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Virtual Tasting of Casey Flat Ranch Wines with Brandlive

cfrBrandliveSo this Wednesday night was a new experience, as I participated in a virtual wine tasting.  It was virtual from a connectivity perspective, there was real wine.  Trust me, I had four bottles of Casey Flat open at the same time, a glass of each lined up for the event.  Essentially I and fifteen or so other wine bloggers patched in to a live broadcast of the winemaker and managing partner of the ranch, and they talked through a tasting of the four wines while fielding questions.  A running twitter commentary complimented the online dialogue.  This was fun and different.  I hope I get to do more of these.

To make it real the company organizing it ships the wines in question to all the participants.  That worked fine.  The live feed was stable and had no real glitches the entire hour, and the questions were relayed to the Casey Flat team and answered pretty quickly.  I thought it was pretty cool, as I got five or six questions in and they were all answered.  The winemaker, Laura, is pretty impressive as she described the elaborate series of considerations and choices she makes before ending up with the final wines.  It makes me appreciate the Casey Flat lineup even more, and this is already probably my favorite winery on the planet.

What did we taste?  The new 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Rose made up

Vineyards at the ranch

Vineyards at the ranch

the whites, and the red was the 2010 Estate CFR, which we have reviewed before and you can read about here.  The 2010 Estate Red is just beautiful, and I can’t have enough of it in the cellar.  Everyone in the tasting seemed to agree, and they were tasting it for the first time.  We’ll review the wines in a bit, but here are some of the interesting facts from yesterday’s event:

1. They have bottled a few 3 liter bottles of the 2010 estate red.  This means I am now on a mission to get one, or two.

2. The winemaker is essentially a brilliant alchemist, or an old fashioned magician, as she has a ton of tricks and endless options that go into her blends.  And they all work!

3. They now have a distributor in Rhode Island, the wines are arriving in the state in about three weeks, and you will actually be able to buy them locally.  Here’s where:

– Gasbarro’s on Federal Hill

– Campus Fine Wines on Brook St. in Providence

– Grapes and Grains in Barrington

– Newport Wine Cellar on Bellevue Ave

– Eno on Westminster in Providence

and maybe Wakefield Liquors as well – still to be finalized.

4. We will be visiting the ranch next year, because it just sounds like a really cool place.

5. I asked them if they were considering a push for a Casey Flat AVA, since they have a pretty unique micro-climate in the mountains and are far different than the valley floor.  They replied they are, they have, and they talk about it a lot.  Sounds like an AVA application is coming!

They have lots of land, long horn cattle, and grow some pretty good grapes as well.

Casey Flat Ranch cattle

Casey Flat Ranch cattle

I think they have room to expand the vineyards considerably, and that’s good, because they are going to need a lot more wine once people start to know who they are.  Here are some notes on the wines of the evening:

2013 Casey Flat Ranch Sauvignon Blanc – all of their Sauvignon Blancs scream peaches to me on the nose.  There are other aromas and flavors as well, with pear, some citrus, apple and others, but the peach really shines through.  This is the same.  It is not flimsy wine, but brings a structure, intensity and balance that is wonderful.  This sees 25% neutral oak, and also some time on the lees and that comes through with a wonderful touch of creaminess.  You can drink all their wines by themselves or with food.  This has a refreshing acidity.  We had it with a really spicy white chicken chile and it worked great.  Love it.  Casey Flat Sauvignon Blanc is almost singularly responsible for our starting to drink white wine regularly again.  There’s usually a bottle in the refrigerator door.

2013 Casey Flat Ranch Viognier – we tried the 2012 Viognier earlier, and found it a little reserved and closed.  Not so with this wine.  Laura described what she was going for, which was a lighter, crisper style.  The grapes came in at about 22-23 brix, rather than the high twenties that would give you a big, viscous viognier.  It also sees some neutral oak.  This is really nice, has more fruit than the 2012, and opens in the glass wonderfully.  I found it a little off right out of the bottle, but half an hour later I was loving it.  This is a really elegant wine, and once again goes either by itself or with a ton of dishes.

2013 Casey Flat Ranch Rose – I was sort of hoping Laura might make a 100% Syrah, and she did.  The only issue is that it is a rose.  I’m not a huge rose person, and the rose fever of the last few years hasn’t helped that.  Go to any major wine festival and Chateau D’esclans has a booth and they are pouring rose all over the place.  This is not your everyday rose.  It is rich, brings body and structure and is really delicious.  No oak here, just stainless.  This was hole cluster pressed and the color is just from that, there was no cold soak.  It’s a great color, but more importantly it is just good.

2010 Casey Flat Ranch CFR Red – this is their top red blend.  You can read about it more here.  We found this wine at last year’s Newport Wine Festival and it immediately won us over.  It is the first wine we ever tried from Casey Flat and remains our favorite.  Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Mourvedre make up the blend.  It’s big, complex, delicious and approachable.  Finished in 75% new French Oak, it has the stuff to age effortlessly for years.  This is serious wine, and a steal at the winery price of $35.  One of our favorite wines anywhere at any price.

What a cool event.  The Brandlive tasting was organized by Charles Communications Associates in San Francisco, and we’d like to thank Kira for getting us involved and very efficiently managing things.  If you’d like to see the Twitter stream see #CFRBrandlive .  Of course one benefit of this is we now have a twitter account @RedWinePlease1.  Things are constantly changing.

We’re very excited that Casey Flat Ranch wines will now be in RI.  We really suggest you try them.

A votre sante!

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