Grape History: Tinta Cao

Tinta Cao is one of the top five grape varieties used in the production of quality Port in the Douro Valley. The low-yielding variety is prized for the spice and bite it delivers to Portuguese Port. The name Tinta Cao translates to "red dog" in Portugese. Tinta Cao makes small clusters of smaller sized grapes: the foliage on the vine is notably a lighter shade of green than many vinifera. Over the centuries, winegrowers in the Douro have discovered that Tinta Cao is better suited to the region's less-sunny sites, where the cooler mesoclimate helps showcase the variety's tasteful floral aromas. When grown in such sites, Tinto Cao, with its strong tannins and acidity, provides longevity to the port blend, helping the wines to age gracefully for many decades. Tinta Cao stands well on its own as it is a table wine. And we are glad to grow such a  reliable grape that produces long lasting wines.

Grape History: Malbec

Malbec was born in France where it was primarily used as a blending grape in the country’s famous Bordeaux region. While the grape had excellent potential to be made into the pure Malbec wine we know today, only the French region of Cahors did so, and until recently that wine rarely made its way outside of the country. It is a wine that seemingly came out of nowhere over the past ten years and quickly has become one of the most popular red wines on the American market. It is a red wine that is a crowd-pleaser and easy to drink, with a ton of juicy fruit flavors. The wine has become so popular it’s actually hard to think of a time when the wine wasn’t everywhere, but its growth in popularity is actually very recent. A group of Argentine winemakers consulted French agronomist by the last name of Pouget for his thoughts on a grape they should plant in order to improve the quality of Argentine wine, he recommended Malbec. These Argentines took vine cuttings from France and brought them back to Argentina. In the hot high-altitude of the region, the Malbec vines thrived, demonstrating none of the weaknesses they had in France. This caused many winemakers to believe Malbec was a grape that had truly belonged in Argentina all along. We are pleased to grow this popular grape here on our vineyard.

Grape History: Souzao

Another grape that we grow here at the vineyard is the Souzao. Souzao is considered as a very famous variety of red wine grape that is mostly recognized for the production of port wines. Interestingly, this grape grows both in white as well as red colors. However, the great content of red in them makes them to be known as the popular red wine grape variety of Portugal. This grape is also used as to the production of table wines and is often seen blended with other famous grape varieties of Portugal. These grapes are often known to be the teinturier grapes because of their intense hue, however the entire flesh of this grape variety is not pigmented.

Grape History: Charbono

Charbono is a widely traveled red grape variety with a complicated history. Originally from the alpine vineyards of Savoie in eastern France, it is now mostly planted in Napa Valley, where it is known as Charbono, and in Argentina, where it goes by the name Bonarda. Wines made from this varietal are generally medium bodied with high acidity, berryfruit aromas and some smoky characteristics. It is thought that Charbono was brought here by European settlers but the why and how of this is disputed. The most popular theory suggests that it was brought to the valley by Italians under the guise of Barbera. In the 1940s, researchers discovered that these vines were something different from Barbera altogether. Inglenook released the first Charbono in the 1940s, and now remains one of the variety's most important proponents. However, it is losing ground to more fashionable grape varieties and now covers less than 100 acres in US vineyards. And we are so pleased to be able to grow this grape at our vineyard.

Sip Sip Hooray!

Our 2017 Verdelho received a GOLD medal at the 10th Annual Sommelier Challenge in San Diego, California. Sommelier Gold honors were awarded to wines that delivered additional complexity and character and rose above a straightforward recommendation. This is an international challenge to which wines from all over the world are submitted, and we are proud to come home with a Gold.

Sommelier Challenge brings together a dynamic group of wine professionals to evaluate wines and single out those that merit honor.  Sommeliers have developed in the past decade or so to transform the way wine savvy restaurants throughout the world purchase and present wines to an ever more complex customer base.

 Head over to our wine sales and grab our award-winning wine for yourself and enjoy. Cheers!

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