Thursday, November 9, 2017

Chateau St. Jean/Treasury Wine Estates

This week we got in ten cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay from the historic Chateau St. Jean of Sonoma Valley, California.  Established in 1973, St. Jean has been a legendary producer of Chardonnay in particular; but also, courtesy of generous Wine Spectator magazine accolades, the Cinque Cepage Meritage Red has now become the winery's primary attraction.  None of this is really relevant though considering our ten cases are lower tier wines probably made from co-op juice at a facility unconnected to St. Jean.  It's all marketing, ya know.

Treasury Wine Estates is the current owner of Chateau St. Jean as of 2015.  Who are they?  Well, Treasury is an Australian company that basically owns all of the Australian wine labels marketed in this country excepting those owned by our own multi-national wine conglomerates.  Treasury also owns Beaulieu Vineyards, Sterling, Provenance, Sbragia, Rosenblum, Beringer, Stags Leap Winery, Etude, St. Clement and a whole lot more that are not household names.  A w-h-o-l-e lot more.

In 2015 Treasury basically bought the entire book of California wines belonging to Diageo, the English equivalent of Treasury.  Curiously, they bought the Acacia name but not the winery or vineyards which is what I thought was normal and customary for transactions on this scale.  Treasury did buy the vineyards belonging to most of the wineries listed above and that speaks well for them.  In fact Treasury has made a statement with this purchase.  They obviously believe in the future of our higher priced domestic wines in the world market.  Treasury intends to market heavily to Asia.

They also believe Diageo, a liquor company primarily, didn't exactly hoe the row properly in the wine business and having attended a Diageo tasting or two where all of the wines in the room tasted remarkably the same, I wholeheartedly agree.  This, of course, is the problem with mass marketers.  The wines all taste the same.

So Treasury plans to utilize two wineries to produce most of their wines.  Twenty dollar-plus wines will be made at Beringer in Napa while under twenty dollar wines will be made in Paso Robles.  Treasury Wine Estates, itself, is headquartered in Napa.  The great estate wines of Beaulieu and Sterling will continue to be made on the respective properties.

On Saturday November 11th from 1 to 3pm Brian Espanol holds court here with a tasting of California Red Blends.  On Thursday the 16th at 5pm Bob Reynolds does much the same and then on Saturday the 18th at 3pm David Rimmer returns with new French wines for us to sample.  Please join us for the tastings.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Rosey Goat

Rosey Goat has always been one of the most predictably popular cheeses we have offered here at the store.  All you have to do is keep it in stock and set it out for tasting occasionally and it's off to the races and we're sold out again in no time.  So why haven't I had it here for the better part of a year?

Usually when I don't have a staple like Rosey Goat it's because the supplier is out of it.  But then if I'm not on my game and it's nowhere in sight to remind me to order it, well then, Ol' Don forgets to order it.  That and I tend to buy off the monthly promotions circular instead of just keeping the popular cheeses in stock.

So what is this Rosey Goat stuff we're talking about?  In Spain it's called Caprillice and it hails from the Castilla La Mancha region of central Spain.  Yes that's right, Don Quixote country.  The cheese is  semi-soft in texture, mild in flavor yet because it is goat cheese, it has the requisite goaty tang.  It is aged six to eight weeks during which time it receives its resinous rosemary crust.

In La Mancha Rosey Goat is considered a sister cheese to "Winey Goat", a similarly styled cheese that receives a red wine bath during ageing instead of the herbs which brings up the fundamental naming issues many cheeses have.  While we have never sold "Winey Goat" we have sold that cheese by other names.  The same for Rosey Goat and many other cheeses from other countries.  Sometimes it has to do with the appellation system, sometimes it's branding, and I'm sure other times it has to do with proprietary rights.  Hey what's in a name anyway?

Rosey Goat is great with tapas, rustic bread, Marcona almonds, and European dry red wine.  I would even give it a try with white wine.  And it's here in the store now...but for how long?   

David Hobbs joins us this Thursday at 5pm with a tasting of four wines from Long Meadow Ranch of Napa Valley.  Please join us for the tasting.