Holiday Wines with Freemark Abbey

SSU Winesense Board for Holiday Wine Tasting with Freemark Abbey

SSU Winesense Board for Holiday Wine Tasting with Freemark Abbey

Contributed by Erica Schreckenghaust – For our final meeting of the semester we had the pleasure of welcoming Kate Hansen from Freemark Abbey.  She was kind enough to share 6 fabulous wines to help us celebrate the holiday season and forget final exam stress for a couple of hours.

Unique History of Freemark Abbey

Freemark Abbey has a history of standing out from the rest, as it was the first winery built by a woman in the United States in 1886, by Josephine Tychson. The unique name was a combination of the three owners names: Charles Freeman, Marquand Foster and Abbey Ahern. In 1976 Freemark Abbey was the first American winery to have two wines, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, entered into Stephen Spurrier’s Judgment of Paris blind tasting which brought worldwide attention to Napa Valley. They are also known for being the first winery in Napa to use stainless steel tanks.

Favorite Wines of the Evening

boscheA group of thirty-five students tried six different wines including, 2013 Riesling, 2013 Chardonnay, 2012 Cabernet Franc, 2012 Merlot, 1998 Cabernet Bosché and 2010 Cabernet Bosché . All of the wines were a hit but the two stood out from the rest as decided by students were the:

  • 2012 Cabernet Franc from Napa Valley
  • 1998 Cabernet Bosché, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bosché Estate in Rutherford

Freemark is full of historically fantastic wines and was the perfect way to kick off the holiday celebrations. On behalf of the WineSense Executive Board, we wish you a holiday season filled with great food, friends and family, and some spectacular wines! Cheers!

Ian Cauble, MS Returns to SSU with Brandon Carneiro to Share SommSelect

SommSelect Founders, Brandon, Tyler, and Ian Cauble, MS

Contributed by Erica Schreckenghaust – The WineSense Club had the honor of welcoming back the dynamic duo behind SommSelect; Ian Cauble and Brandon Carneiro. They first met in 1999 at Sonoma State University and were part of the students who created the WineSense Club in 2000. Ian studied Business and Spanish, while Brandon studied Economics. Years late they reconnected in Las Vegas where Brandon was a fine wine salesman and Ian was attempting to become a Master Sommelier, which is depicted in the documentary, SOMM.

Brandon and Ian decided to launch SommSelect in 2014, where they have daily offerings of wines from all over the world with tasting notes, region information and even food pairings. SommSelect offers the knowledge of a Sommelier to everyone at every budget.

Ian Leads Wine Tasting at SSU

Ian led over 45 students through a tasting that featured a 2007 Winniger Rottgen Riesling Spatlese from Mosel, Germany and a 2011 Mendel Malbec from Mendoza Argentina. Ian walked students through the proper way to taste, the different descriptors, and how to tell the different wine varietals apart, based only on taste.

knebel spat 06We then put our skills to the test as we participated in a blind tasting of our own. Students had to identify which two varietals were served and from what area. These two wines were a 2013 Ehlers Sauvignon Blanc from St. Helena and Right Bank Bordeaux from France.

Favorites of the Evening

With an overwhelming amount of votes the Riesling and Malbec that Ian picked out were the favorites of the night. It was an amazing and inspiring tasting that students will not forget any time soon and we can’t thank Ian and Brandon enough for coming!

SSU Winesense Salutes Duckhorn Vineyards and Larson Family Wineries

IMG_3733Contributed by Erica Schreckenghaust – Forty lucky SSU students were treated to exceptional wines by Duckhorn Vineyards and Larson Family wineries this month. Organized as part of the WineSense Club educational tasting seminars, the students were excited to learn about the history of these two family wineries, both established in the 1970’s.

Duckhorn Vineyards, Napa Valley

Duckhorn was founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976 and has become one of the premier producers of Bordeaux varietal wines. Duckhorn is known for pioneering Merlot as a premium varietal, as well as their acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. They strive to produce quality wines with their seven estate vineyards in Napa Valley.

Duckhorn_2010_Cabernet_zoomFor the evening, they poured a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and their Z Red Wine Blend. The vote of favorite wines of the evening resulted in two Duckhorn winners: 1) 2013 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, made up of 84% Sauvignon Blanc and 16% Semillon, from select premium Napa Valley vineyards; and 2) 2010 Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon, estate grown from the Patzimaro Vineyard located in the St. Helena appellation at the base of Spring Mountain. It is made of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Merlot.

Larson Family Vineyards, Sonoma County

Larson Family planted their first vineyards in 1977 and after many years of trial and error decided to get serious, officially open their winery in 1985. Today, Larson Family Winery has 120 acres of predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes and continues to live their motto of “We Drink What We Can and Sell the Rest!”

LarsonNatalie and Nick, the Directors of Marketing and Sales, led the group through a tasting of six wines- 2012 Sparkling Brut, 2012 Gewürztraminer, 2012 Chardonnay, 2012 Pinot Noir, a Non-Vintage Sonoma Red Blend and the 2012 Malbec. After polling the students, the two favorite Larson Family wines were:  1) 2012 Larson Family Pinot Noir and 2) 2012 Larson Family Malbec, both from the Carneros Region.

 

SSU Students Agree that Gloria Ferrer 2006 Royal Cuvee is Fit for Royalty

GloriaContributed by Erica Schreckenghaust –  The SSU WineSense Club was honored to have Gloria Ferrer Winery host the tasting this past week.  A total of 47 students came to taste seven of their fantastic wines. Ryan, hospitality rep for the winery, described the history of the estate and the winemaking process.

We began with four sparkling wines including the Sonoma Brut, Blanc de Noir, Royal Cuvee and Extra Brut. The favorite sparkling wine of the night was the 2006 Royal Cuvee, which is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay, from the Carneros region. It received 93 points in the San Francisco International Wine Competition this year and its first vintage was served to the King and Queen of Spain during their visit in 1987.

7578_737256172995534_2270633394072147621_nWe then tasted the 2012 Carneros Chardonnay and finished with the 2011 Pinot Noir and 2010 Gravel Knob Pinot Noir. The favorite of the still wines was the 2011 Pinot Noir from the Carneros region that received 92 points from Wine & Spirits in 2013.

What Dessert Pairs Best with Sparkling Wine? Korbel & Bianchi’s Provide Some Answers

Erica Mandl of Korbel Champagne Cellars

Erica Mandl of Korbel Champagne Cellars

For the last tasting of the semester at the SSU WineSense Club, we focused on a holiday theme of sparkling wine and dessert.  The beautiful Erica Mandl, head winemaker at Korbel Champagne Cellars, led the tasting by introducing five different Korbel bubblies.  These were matched to delectable desserts from the new bakery in Rohnert Park, Bianchi’s.

How Sweet is Your Sparkling Wine?

Erica cautioned that it was important to understand the level of residual sugar in a sparkling wine, in order to determine the type of dessert with which to pair it.  The official listing of allowed sugar levels from the Comte Champagne website (http://www.champagne.fr/en/diversite_champagne.aspx) is as follows:

  • Brut Natural = less than 3 grams sugar per litre
  • Extra Brut (0-6 grams/litre)
  • Brut (less than 12 grams/litre)
  • Extra Dry (12 -17 grams/litre)
  • Sec (17-32 grams/litre)
  • Demi-Sec (32-50 grams/litre)
  • Sweet (more than 50 grams/litre)

The level of sweetness in a sparkling wine is determined by the dosage, which is added after the wine finishes second fermentation in the bottle.  All Korbel sparkling wines are fermented in the bottle, using the traditional method developed in the Champagne region of France.  Korbel is still allowed to use the term “California Champagne” on its bottles, because it is one of the oldest sparkling wine houses in America, dating from 1882, and has grandfathered regulations to use this term in the US.

Matching Sparkling Wine to Dessert

The less sugar in your sparkling wine, such Korbel’s Natural (.75%, $13.99), indicates it will pair better with a dessert that is slightly less sweet.  If the dessert is too sweet, it will make the wine seem more acidic.  Therefore, Bianchi’s almond cookie was a good match for this Korbel bubbly with its apple and lemon notes.  Fresh fruit and cheese also make a good pairing with a more dry Champagne.

For the Korbel Brut Rose (1.5% sugar, $10;99), which is sweeter than the Natural but still tastes dry with bright cherry and strawberry notes, Erica recommends dark chocolate.  Bianchi’s dark chocolate brownie was a perfect foil for this wine.

The other three Korbel bubblies we tasted that evening were progressively sweeter in style.  They are listed below with descriptions, sugar level, and suggested dessert pairings.

Sparkling Wine

Sugar & Price

Description

Dessert Pairing

Korbel Riesling California Champagne 3.8%(38gpl)$21.99 Semi-sweet with flavors of orange blossom, apricot, and pear. A hint of clover honey at the end. Bianchi’s lemon bars, or other creamy and tart desserts such as custard or flan.  Also consider warm gingerbread
Korbel Moscato Frizzante 4.8%(48gpl)$21.99 Moderately sweet wine with suggestions of tart green apples, kiwi fruit, and lemon citrus flavors. Light chocolate cake with rose petal sauce or caramel and ice-cream, champagne poached pears.
Korbel Sweet Rose 6.0%(60 gpl)

$14.99

Korbel’s sweetess champagne with very bright fruit flavors and aromas, but a cleansing acidity on the finish. Can be used as dessert on its own, or served with white or milk chocolate desserts.

For more information on these special sparkling wines, see Korbel Champagne Cellers at http://store.korbel.com/premium-champagnes-c4.aspx.  For more information on Bianchi’s Bakeshop, please see https://www.facebook.com/bianchisbakeshop