Faustini Wines Blog
Welcome to the Faustini Wines blog. Here you will find info on what's happening at the winery, our thoughts on winemaking, food, life, and wine industry news. Let us know if you want us to post on any topics....
You can also check out our event calendar here
Beautiful, elegant, Roussanne. A grape that’s often forgotten about by many consumers and top wine enthusiasts alike. This grapes richness and crisp acidity highlight the beauty of the varietals characteristic yellow pear & honey flavors. I’m here to guide you through this captivating wine that will surely make you a believer on why Roussane deserves more attention and a place in your cellar.
Although no one is precisely sure where Roussanne originated…it seems likely the varietal is native to the Rhône Valley and to the Isere Valley in south eastern France. This varietal has not ventured far from its origin; most of the worlds’ Roussanne is grown throughout the Rhône, where it is traditionally used as a blending grape. In the Southern Rhône valley, Roussanne is one of six white grape varietals permitted in the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape region, and it is often blended with Grenache Blanc. In the Northern Rhône, Roussanne is frequently blended with the grape Marsanne in the appellations of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, and Saint Joseph to provide acidity, minerality and richness.
Roussanne may not be the first grape you think of when you think of California wine, however did you know that this grape does extremely well in the soils and climate of the Napa Valley? After some early, largely unsuccessful experiments with Roussanne (the last of which were pulled out in the 1920s.) Several growers reintroduced the grape into the United States in the 1980s. Cuttings, taken from the Rhône Valley, were planted in vineyards around California, and many wines from those cuttings garnered critical acclaim.
The “Vineyard Collection” consists of limited-production, single vineyard wines that express the distinct personality and terroir of each unique site. The grapes from the Talahalusi vineyard in the Rutherford AVA are a perfect example of just that. “Talahalusi” meaning ‘Beautiful Valley’ comes from the Wappo tribe that had populated the area for many years what we now know as Napa Valley. Talk about some serious history! The vineyard is in the heart of the growing area close to the Napa River which keeps the soil fairly rich. The fruit is some of the last to fully ripen in the valley, usually picked come late October.
The 2015 Talahalusi Vineyard Roussanne is laced with a bounty of different aromas. Fresh apricot, meyer lemon, sweet tarragon, honeysuckle flowers, roasted almonds and subtle baking spices. The wine has a characteristic lush texture and body that is more reminiscent of red wines than whites. An ideal grape for any wine lover to try!
My mind is already racing with the many different cuisines I can pair this wine with. It definitely has some versatility to it. This Roussanne sees a slight kiss of some neutral oak aging making it an ideal match for foods with a little more body to them. As I swirl my glass I would love to go for a lobster pasta with this wine. The succulence and texture of the lobster with a creamy pasta dish that adds some fresh tarragon and spices hits all the checkpoints for a dish that’s sure to be a winning meal. Grab a bottle of this limited production wine while you can. You won’t want to miss out on these exciting flavors. Till next time oenophiles.... Cheers!
-Shannon Hurley, Certified Sommelier
Malbec, the deep skinned varietal. You may think that most Malbec’s can only come from Argentina but today you will find many plantings grown all over the beautiful state of California. Not as often as consumed with its blending cousins Cabernet and Merlot, Malbec is a grape that’s not to be missed when drank on its own.
A little history about this amazing varietal. It’s often thought that Malbec originated in Argentina where it is widely grown but did you know Malbec actually comes from France? Many people associate Malbec with Argentina when in fact the grapes were born in the Bordeaux region of France. The main reason Malbec didn’t rise in stature in France was its susceptibility to disease and rot. In the mid-19th century, Argentinians went to France to find a grape that would bring up the quality of their wines. They came back with Malbec which has flourished in the Mendoza region of Argentina. For almost 100 years, Malbec remained an Argentinian wine. In the late 1990’s, Malbec began to be planted in parts of California and Washington State. Due to the long, arid growing season, cool nights and abundant sunshine, the Malbec’s of California are full of bright flavor and color.
Almost from the first harvests, California grape growers and winemakers discovered that Malbec could yield particularly stunning results. A typical Malbec is fruit-forward with flavors of dark purple fruit akin to blackberry, black cherry and huckleberry.
Nestled from the prized Mueller vineyard in Carneros district of Napa Valley, the 2016 Faustini Malbec is made like no other. The grapes are harvested at the end of the growing season in late September. The grapes were hand sorted and went through a cold soak at 55 degrees to retain freshness. After a 10 day fermentation period the wine was moved to French Oak Barrels. 50 % new (for intense flavor) and 50 % neutral (for more moderate flavor). The wine aged in these barrels for 20 months prior to bottling. With a deep garnet purple hue the 2016 Malbec brims with black plum, boysenberry and warm clove on the nose. The palate is smooth and medium bodied with lush supple tannins and bright acidity. Secondary flavors of black currant and dark chocolate dominate the palate followed by lingering notes of black pepper and all-spice.
What do I want to eat with this? Fire up the grill because this wine has me in the mood for a juicy burger! The burger I’m going to make actually calls for a little bit of the wine put into the meat mixture for a little extra flavor. Wait, did you say wine IN the burger? Yes I did, you’ll thank me later :). Atop the burger with some aged cheddar and braised onions, we have ourselves a trip to a steakhouse in our very own home. YUMM! Check out recipes page to see how I’ll be making this coveted wine burger, or should I say Malbec burger. Till next time oenophiles, cheers!
-Shannon Hurley, Certified Sommelier
The sun is out and shining it’s time to pour a glass of rosé. There's something about drinking rose on a sunny day that just puts you in a serious mood. The feeling of the sun on your face, birds chirping and a refreshing glass of wine in your hand… Ahhh.
The Playdate Collection Tempranillo rosé makes you feel like you're having your very own playdate right in your glass (heyy!). That’s one of the reasons why I love this collection. It’s tasty, approachable and oh so delicious with many different types of cuisines.
The wine comes from the grape varietal Tempranillo, a grape that you would usually be accustomed to finding mostly in Spain, particularly from the regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero. A robust and flavorful grape by nature, this varietal made its way into parts of California in the early 1900s by Spanish settlers. Present day the grape has now been plated in other parts of the U.S. Washington, Texas, and Oregon to name a few. For this rosé the grapes are coming from the wine region of Lake County in California. An area with over 9,000 acres of vineyards and some of the oldest geological lakes in North America make this an ideal place for growing the tasty varietal.
Upon opening to bottle, the color has a beautiful deep red hue with a bright rim. The aromas are quite picturesque. Imagine a warm summer day being on a farm picking fresh raspberries and cherries. This wine is full of those gorgeous notes! The palate is similar to the nose, accompanied by some savory spices, red currants and cranberries, with a bright long finish characteristic of the Tempranillo grape varietal. The wine sees some contact with the skin to get its bright color, then is matured in stainless steel tanks. The grapes for this wine are picked in early September at peak weather. The wine is then brought to the winery has skin contact for 36 hours to retain its vibrant color, then aged in some neutral oak barrels for freshness. This beautiful wine can get from vineyard from your home in a minimum of 6 months’ time. Talk about good juice!
If you’re like me you are probably thinking right now…”What do I want to eat with this?” Well, the truth is this wine is very versatile that it’s tough to narrow down. I like it best with light poultry, soft cheeses and BBQ. Anyone having ham on Easter? This would be a great bottle! Something that calls to mind for me is a recipe I made back in my first year of culinary school. Springtime Chicken Stew with peas and bacon lardons (YUM). So now all that’s left to do is pick up a bottle of this rosé and taste for yourself! Pick up a bottle today and use the code “health20” at checkout for $1.00 shipping when you purchase 3 or more bottles (Score!).
Check out the recipe section for the Springtime Chicken Stew to make for your next meal. Till next time oneophiles, Cheers!
-Shannon Hurley, Certified Sommelier
Offering special deals on flights and bottles paired with chocolate covered strawberries! Must purchase ticket online and call to reserve! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/valentines-day-sweetheart-special-tickets-31306303998
Happy March everyone!
We are especially excited about the new month, since it means the start of our events for 2016.
Starting the second week of March, we'll be partnering with local businesses to provide our Faustini patrons with a variety of different activities and events. Continue to check out our event calendar for new events being added. Tickets are limited, so be sure to get yours today!
INTENTIONAL LIVING: Choosing a Life That Matters with Coach Erica Loren
March 16th from 6:30 to 8:00 pm
March 23rd from 6:30 to 8:00 pm
Join us on either date for an introductory session for an inspiring and experiential talk given by, ICF Certified Happiness Coach, Erica Loren ACC,CPC, who will show you how good intentions are just not enough to live a happy and successful life and career. From studying the top experts and putting an end to living life as a struggle for herself, Erica will help teach you proven techniques she uses with her clients to give you clarity and direction toward living a life with intentionality, ease, and tremendous satisfaction.
If you've been looking for a way to start making positive changes in your life, this is the perfect place to start!
CLICK HERE to purchase tickets and read full event description.
Wine & Cheese Pairing Principles with The Cheese Cave
March 13th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm
The Tasting Room is thrilled to partner with our Red Bank neighbors at The Cheese Cave for this Principles of Pairing class!
Join us and Stephen Catania of The Cheese Cave as we bring you a night of exquisite wines paired with a selection of handcrafted farmstead and artisan cheeses. Each guest will receive a 4-pour wine flight with a special cheese selection, as well as an inside scoop on the art of wine and cheese pairing.
CLICK HERE to purchase tickets and read full event description.
We hope to see you soon!
All this week, through Valentine's Day, The Tasting Room will be offering a "Sweetheart Special". For $50, you'll get two Faustini flights paired with four delectable chocolate covered strawberries (courtesy of our friends at Chocolate Works). Reservations are required for this special, so be sure to give us a call or email today! More information can be found in our calendar HERE.
Growing and Harvesting Grapes
Naturally, the wine making process begins with the acquiring of its most essential ingredient: red grapes. It’s not an instantaneous process though; grape vines will only produce fruit after three years, minimum, of growth. Inversely, the individual stalks on which the grapes grow will only produce before it turns 1 year old. Since this process is so time-sensitive, many viticulturists (the people who study & grow grapes) will prune their vineyards yearly to prompt growth. The grapes are either cut from the vine by human hands with shears or they are removed by a machine. At this point in the process, the grapes are still intact with their stems, along with some leaves and sticks that made their way from the vineyards. These will all be removed in the next step.
After the grapes have been harvested they typically have their stems and leaves removed to reduce the potential of hash tannins making it into the final product. After they’re all sorted, the grapes are crushed in huge presses and moved to a location that’s favorable to yeast growth. The skins are left on the grapes to help give red wine it’s bold, rich coloring.
Simply put, fermentation is where the sugar converts into alcohol. There are plenty of techniques and technologies used during this process to accompany the different kinds of grapes. In red wine making carbon dioxide is released during fermentation which causes the grape skins to rise to the surface. Winemakers must punch down or pump over the “cap” several times a day to keep the skins in contact with the juice. Some wineries prefer their yeast growth to happen naturally, whole others will add specific strains in a process called inoculation, to provide greater control over the red wine’s flavor. Red wine is fermented at a much higher temperature than white wine. The length of the fermentation process is used to control the wine’s dryness. The longer it ferments, the less sugar there is, and the dryer the red wine will be.
Aging the Wine
Winemakers have lots of choices in this step, and again they all depend on the kind of wine one wants to create. Flavors in a wine become more intense due to several of these winemaking choices:
Aging for several years vs. several months
Aging in stainless steel vs. oak
Aging in new oak vs. ‘neutral’ or used barrels
Aging in American oak barrels vs. French oak barrels
Aging in various levels of ‘toasted’ barrels (i.e. charred by fire)
While a wine ages, additives are usually added to remove certain proteins, resulting in a clearer wine. This process is called “fining.” Next the red wine is usually filtered for any errant particles and bottled. Some wines are not fined or filtered, to create bolder wines with a stronger body.
Bottle the wine
When we feel that a wine has reached its full expression in aging, then it’s time to bottle the wine for consumption. Most dry reds need 18-24 months of aging before bottling. And the rest is history, my friends.
On a warm August afternoon, the big reds that normally match with red meat are about as refreshing as hot coffee, yet white wine seems a little wimpy next to a rib-eye. Grilling adds different levels of smokiness and char, and those are flavors that you want to consider. They can definitely overwhelm more timid wines. Here are pairings that will take your meal to the next level. Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic with steak (our 1023 or Due Finali will work with just about any grilled red meat) but grilling isn’t strictly about meat. When you’re adding vegetables, or even salad greens like crispy heads of Romaine to the grill grate, you’ll often need a more versatile wine.
2012 Opportunity Collection Pinot Noir. A Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley is generally on the lighter side, so it won't overpower more delicate grilled foods, and it often has smoky flavors that really work with the grill. The wine’s earthy, savory notes and good acidity also make it a match with balsamic vinegar.
2013 Play Date Chardonnay. Usually, oysters are served with sparkling wines, but the intensely flavorful grilled component here allows for a more full-bodied wine. The Play Date Chardonnay has simplistic texture with flavors ranging from citrus to mild tropical fruits, accompanied by crisp with soft floral notes on the finish
N.V Velvet & Vinyl Brut. The crisp acidity, effervescence, and moderate alcohol level of our brut sparkling wine will be perfect with smoky grilled fishes or even a grilled chicken burger with fresh cut salty fries.
2012 Beach House Sauvignon Blanc. The sea mist breezes, cooling off the Rutherford Valley floor at night tend to give the grapes good acidity, creating tangy citrusy wine. Perfect for any type of grilled fish taco with fresh Pico de Gallo and guacamole.
2011 Opportunity Collection Malbec. Of course when grilling up a Texas rib eye or a kobe burger with blue cheese you’ll need a wine that can stand up to these big bold flavors. The Malbec lays down a violet bouquet with dark fruit flavors of ripe blackberry and plum accompanied by subtle notes of smoke & cocoa powder. An ideal match for those heavy hitters.
What I like to tell people about food pairing is to go with your gut and be a little adventurous. When thinking about the weight and cooking technique of your main item, try to think of a wine that will have those similar flavors. It’s all about balance. Chances are you know a big cabernet is not going to pair nicely with a grilled piece of Dover Sole. But a coastal Chardonnay might or for some fun you could always try a sparkling. Stepping outside of your comfort zone with wine is something I would definitely recommend to everyone.
Don't Forget to check out our wine of the month 1023 paired with an awesome grilled rack of lamb. Click here http://www.faustiniwines.com/recipes/Grilled-Rack-of-Lamb-with-Carmelized-Onion-Jam