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Friday, 25 January 2013 22:07

December 28, 2012 Wine Pick of the Week

 

MET cab 09 bottle Picmonkey

 

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Producer: Mettler Family Vineyards

Appelleation: Lodi

Alcohol:14.5%

Suggested Retail: $24.99

 

“A big wine and an attractive one. The Lodi appellation has long held a fine reputation for Zinfandel, but Cabernets like this show the region should not be dismissed lightly when considering their other varieties. Composition is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. We have tasted several vintages of Mettler Cabernet and this one seems the best yet.”

“Big—lots of fruit. Blueberry and plum qualities with some cedar and leather aspects.”

“More power than finesse, but a good example of the powerful, fruit-forward style at a decent price.”

Food Affinity: Many bold, red meat dishes come to mind. How about some prime rib beef bones slowly roasted in the oven or a Webber kettle?”

Sunday, 06 January 2013 13:55

April 21-23, 2017 Fresno State Vintage Days

Region: Central Valley     City: Fresno     Contact: www.fresnostate.edu

Sunday, 06 January 2013 02:54

April 1, 2017 Lodi Spring Wine Show

Region: Central Valley     City: Lodi     Contact: www.grapefestival.com

Region: Central Valley     City: Lodi     Contact: www.lodiwineandchocolate.com

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 18:34

Quady Winery Earns Accolades

Life is certainly sweet for one Madera Wine Trail winery known for their sweet dessert wines and their vermouth. Quady Winery earned several accolades recently for their Vya Vermouth and several of their wines.

Vya Vermouth impressed the people at Made in America so much that Quady Winery was nominated for and received an American Treasures Award.

Since its inception in 2008, Made in America has recognized, promoted, and provided assistance to Quady Asst Winemaker Darin Petersen  PicmonkeyDarin Peterson, assistant winemaker at Quady Winery, accepts the American Treasure award at Washington DC reception. American businesses committed to production in the United States. Key to this effort has been providing companies access to resources and expertise outside those traditionally available within their industries.

The American Treasures Awards are presented annually at the American Treasures Cullinary Experience to individuals and small producers in recognition of a singular and significant contribution to our Nation that both preserves and fosters a unique All American craft and tradition. This year’s awards are presented to organic growers and craft producers. The winners were carefully selected and vetted through a deliberative process by a National Advisory Committee consisting of individuals with relevant subject matter expertise. A special Congressional Honorary Steering Committee supports the initiative.

“We’re very proud to be recognized nationally as a unique all-American craft producer,” said Andrew Quady.

Andrew credited the ideal conditions of Madera and his staff with the creation of a product deemed an American Treasure.

“Our part of California, the San Joaquin Valley, is noted for its especially warm climate and rich soils. Certain grape varieties do especially well here. Our business is built on the development, production, and marketing of new wine styles especially suited to grapes from our region. This sets us apart and creates a unique spirit amongst our employees because our business is like no other.”

“We are proud to be designated an American Treasure along with a small selection of craft and organic food producers across the U.S.,” he said.

Andrew said the unique history of the spirit, along with the experiential nature he strives for with the creation, captivated the Made in America judges.

“There are a few other American made vermouths on the market now, but ours appeared almost a decade earlier and the Vya has flavors and history like no other. I created Vya with the idea that vermouth could be appreciated in a similar manner to wine: as a full sensory experience, for me, it’s like aromatherapy.”

According to Made In America, The American Treasures Awards are presented annually in July at the American Treasures Cullinary Experience to individuals and small producers in recognition of a singular and significant contribution to our Nation that both preserves and fosters a unique All-American craft and tradition.

This year’s awards were presented to organic growers and craft producers. The winners were carefully selected and vetted through a deliberative process by a National Advisory Committee consisting of individuals with relevant subject matter expertise. A special Congressional Honorary Steering Committee supports the initiative.

Not to be out done, three of Quady’s wines received medals at the Lone Star International Wine Competition.

Quady’s 2010 Elysium won Best of Show/Grand Star and a Double Gold. The 2011 Red Electra took silver and the Flore de Moscato earned a bronze medal.

“It’s almost a double reward,” said Quady winemaker Michael Blaylock.

“Everybody here strives to make sure it’s the best quality we can achieve in a given year and we feel great about giving it our all. Then when we are recognized elsewhere and we see the quality on the shelf, we feel a sense of pride. All of this is made right here in our hometown, Madera California, and for me, the main thing is I’m still having fun,” he said.

To learn more about Vya Vermouth, visit www.vya.com. For more on Quady’s wines, visit www.QuadyWinery.com.

(TravMedia.com sources contributed to this article)

Editor's note: Readers interested in learning more about Quady and other Madera County wineries can find links to their websites in the Central Valley section of Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. Also listed are links to hundreds of lodging and dining options in that part of California.

 

Viticulture in California's vast interior valley, nestled between the state's coastal mountain range and the Sierra Nevada, is actually two valleys: the Sacramento Valley in the north and the San Joaquin Valley in the south, which includes the Delta area located in the middle where the two valleys meet. Although the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys are not designated American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), the region produces 70 percent of the state's winegrapes and is home to 15 AVAs. The Sierra Foothills region is an AVA that runs adjacent to both valleys on the east side, along the Sierra Nevada Mountains. About 0.5 percent of the winegrapes grown in the state are produced from the Sierras.

American Viticultural Areas are to appellations of origin as grapes are to fruit. AVAs are delimited grape growing areas distinguishable by geographic, climatic and historic features, and the boundaries have been delineated in a petition filed and accepted by the federal government. In size, AVAs range from extremely small to extremely large. AVAs are one kind of appellation, but not all appellations are AVAs. An appellation can also be a political designation, such as the name of a country, a state or states, or a county or counties within a state.

 

Sacramento Valleysacramento valley highlight SMALL

The Sacramento Valley runs for approximately 120 miles from Red Bluff in the northern end of the valley to the city of Sacramento. Bordered by the Sierra Nevada to the east and the Coast Ranges to the west, this level, sun-drenched, agriculturally rich area is unaffected by ocean influences. The region has about 8,000 acres of winegrapes. Chardonnay is the most prominent variety and Zinfandel follows. There are some 16 wineries, and approximately two percent of the total state winegrape crush comes from this region.

 

The Delta

The Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley meet at the river delta about 100 miles east of San Francisco, roughly encompassing portions of Solano, Yolo, Sacramento and San Joaquin counties. Here Chardonnay is also the most widely planted variety with Zinfandel a close second.

Within the Delta area, the Lodi AVA has been a major winegrowing region since the 1850s. Grapes were always part of the local landscape, growing wild, dangling from the trees along the riverbanks. Early trappers called one stream "Wine Creek," due to the abundance of wild vines. The river was later renamed the Calaveras River, and flows through the southern part of the Lodi area. Today, the Lodi AVA is farmed by more than 750 growers. About 60 wineries are located in this picturesque rural area known for its older head-trained grapevines. Like the other Delta wine areas that include the Clarksburg AVA with its 10 wineries and 9,000 vineyard acres and the Merritt Island AVA, Lodi is also defined by its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the coastal gap where the northern and southern coastal ranges meet at the San Francisco Bay. As temperatures rise in the state's vast interior valley, cool maritime breezes are pulled directly through the Delta area, creating a distinctive climate that has allowed premium winegrapes to thrive for more than a century. Lodi has a Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and cool, moist winters. Deep, sandy clay loam soils predominate.

 

San Joaquin Valleysan joaquin highlight SMALL

One of the richest agricultural areas in the world, the San Joaquin Valley measures about 220 miles in length and 40 to 60 miles in width, extending from around Stockton south to Bakersfield. There are five million acres of irrigated farmlands planted to cotton, grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts. The majority of wine, table and raisin grapes in California are grown in this valley. French Colombard is the leading variety. Chardonnay is the second most planted grape. The red winegrape with the most acreage is Zinfandel. By far the largest producing area in the state, the San Joaquin Valley accounts for more than 44 percent of the total state winegrape crush. There are more than 30 wineries and four AVAs.

The Sierra Nevada mountains form the eastern border of this grand expanse of land, and the lower, more irregular Coast Ranges define it to the west. Irrigation of this land with limited rainfall comes from two huge reservoir and canal systems that bring water from the length of the Sierras to the valley farmers. Although grapes have been grown in the region for more than 100 years, there has been a continuing advance in grape and wine quality due to viticultural refinements, including new varieties, rootstocks, trellis systems and irrigation techniques. These advancements are helping to transform the San Joaquin Valley from a generic into a varietal wine producer.

 

Sierra Foothills

sierra foothills highlight SMALLThe California Gold Country is also a wine region. Originating back to the gold rush days, the first grapes were planted in the 1850s, as a lot of wine was needed to quench the thirst of the Forty-Niner population that migrated to the state at this time. The Sierra Foothills AVA stretches from Yuba County in the north to Mariposa County in the south, along the western portion of the Sierra Nevada, with Amador, El Dorado and Calaveras counties in the center. Within the entire Sierra Foothills AVA, which totals 2,600,000 acres, there are five other AVAs: California

Shenandoah Valley, El Dorado, Fair Play, Fiddletown, and North Yuba. The total winegrape vineyard acreage in the Sierra Foothills AVA is 5,700 acres. Zinfandel has the largest amount of plantings, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Merlot, , and Barbera. More than 100 wineries are nestled throughout the nooks and crannies of the foothills, with vineyards generally located between 1,500 to 3,000 feet where elevation creates a four-season climate. The shallow, mountainside soils create moderate stress on the vines, producing low to moderate yields and high quality.

The Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, the interior of California, are the agricultural heartland of the state. Winegrapes are only one of the bountiful crops grown in this immense expanse of farmland. Lodi, Solano and the rest of the Delta area differ from the vast valley regions in their proximity to the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay influence of maritime breezes. The Sierra Foothills could be described as an interior AVA, but its climate and soil conditions starkly contrast all aspects of those viticultural areas on the extensive valley floor below.

 

(Wine Institute sources contributed to this article.)

 

Links to the websites of thousands of lodging and dining options in the Central Valley and Gold Country regions can be found in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. Also in the Resource Directory are links to most, if not all, of the wineries.

 

Madera’s Ficklin Vineyards celebrated their 65th anniversary in the Port business last September. The focus now, as it was from the start, is to make authentic Ports from four traditional Portuguese grape varieties planted in the family vineyard in 1945. One of the most popular wines Ficklin still produces is the Old Vine Tinta Port, which was first released in October, 1951. It is an aged ruby style that originated with David Ficklin, the original winemaker. The solera system for that wine was started with the first Ports made at Ficklin in 1948.

Today, two-hundred and fifty-six American oak barrels and sixty-seven European puncheons provide a total puncheons at Ficklin SMALLPuncheons in the Ficklin solera.capacity of over 23,000 gallons for that solera system. Housed in Ficklin’s historic adobe brick winery building, these barrels and puncheons have provided for the consistent flavor development of the Old Vine Tinta Port for over sixty years.

A solera system for wine is a fractional blending system, meaning that only a fraction of the wines progress through to the level of ageing at any time. As the wine is slowly moved through this solera system, a newer three year-old Port from each of the four Portuguese grape varieties is carefully blended to be added to the solera. Current winemaker, Peter Ficklin looks at each varietal component, and how that individual wine will provide the rich and full flavors that will develop into the complex layers found in the Old Vine Tinta Port. This younger wine is used to top-off the sixty-seven puncheons that are the first layer in the solera system. Smaller fifty gallon barrels make up the last level of this sixty year-old solera system. The resulting Port withdrawn from this last stage shows tremendous consistency and character as it is readied for bottling. Consequently, every barrel and puncheon, every bottle, as well as every glass and sip of the Old Vine Tinta Port has a diminishing percentage of the every single vintage since 1948. It is truly a living picture of the history of wines made at Ficklin.

Highly regarded and esteemed through the years, the Old Vine Tinta Port has been a consistent award winner for many decades. It is truly a wine for all ages, as it pairs well with many

desserts, such as fresh fruit, cheesecakes, dark chocolate, as well as the traditional blue-veined cheeses.

 

OLD VINE TINTA PORT

AWARD HISTORY

 

Best In Class 2009 National Women's Wine Competition

Critics Gold 2008 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition

Top Fortified Wine 2007 Beverage Testing Institute World Value Wine Challenge

Best Of Class 2002 Los Angeles County Fair Wine Competition

 

DOUBLE GOLD

2011 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

2009 National Women's Wine Competition

2009 Best in Appellation Competition

2009 Lodi International Wine Competition

2004 International Eastern Wine Competition

2002 International Eastern Wine Competition

2000 El Dorado County Fair Wine Competition

 

GOLD MEDALS

2011 California State Fair, Sacramento

2009 Long Beach Grand Cru Competition

2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2008 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition

2008 San Diego International Wine Competition

2008 Monterey Wine Competition

2008 Lodi International Wine Competition

2006 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition

2006 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2003 Riverside International Wine Competition

2002 Long Beach Grand Cru

2002 Los Angeles County Fair Wine Competition

2000 Riverside International Wine Competition

2000 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition

1999 Dallas Morning News National Wine Competition

1999 Taster's Guild International Wine Judging

1998 American Wine Society

1998 Taster's Guild International Wine Judging

1997 New World International Wine Competition

1996 California State Fair, Sacramento

1996 El Dorado County Fair Wine Competition

1996 Jerry Mead's "On Wine"

1996 Los Angeles County Fair Wine Competition

1991 Beverage Testing Institute

1989 Orange County Fair Wine Competition

 

Editor's note: Links to websites of wineries in Madera County and other parts of Central Valley, as well as hundreds of links to lodging and dining options, are found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

 

 

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