Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Casey Flat Ranch CFR Red Blend 2010

The spring releases from California winery Casey Flat Ranch were featured in a virtual tasting event recently.  PR firm Charles Communications staged the Twitter tasting, which was also on a live video stream which is 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.  Today, we cover the 2011 CFR Estate Red Blend.

Casey Flat Ranch sprawls for 6,000 acres, and a 24 acre vineyard sits at the 2,000 foot level above Capay Valley.  In case you have not heard of Capay Valley, it is the next wine region over to the north and east of Napa Valley.  That part of the ranch not under vine, is under a couple hundred head of Texas Longhorn cattle.  They have plenty of room to roam.

Tweeters who were tasting at home chimed in with lots of favorable notes on the Casey Flat Ranch CFR 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."

The CFR Estate Red Blend 2010 is a four-variety mix of grapes that are pretty well-known in Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley:  44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Syrah, 19% Cabernet Franc and a four-percent drop of Mourvedre.  2,233 6-pack cases were produced, and the wine retails for $35.  Alcohol is a hefty 14.8% abv.

CFR is one dark wine.  Calling it "indigo" or "inky" sells it short.  If it were not for the sliver of purple around the rim, it would look like a glass of motor oil.  It is - in appearance - the Guinness stout of grape-based beverages.  As expected, the darkness carries through into the wine's aroma package.  Concentrated black plums and blackberries are shaded by spices - clove, cinnamon and pepper.  The palate reveals more darkness, laid on with a trowel.  The black fruit is explosive, the notes of licorice and strong tea have no trouble competing for attention and the tannins are muscular.  This is not a wine which will be sipped idly, without note.  This is a wine that demands - and deserves - your attention.