Thursday, May 15, 2014

AVV: the Wine!

So now that we’re all up to speed with the ins and out of Alexander Valley Vineyards (AVV) on to their amazing wines:

But just a couple more factoids (factoids!!!) about AVV first...
  • The Wetzel family is all about sustainability.  They don’t use chemicals (they haven’t used pesticides for the last six years) because they all live on the property.
  • AVV doesn’t use steel tanks for the red wines (only for the whites wines) all red wine is barrel aged. 

Alexander Valley Vineyard is known for its reds, but they do offer a few fun whites. 

AVV’s Gewürz is known as Spring in a bottle.  It’s a quick wine: harvested by Labor Day, hangs out in tank for a bit, and is then released for Thanksgiving (never once seeing a barrel). 

Their Gerwurz comes exclusively from a single small CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) vineyard about one hour north of their home estate, located in Mendocino’s cool growing region of Potter Valley.  This vineyard is the key to the great acidity of this wine.  AVV’s Dry Gerwurz is a wine that fills in all the gaps; it’s great with appetizers, Thai, Sushi, and Chinese.
Rose of Sangiovese (2013) - $14
Patio Pink and only $14 this wine is poetry in a bottle.  This Rose has fun and bubbly aromas of watermelon and strawberry.  In your mouth you’ll be swirling around a palate of watermelon and cherry along with some stone and tropical fruits! 

So as I’ve mentioned in previous posts Alexander Valley Vineyards have put out three Zins which they have dubbed the Wicked Weekend.  The three wines, while made from the same grape variety (Zinfandel) each present a different view of what can be done with great grapes and talented winemakers.  Chronologically the first Sin was started in 1978 with Sin Zin.  This was followed by Redemption Zin in 2001 and completed with Temptation Zin in 2004.

The least expensive of their Sin Zin series, Temptation Zin is designed to be the first Zinfandel in the Wicked Weekend series (Friday night).  It's not a bad wine for a few bucks over $10.  Temptation Zin is a juicy wine with a fruity finish.  It's hue is dark purple in the glass with flavors of cherry, black pepper, wild strawberry highlighted by black tea and vanilla. 

The Original Sin of the Wicked Weekend.  When created in 1978, the Sin Zin label was one of the first whimsical labels approved by the ATF and at the time was considered rather risqué.

This wine has a full mouthful and opulent style.  Sin Zin has aromas of black plum, black cherry, vanilla and oak. There are rich flavors of plum and black cherry along with a spicy finish.

Sin Zin 2011 just named Grand Champion at the 17th Annual California Zinfandel Championship!  The panel of judges (which included Bev Mo’s Cellar Master Wilfred Wong) judged hundreds of wines showcasing California’s favorite grape and picked AVV's Sin Zin as the top wine. 

This was both Kelly and my favorite from their Wicked Weekend series!!!

From the beginning founder Hank Wetzel wanted to showcase the outstanding Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley and Redemption Zin does exactly that (earning them a Double Gold Medal in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition).

Light and late are the two words most often used to describe their 2011 vintage.  A wet winter, delayed spring bloom, then heavy rain at bloom hindered the fruit set decreasing the grape yields dramatically.  The overall effect was pristine flavor development at lower than normal sugar levels resulting in balanced wines at lower alcohol levels.

In the glass Redemption Zin is big, rich wine, with a long finish that still pairs well with food.  The wine is dark royal purple in color with spicy aromas of blackberry, dark cherry, plum, chocolate, black pepper, coconut macaroons, and vanilla.  The palate is full of spicy flavors of blueberry, black pepper and dark fruits with a Craisin finish.

Buy a bottle!

Alluvia is a winemaker’s wine showcasing the classic Rhone grapes of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre (along with a little Viognier for some fun!). The name is inspired by the wine's vines, planted on well drained alluvial soils (which as we learned from the last post means it is made up of materials that are left by the water of rivers, floods, etc…)  The wine works to showcase the natural elegance edge of the Alexander Valley.  It’s tannic but juicy, delicately aromatic, but with full flavors of red fruit, spice, and white pepper. 

We finished this off with one of AVV's proprietary wines: CYRUS a Bordeaux style blend. 

AVV’s 2010 CYRUS is a wine where Merlot plays a predominant role in the story as the bottle consists of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot & 2% Malbec.  This wine is considered the Best of the Best (it’s 100% from the property).  Kevin Hall selected 8 barrel aged lots for the final blend (for this wine the grapes are first blended separately before a final blending, something that is very typical of a Bordeaux style wine).   

The blended wine was barrel aged in French Oak for an additional 12 months allowing the components to meld into a seamless blend. CYRUS 2010 was bottle aged for 8 months for additional complexity prior to release.

The taste in your mouth is like a symphony of dark flavors: fruit, spice, oak, vanilla and cocoa powder.  We enjoyed this glass with some truffles from Poco Dolce, a San Francisco Chocolatier.  All their chocolates are created in small batches in their San Francisco kitchen, Poco Dolce's hand-made chocolates and confections feature only the finest, all-natural ingredients, from local almonds to grey sea salt harvested from the coast of Brittany.  It was a perfect contrast to the CYRUS 2010 which was hands down my favorite AVV wine!  

Pure deliciousness!

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