Skip to main content

Estancia's Scott Kelley visits Houston

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to taste some of Estancia's current releases at Up restaurant with Estancia General Manager & Director of Winemaking, Scott Kelley. 

We started with the Pinnacles Ranches Monterey Chardonnay 2009 with the tuna tartar and ceviche. As Kelley had started with Estancia in 2007, this wine was overseen by him from start to finish. As a Monterey County native, he is passionate about the local terroir and making wines that reflect this sense of place. 

The Pinnacles Vineyard is on the east side of the Salinas Valley on the lower slopes of the Gabilan Mountains, this area is ideal for slowly and evenly ripening the grapes and bringing out the pineapple character. 50% of the grapes were fermented in stainless steel and 50% in oak of which 25% was new. The end result in my glass was a nicely balanced, full flavored, medium+ body, medium acidity wine with a medium+ length pina colada finish. A nice wine retailing for about $14.

Next, we tasted the Estancia Pinnacles Ranches Monterey Pinot Noir 2010. The majority of the grapes come from the same vineyard area as the Chardonnay. The cool breezes from Monterey Bay help the grapes to retain their acidity and when coupled with the sunny granitic soil slopes create an ideal environment for growing Pinot Noir. The resulting wine was a fresh, fruit forward, well-balanced medium everything (tannins, acidity, etc) wine with a ripe red fruit, baking spice flavor and silky finish. Another nice wine at approximately $16. It also paired well with the tuna tartar.

The Pinot Noir 2007 Reserve is sourced from the Stonewall Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands which is located high above the Salinas Valley. The morning fog and afternoon breezes create a cool climate site with a long growing season. This, along with carefully selected rootstock and Pinot Noir clones (Pommard 4, Dijon 114 & 115) combined with the northeast exposure, well-drained soils and low yields help to create a wine that is intensely flavored. Due to this wine's depth of color and flavor profile, I had to ask, "What about those rumors of Syrah being blended into some Pinot Noir in the Central Coast?" Scott's reply was definite, we were enjoying 100% Pinot Noir. Due to the terroir, it is easy to get very ripe grapes resulting in deep pigments, stronger flavor, higher tannins and alcohol; it is up to the winemaker to control those factors to get a more traditional style. My braised short rib sandwich had arrived to the table at this point and the wine worked well with it. This wine retails for about $30.

The final bottle was the Reserve Meritage 2008 from Paso Robles. Estancia is a founding member of the Meritage Society and is dedicated to making complex quality blends from Bordeaux grape varieties that reflect the terroir of Paso Robles and specifically the Keyes Canyon Ranch vineyard. The diurnal temperature range is more extreme than anywhere else in California, days are warm and sunny while nights are cool due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean; the result is a rich, intensely flavored wine. The blend for this bottling is 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 11% Petit Verdot which spent 14 months in a combination of both French and American oak of which 40% was new. The result- rich flavors of ripe black fruit, dark chocolate and a strong graphite or pencil box character. Full body, medium+ acidity, alcohol and ripe tannins with a long finish. It was quite nice with my sandwich as well and it retails for about $30 a bottle.  

Over lunch, we also talked about his efforts at sustainability both in the winery and in the vineyard. The tractors are run on bio diesel fuel which is created locally and is actually cheaper to use than regular fuel. 85% of herbicide usage has been eliminated with specialized tilling equipment. Water usage is carefully monitored and 75% of the winery's energy needs are provided by solar power. 

Scott Kelley is committed to making Estancia a role model for environmental stewardship, respecting both the land and the people who live there. It isn't just where his job is at, it's his hometown and he truly wants to preserve the bounty that Monterey offers for the generations who will follow while still making some very enjoyable wines.          

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Flavor Inspired Georgian Wine Tasting and Lunch

Last month, wine professionals in Houston were given the opportunity to taste wines from one of the country of Georgia's flagship producer, Teliani Valley, over lunch at Concura to learn about the ancestral grapes, the ancient winemaking techniques, and the modern tools which come together to make the classic wines of the Kakheti region. There are 525 grape varieties currently recorded in the country with over 135,000 acres under vine, 72.4% of those vines are located in Kakheti. The country of Georgia is located approximately 620 miles from Rome and size wise, it is just slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut. Despite its small size, it has a lot of neighbors that border it: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkey; it also touches the Black Sea. The Kakheti wine region is located in the eastern part of Georgia with two river basins, the Ivri and Alazani, which both influence the wines. The vineyards are located at elevations of 800 to 2,600 feet with views of the Caucasus

Tasting with Rob and Bonnie Lloyd of Lloyd Cellars

Rob and Bonnie Lloyd of Lloyd Cellars. Rob and Bonnie Lloyd were in Houston in November to meet with a small group of local wine media to share their story and their Lloyd Cellars wine at Savoir . The Lloyds have family in town and were here for the holidays. Their wines are currently on the shelf at Total Wines. Rob Lloyd immersed himself in wine after graduating from UC-Irvine. He moved to Napa and put his dream in motion by working harvest at Cakebread followed by a job at the Stag's Leap Wine Cellars tasting room. These experiences motivated him to go to UC- Davis to get his Masters in Enology. After graduating, he continued immersing himself in California Chardonnay with positions at La Crema and Rombauer. He would co-found JaM Cellars and be their original winemaker launching the top selling Butter Chardonnay brand. He eventually opened a consulting firm and started his own wine projects with wife, Bonnie. Bonnie Lloyd moved to San Franscico in 1996 to continue her career in

The Villa Sandi Houston Sommelier Competition Winners

This past Sunday, Taste of Italy - Houston held The Villa Sandi Houston Sommelier Competition at the Hilton Post Oak in collaboration with the Italian American Chamber of Commerce . The competition was orchestrated to help local sommeliers hone their both their service and test taking skills while showcasing their knowledge of all things wine. Competitors started with a deductive tasting and theory exam and concluded with a table service exam. The winners were announce on Monday morning at the opening of the Taste of Italy - Houston. Tony Elsinga won the top prize of $750 along with a trip to Italy. Mark Fusco was the first runner up also winning $750 and and Carlos Rosas was the second runner up earning a $500 prize. Each winner also was a gifted a jerobaum bottle of Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore.  The competition was originally conceived by Jaime Deleon , the Adult Beverage Sales Manager for Kroger's Houston Division and an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Mast