These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things
2018 was an interesting year. Full of new experiences and big adventures. Geena and I were lucky enough to discover a number of wines that we’ll be talking about and returning to for years to come. So, to help commemorate the 18th year of this 21st century, we’re bringing you a list of our favorite vintages.
Paix Sur Terre - “The Other One” 2016
Glenrose Vineyard - Paso Robles
Paix Sur Terre’s flagship Mourvedre is a 50/50 mix of wine blended from two blocks of 19-year-old Mourvedre vines at Glenrose Vineyard in Paso Robles. Rich black and blue fruit notes with fresh acidity combines with an intense minerality and hints of violet, black pepper, and crushed rock.
We met Ryan Pease and his wife Nicole on our first official “commercial” trip to Paso Robles in early spring. What first grabbed me about Paix Sur Terre was their choice of label art. Their use of abstract expressionism seemed to offer this chaotic yet perfectly appropriate contrast to the placid, idyllic landscape that surrounded their small tasting room in the hills of Paso. It made even more sense when we tasted the wine. In “The Other One”, Ryan managed to produce something I had yet to experience at the time. A truly exceptional stand-alone Mourvedre.
Geena and I luckily have managed to squirrel away a few bottles in our personal collection so this is a wine that I’ll be returning to over the years to enjoy as it continues to age and mature easily into the next decade.
Senses - “Sonoma Coast” Chardonnay 2016
Dutton Palms and Charles Heintz vineyards - Sonoma County
Let's talk mouthfeel. This Sonoma Coast Chardonnay will take your palate on a flavor journey that lasts longer than your average Chard. A slow, sexy, unraveling of crisp Granny Smith apple, refreshing stone fruit, and a hint of tropical Meyer Lemon zest showcases balanced acid, impeccable craftsmanship, and even better fruit. Which would make sense because it's from Sonoma.
We first became aware of Senses when founders Chris Strieter, Max Thieriot and Myles Lawrence-Briggs and General Manager, Chelsea Boss launched Rebuild Wine Country: a crowdfunding effort in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity with the lofty goal of raising 5 MILLION DOLLARS to support the rebuilding of homes lost in the North Bay Fires that mercilessly plowed through Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Lake and Mendocino Counties.
Geena and I saw in the Senses team, a group of young people like us who were passionate about helping their community grow and heal. We were fortunate enough to taste with Chris near our home in Santa Barbara while he happened to be driving up the coast. Senses’ entire collection was and is electric. So much so that we’ve now featured two of their wines (2016 “Sonoma Coast” Chardonnay and 2016 “Sonoma Coast” Pinot Noir) and we plan to soon feature a third. Stay tuned for more.
Levo - Petite Sirah 2015
80% Petite Sirah, 14% Grenache, 6% Syrah
Stolpman Vineyard and Kimsey Vineyard - Ballard Canyon
This wine is inky, dark chocolate, blueberry, potpourri, allspice, mineral-tinged Raspberry preserves and jasmine perfume in a glass. Promise us to decant this wine 2 hours before drinking so you can slide, sink, and drown deliciously in the seductive beauty of Levo’s Petite Sirah. Not for the faint of heart.
Did that get your attention? In case it didn’t, let me assure you, winemaker, Bret Urness deserves your undivided. We’ve actually known Bret for the better part of a decade, having met back in 2013 when he was still a fledgling winemaker in Santa Barbara County. Bret has since established himself as a force in Paso Robles’ Tin City. He still prefers to work with grapes from Santa Barbara County and that shines through in this Petite Sirah sourced from a combination of Stolpman and Kimsey Vineyards.
I have had a years-long love affair with Petite Sirah and unfortunately, I’m often missing big complex reds like this in my personal wine rotation. Every time we do open a bottle I encounter more notes and deeper complexity in the flavors. If there is a wine in our collection that I would consider laying down for a decade, this is it. It’s clearly ready to drink now but I can only imagine what a wine this rich and well balanced will taste like in a decade.
Check out our shop at rivierawinegroupshop.com if you’re interested in acquiring one of our remaining bottles, of these, or any other vintages that you enjoyed throughout the year.