I recently had an opportunity to join the good folks at CellarPassTV for a live virtual tasting with Jean-Noël Fourmeaux. CellarPassTV, who I have done previous tastings with, is an informative weekly wine broadcast where some of California’s top winemakers, winery owners, and people in the food and wine industry are interviewed by host Sarah Elliman. Their website, CellarPass.com, is a leading destination for online winery reservations that’s well worth checking out if you’re thinking about visiting California wine country.
Tasting the wines of VGS Chateau Potelle
The show’s special guest, Jean-Noël, is the proprietor and winemaker of VGS Chateau Potelle, which is located in Saint Helena, California. A 3rd generation winemaker from Bordeaux, Jean-Noël left France in 1980 to become part of what he calls “The California wine adventure.” Approximately four years prior, the game-changing Judgment of Paris (May 24th, 1976) blind tasting had taken place in Paris where little-known California wines, judged by well-regarded French wine experts, defeated top French wines.
This seminal event compelled a number of passionate growers and winemakers to take root in California where a new chapter of discovery, experiences, and excitement was taking place and still being written. “We wanted to be creative in making wine rather than being constrained by the years of traditions that existed in France,” said Jean-Noël. In the #CellarPassTV video broadcast, which you can view here, Jean-Noël talks a little about the old days as well as what’s going on with VGS Chateau Potelle today. Below are my tastings notes for two of the wines I had an opportunity to sample during the show accompanied by a picture I snapped of each bottle. Variety, so they say, is the spice of life; so, keep an open mind and an open palate and enjoy the experience. Drink well my friends!
Chateau Potelle Winery VGS Explorer
1) Chateau Potelle Winery VGS Explorer 2009 [Napa Valley] The Illegitimate (SRP $40): This is a deep colored and aromatic blend composed of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 17% Zinfandel, and 11% Syrah. Rich aromas of black cherry, raspberry jam, and cassis are framed by warm spice and subtle oak with gentle mineral notes. It’s full-bodied with understated acidity and firm tannins that pick up pace and carry through to the lasting finish. This is a nice food wine (particularly grilled meats) and a good candidate for short-term cellaring. Approximately 1000 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 14.5%, 14 months French oak barrels, whole cluster pressed w/ native yeast, natural cork enclosure). Click here to find this wine.
Chateau Potelle Winery Mount Veeder Zinfandel
2) Chateau Potelle Winery VGS Mount Veeder 2010 Zinfandel (SRP $65): Dark ruby-purple colored with fragrant and inviting raspberry, black cherry, blackberry and vanilla bean aromas with a mild dusting of sweet brown spice. The aromas extend to the palate with generous fruit flavors supported by delectable tannins and well-balanced acidity. While ripe, this wine has a wonderful freshness and juiciness about it with a rich mid-palate and a velvety lasting finish. I enjoyed a glass of this tasty juice on its own tonight. Approximately 600 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 14.8%, natural yeast fermentation, 17 months in French oak barrels, natural cork enclosure). Click here to find this wine.
My backyard feathered friend: The Northern Cardinal
Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were provided for an event. Thoughts are my own.
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