06 December, 2009

A Pair for Jack on the Rocks - 2006 Qupé Marsanne & 2007 Huntington Petite Sirah

My pal, Jack Sonni, asked the $20 Dollar Wine Blog for a couple of recommendations for his "Jack on the Rocks" podcast that's on for tomorrow, Monday December 7, 2009.

We're more than happy to oblige and with this being the holiday season, we've picked a couple that are perfect for the cold weather that comes with December. As mentioned in the Thanksgiving pairing blog, I'm a big fan of Rhone style of varietals and wine for fall and winter. In whites, the more rich, round flavor profile, and mineral notes of Rhone whites are less about crisp and refreshing. It's more about food and flavor and mouthfeel. On the red side, Rhone varietals are more earthy, warm, inviting with abundant fruit flavors and moderate in tannins.


First, the Qupé 2008 Santa Ynez Valley Marsanne. This is a wonderful wine and a super value. Marsanne is mainly from northern Rhone and in France, is typically a blended varietal, typically Rousanne. I find that I quite enjoy Marsanne with its pair Rousanne (in this case 81% Marsanne and 19% Rousanne) especially from several of the top vineyards in the California Central Coast AVA. Seems as if white Rhone varietals do quite well here and the folks at Qupé do excellent work that's evident in this wine. It's got very seasonal fruit flavor, that is, pears and tangerine on the front. It's plenty acidic (and balanced) and I feel, is very well suited for richer foods like butternut squash ravioli or fowl with root vegetables.

2008 Qupé Santa Ynez Valley Marsanne
Retail: $17
Grade: B



For the red, there's a great buy in the 2007 California Petite Sirah from Huntington, a brand of Hahn Family WinesPetite Sirah is an interesting varietal and in most other places that it's grown, it's referred to as Durif. Named for it's creator, François Durif, it's one of the most food friendly varietals as I see it. This 2007 from the Huntington team, delivers a very fruitful and supple mouthfeel of blackberry jam with a bit of acidity and also does nicely with the foods of the season, particularly pork and lamb racks, sausages and tenderloins. It's a fully approachable, ready to drink now kind of wine.

2007 Huntington Wines Petite Sirah
Retail: $14
Grade: B

Jack, here you go, buddy. Enjoy. Eat. Imbibe.