The Region: The Red Mountain AVA is Washington’s smallest, at approximately 3,600 acres. Grape growing conditions are almost textbook perfect: slope, exposure, weather conditions, good air drainage, large day/night temperature swings, gravelly soil with high calcium carbonate content and high pH and the nearby Yakima River to moderate temperature extremes—there could hardly be more positive flavour influences to grapes grown here.
The Wine: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot, this wine features great extract, deep colour and intense aromatics of dark berry fruit, cassis, peppery spice, cedar and smoke. The seductive nose of this wine foreshadows magnificent texture and flavour, including dark berries, liquorice, vanilla and warm brown spices that glide across the palate. The texture and mouthfeel of the wine offers up silky tannins and a velvety smooth structure.
The Food: Marinated & Grilled Flank Steak with Blue Café De Paris Butter.
Ageing: The complexity and structure of this wine will require three to six months to unwind, and it will continue improving for several years. Due to the ripe tannins it will also benefit from decanting before serving.
Sweetness Code: 0 (dry)
The Region: Known as ‘Valley of Wine and Roses’, South Africa’s Robertson Valley has a very hot climate with minimal rainfall—less than a foot per year. Luckily the calcareous red clay loam and clay Karoo soils have excellent water holding capacity, and the gentle slopes and varied microclimates allow for precision planting to maximise grape quality.
The Wine: Sauvignon Blanc has wild, herbaceous flavours and tart, grapefruit-like character, which shows strongly in the young wine, while Sémillon has flavours of honeydew melon and sweet honey that take a bit longer to come out. Together the two grapes make a lush, balanced wine with great up-front fruit and a satisfying, rich finish.
The Food: Pan Roasted Digby Bay Scallop, Jewel Yam Purée, White Truffle Oil & Salsa Verdé.
Ageing: The citrus notes of the Sauvignon Blanc make this wine tempting to drink right away and after three months the Sémillon will rise up to give a mellower white wine. It will improve for at least a year, giving deeper flavours of melon and honey as it goes.
The Region: Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Amador County is sometimes called ‘California’s Piedmont’. With vineyards running from 250 to 2900 feet in elevation, and summer temperatures ranging from 80 to over 100 degrees F, the excellent growing conditions have encouraged diversified plantings.
The Wine: Grippingly tannic, bold and deeply coloured Petite Sirah complements the jamminess of Zinfandel, taming the abundant blueberries and blackberries with a hint of dark cherry and vanilla. Full-bodied with a lingering palate and peppery spice, this is a wine of unprecedented power and length.
The Food: Apple Cider Brined Thick-Cut BBQ Pork Chops.
Ageing: This is a wine that shows best with ageing. After one year the blackberries will come out, and at two years will tame the tannin’s grip, showing the black pepper and rich dark fruits.
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