Raving about Rare Cat Wines at SSU WineSense Meeting

coins(1)Contributed by Sophia Fish – The name of Rare Cat Winery was inspired by an ancient Carthaginian coin dating back to 320 BC, with a beautiful picture of a majestic lion on one side and the Goddess Tanit on the other side. Since the goal of the winery was to make “exquisite wines, something truly beautiful and a little hard to come by: in short something of a ‘rare cat’” this was a perfect symbol and name.

Rare Cat Wines – The love of wine began in Bordeaux

Sharon Harris is the owner and director of winemaking, and her passion for wine started over 30 years ago. She spent her junior year abroad in France where Sharon studied at the Universite de Bordeaux. Years later, armed with a remarkable Bordeaux experience, she returned to the states to Napa Valley and founded Rare Cat Wines.

“Creating wine is so much more than cultivating and bottling great fruit. It really is a passion. It’s a passion that drives us to create something rare and exquisite, something elusive, but something that once discovered remains with you forever,”  says Sharon Harris.

Tasting of Two Rare Cat Wines

Rare CatWe were honored to taste these two wines from Rare Cat Winery:

  •  2010 Russian River Valley R.Cat Chardonnay: Ginger root, spicy pear, pineapple, lemon curd backed by hint of minerality with a creamy yet lively texture. 
  • 2011 Napa Valley R.Cat Cabernet Sauvignon: Soft yet powerful tannins with characteristics of blackberries, mint, leather and wet stone.

Most everyone agreed that their favorite was the Rare Cat Cabernet Sauvignon.

Passing Around Passaggio Wines at SSU WineSense Meeting

Passaggio_TRContributed by Sophia Fish – Four generations ago Cindy Cosco’s family ventured from Italy to America. In 2004 Cindy, who spent 15 years developing a career in law enforcement, left to pursue her passion and create a new generation of wines. She then started Passaggio Wines, which in Italian translates to ‘passage’ or ‘pass from’.

Cindy has three labels, one of which is her goodwill bottling, a small label is called Unmarked Wines. The name comes from her career in law enforcement, aspiring to be a detective and drive an unmarked car. She put these aspirations aside to pursue her winemaking, but donates 5% of sales as a tribute to the selfless men and women in law enforcement.

Passiaggio Wines has been very successful venture and even opened up a tasting room on the Sonoma Square last year. “I believe something magical happens when you bring wonderful friends, awesome food and great wines together,” says Cindy Cosco

Tasting of Four Passaggio Wines

Passagio winesWe tasted the following four Passaggio Wines:

  • 2014 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc: Notes of citrus, guava, pineapple, tropical fruit, floral notes, balanced acidity with a lasting finish.
  • 2014 California Unoaked Chardonnay: Yellow apple, Bartlett pear, floral notes with hints of vanilla, citrus, Meyer lemon, soft apple, crisp mineral flavors with a smooth finish.
  • 2014 California Mourvedre Rose: Strawberry, floral, raspberry, cherry with a bright refreshing finish.
  • 2013  Sonoma County Unmarked Pinot Noir: Raspberry, red cherry, spice, plum clove, with minerality, balanced tannins and acidity.

The Favorites?

2014 California Unoaked Chardonnay

2014 Sonoma County Unmarked Pinot Noir

Wine club

SSU Wine Grads Start SommSelect and Conduct Wine Tasting at Alma Mater

groupContributed by Itze Pena-Andrade – Cheers to our second WineSense Club meeting of the Fall 2015 semester! We were very excited to welcome back Brandon Carneiro and Tyler Wedeking from SommSelect to come speak with us about what SommSelect is and offers.

A little bit of History

Ian Cauble and Brandon Carneiro, the co-founders of SommSelect, first met at Sonoma State University in 1999 where they quickly became friends during their time as undergrads. Ian majored in international business and Spanish; Brandon studied economics.  Years later, they reconnected in Las Vegas where Brandon was working as a fine wine salesperson and Ian was attempting to become a Master Sommelier, which is depicted in the documentary, SOMM.

In 2014, Brandon and Ian launched SommSelect as a way to give people access to sommelier-selected wines for people to enjoy.  They have daily offerings of wines from all over the world with tasting notes, region information, and food pairings. With chances of new discovery and a new education in wine, SommSelect is a website for everyone at every budget.

Brandon Leads Wine Tasting at SSU

wineBrandon led the members of the WineSense club through a tasting that featured a  variety of wines that included a 2014 Chateau De Calavon Rosé from Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France, a 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay from White Rock Vineyards, and a 2013 Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley.  Brandon walked students through the proper way to taste, the different descriptors, and how to tell the different wine varietals apart, based only on taste.

Brandon with the help of Tyler, put our club through a test as we participated in a blind tasting of our own. Students had to identify which two varietals were served and from what area, with the winning teams taking home a bottle of wine to enjoy. These two wines were a 2013 Lucien Crochet Sauvignon Blanc and a 2011 Villa Sant’Anna Chianti Colli Senesi.

Favorites Wines of the Evening

At the conclusion of our second meeting, the club members were asked to vote for their favorite wines of the evening.  Each participant could vote a total of two times and the two winners of the evening were:

  • 2014 Chateau De Calavon Rosé from Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France
  • 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay from White Rock Vineyards

It was a fun-filled educational tasting that students will not forget any time soon and we can’t thank Brandon and Tyler enough for coming!