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Jeff’s Corner 6-7-18

Howdy Howdy Howdy

A major goal in my wine career has been to demystify it and make it simple, approachable, and enjoyable for everyone on any level.  I’ve also waged constant war on the elitism and snottery (a new word) that is often associated with this wonderful beverage.

Sometimes this isn’t easy, especially with the incredibly intimidating names of grape varieties and wine regions.  We have all struggled with pronouncing words like Pouilly-Fuisse, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Mourvedre, Gewurztraminer, and, of course, Viogner.

I have heard almost every pronunciation possible for Viognier (vee-oh-NYAY), and as you’ve probably figured out, today we’ll check out our new 2017 vintage.  It’s not a real beauty, it’s a real, real beauty, one of the best (in my opinion) we’ve ever produced, and the’16 won double gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

The origin of this curious name is somewhat shrouded in mist.  One theory has the grape being named after the French city Vienne, which served as a Roman outpost.  Much more fun, however, is that it took its name from the “Via Gehennae” or “Road of the Valley of Hell”, which was an allusion to the difficulty of growing these finicky grapes.

I first tasted it at a staff meeting a few weeks ago, and it was an interesting match with my bean and cheese breakfast taco.  I’ll have a more interesting pairing later.  I feel this all Texas ’17 Viognier is destined to be legendary, and it boasts a very healthy (for Jason) 14.5% ABV.

The color is a delightfully brilliant pale yellow/chartreuse, with a crystal clear rim.  Layers upon layers of complex aromas and flavors converge on a wine of near perfect balance.  Peach, apricot, tangerine, and mango dance with orange-blossom honey and fields of Texas wildflowers.

Our ’17 Viognier has a very rich mouthfeel, due in part to a small percentage having been barrel fermented and aged sur lie (on the dead yeast cells and grape sediment that result from fermentation).  This wine features a long, complex finish with a well-integrated progression of fruit and acid from our front to back palate.

Let’s try this lovely wine with a pan-seared fresh Redfish filet finished with a citrusy beurre blanc, some risotto (kissed with bit of this Viognier), and some sautéed sugar snap peas.

Happy birthday, Chelzee, zee Merlot is on the way...

This Blog is always worth re-visiting. Remembering all who have sacrificed for us to have the life we lead today.

Three days ago last Sunday, while working my last shift in the now old Main Street location, an older gentleman walked up the two steps with a little help from a cane and a metal right leg from the knee down.

He wore a purple hat that read “Purple Heart Vietnam” with some embroidery on it, and a purple shirt with the Marine Corps logo over his heart, and around it in small print the same wording as his cap.

I smiled, offered him some wine, and told him it would be an honor to shake his hand. He smiled as we did and said thanks, but a beer tasting was more his style. He walked out the door with four generations of his family.

My mind drifted back to the story I wrote last year for Memorial Day weekend. I planned to repost it this year, and now it is deja vu all over again. I’m proud to be able to share all this...

“The door opened at the wine shop last Sunday on Main Street, and a much older man made his way up the two steps bent over his walker. He was sporting a brand new black cap with “U. S. Marines” embroidered on it in gold letters. He was followed by two younger guys.

They walked up to the tasting bar and one of the younger gentleman said, ”This is my Grandfather, we just came from the Pacific War Museum. My Grandpa landed on the beach at Iwo Jima, fought the entire battle, and would like to try some wine."

I wasn't serving them, but I interrupted and told him it would be an honor to shake his hand, and that he was a hero. He looked at me with a sparkle in his eyes and a firm handshake, saying that he graduated from high school in San Antonio in 1942 and couldn't wait to join the Marine Corps.

Today starts Memorial Day Weekend, a holiday, but every year I take a step back to think about why we have the freedom to take this day off. We are honoring more soldiers that have died for us than we could ever imagine.

Memorial Day celebrations began after the Civil War to honor both the Union and Confederate dead. It was called “Decoration Day” which continued the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers.

To me, this day has nothing to do with politics and hawks and doves. Looking into the eyes of that Marine last Sunday, I didn’t see an older man with most of his life behind him; I saw a young kid trying to suppress a fear very few of us could ever comprehend. He was charging up a forsaken beach in the Pacific Ocean for his generation, and our generations to come...”

Written by Jeff Binney

Jeff’s Corner 5-24-18

Hey, Hey, Hey, Today is Mosaic Day!!!

It’s been several vintages now that Mosaic has been my favorite GCV wine, so much so that it’s gotten to the point that I’ve been trying to trade my Serendipity and Bellissimo to other staff members for their Mosaic.  This is kind of like trading a Micky Mantle rookie card for a Hank Aaron, it really come down to whose your favorite because they are all great players.

All our proprietary wines have really cool names, but once again Mosaic is my favorite.  (I wonder if that’s true with most of us, Is our favorite wine also our favorite moniker?)  So, before we take a look at the new 2016 Mosaic, let’s check out the word itself.

My dictionary defines Mosaic (a noun) as: 1) “a picture or pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces of hard material, such as stone, tile, or glass” 2) “a colorful and variegated pattern” and 3) “a combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole”.  The latter two are a great way to think about this beautifully blended wine, and when Jason is crafting it he becomes  a “Mosaicist”.

The ’15 Mosaic was winner of numerous gold medals, and one of my all-time favorite GCV wines, but once I tasted the new ’16 it became easier to say goodbye.  A bit lighter in texture than the 2015, the ’16 is very elegant, showing lovely grace and finesse for a youthful wine.  It is once again a classic Bordeaux-style blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot.  The ABV is a ubiquitous 13.9%

The color is a well-extracted garnet/ruby with a vibrant rim and a rich intensity in the bowl that begs for further exploration.  There is indeed a complex mosaic of enticing aromas and flavors, with blackberry, black cherry, cassis, cinnamon, dark cocoa, and well-oiled leather weaving a delicate tapestry.

The palate is seamless from front to back, with lush fruit and spice complimenting  well-integrated sweet tannins and playful acidity.  There is a lovely round, creamy mouthfeel that contributes to a refined, lingering finish.  As nice as it is now, this will quickly gain depth and complexity with some time in the bottle.  Let’s go classic and serve this with tenderloin, asparagus, duchess potatoes, and Sauce Bearnaise.

We’ll see you soon for Viognier Day.

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