I just got back from an incredible vacation – a road trip throughout the Western US – and the tardiness of this Paper Blog entry rivals any midnight tax return. It probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that even though you see David’s name on one side and mine on the other, it’s really Kara that keeps the whole thing together. Last week, in order to stoke a little friendly competition, she sent me David’s finished entry, in effect saying, “Hey buddy, we’re just waiting on you here….” At that moment, my wife Allie and I had just watched a grizzly bear overturn tree stumps with startling ease while looking for grubs underneath. I concede that my Paper Blog duty was not foremost on my mind, but I started to piece some slightly disingenuous thoughts together about where we were in the year, and how we’d soon begin preparing for harvest. I had a mental rough draft going when I finally read David’s entry, then cursed him for stealing all of my ideas (and, of course, writing much more sincerely about them than I would have at the time). As a result, all I’ve got left to talk about is how cool my trip was.
We backpacked down and spent the night on the Yellowstone River, then attended a wedding in eastern Idaho, which is more beautiful than I could have imagined. We saw dinosaur fossils in Utah, peered into the sublime itself at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado, and got caught literally inside a thundercloud while hiking in Santa Fe. After a mad dash to the car, we placated ourselves with native New Mexican cuisine, based on spicy, soul-warming recipes passed down through many centuries. Finally, on the return trip we walked solemnly amongst 4,000 year old Bristlecone Pines at Great Basin National Park; a perfect venue both for reflection, and anticipation what the future holds. In all, I felt at peace, knowing that not only are we making wine that, like the best Posole with green chile, brings people closer together in shared enjoyment, but through our farming practices we act as responsible stewards of this great land.
Onto the wines! A rich, layered white, the 2013 Roussanne gained complexity from a full 15 months in barrel, bringing forth a waxy, honeyed layer underneath citrus and dried apricot fruit. Round and full in the mouth, some sips seem to hint at pineapple upside-down cake with citrus zest. Embrace your inner grizzly bear and open some with your next grilled salmon or smoked trout, especially with a sweet glaze.
Speaking of the grill, the 2012 Triptych (53% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 12% Counoise) is essential to any civilized cookout, whether of the fast & hot or slow & smoky variety. Meaty, spicy notes from Syrah and Counoise make it ideal for dry-rubbed brisket or ribs, and a juicy, full mouthfeel from the Grenache matches the intensity of the best burger you can throw at it.
The 2013 Rive D’Or is an exciting, unconventional blend, incorporating a touch of Syrah (5%) into the more traditional duo of Merlot (85%) and Malbec (10%). I’ve long hoped to make a 100% Estate-Bottled Rive, but many blend trials with the two M’s lacked the length and classy structure that even just a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon can provide. Since we don’t have any Cabernet planted – and since we’re not in Bordeaux! – we tried a splash of the Rhone in our glass, and I think we’re on to something. Open a bottle on the first rainy day of September with a savory, slow-cooked meal.