Backyard Sippers: The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay 2015 & Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Winery: Dreaming Tree Wines is the creation of legendary musician Dave Matthews along with New Zealand winemaker Sean McKenzie. The duo is passionate about crafting accessible wines that express “the unique characters and rich flavours” of California’s wine country. The portfolio currently consists of 6 wines, all sourced from various sustainably farmed vineyards in California.

A Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing winery, they strive for sustainability in all facets of wine production, including sustainable methods in the vineyard, bottles that are a quarter pound lighter and manufactured with clean-burning natural gas, 100% recycled paper labels, along with natural corks sourced from sustainable farms. The winery also utilizes solar energy, having the largest solar footprint in the US wine industry.

Philosophy: To make “wines for people to drink. I don’t make wines for people to put in their cellar.”

The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay California 2015

Winemaking: Grapes were harvested at night and early morning to keep the fruit cool. Fermented and aged for 8 months in a combination of oak barrels and stainless steel tanks.

Tasting Notes: Gold in colour with lemon, pear, peach, grass and white pepper aromas radiating from the glass. Vivid pear, yellow apple, pineapple along with a hint of pink grapefruit are accented by a clean herbaceous streak. Creamy lemon and buttery toast linger between each sip. Intense fruit, yet light on its feet this is fantastic summery sip on its own or with a wide variety of dishes.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Delicious with grilled seafood, goat cheese and mushroom pizza, herb roasted chicken, or stone fruits, ricotta, and arugula.

100% Chardonnay
13.8% Alcohol
$13 [average price]

The Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon California 2014

Winemaking: The heat and dry conditions of 2014 “delivered big fruit expression, great tannin development and nice ripeness across all varietals”. Wines were aged separately in oak for 16 months, then blended to bring out the true character of the varietal.

Tasting Notes: Garnet in colour with aromas of dark berry fruits, a hint of vanilla and wisps of toasted oak. Black cherry, blackberry and plum are wrapped around a black pepper core. Soft tannins facilitate a seamless merge into chocolate, pink peppercorn, earth and black cherry on the plush finish. A fantastic balance of bright fruit and spice, friendly and easy to pair with all types of dishes, especially anything off a backyard grill.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: A fun start or end to any meal. Enjoy with grilled flank steak, BBQ ribs, grilled veggies, portabella and grilled onion burgers.

78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 4% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc
13.6% Alcohol
$13 [average price]

 

 

Samples submitted for review purpose.

Les Chardons Gamay Touraine 2014

Estate: The Chardon domaine is located along the banks of the Cher River in Couffy, in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. Husband and wife team Sophie and Thierry Chardon cultivate 115 acres of vineyards, with an average vine age of 25 years. Raised on a vineyard in Touraine, Thierry’s family made wine for many generations, until his father was forced to sell the vineyard. Years later, Thierry and Sophie moved their family back to Touraine and purchased a domaine.

Winemaking: Certified organic since the late 2000’s, the believe in minimal intervention in both the vineyard and cellar. “Our wines emerge from grapes cultivated without chemical products, in respect of our environment.”

Tasting Notes: Transparent in red-violet in colour, with aromas of strawberry, resin and earthy funk. Strawberry, raspberry, along with sour cherry wrap around a floral core and are accented by sandalwood, white pepper, a dash of funk and a streak of granite minerality. Black cherry and a trace of tart wild berries linger between each sip. Smooth tannins and food friendly acidity compliment this fantastic, unique expression of Gamay.

100% Gamay
Touraine
France
Estate Bottled
12.5% Alcohol
$13
Enjoy now

Château des Charmes Cabernet Sauvignon Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA 2015

Estate: Paul Bosc, a fifth generation French winegrower who holds degrees in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, founded Château des Charmes in 1978. Paul brought his young family to the Niagara on the Lake region of Canada in the 1960’s “with the idea that growing our own grapes was the best way to make fine wine”. The estate consists of 280 acres of vineyards in four locations all within the Niagara-on-the-Lake region.

Paul established himself as a pioneer in the region, from planting traditional French varietals to employing cutting edge techniques such as installing wind machines to protect the vines from the cold. In addition to being recognized for their progressive, groundbreaking work with traditional French grapes and methods, their wines have garnered accolades for their balance, finesse and quality. Paul Sr still has an active role in the vineyards, his son Paul Jr is President of the estate, and Paul Jr’s wife Michèle is the Director of Marketing.

Philosophy: “We are custodians of the land.” Crafting wines that are “food friendly and age worthy. We hope you will call them delicious”.

Winemaking: Committed from the very beginning to sustainable practices, the family is a charter member of Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario. Chemical treatments are never used, and sustainable methods such as hedge vine canopies, and under drainage are utilized. Naturally occurring yeasts are used for the majority of the wines. All by-products from the winemaking process [stems, skins, seeds] are returned to the vineyards as natural fertilizer. Their extensive cellars are geothermal and do not require any heating or cooling, especially impressive considering how cold Canadian winters can be.

Grapes were hand sorted in the vineyard. Aged for 10 months in French oak barrels with regular stirring of the lees.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with cheerful aromas of cherry, wildflowers, black cherry, black pepper and a trace of roasted jalapeño. All the cherries [red, black and a pop of sour] glide atop polished granite minerality and smooth, fine tannins. Crushed pink peppercorn dusted fruit along with a hint of vanilla comprises the moderate finish. Super food friendly, give this a pour with almost anything!

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA
Canada
Estate Bottled by Château des Charmes
13% Alcohol
$15 [Canadian Dollars]
Enjoy now thru 2018

Castello di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2014

Estate: Castello di Farnetella is located in the province of Siena in Tuscany, Italy. The name Farnetella derives from farnia, “the English oak”, which grows in great profusion at Farnetella. The Poggiali family [owners of the renowned Fèlsina estate] purchased the historic 432 hectare estate with its 56 hectares of vineyards in 1981.

Fèlsina is headed by Domenico and Giuseppe Poggiali along with Giovanni Poggiali, the oldest of Giuseppe’s three sons. Fattoria di Fèlsina is renowned as one of the greatest vineyards in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, producing “one of the finest ranges of age worthy and complex Chianti bottlings in all of Italy”.

Philosophy: “A profound respect for the Tuscan traditions of yesterday.”

Winemaking: As with all of Fèlsina’s properties, the vineyards are farmed organically and sustainably, additionally, Castello di Farnetella is also practicing biodynamic methods. Grapes are hand harvested from vineyards with loam, sand, clay and chalky soils. Aged in large oak botti for 8-12 months, followed by 3 months in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with inviting aromas of cherry, woods, dusty earth and a hint of funk. A classic expression of Chianti, with silky layers of cherry, leather, tobacco and earth. A refreshing herbaceous streak highlights food friendly acidity and dry tannins. Sour cherry and a trace of cured meat comprise the dry finish. A phenomenal value that pairs wonderfully with a wide variety of dishes.

92% Sangiovese, 8% Merlot
Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Fèlsina SPA
12.5% Alcohol
$11
Enjoy now thru 2019

Dave Phinney Locations WA4 Washington Red Blend NV

Brand: Renowned, progressive winemaker Dave Phinney can add “rebel” to his long list of winemaking accolades with his creation of ‘Locations’ wines. Based on the concept to “make the best possible wine from a given country or location” by blending grapes sourced from different appellations. This is a much more difficult task then it sounds. Restriction on varietal percentage and blending not only vary from appellation to appellation, country to country, but also are also quite strict. By blending across appellations, Phinney loses the ability to have appellation designation on his wines. Like a true rebel, he bucks authority and crafts his wine the way he wants, producing wines “that uniquely express their sense of place”. The country code stickers seen on cars throughout Europe inspired the eye catching, minimalist labels.

Winemaking: Phinney sources grapes from “high-quality vineyards, and forward-thinking growers”. Grapes came from diverse vineyards within Washington’s best appellations. Barrel aged ten months in French and American oak barrels.

Tasting Notes: Inky red-violet in colour with cozy aromas of wild berries, brambly shrubs, vanilla and a hint of woodsy oak. Silky tannins and fresh acidity compliment jammy berries [blueberry, blackberry, raspberry] dusted with chocolate and crushed pink peppercorn. Earth and tobacco notes fuse into the plush finish of espresso, chocolate, black pepper and toasted oak. So silky smooth, each glass will vanish faster then you expect. Fantastic on its own, but pairs great with spicy dishes and chocolate.

Blend of Syrah, Merlot, and Petit Sirah [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
Washington
Bottled by Locations Wines, Napa CA
15% Alcohol
$17
Enjoy now