Friday, May 16, 2014

Casey Flat Ranch Viognier

The spring releases from California winery Casey Flat Ranch - located in the mountains of California’s Capay Valley in Yolo County - were featured in a virtual tasting event recently.  PR firm Charles Communications staged the Twitter tasting, which was also on a live video stream archived here.  Casey Flat Ranch Managing Partner Alison Garrett and winemaker Laura Barrett hosted, while those who joined in sipped and commented on four CFR wines.

The vineyards of this historic longhorn cattle ranch are nestled 2,000 feet high in the Vaca mountains, overlooking the Capay Valley - the AVA was formed in 2002 - to the east and bordering Napa county to the west.  I am told that the high elevation produces terroir-driven  wines, “serious, elegant wines, packed with fresh fruit and stunning minerality.”

The Capay Valley was settled in the 1850s, and vines were planted in the next decade.  The grapes at Casey Flat Ranch were planted much more recently, in 2002 and 2008.  Soil conditions at 2,000 feet on the ranch range from rocky to sandy, with a sandstone base.  Temperatures are similar to northern St. Helena, with a swing of 40 degrees between daytime and night - suitable for Bordeaux and Rhône varieties.

Casey Flat Ranch utilizes sustainable vineyard practices and is home to a variety of wildlife, including 200 Texas Longhorn cattle. 

The 2013 Casey Flat Ranch Capay Valley Viognier is a 100% varietal wine.  The vintage featured an early and warm summer, which resulted in one of the ranch's earliest harvests.  220 cases were made, and the wine sells for $20.

Winemaker Barrett says, "Casey Flat Ranch has just one acre of Viognier, which originally planted as a blending component.  The resulting delicate and fragrant wine was to delicious to blend away."

This Viognier is beautiful.  A fragrant nose begins with a floral scent and opens up into apricots masquerading as canteloupes.  A touch of spice weaves in and out playfully.  On the palate, peach flavor takes a cue from tangerines and a mixture of spices.  Ripping acidity is completely fresh and a strong current of minerals runs through the flavor profile.  

This is a great spring/summer wine, but I mention that only because of the calendar.  I think it would fit just as well in place of a Riesling on the Thanksgiving table or unchilled with the Christmas ham..