Monday, August 25, 2014

Cimarone Cilla's Blend Red Wine

We should all have retirement projects like Cimarone Wines and Three Creek Vineyard.  Roger and Priscilla Higgins opted for grape crushers instead of rocking chairs for their golden years.  Oh, they have rocking chairs, too - for photo ops.

Three Creek Vineyard is in the happily named AVA called Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara County, located in the warm east end of the Santa Ynez Valley.  Both the vineyard and the winery facility were sold a couple of years ago, but Mr. and Mrs. Higgins kept the right to use the fruit in their Cimarone and 3CV wines.  The wines are now produced by renowned winemaker Andrew Murray at his Los Olivos winery.

Murray’s Twitter handle used to be “gotrhones” but he has since broadened his scope with the more inclusive name of @AMVwine.

The Cimarone website gives big props to their vineyard management company, Coastal Vineyard Care, led by Jeff Newton.  They have farmed the vineyard since 2005, using sustainable farming practices while targeting low yields and high quality.  The vineyard is now planted to Bordeaux varieties, with some Syrah and Sangiovese thrown in for good measure.

The 2012 Cilla's Blend - named for Priscilla, because the wine's elegance rivaled hers - is made from five grape varieties taken from Three Creek Vineyard's Happy Canyon slopes.  It's 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Syrah, 12% Cabernet Franc, 12% Mabec and 1% Petit Verdot.  Alcohol hits 13.9% abv, and aging took place over ten months in mostly neutral French oak.

Medium-dark ruby red, this wine shows its Bordeaux background as well as its Santa Barbara terroir.  Smelling of red berries and black cherries, there is an element of spice on the nose that has me thinking of potpourri.  On the palate, red currant leads the way with traces of oak spice bringing up the rear.  The inclusion of Syrah in the mix really gives the Bordeaux feel a new twist, with a jammy and peppery slant.

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