Petite Sirah is a Big and Unique element of California grape history. Besides the layered blueberry and cocoa-esque tannin structure, the aspect of smooth and velvet oozes from the glass. Dark and bold but understated because of the unique fruit grown in vineyards in El Dorado’s higher elevations, this Petite Sirah is a tasty accompaniment for your summer BBQ efforts on your patio. Awarded 93 Points by the Wine Enthusiast in early 2023.
Mourvedre’s origins in the sunny regions of eastern Spain and southern France make it perhaps the perfect grape for the rolling hills and dramatic backdrops of California’s Sierra Foothills. Crystal Basin’s version has a velvety spiciness along with a mysterious combination of white pepper and cherry. It is a fun wine to enjoy for the first time. People find they really enjoy a new wine flavor they have not previously encountered. Crystal Basin sources grapes from three vineyards within the El Dorado appellation. These vineyards are as divergent as the local terrain. The premiere vineyard was planted by a grower pioneering Rhone Varieties in the early 1990’s. Another represents a not-so-distant past where plant materials could be brought unvetted to California and planted. These are referred to as “suitcase clones” and, while contributing unique flavors and characteristics to the finished wine, are increasing rare in the state. The final contributor is based in the edge of viable vineyard land in El Dorado County, the very southeast corner behind Mt. Aukum.
Jacques Cousteau, undersea explorer, writer, filmmakerBorn June 11, 1910, Jacques Cousteau was a visionary underwater Meau-Faux in the true tradition of the genre. The dude who actually invented breathing underwater no less! Spy, war hero, commando and cinematic pioneer, Cousteau perhaps did more to change the framework of human perception excepting perhaps the Wright Brothers. His films, exploration and risk-taking were part of the culture of discovery and wonder in the 1960 and his observations initiated much of the ecological consciousness that marks our conversations today. As a French Military Intelligence officer, Cousteau would have been quite familiar with rich and flavorful red wines and would have enjoyed them at almost every meal. We certain he would have been a big fan of Crystal Basin’s tasty red wines. We dedicate our Meau-Faux of the month for June to the legend of the sea – Jacques Cousteau.
Ah Grenache. We picked it as the wine for the month of May, largely because it is a transitional wine, much like May itself. Like May, Grenache comes in a host of styles and flavors. It is the second-most planted red wine grape in the world, only surpassed by Cabernet Sauvignon. It grows in virtually every wine-producing region and is made in possible the widest range of styles. We suggest that you serve Grenache a little colder than you would other white wines – let it slowly come up to room temperature on your table to see what we’re talking about. From the light rose wines of Tavel in France, to a fruit-bomb GSM wine from Australia to the venerated Hearty Burgundy from California in the 70’s, Grenache is a workhorse. It likes heat and it likes to bear a heavy crop. It likes to be blended – check out a Chateauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhone or a Rioja or Priorat from Spain. It is the lead singer in the GSM blend – Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre! Grenache boasts of Spanish origins but its main stage may be found in the Rhone Valley of France. It can stand on it’s own as a high alcohol wine like Banyuls or Gigondas or add a lighter edge to a blend. We suggest that, as you fire up the barbie for the first couple of times this year – you consider pulling a cork on a Grenache to see how it fits your transition to the patio for the summer!
Orson Welles was not just the ‘wine before its time’ guy. He was the guy who pioneered Fake News by scaring the bejezus out of Americans by announcing an alien invasion over the radio in 1938. Spoiler alert – it didn’t happen… Late in his career, he became well known as a (paid) California wine advocate on early TV ads. Welles was famous for almost creating many cinematic masterpieces. But the style of the time was to let the studio that owned the films do the editing and much of his best work was left uncompleted or hacked. Nonetheless, Citizen Kane is viewed as one of the best films of all time. Welles was also a magician, a theater actor and spent much of his professional life in Europe. His imposing presence and deep baritone voice made him a frequent guest on TV shows in the 70’s. We think that Welles’ wine quotes are best summed up with this gem: ‘The best way to learn about wine is to drink it.”