Please join us on July 31st for a visit and tasting with Tadeo Borchardt of Neyers Vineyards. We will be serving four of their elegant and remarkably honest wines with our platters of charcuterie and cheeses. The price is $32 a person, seats are limited so call soon (303-452-4900) to reserve a spot.
Neyers Vineyards sits in the heart of the Napa Valley but Bruce Neyer's experience with French wine importer Kermit Lynch has had an undeniable influence on their wines. Many of the French producers Bruce works with farm organically, make their wines naturally without use of cultured yeast or laboratory designed malo-lactic starter, and bottle their wines without fining or filtration. We like their results and utilize many of their ideas.
Winemaker Tadeo Borchardt joined Neyers in 2004 after several years of experience in the industry making wine in both California and New Zealand. He's a graduate of the University of Arizona, a zealous advocate of natural winemaking practices, and an enthusiastic supporter of traditionally produced European-style wines.
Just to highlight their committment to quality, their barrels are made in France, to their specifications, from wood bought in bulk and air dried for three years (two years longer than normal). All of the grapes are picked by hand, into small bins that hold only one-half ton. They are then laboriously hand sorted and inspected at the winery. Grapes that require travel of more than thirty minutes to the winery are delivered in refrigerated trucks.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of tasting through the wines of the Baracchi family located in Cortona, Italy. Cortona is nestled in the Apennine Mountains just south of Tuscany proper and the estate sits at about 1000 ft elevation. Benedetto Baracchi brought out some elegant yet sturdy reds (and an amazing Sangiovese Brut Metodo Classico!)
We thought it would be fun to do a horizontal tasting across these wines to show the varietal variations and characteristics from a single producer. As may be expected, they grow Sangiovese (Chianti and Brunello's primary grape) but for many years have also been growing Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet.
The Syrah and Cabernet are grown in a marl, clay and chalk soil and used in the "Ardito" blend. A 50/50 blend that is aged 20 months in new french oak and at least a year in bottle before release. The finished product shows a rich, earthy nose with classic earthy syrah and soft cabernet in an old world, reserved style. This wine has gorgeous restrained fruit and is not "jammy" instead showing solid structure and balance made for good food.
The Merlot is macerated and fermented for 20 days in stainless steel at controlled temperature to allow for full but gentle extraction. A year in new French oak and 6 months in bottle to finish. The tannic and acid structure of this Merlot is very different than typical CA Merlot with this one showing cherry and blueberry but held together with soft but sturdy tannins.
Gourmandise, a soft, buttery textured French cheese, Made from cow's milk. This spreadable processed cheese is a unique blend of aged cheeses (Gruyere and Cheddar), and cream, with a hint of walnuts, offering a very distinctive taste experience. It is exceptional in combining a delicate and smooth cheese paste with crunchy walnuts. Those who have tried it can't seem to get enough of it. Gourmandise varieties are most commonly served as dessert cheese; a true delicacy especially when served with dessert wines like Sherry or Port or well chilled champagne.
Gourmandise: (noun) unrestrained enjoyment of fine foods, wines, and the like. The name Gourmandise is derived from French word "gourmet". It implies a satisfaction that is felt when savoring the taste of richly flavored delicacies. This exquisite cheese is appropriately named in account of its savory quality.
Milk: Cows; Pasteurized
Rennet: Vegetarian; microbal
Aaahhh, Delice! Probably Barney's favorite from Burgundy in France. The pasteurized triple cream (75% butterfat) combines full-fat cow's milk with fresh cream, making a rich and slightly earthy cheese. The rind is thin and a little bit mushroomy but it complements the buttery paste.
Coming from Burgundy you would imagine pinot noir to be best with this cheese and while its delicious, I like bubbles or wines with lower acidity, light spice, moderate alcohol and decent fruit.
D'Affy as we call it has been at W&C since the beginning. A cow’s milk, French favorite, ultra-creamy, commonly mistaken for Brie because of its white rind and soft filling. This cheese spreads very easily. The difference, like wine French cheeses are named for their region of origin and this cheese doesn't come from "Brie" (near Champagne) but from the upper Rhone close to the Alps? Often mistaken for a triple cream due to it being ultra filtration this decadent double-cream has a sweet flavor and richer, silky texture.
Very mild and loved by kids as well as adults. Although adults get to have it with bubbly, pinot noir or even bigger fruit forward wines. The bubbles provide a nice tactile contrast against this very creamy thick cheese.