Monday, June 19, 2017

Field Blend Carignane

A recent Brandlive virtual tasting featured the wines of Napa-based Onward Wines. They are what the PR department calls, "single-vineyard, site-driven wines crafted by one of the most exciting winemakers out there." They’re talking about Faith Armstrong-Foster, whose "mantra" is, "I could never make a wine I couldn’t afford to enjoy myself." She grew up in British Columbia, a good little Canadian girl who went to school every day in a tiny boat called - wait for it - the Onward.

Armstrong says her wines are site-driven, and she owes part of her success to the growers with whom she has partnered - Hawkeye Ranch, Cerise Vineyard, Capp Inn Ranch, Casa Roja Vineyard, Ledgewood Vineyard, Knox Vineyard and Babcock Vineyard. A smaller part of her success could probably be attributed to that little boat. Onward Wines was created in 2009 and she has another line, called Farmstrong.

Charles Communication, the PR folks who staged the virtual tasting, tweeted "Faith fell in love with #wine while shoveling a fermenter - that's #truelove for you."

Casa Roja Carignane from Contra Costa 2014

The grapes for the Casa Roja Carignane come from Contra Costa County, a field blend vineyard planted in the late 1800s and overseen today by Dan Gonsalves. It's mostly Carignane, but there's a smattering of Mourvèdre and Malvasia Nero grapes mixed in. The wine sells for $30.

This extremely dark wine is dark on the nose and on the palate as well. Aromas of black fruit and oaky spice meet flavors of the same style, with earthy mineral notes underneath. It is undeniably a fruity wine, despite the heft and brawn that it brings. Tannins are tall and toothy, so get that grill fired up and throw a ribeye on it.

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