Today the hubby and I took a trip to our local wine country located in the Temecula AVA. Our first stop was to Alex's Red Barn Winery. This boutique winery is one of my favorites, making wine that the is true to the grape. As I was taught years ago, wine is a reflection of three basic things: "the grape, the ground and the guy" (okay that last bit is a little sexist sounding but that was the quote). In other words, wine is the production of the varietal (or type), the area where it is cultivated (the idea of "terroir", that the wine will have characteristics of where the grape is grown), and the winemaker ("guy", or as I should say, "person") and his or her idea of what the wine is supposed to be. Alex's Red Barn Winery is a wonderful expression of this combination. Alex Yakut, proprietor and winemaker, does a fantastic job of creating clean, grape and ground expressed wines that are consistently high quality and today's tasting was no exception. Below are the wines that we tasted and my notes in WSET format.
Old-vine Johannisberg Riesling 2009: Clean, clear, light colored lemony tinted in color. The nose was clean, light (+) intensity with hints of petroleum, peaches and apricot creating a lovely aroma. With a touch of residual sugar the wine is off-dry, medium (-) bodied , medium to medium (+) acidity with nice stone fruits coming together to deliver a refreshing, medium length finish.
Old-vine Sauvignon Blanc 2009: Clear and clean with light greenish-yellow hue. Clean nose, medium (-) to medium intensity of grassy honeysuckle and gooseberries and just a touch of wet slate. In the mouth one gets a clean, medium bodied wine of medium (+) acidity, grassy citrus flavors and good mineral on the finish. This wine shows excellent structure and balance.
White Cabernet Sauvignon 2009: This is a lovely summer wine, clean and light (+) salmon-colored hue in the glass. The nose has a lovely light floral fragrance with hints of cherry and strawberry. The wine is off-dry, a touch of residual sugar combining with medium acidity and a bright strawberry and cherry forward finish that lengthens to a dry, lip smacking finish at the end.
Grenache 2008: This is a relative newcomer to the Red Barn Winery lineup and quite a lovely one. Clean, medium intensity ruby in the glass with a smallish core but good uniform intensity to the rim. The nose was clean, medium intensity aroma of cherry, touch of black currant and just the slight hint of sweet smoke. On the palate the wine is dry, medium intensity and tannins with lovely bright black cherry all coming together to a surprisingly medium (+) length finish with lingering fruity tannins.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2006: Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic wine from a classic grape and what you get here is a fine expression of a New World Cab. The wine is clear with medium (+) intensity that is ruby to garnet in the glass with a nice uniform color bleed to the rim. The nose is clean with bits of smoke, black cherries, black currant and just a touch of green peppers. The palate comes off dry with excellent medium to medium (+) acidity and tannins, black cherry, black currant, a touch of smokey raspberry blending to a medium to medium (+) finish that ends with just the slight hint of minerality.
Syrah: The Red Barn Winery Syrah is clear, medium (+) intensity with a small, deep core with good color to the rim. The nose is clean, smokey black curreant and hints of black pepper. The wine is medium to medium (+) bodied with medium to medium (+) tannins, medium acidity, black fruits and peppery spices providing for a medium (+) length strong finish. This wine could lay down another year for a little more tannin softening but quite fine was it is.
Cream Sherry: The Red Barn Winery is the only place in Temecula I know that makes this type of sherry. This is an "oloroso" style sherry meaning it is produced by a method of oxidative aging producing a darker colored, so this is a sweetened sherry having the color, nose, taste of a nutty butterscotch and caramel. You can almost think of it like a fortified liquid brittle or less-sweet "Sugar Daddy" candy. Lovely.
Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 78