Looking back at the pages and pages of tasting notes from 2012 that I have yet to post to my beloved blog, my first resolution is to post at least every other day so that my friends and readers can enjoy some of the "fruits" of my labors (all puns intended). What better way to start than to feature the wine I saved to help usher in the New Year!
During our Memorial Day trip to historic Murphy's California, we stopped at this beautiful tasting room for Metate Hill Vineyards. The tasting room attendant was incredibly knowledgeable about each wine, the grapes, and the Spanish origin of the rootstock - as it turned out, we were speaking to the Winery owner. All the reds were exceptional, and very different from the usual Napa/Sonoma varieties we are used to drinking. I was so impressed with the 2009 Tempranillo that I bought it, cellared it, and saved it for New Years Eve.
The owner told us the story of how he chose Calaveras County for his vineyards for its similarity to the climate of the grape growing regions of Spain with hot and dry summers and cool evenings, and how he visited over 20 different Spanish grape growing regions to choose his root stock. Persistance was his middle name, as he then had to fight the California agricultural "police" to allow his plants entry to our great state.
I for one am very happy he won this battle, for the 2009 Tempranillo was a worthy choice for our New Year's Eve table. A blend of 3 different clones from the regions of La Rioja, Toro, and Ribera Del Duero, it has a fruity nose, deep garnet color, and strong forward plum and blackberry flavors. I also tasted an earthy note that gave it both depth and complexity, and medium chewy tannins that tell me it would age well. The mix of earthiness and deep fruit was enjoyable, but very unique for California - which is indicative of it's Spanish origins.
From the winery website:
"While surveying our chosen vineyard spots, we discovered grinding rocks made by the Miwok Native Americans who once inhabited the region. These rocks were used as communal milling places for the preparation of acorns and other seeds. With the wear of a pestle a shallow depression would form in the rock, and when one became too deep, a new one would be started a few inches away.
Our name pays homage to the heritage of the land and the Native Americans who lived here; “metate” is the Spanish word for these grinding rocks found in our vineyard and throughout the New World."
Very cool! And the other wines I tried here were also unique, interesting, and wonderful.
Food Pairings: I enjoyed this "find" with roasted shrimp, fried calamari in marinara sauce, and a large mixed green salad with a balsamic vinagrette. I would also see it as a wonderful companion to a type of ham I have only been able to find in Spain (does anyone know where to get it here?), and a beautiful Beef Burgundy stew with potatoes and pearl onions.
Music Pairings: A perfect match to Auld Lang Syne, and Oppa Gangnam Style!
Other Pairings: This wine was a perfect accompaniment to a table full of friends, enjoying light conversation and companionship on New Year's Eve.
Where to Buy: The winery website features quite of few of these unusual wines, or I suggest a fun trip to lovely Murphys, California
[Photo Credit - www.vinometate.com]