August 2015 Wine & Cheese Club: You put WHAT in my Cabernet?/Sineann Winery Feature

2 Red Wines Club: Unusual Blends- you put WHAT in my Cabernet?

Disclaimer: These wines are not for purists. They are not for those who insist that foods on their plate can’t touch one another, or for those who insist that black and white pictures are the only true form of artistic photography. If you like bacon in your chocolate bar, you’ll enjoy these wines. If you understand why Tom & Jerry, Penn & Teller, and Sonny & Cher are greater together than on their own, then you’ll enjoy these wines. You’ve been warned…

Sineann Red Table Wine 2013
Sineann isn’t very forthcoming about the exact proportions in this blend. Regardless though, this is a blend you don’t see every day- about 50% Oregon Pinot Noir forms the base, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel making up most of the rest (along with a little Merlot and Cab Franc). It is distinctively bright with tart gooseberry, similar to his straight Pinot Noirs, but with a fleshy ripe fruit blanket that softens the impact and adds some extra layers of interest.

Cheese Pairing: Montchevre Mini Cabrie
Montchevré’s Goat Milk Brie has a rind made of a white penicillium often referred to as “fleurie.” The white velvet-like exterior protects a soft, oozing, and creamy inside that has a smooth and delicate taste. Like many soft-ripened cheeses, the taste and flavor profile evolves through a natural aging process called “lipolise.” The cheese will develop stronger earthy accents and becomes softer and creamier as it slowly ages from the outside in. The tang of goat’s milk is present, but not overt. It’s just enough to play nicely with the wine’s tart characteristics. The earthier aspects of the cheese highlight the lush fruit flavors from the other grapes in this blend.

Kanonkop Kadette Cape Blend, 2012
54% Pinotage, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc
Take what we’ve learned in past months about Bordeaux and South Africa, blend them together, and what you have is this bottle of wine. You may remember Pinotage, a hybrid grape derived from Pinot Noir and Cinsault, from our South Africa focus last March. The Barista Pinotage we tasted that month was a robust, darkly fruited example- certainly a nod to the Cinsault side of its lineage. This month’s selection frames the grape with classic Bordeaux varietals for a result that is earthy and balanced, with much less emphasis on fruit flavors. However, as it opened up over the course of an hour, we all agreed that some bright cherry started to peek out, and we started to find some positive associations with cherry cola. I like to think this cherry note comes from the Pinot Noir genes within Pinotage. It’s a slight family resemblance, as if you meet relatives that are only distantly related, and see some kind of eerie similarity to yourself echoed in their faces.

Cheese Pairing: Mushroom Brie
Despite this wine’s food friendly personality, we actually had a tough time finding a good pairing. It finally presented itself unexpectedly (to us) in mushroom brie. It is unusual to pair a soft-ripened cheese with red wine, yet this month we present you with two! During the summer, we turn towards lighter, more acidic reds, which in turn pair better with rich creamy cheese than rich bold reds do.

That being said, we actually had a tough time finding a good pairing for this wine, despite its food-friendly personality. Harder cheeses made it too spicy, or accentuated the alcohol in the wine. We found an unexpected winner in mushroom brie! The creamy brie softens the spice and contrast with the brighter side of the wine, while the mushrooms are a nod to its earthy Old World characteristics.

White Wine/Red Wine Club: Featuring Sineann Winery

(Only one thing remains the same, and it’s not change)

This month, we feature the wines of Sineann and winemaker Peter Rosback. The twist here is that you’re tasting one winemaker and one label, but wines from opposite hemispheres produced about 6 months apart. Although the grapes, terroir, and just about everything else are varied, the wine maker is the constant.

Perhaps a little explanation should be given. For winemakers, Spring is a quiet time of year. So during these quiet Spring months in the Northern Hemisphere, Sineann winemaker Peter Rosback travels to the Awatere Valley of New Zealand to make Sauvignon Blanc. When it’s Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s Fall harvest time in the Southen Hemisphere.

We hope you enjoy these very distinctive wines, and we’re curious if you’ll taste a common stylistic thread between them, the signature of the winemaker. If you enjoy these, know that we are bringing in several other wines from Sineann over the next few months if you want to explore more.

Sineann Red Table Wine 2013

Please see the notes for this wine, located above in the Red/Red section…

Sineann White Table Wine 2013:
100% Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NZ

There’s one wine that just about anyone could identify from an initial whiff and taste, and that’s New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Tons of lemon/lime, some lemongrass, and a bit of coriander typically define these wines, and it’s all in this bottle. Like the Sineann table red, there’s also a refreshing green brightness that we identify as the winemaker’s style. It’s definitely a crowd-pleaser, and a great way to celebrate this last full month of summer!

New Zealand is certainly deserving of a month of wine club dedicated all to themselves. However, they primarily only export Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Their Sauvignon Blancs are excellent values (just read the back of this wine’s label), but we have struggled to find Pinots that we can firmly support for the prices that are asked for them. As the selections from this great wine making country grow, we hope to help you explore them further.

Cheese Pairing: Mango Ginger Stilton
Those overt elements in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc- lemon, lime, citrus, lemongrass- are all natural flavor pairings with mango and ginger. This stilton with mango and ginger is a dessert-like cheese, the sweetness softening the bright tangy wine and bringing out more complexity in its aromatic elements.

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