Monday, May 12, 2014

Virtual Wine Tasting: Casey Flat Ranch

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 you can search on Twitter at this hashtag: #CFRBrandLive.  The event 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 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, the 2013 Syrah Rosé, the 2012 Viognier and the 2011 CFR Estate Red Blend.

The vineyards of this historic longhorn cattle ranch are nestled 2,000 feet high in the Vaca mountains, overlooking the Capay Valley in Yolo County.  The AVA - with Napa County bordering on the west - was formed in 2002.  I am told that the high elevation produces terroir-driven  wines, “serious, elegant wines, packed with fresh fruit and stunning minerality.”   The wines will be covered individually on Now And Zin in the coming weeks.

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.

Twitter users who participated in the tasting event did their homework before logging on.  @wineandgoodfood found that “Viognier, Syrah, Cabernet, Cab Franc, and Tempranillo are among the grapes that dominate the Capay Valley AVA.”   @WineJulia commented that  “Casey Flat Ranch is totally off the grid! Solar powered - very cool”  @MsPullThatCork let us know that  “Sustainable farming practices a high priority at CFR. They're solar powered! “  After the event, @winethropology summed it up for us all: “Terrific line-up tonight - Informed consumers should definitely keep eyes peeled for this emerging wine”

Those in the Twitter-verse really enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc.  From @WINEormous: “really love the nose on the 2013 Casey Flat Ranch Sauvignon Blanc. Tons of peaches. Great price point - $18”  @martindredmond said,: “Loving the Casey Flat Ranch Sauvignon Blanc. Made with Musque clone. Aromatic, Crisp, refreshing!”  @Luscious_Lushes agreed.  “I love the Musque clone. It gives it such a roundness and floral quality that i love,” adding later,  “Ok madly in love with this SB. It has all of the juicy acidity but none of the bite. crisp granny smith apples. REFRESHING.”  @WineJulia tweeted,: “What a gorgeous tropical nose on the SavBlanc. Pineapple, limes, grapefruit!”  And @winethropology was similarly blown away.  “Seriously, this Sauv Blanc is insanely captivating. Wow.”

Those tweeting their thoughts on the 2012 Casey Flat Ranch Viognier commented quite favorably.  @WineUpdate: “Nice to have a Viognier w/out too heavy a texture. Well-balanced and elegant.”  @cliffordbrown3: “Viognier - peaches, ripe apples, baking spices, white flowers, orange zest, minerals and melon.”  @wineandgoodfood: “Love that the Viognier is aged in both neutral oak and stainless it a nice texture!”  @WineJulia: “Casey Flat Ranch wines are mainly bone dry. Love this peachy, orange blossomy Viognier.”  @vinogger: “Love the texture & acidity on the Viognier and that its stainless & neutral oak well done”  @winethropology: “Viognier $20 Breaking my belief that NorCal viognier is a fool's errand. This has got guts and grace.”  @MsPullThatCork: “Viognier is delicately floral with stone fruit flavors. Yum!

On Twitter, the 2013 Casey Flat Ranch Rosé garnered some pink love.  @WINEormous: “Gorgeous pale rose color. Bone dry.”  @WineUpdate: “deeply stylish: Sweet cherry, cranberry, mineral, spice. Savory and giving.”   @Luscious_Lushes: “full of blood orange and rosehips. Juicy wild strawberry, hisbiscus zing. loving the spicy notes. Perfect for Thai.”  @cliffordbrown3: “strawberries, spice, cherries, minerals and orange blossoms.”  @MsPullThatCork: “made from 100% Syrah, no skin contact! All stainless. ‘Ballet slipper pink’ in color. Delicate berry flavors, juicy acidity. “  @BigNoseWino: “super strawberry spicy nose w/ nice acidity that slaps the back of your throat on the finish.”  @WineJulia: “made in a classic style & harvested for making rose'. No skin contact w/ gorgeous color!”

Tweeters who were tasting at home chimed in with lots of favorable notes on the Casey Flat Ranch Estate Red Blend.  @cliffordbrown3: “blackberries, dried herbs, cassis, minerals, cedar, tobacco and dried violets. I need a piece of juicy meat, hot off the grill to go with the CFR Estate Red.”  @Luscious_Lushes: “Red Wine blend, kitchen sink - deep, dark, brooding. Coffee -- 75% new French oak. Black cherry, blackberry notes - anise. ohh yes, Earl grey tea in there.”  @WineUpdate: “Spice cake, plum, blackberry-balsamic, peppercorn, black tea. Balanced oak. Excellent!”  @BigNoseWino: “big herbal, berry bomb nose w/ a savory mid palate & lightly acidic, tannin finish.”  @WineJulia: “$35 is an outstanding price for this red blend. It's lush and beautiful!”

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