I’m a recent convent to the religion of wine. Of largely Irish heritage, I grew up a beer drinker and stayed that way through most of my adulthood. However in the past 4-5 years, spurred mostly by my travels and a desire for better health, I have switched almost totally to wine. Like when I started drinking beer, wine is an acquired taste. It takes time to develop a palate for drinking wine. While I can’t say that I have a fully developed wine palate, I can say I’m definitely a wine lover now. And here are the reasons why:
Finally breaking Spanish wine review stranglehold. Going back near the beginning with this wine!
For years my wife and I bought wine our budget could afford, and we tended to drink wines that were simple. (I’m ashamed to say it, we were very partial to Biltmore Estate Zinfandel…) I can’t remember how we came to acquire a bottle of Four Graces Pinot Noir, I think it was recommended by a friend who worked at a wine store. Anyway, we cracked open a bottle of 2009 Four Graces Pinot Noir, and were instantly hooked. We finally tried a wine that provided the stepping stone for advancement of our palates. For at least a year or two afterwards I was DEVOTED to Willamette Valley pinot noirs, and they are still near the top of my list.
The Black family purchased an existing vineyard in the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley in 2003 with the goal of producing rich, elegant, delicious and complex wines.
That same year The Four Graces was founded. The winery is named in honor of the Black’s four daughters.
In 2005 the Blacks purchased the Doe Ridge property in Yamhill Carlton to continue the growth of the brand. They chose a site in a differing appellation to add complexity and variety.
This vineyard has been turned into one of the largest experiments of its kind with forty acres farmed sustainably through the L.I.V.E (low impact viticulture and enology) program.
Today The Four Graces is owned by Bill Foley and produces Pinot noir, Pinot gris, and Pinot blanc renowned nationally and internationally for their balance, elegance, complexity, and richness.
Wine-making and Aging
Wine is fermented from pinot noir grapes on the main Foley Family estate vineyards. The wine is aged in both old and new French Oak casks for 9 months.
My Tasting Notes
Aromatic with dark cherry and coffee. Palate is dark cherry and spicy due to the French Oak cask aging. Finish is peppery but with stronger tannins.
While I tried to post something about each of our days in Spain, I thought it might be worth summarizing our trip with an overall impression of the country. So after talking with DJ, here are a few of things that stood out to us during our time there.
Another day, another Spanish wine. (What can I say, in preparation for our recent trip to Spain, I bought a LOT of Spanish wines…) Most of the information was found on the La Rioja Alta winery website.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about this wine, as I could not find a website for the winery. However, it appears that the back label of the bottle has a wealth of information!
La Antigua Clasico Reserva
This wine is a Garnacha Blend, with 60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo, and 10% Graciano grapes. The grapes are grown organically and were originally planted between 1940 and 1955. This signifies mature vines. The vineyards are located in the Rioja region of Spain, that has a limestone and sandy soil. They are grown at high elevations (700m or 2,296 ft). At this elevation, it is nearly impossible to use machinery in the harvesting process, so the grapes are picked by hand.
According the the importer , the vines are located on northern facing Sierra de La Demanda mountains. This provides cooler temperatures, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly. When this occurs, the grapes produced have more flavor and balance. The Sierra de La Demanda mountains are the location of the oldest garnacha vines in Rioja. The result of these grapes are a wine of maturity and complexity.
La Antigua is a union of small independent vineyards that band together to grow the grapes AND produce the wine.
Review of La Antigua Clasico Reserva 2008
This wine is aged for 4 years in 60% French and 40% American Oak barrels.
Tasting notes: Dark, ripe plum nose with a musty earth overtone. Fruity but with a mature and balanced flavor. Long even finish, little tannins. Excellent!