Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Two Wines from the Niven Family and Baileyana Winery

Let's get the party started!

I'm happy they used screwcaps on these wines, to lock in the flavor and aromatics of the fruit, and for easy access too. Screwcap closures no longer worry me. I've had too many bottles of wine ruined by natural cork. Bottles of wine sealed with screwcaps also indicate that the wine is a buy me drink me wine. Should't they all be ready to drink? Theses wines were a pleasure to open and I enjoyed them both. What a great way to end this fun tasting from the California Wine Club - details below.

Treat your friends to some Tangent Viognier.
1st Review: Tangent Viognier 2010

I like the clean look of this label. It hints at the wine inside the bottle. The Tangent Viognier had a clean nose, with peach and pear, a whiff of honey and orange blossom, very pleasing, quite feminine. The enticing aromas led to flavors of peach and pear, with gentle toast. Creamy mouth feel.  I liked the finish, it had lingering stone fruit, a touch of minerality. It left a crisp tingle behind my ears. The Tangent Viognier was almost delicate. I'd pair this wine with good company, hard cheese, almonds, crusty bread, and steamed clams. This wine is a good choice to get the party started. It held up well over 3 days. Recommended.

Abv 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Fruit sourced from San Luis Obispo
Unoaked Viognier
Winemaker Christian Roguenant
Released May 2012
Production: 900 cases
Retail price: $17

2009 Trenza - what a cool label and wine.
2nd Review: Trenza Winery 2009 Santa Barbara County Mourvedre-Syrah-Grenache

Day One:
I like the look of this label too. Clean, classy and presents well on the table. This is a Rhone-style blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache. A very successful blending in my opinion. This wine opened with a light color, light body, and was lightly fruity. It had a distinct red fruit nose, with raspberry and blackberry pie. Initially, there was some oak on the palate, it was a fruity wine, dry, with a short finish. A little heat was noticeable.

Day Two:
I drank only a glass of the Trenza on day one. So I put the bottle in the fridge. Personally, I like this wine better chilled, on the second day. The next day, I enjoyed the Trenza with Manchego cheese and flat-bread crackers. This made for a very pleasant snack on a warm afternoon. The wine changed on day two. It had a touch of earthiness with mushroom on the nose, and the fruit was not as intense as on day one.  I also noticed sarsaparilla with chalk on the nose too. This wine shined with the salty sharpness of the cheese, a good pairing. Did I mention I like the design of this label? Restrained, elegant and easy to read. My advice is to decant this wine before drinking, and serve it slightly chilled. Recommended.

ABV 14.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Fruit sourced from Santa Barbara County
Winemaker Christian Roguenant
Released May 2012
Retail price: $30

Trenza and Tangent Tasting Room
5828 Orcutt Rd.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
phone: 805-269-8200
www.nivenfamilywines.com

Bonus Fact: Christian Roguenant, winemaker for all of the Niven family's brands, grew up in France and attended the University of Dijon, before making wine in Argentina, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and finally California. He joined Baileyana in 1998. Today he overseas the handcrafting of nearly 20 different wines.

Last year, I embraced opening myself to explore more wines from places besides Washington. I am of the opinion that I need to expand my palate. Not just to appreciate wines from across the globe, but to appreciate Washington wines in the global context of wine. I'd like to thank the California Wine Club for sending me these last two premium wines, and for helping me with my ongoing exploration of the wines of California. Cheers!

The California Wine Club
800-777-4443
www.cawineclub.com


* For my readers, new California Wine Club members or gift givers, can receive 4 bottles of wine for the price of 2 bottles when they sign up. There is no obligation to continue after the first month. At checkout you must use the code: wild12 for this offer.

You can learn more about the California Wine Club by following @cawineclub and @boringwineguy on twitter. If you are not on twitter,  you can “like” them on Facebook, The California Wine Club and The Boring Wine Guy.