Joel Gott & Dave Phinney ‘Shatter’ Grenache Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes 2013

shatter13

Brand: Shatter is a collaboration between legendary winemakers Dave Phinney and Joel Gott along with Trinchero Family Estates. Progressive winemaker David Swift Phinney, founded the acclaimed Orin Swift Cellars in 1998 [Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name.] Today the company has grown into an international brand that includes 300 acres in southwest France along with projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations. [Note: Orin Swift (the brand, remaining inventory and the tasting room in St. Helena) was purchased by E. & J. Gallo Winery in 2016. Dave Phinney “will remain involved”.]

Joel Gott is a 5th generation west coast winemaker that began crafting renowned Zinfandels in 1996. His wines are noted for their remarkable value together with his use of high-end California fruit, and fantastic structure and balance. Striving to craft quality wine under $20, in addition to his acclaimed Joel Gott Wines, he is also the man behind the hugely successful ‘Three Thieves’ brand.

Winemaking: Interestingly, the name Shatter refers to a few different components of the wine. First, it is a nod to the extreme viticulture conditions found in the Maury region of the Roussillon in southern France [nutrient-poor soil, strong winds, hot days]. Second, it refers to the phenomenon in which grape clusters fail to develop all their berries after flowering. Generally, this is considered to be one of the hazards of grape growing in the area, but Phinney and Gott embrace it; stating, “It actually decreases yield and intensifies the wines.” And finally, it is a reflection of the black schist soils that resemble shards of broken black glass. The label with its original photo of broken glass further anchors and emphasizes these features.

Grapes were cold-soaked for 30 days to help further concentrate the wine, then fermented and aged in Maury, France, then bottled in St. Helena, California. Aged 10 months in French oak, 30% new.

Tasting Notes: Deep garnet in colour with enticing aromas of dark berries, pepper spice and a hint of vanilla. Rich, sleek layers of clean fruit [cherry, blackberry, red currant, pomegranate], chocolate and crushed black peppercorn are accented by silky tannins, whilst cigar box spice highlights the lengthy, fruit driven finish. A fantastic balance of lush fruit and spice with an elegant edge, do watch out for that 15.6% alcohol, as it does sneak right up.

100% Grenache
Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes
France
Imported & Bottled by Fracture, St. Helena, Napa County, California
15.6% Alcohol
$18
Enjoy now thru 2018

shatterback

Orin Swift ‘D66’ Grenache 2013

swiftd66

Winery: Progressive winemaker David Swift Phinney was “introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked” during time spent in Italy in 1995, upon his return to the States he took a job as a harvest worker at Robert Mondavi. It was there that he decided “that if he was going to work this hard, it would eventually have to be for himself”, and in 1998 Orin Swift Cellars was founded [Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name]. Today the company has grown into an international brand that includes 300 acres in southwest France along with projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations. However, his mission still remains a small, “passionate team of friends and family dedicated to making great wine”. He is renowned for wines that “are unapologetically full-flavored and intense, yet with a backbone of structure that holds it all in place”.

Winemaking: Orin Swift has 300 acres [120 hectares] of vineyards in the Cotes Catalanes, a sub-appellation of the Roussillon in southern France. The vineyards are located in the Pyrénées-Orientales mountain range, in an area known for its intense heat and minimal amounts of vegetation. Planted over 60 years ago, vines grown in soil mostly of black schist, along with small amounts of granite and limestone. “The intense heat from the daytime sun is reflected back to the gnarled, head trained vines at night, increasing ripeness while maintaining acidity. The result is a very low yield (half ton per acre), but makes for a dark, concentrated, and finesse driven wine that embodies this singular region.” Aged in 30% new French oak barrels for 18 months, then 5 months in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: Inky violet in colour with aromas of black currant, black pepper, soft vanilla and oak. Black currant and blueberry jam flavours extend across a backbone of toasted oak and chocolate. Dark fruit flavours and silky tannins span the lengthy finish and are highlighted by crushed black peppercorn and hints of licorice. An interesting juxtaposition of assertive, concentrated flavours that strikingly possess a soft, lush disposition. Fantastic on its own or with a wide variety of dishes, gamey cheese, barbeque, Asian & Indian dishes, and even chocolate.

Blend of Grenache, Syrah & Carignan
Cotes Catalanes IGP
France
Produced and Bottled by Dept 66
15.2% Alcohol
$37
Enjoy now thru 2020

Saint Cosme Little James’ Basket Press Rouge NV

james

Estate: Château Saint Cosme is located in the heart of the Gigondas appellation and is one of the top producers of Côtes du Rhône. The oldest estate in the region, documents from the year 1416 mention, “the granting by Jean de Chalon, Prince of Orange, of “land for the planting of vines on the Saint Cosme slopes.” Located on the site of a Gallo-Roman villa, the remains of the Roman wine cellar still exist in the Chateau’s caves. The Barruol family has owned the estate since 1579. Today, 14th generation winemaker Louis Barroul passionately heads the property. With an average vine age of 60 years, Barroul strives to make wines that express the personality and purity of the extraordinary terroir and old vines. ‘Little James’ Basket Press’ “is their “wine of freedom”, it’s meant to recall when many years ago wine merchants made wines with only one target; pleasure”.

Winemaking: The estate practices organic viticulture and believes in minimal intervention in all facets of winemaking. Little James Basket Press is a Solera blend, a fractional ageing process [often seen with Sherry and Port] in which the final product is a mix of different vintages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years. “The 2015 bottlings will contain 50% of the 2014 and 50% of the Solera (the blend of the older vintages).”

Tasting Notes: Garnet in colour with aromas of jammy fruit and peppery spice. Soft baking spices wrap around a tart, fresh fruit core of red currant and cherry, whilst earthy, leafy hints extend the dry, spicy finish. Wonderfully easy drinking on its own, and a great companion to a wide variety of dishes.

“Mostly Grenache” [I could not verify varietal percentage.]
France
Bottled in the year 2015 by Sarl Louis et Cherry BARRUOL Saint Cosme
14% Alcohol
$11
Enjoy now

Joel Gott & Dave Phinney ‘Shatter’ Grenache Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes 2012

shatter

Brand: Shatter is a collaboration between legendary winemakers Dave Phinney and Joel Gott along with Trinchero Family Estates. Progressive winemaker David Swift Phinney, founded the acclaimed Orin Swift Cellars in 1998 [Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name.] Today the company has grown into an international brand that includes 300 acres in southwest France along with projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations. However, his mission still remains a small, “passionate team of friends and family dedicated to making great wine”.

Joel Gott is a 5th generation west coast winemaker that began crafting renowned Zinfandels in 1996. His wines are noted for their remarkable value together with his use of high-end California fruit, and fantastic structure and balance. Striving to craft quality wine under $20, in addition to his acclaimed Joel Gott Wines, he is also the man behind the hugely successful ‘Three Thieves’ brand.

Winemaking: Interestingly, the name Shatter refers to a few different components of the wine. First, it is a nod to the extreme viticulture conditions found in the Maury region of the Roussillon in southern France. Second, it refers to the phenomenon in which grape clusters fail to develop all their berries after flowering. Generally, this is considered to be one of the hazards of grape growing in the area, but Phinney and Gott embrace it; stating, “It actually decreases yield and intensifies the wines.” And finally, it is a reflection of the black schist soils that resemble shards of broken black glass. The label with its original photo of broken glass further anchors and emphasizes these features.

Tasting Notes: Dark red-violet in colour with aromas of dark berries, vanilla and cozy campfire. An engaging density [verbatim from my notes] accentuated by rich layers of black cherry, blackberry and hints of sweet herbs, meanwhile silky tannins, black cherry, chocolate ganache and toasty spices comprise the lengthy finish.
[Watch out for that 15+% alcohol, it quietly sneaks up on you.]

100% Grenache
Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes
France
Imported and Bottled by Fracture, St Helena, Napa County CA
15.6% Alcohol
$18
Enjoy now thru 2018

Rated 92 points by the Wine Advocate

Arrumaco Garnacha Rosé 2014

arrumaco

Straightforward and refreshing, with a bit of friendly sweetness balanced by a delightful crisp finish, this is a superb value.

Winery: Bodegas Milenium produces table wine or “wine from Spain (VDE)” under the aegis of the Bodegas Gallegas group. Bodegas Gallegas was established over 50 years ago and today consists of 4 large bodegas [in addition to Bodegas Milenium] in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain.

Philosophy: “To create great accessible wines at a price which represents good value for our customers.”

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vineyards with a mild Atlantic climate and sandy soils. Fermented in stainless steel.

Tasting Notes: Cherry coral in colour with vibrant aromas of cherry and wet river rock minerals. Food friendly acidity and a dry mineral finish balance cheerful candied cherry and watermelon flavours in each silky, easy drinking sip.

100% Garnacha
Spain
Packed by Bodegas Milenium SL
11.5% Alcohol
$23 [3L box equivalent to 4 750ML bottles]
Enjoy now