Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wines That Give Back

During this time of self-isolation and quarantine, there are many stories coming out about how people cope with the "new normal."  Restaurants are dishing out their fare as take-out at the curb to masked drivers who speed back to the safety of their homes.  Gathering with friends at a bar is a memory.  Winery tasting rooms are silent and producers from small to large are trying to stay afloat by going online with their sales efforts.

There is a wine company that strives to give something back to the health care community, the people we all depend on to get us through the pandemic.

Ripe Life Wines has a special going on concerning their line called The Clambake.  For every case of wine purchased (12 bottles), the company will send two complimentary bottles of wine to the customer's  health care worker of choice to thank them for their service.  They are also offering free shipping to everyone.  Ripe Life founder Mary McAuley says the thrust of the special offer is to keep people home and out of the stores to help flatten the COVID-19 curve.

McAuley claims she was inspired to make The Clambake wines after failing to find exactly what she wanted for her friends' annual clambake on the Jersey shore.  So she made the wines herself the next year.  That alone should make her Friend of the Year.  McAuley used Mendocino grapes to fashion an unoaked Chardonnay and a fresh and floral Carignan rosé.  McAuley says both are perfect for clambakes or any type of seafood, whether you are on the shore or landlocked.

The 2017 Clambake Unoaked Chardonnay is labeled as Batch No. 5.  It was made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, grown in Potter Valley, Mendocino - the Paulin Red Post Ranch Vineyard.

This Chardonnay saw no oak while being made, so it's as clean and as bright as you like.  The nose offers a beautiful lemon aroma with a salinity that reminds of an ocean spray.  Lemons, apples and a fantastic acidity are on the palate.  It was made for a clambake, but it will be just as much at home with crabs or lobsters.

The 2017 Clambake Limited Edition Rosé - Batch No. 4 - hails from Mendocino County's Zaina- Sargentini Family Vineyard.  It is made entirely of Carignan grapes taken from old vines that grow in the plot's gravelly loam soil.  No oak treatment was mentioned on the company's website, but they do say that the pink wine goes with lobster claws as well as sweet ears of corn.

This rosé shows off a deep, rich color for a pink shade - it looks almost like bourbon in the glass.  The nose is complex, with vibrant cherry leading the way, some strawberry coming along and a distinct earthy element that is quite enticing.  It smells like it was made for the outdoors.  The palate is generously fruity, with some peppery notes.   Also, there is a racy acidity that calls for the lobsters, crabs, clams, and whatever else you have in the pot.

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