Two Summer Rosés: Kaena & Tercero

While we didn’t slice any watermelon, we had the chance last evening to enjoy and compare two of my favorite Central Coast Rosés with some discerning friends. It was a warm summer evening here in NE Ohio and the wines were well-chilled. Both wines were a hit and the differences in the two wines was appreciated.  The wines were the perfect excuse to gather some friends and neighbors on our front porch, demonstrating once again the way the wine can help bring people together and generate conversations and experiences that begin with the wine itself and then propel into deeper parts of our lives.  Simple summer wine creating community!  Love it!

 Here are the wines:

Kaena Label 

2010 Kaena Grenache Rosé

USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley

Wine Rating: 92

Uncorked: 2011.07.03   Drank with friends on the front porch

Served well-chilled on a warm summer afternoon on the porch with friends. Gorgeous salmon color with ripe raspberry and watermelon fruit in the nose. Crisp, aromatic, and layers of flavors. Fruit hints in the nose carry through the palate with added complexity of dark, juicy blackberry or ripe plum. The sensation in the mouth is wonderful — fresh fruit flavors with bright, crisp acidity, followed by a surprising plunge into an almost rich flavor and texture sensation. The wine didn’t stay at the top of my palate — it went deeper than I expected with a bright, crisp rose. Everything about this wine is balanced, textured, refreshing, bright, and wonderful. It has risen quickly to be one of my favorite summer rosés!

$18.00  Kaena Wine Company

Kaena Wine Company Website

Tercero Rose 2009

2009 Tercero Grenache|Mourvèdre Rosé

USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

Wine Rating: 90

Uncorked: 2011.07.03  Drank with friends on the front porch

This wine is consistently one of my favorite warm summer day sippers. It is bright and beautiful in color, aromas, and flavors. Strawberries and watermelon with crisp acidity and brightness. There is subtlety in the flavors of this wine that I almost hate to mute with food pairings — I enjoy drinking this one on its own, though it is a great match with cheeses, salads, and light fish. It remains a top choice for warm summer evenings on the back deck.

$15.00 Tercero Wines

Tercero Wines Website

2005 Château Greysac

2005 Château Greysac
France, Bordeaux, Médoc

Wine Rating: 89

Uncorked: 2009.12.23 Wine to sip through the evening, pizza dinner
Easy drinking Medoc and a steal at $9.89 (after case discount). A bit tight right out of the bottle, but fairly expressive after a few hours. Cherry, plum, tobacco, and cedar in the nose. Ripe fruit in the mouth with dark earthiness. Tannins are a bit thin. Nicely balanced but fiarly simple. Excellent QPR. Glad I bought a case.

$10.99 (case price = $9.89; normally approx. $25.00) Chuck’s Fine Wines

Chuck’s Fine Wines Website

2006 Tercero Grenache/Mourvedre Rose

Tercero Rose 2006

2006 Tercero Grenache/Mourvedre Rose
USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

Wine Rating: 88

Uncorked: 2009.09.11 Dinner on the Deck – served with grilled salmon & shrimp
I’ve been drinking several of the wines I discovered on my visit this summer in the Santa Ynez Valley. Some of the wines won’t find their way into these reviews for several years, but at least a case of the wine that came home with me is intended to be enjoyed in these final days of summer and early fall.

So there have been several notes about Larry Schaffer’s Tercero Wines. I have to say, this is a winemaker to watch out for. He is working magic with the fruit of the Santa Ynez Valley (with is a treasure to begin with), bringing a purity and clarity to wine that is pretty unique. His wines are an extension of the vineyard — good fruit into the process, tending it carefully, and bringing to the glass a wonderful sip of the Valley itself. Seriously — I taste the Santa Ynez Valley in every sip of these wines. But it’s not old musty “terroir” — it is the freshness and life of the vineyards and valley. Combine that purity and place with a luxurious feel in the mouth, and you’ve got Larry’s wines.

This wine is one of the first two wines that Larry Schaffer made. If he weren’t so ernest and honest, I wouldn’t believe him. This wine tastes like it was made by an experienced master. Yet it is fresh in style and exudes accessibility. It’s no surprise, then, that this is the third or fourth wine from Tercero that I have written about in the past few weeks. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I REALLY like these wines! The only reason I’d tell you to not go buy every bottle you can find (mostly from the winemaker himself — they’re small production and not yet widely available), it would be because I’m selfish and want to drink it all myself. It’s also an amazing bargain. GO BUY THIS WINE. On with the tasting notes…

Soft in color. texture, and flavors. Not wimpy, but gentle with a good backbone. Very well balanced in the nose and mouth. Citrus, honey, and strawberry on the nose. Cashmere feeling in the mouth with fresh summer fruit flavors and firm acid that make for a wonderfully balanced, easy drinking, summer wine. Wonderful to drink on the deck on a warm afternooon. Went very well with grilled salmon and shrimp.

$12.00 (special pricing right now for like $10) purchased from the winery

Tercero Wines Website

1992 Château Bel-Air (Domaines Henri Martin)

Chateau Bel Air

1992 Château Bel-Air (Domaines Henri Martin)
France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

Wine Rating: 83

Uncorked: 2009.09.04 Dinner with Neighbors
This poor little bottle had been forgotten in the cellar. I’ve got a couple more down there — an ’88 and a ’94. These are pretty simple, low-end Bordeaux bottlings, but it’s always fun to find forgotten bottles, and interesting to endulge in a bit of mystery since it’s hard to know what’s gone in under the cork over these several years.

We had dinner with some of our neighbors, and this was one of seveal wines we sampled. We opened the bottle and let it decant for about an hour. It was tight and a bit unwieldy. Not a crowd-pleaser, but I had a sense there was more to this little bottle than the turned-up noses as we first tasted the wine. So I drank it over the next three days. This was a good example of “good things come to those who wait.” While the wine never became anything extraordinary, it was fun to see that this little bottle wasn’t just going to roll over and be forgotten.

Obviously beyond prime, but surprising how it balanced out on day 3. Aromas of dark chocolate, elderberries, and smoke. Soft feel in the mouth with skin-on plum, currant, and bell pepper flavors. Softened but ripe tanins endured through a moderate finish. Remarkably easy to drink, even in its twilight.

I encourage even novice wine drinkers to find a couple of bottles that can be hidden away for a few years. It is a treat to see how wines develop over time. This one went beyond its best drinking window, but how fun it was to blow off the dust, wake it up a bit, and let it give the gifts of aromas and flavors that have been bottled up for fifteen or sixteen years.

$8.00 in 1994

2008 Total Depravity Riesling

Total Depravity Riesling 2008

2008 Total Depravity Riesling
Produced and Cellared in Solon, OH – fruit sourced from Washington

Rating: too biased to rate, but it ought to be at least a 90

Uncorked: 2009.07.06
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Wine Tastings
Monday, Wine No. 1

I thought we should start the tastings with something a bit unique… something that’s boutique, difficult to find. So I opened a bottle of Total Depravity Riesling – a wine I made. It was bottled just this past weekend just for this occasion.

There is truly no way for me to offer an objective review of this wine, but it’s pretty darn good! It’s fairly typical of a Washington Riesling, which isn’t so bad. It is off-dry and best served chilled, though the aromas and flavors become more pronounced as it warms up a bit. Slightly floral with a nose full of ripe pear and citrus. Not much minerality. In the mouth it is more soft than crisp, again consistent with the Washington source of the fruit. Lush apples, pears, and apricot flavors with hints of sweet grapefruit. It finishes with a nice acidic bump to leave the mouth with a soft yet balanced finish. A bit sweet, but it was made for my mother-in-law, so what can I say? It’s easy to drink on a warm summer afternoon!

$priceless available only from the winemaker

2007 Clean Slate Riesling

Clean Slate Riesling

2007 Clean Slate Riesling
Mosel, Germany

Rating: 87

Uncorked: 2009.07.06
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Wine Tastings
Monday, Wine No. 2

Provided by Stephen

Excellent QPR for an easy drinking, slightly sweet German Riesling. Very light color – almost clear. Minerals and citrus on the nose with hints of honeysuckle. Plenty of fruit and floral aromas that carry into the flavors of this wine. The mouthfeel is velvety and smooth. Pears, sweet lemon, nectarine, lavender, and mineral/slate flavors with hints of wildflower honey. Nicely acidic to balance the sweet flavors and offer a bit of crisp tartness, particularly on the finish. Nice wine for a summer afternoon.

$9.99 widely available

2007 Total Depravity Pinot Noir

Total Depravity Pinot Noir 2007

2007 Total Depravity Pinot Noir
Produced and Cellared in Solon, OH – juice sourced from California

Rating: too biased to rate

Uncorked: 2009.07.06
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Wine Tastings
Monday, Wine No. 3

I can’t say a whole lot about this wine since I made it myself. It was part of the 2007 vintage – my first. Not particularly good wine, but it was fun to make and certainly fun to share with friends. But I can honestly say, it’s much better than the wine that can be purchased commercially for around two dollars! But in honor of Jean Calvin’s 500th birthday later this week, we simply had to uncork a few bottles of Total Depravity this week.

$priceless available only from the winemaker