August is humid… Yes, we’re talking about Phoenix! Gotta love AZ.
A couple of quick announcements before we start “wine talk” –
Many of you have gotten to know Liz over the past few months. She stepped in and shared her wine experience with us at the shop while simultaneously helping out a the café. She has now moved to the café on a full-time basis where she continues to use her creative touches to bring us good eats and good times to the café. She will be back at the bottle shop from time to time to guide your wine pairing needs with delectable cheese or chorizo!
As Liz moves over to focus on the café, we’re introducing a new face at the bottle shop. Her name is Rachel, and you’ll see her in the shop a few times a week (or more…we could use some more sleep!). Rachel comes from a very competitive and advanced wine retail market in Denver, CO, where there are many more shops like Hidden Track due to the state’s friendlier small business/liquor law environment. Rachel comes with a high energy and wealth of knowledge in wine. So stop in soon and say hi to Liz at the café and Rachel at the bottle shop. We are very lucky to be working with these two talented ladies!
And on to the wine…
Like the next exciting episode of Game of Thrones, it’s finally time for your next installment of Game of Wine Club. Queue the instrumental background music.
But first, let’s talk about the Rhône Valley in France. More specifically, the Southern Rhône. Even more specifically, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a little area in the southern part of the Rhône Valley that was transformed in history by the move of a pope in the 14th century from Bordeaux to the Rhône. This move brought with it an awareness of viticulture and more importantly an awareness of the quality of the surrounding vitis, which happened to be varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Marsanne to name a few. This beautiful region advanced in wine quality during its more than 70-year papal reign to a quality level that continues to influence the global wine scene to this day. All because some pope wanted a new castle!
So why are we mentioning this area? Well, this month’s selections are Rhône style wines…that come from Paso Robles, California! Rhône varietals happen to grow very well in many parts of Paso Robles. Especially in the Willow Creek AVA, home to Ledge Winery from our most recent case deal. How about that Carbonic Syrah? And have you ever had a Counoise? More to come on that.
And August’s club selections are…
Richvale Wine Co. “3-Day Weekend”
Mythical illusions (or are they?) often take place, opening the fulfillment of the sun’s rays as they blanket communities of beach dwellers. Certain “beach dwellers” have been known to partake in a ritual that has been shunned upon by outsiders. This ritual is called the “Three-Day Weekend.” Origins of the “Three-Day Weekend” are believed to have started sometime in the early 1900s with the invention of the Speedo… Which later developed into the garment of choice for the “Three-Day Weekend” by news anchor great Ron Burgundy. And so, to honor our upcoming three-day weekend, we bring you a relatively new producer called Richvale Wine Co., who created a fun red wine that is predominately Counoise. No, we didn’t just swear at you! Counoise is a red wine varietal that is predominately found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape (literally, “new castle of the Pope”), France. It is typically used as a blending varietal with other Rhône varietals and is rarely found as a dominant grape. We thought that this wine would be a great way to introduce yet another fun varietal to the many we’ve explored with you in the past. This producer, albeit “new,” has close ties with a producer that we love and have featured in the club before. Remember the Groundwork Grenache and Viognier? This month’s red wine selection is being kicked off in AZ for the first time via our Club! So please enjoy and have fun with this selection. Nobody else in AZ has this yet!
R2 Wine Company “Vin Blancs”
From the Roger Roessler Wines collection comes a prime example of a Rhône-style white blend that will leave you wondering how a white wine can be so heavy! We came across this selection and originally wanted to use it in the coldest month of the year because of how much it warmed us up! This wine is a crazy interpretation blend of Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne. In fact, the first glass we poured this into broke because the wine was so heavy! The beauty of this wine is that although it is a monster wine, the acid still shines through, making it a great wine to knock your socks off on its own or to throw some food into the mix. We recommend a killer triple cream cheese. (Perhaps a Stepladder triple cream from Cambria, CA?) Only 438 case made of this R2 selection, with eight months of aging in neutral oak.
Great wine deserves great cheese!
Just arriving to the cheese shop inside the café is an interesting triple cream made from Jersey Cow and La Mancha Goat milk. This selection comes from one of our favorite creameries, Stepladder Creamery. The triple cream showcases a pronounced note of citrus tanginess from the goat milk blended with an elegant richness from the Jersey Cow milk. Pair it with either of your Club selections!