Monday, April 9, 2012

Ancient Peaks Winery Quality Wine

During the past ZAP tasting in San Francisco I renewed my friendship with Ancient Peaks Winery in Paso Robles.  They poured an outstanding Zinfandel and it is priced to compete with any and all comers. My first experience with AP was a few years ago when they did a special bottling of Cabernet Franc for Trader Joe's  it was fantastic and only $10 a bottle. 

 They have a special story. 

Ancient Peaks produces about 10,000 cases of wine a year but sells almost 90% of their fruit to other premium wineries in California.  Located just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean they get a marine air flow which holds their grapes' natural acidity and fruit flavors. Being a grower first they are able to select the premium lots for use in their Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot, just to name a few of their wines.  

Their vineyards are not yet dry farmed but they get more than 30 inches of annual rain fall which bodes well for the future when the vines establish a root system which will allow them to be dry farmed in the future. There is a section of vineyard dedicated to Rhone varietals which have recently become very popular with wineries in the Paso Robles area.  Public interest in Rhone varietals is resulting in an increase in growing grapes such as Granche, Viognier, Roussane, Syrah and Rousanne to name a few.  Some Ancient Peak Zinfandel Blocks have been grafted to the Rockpile clone which can yield a very profound flavor profile.  

The wine press is aware of the quality and user- friendly pricing of the wines which is under $20 for anything labeled Ancient Peaks. The current issue of  Wine Spectator rates the Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel as outstanding buys for the money.  Wine Enthusiast, Wines and Spirits and the San Francisco Chronicle have all rated Ancient Peaks as a great dollar value.  Current full retail for the reds is $17, but they can be had for $15 or less at many retail stores.  Last year Costco sold their excellent Merlot for $10 and it did not last long. 

Do yourself a favor and try your favorite varietal made by Ancient Peaks and you will have discovered the ultimate deal in well crafted wine at a great price.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Malbec World Day April 17th

  April 17th is the second World Malbec Day.  Here is an opportunity to bring your friends together and explore the wide range of quality Malbec made in Argentina.  Argentina boasts more than 50,000 acres of Malbec with 60% more than 25 years of age.  The real deal here is that the climate is so perfect for the growth of this wonderful user friendly grape.  I will gather with a group of friends and we will taste and share 8 different Malbecs.  This is not an expensive event for you to hold.  The majority of Argentine Malbecs sell for between $12-$18 a bottle.  Most serious publications rate a collection of various producers anywhere from 85-90 points, which means the vast majority of wine imported is above average.  

 Argentina can produce world class wine because of a number of benefits and we the consumer benefit.  Other than a rare hail storm the weather is warm and dry and the evenings are temperate  to cool.  Grapes retain their acidity and do not raisin.  Labor is inexpensive and the quality of work in the field and cellars his very high.  Foreign investment over the past decade has improved the quality of wine production and enhanced exportation.  It can be said that Argentine Malbec is superior to most others produced in the world and at a lower price.  

Join in on the celebration April 17th and gather some friends to taste what is the hottest selling foreign wine in the world.  As mentioned above the cost is more than fair and the experience will make believers out of those who take part.  Here is a list of producers quite often found in wine shops and stores:  Alamos, Luca*, La Posta*, Catena Zapata*, Tapiz/Zolo*, Kirkland, Altocedro*, Llama Old Vine*, Arhaval-Ferrer*, Clos de Los Siete, Vina Cobos, Dona Paula, Bodega Norton, Lamadrid*, Melipal*, Crios de Susana Bilbo, Salentine, Pascual Toso, Tempus Alba* and Tikal.

Wines with * are in my opinion well above average for their price range.