We had a full house at Thursday night’s tasting entitled “Sparkling and Big Reds,” featuring Artesa and Karly Winery. However, red wines seemed to rule the night again, as only one sparkling wine was offered along with a dessert muscat. Generally these two wine styles would sweep the crowd as favorites, but not with this big red loving group.
Artesa Winery, located in Carneros, started off with exciting offerings of pinot noir, tempranillo, and cabernet sauvignon. Sarah Helmers, Manager of Consumer Direct Sales, described wine making techniques and appellations of these exciting wines. The favorite Artesa wine of the evening – based on popular vote – was the Artesa 2007 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir ($40). This was a big hearty pinot with a fruity nose of raspberry; spice and dark cherry on the palate; with generous oak and firm structure. To find this wine and others, visit Artesa Winery at http://www.artesawinery.com/.
Karyl Wines, located in Amador County, thrilled attendees with three zinfandels and a mouvedre. Steve Miller, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, told interesting stories about the background of the wine, including information about the different vineyard soils, ranging from red clay to rocky black soil. The favorite Karyl wine of the evening was Karly 2008 Sadie Upton Zinfandel ($29), which was a medium-bodied red with a ripe jammy nose, but complex notes of tar and spice on the palate. To find this wine and others, please see: http://www.karlywines.com/
We ended the tasting with the sparkling and dessert wines. This is a technique often used in Bordeaux to cleanse and refresh the palate – after tasting big tannic reds, the Bordelaise often move onto dry white Bordeaux made with sauvignon blanc and Semillon, and then end with sweet Sauternes and Barsacs.
Food Pairing with Chef Giana
Chef Giana out did herself this evening – if that is possible – by starting us off with a Spinach and Strawberry Salad with black pepper. This paired quite well with the pinot noir, picking up the strawberry/raspberry flavors in the wine. Next she made an Egg Strada, which is a family recipe containing eggs, cheese, mushrooms, sausage, and sourdough bread. It was like a bread pudding, but not sweet – and made a fabulous meal and good pairing with the many red wines. Dessert was a Chocolate Brownie with BlackBerry Sauce. This matched perfectly with the zinfandels, and was also a nice contrast to the sparkling wine.