flavors of blackberry, blueberry, plum and a variety of spices.  The tannins lead to a pleasant finish.  All this for a price under $20.

Travieso’s El Chupacabras Red Wine is their most famous wine.  Its 2005 vintage got 91 points from Robert Parker.  The 2006 El Chupacabras Red from Santa Barbara County is a blend of Syrah from two vineyards, Grenache and Viognier.  This wine delivers great aromas and flavors of dark ripe fruit including black cherry and blueberry with a medley of spices such as pepper, clove and cinnamon.  The nose has a very pleasant smokiness that is evident of the French Oak that blended all those spices and flavors into such a well-balanced wine.  El Chupacabras, also known as the Goat Sucker, is a legendary creature from Puerto Rico that preys on goats and other animals, leaving the body fully intact, but drained of all their blood.  But is this legend or is there such an animal?  Once was recently said to be spotted in Texas!

The Travieso 2007 El Rey Cabernet Sauvignon from Louvau Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley is a rich quality Cab loaded with smoky cedar, dark fruits, cassis, cranberry and spice.  The wine really opens after some time in the glass, delivering the same dark fruit with cinnamon, clove and all spice.  The wine is aged for 24 months in 50% new French oak resulting in a great California wine with quality you can expect from a fine Bordeaux wine.  In addition to the 24 months of aging, four barrels received extended aging for an additional 12 months. 

The 2005 Amaranta Syrah from Kirk’s Fairview Ranch in Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County continues to show the quality possible from fine Syrah.  Previous vintages have been award winners, and the 2005 won Double-Gold at the 2008 San Francisco International Wine Competition.  You will enjoy the prominent blackberry and raspberry flavors tamed with the toasty quality from the oak and finishing up with pepper and spice.  You will also enjoy the touch of chocolate on the palate.  Amaranta is a character in a play about the Mexico Day of the Dead rituals.  Death has commanded her to weave her own funeral shroud and, once finished, Death will take her away.

For more information:
Travieso Winery

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