Monterey County winemaker Chris Weidemann’s pilgrimage from wine shop on the east coast to cellar rat at Freemark Abbey to UC Davis has eventually brought him to his own winery, Pelerin Wines in Monterey County. He continues to follow his dream to craft artisan wines that utilize fruit from the best vineyards in the area, utilizing traditional winemaking practices and producing wines that are rich in flavor and indicative of their origin. Pelerin (French for Pilgrim) wines convey his passion for the grape and his creativity.
At a recent event in San Jose, he showed off some of his latest releases.
Pelerin 2009 “Les Tournesols” white blend is produced with 68% Roussanne and 32% Viognier from the Paraiso Vineyards in Santa Lucia Highlands. The wine has fine acid with aromas and flavors of melon, pear, peach and lemon with a touch of licorice. The malolactic treatment has given it a sophisticated roundness that helps tune down the acidity that strikes you in the front end to deliver a very pleasant, yet complex, long finish. Les Tournesols is French for sunflower and this wine takes you to a sunny afternoon in the fields. The price is $27 per bottle.
The2008 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir is sourced from four of the top Pinot vineyards in Santa Lucia Highlands, including 40% from Paraiso Vineyards, 40% from Tondre Grapefield and 15% from KW (formerly Fairview Road) Ranch, and 5% from Roselli. The wine delivers all that the great Pinot grapes of this appellation can deliver. You will love the full range of cherry, raspberry and rhubarb flavors mixing with notes of spice, cinnamon, licorice and vanilla. This wine has great structure and a long steady finish. The price is $33 per bottle.
The 2007 “Les Violettes” Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah is 100% Syrah with 91% from Paraiso Vineyard and 9% from Mesa del Sol vineyard in nearby Arroyo Seco. Chris treated this cool climate Syrah gently and the result is an excellent wine that delivers from the first aroma though the taste and on to the finish. The fruit flavors and aromas of raspberry, blackberry, cranberry blend well with the white pepper, bacon, and olive to produce an enticing complexity of textures and flavors. This continues on to the long finish. A major flavor in taste profiles is umami or savory. This is the wine that will show you what umami really tastes like, as you smack your lips after tasting. The price is $36 per bottle.
Pelerin’s most famous wine is the RTW and the 2008 “RTW” (Red Table Wine) Red Blend, continues this tradition. This year RTW consists of 40% Zinfandel, 35% Syrah and 25% Sangiovese, all from the Arroyo Seco Mesa del Sol vineyard. Anne Hougham’s Mesa del Sol vineyard is a haven for heat-loving varietals. The sandy, gravelly soil above the Arroyo Seco gorge with the dramatic differences between night and day temperatures stresses the fruit and delivers the bright fruity flavors. This is a great wine with food or without. The jammy berries and plums wrap you in the aromas and flavors along with a touch of caramel, spice and chocolate. You will find this a great ‘everyday’ wine and flexible to pair with a variety of dishes. The price is $18.
For more information: Pelerin Wines website