Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Setting The World On Fire With Wine

John and Karl Giguiere set fire to things in their younger years - matchbooks, their father’s wheat fields - and now they look to blaze into the world of California wine. Let’s hope their arsonist tendencies have abated, so they don't burn down the vineyards.

Matchbook Tinto Rey 2012

50% Tempranillo, 27% Syrah, 11% Petit Verdot, 8% Graciano and 4% Tannat, grown in their estate vineyards "east of Napa, left of center" - Zamora, CA, to be specific - make this blend bold and robust, with an easy-to-swallow price tag of $17. Eighty-five percent of the grapes come from Dunnigan Hills, while the rest is labeled as California. Fermented in stainless steel tanks, the wines are aged 26 months in French, American and Hungarian oak and hits 13.9% abv.

This 2012 red blend is inky in the glass and expressive on the nose. Black fruit and oak are what are most notably expressed, with the fruit running second to the vanilla, clove, cinnamon, tobacco and cedar. Must be the 26 months in oak. The palate is brawny and dark, with savory flavors barging into the profile.

Pair Tinto Rey with anything meaty, and the meatier the better. For a more lighthearted suggestion, try it with chocolate cake or your favorite dark chocolate bar.

Matchbook Arsonist Red 2012

A tribute to Prometheus, who gave fire to mankind, this wine is a Bordeaux blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, California AVA. Arsonist is aged for 28 months in French, American and European oak, with alcohol at 13.8% abv and a retail price of $22.

The Petit Verdot comes from Dunnigan Hills, the Cab is principally from Sonoma County’s Chalk Hill appellation and the Merlot is from Lake County.

The 52% Petit Verdot comes from Matchbook’s Dunnigan Hills estate vineyard, the 24% Cabernet Sauvignon is taken mostly from Sonoma County’s Chalk Hills area, while the 24% Merlot hails from Lake County. Production was 2,878 cases, the wine hits an alcohol mark of 13.8% abv and retail pricing is $22.

The nose is big and fruity, with a dark, spicy smoke on it. A fruit-forward palate follows, with notes of sage, anise, coffee and a bit of graphite. Nice tannic grip means fire up the grill, and the finish sings of blackberry and nutmeg.

Pairing options include any kind of red meat, but a pork loin would do nicely, too. Lamb chops, beef stew, roasted vegetables - they will all complement the wine in fine fashion.


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