About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Good Friends, Good Food & Good Wine Make for a Great Evening!

Over the Memorial Day week, Mr. & Mrs. Wine Guy shared an exploration of Santa Barbara wine country with our good friends, Kent and Kara. (pictured above on the left with Mr. & Mrs. Wine Guy to the right) We were both honored and delighted when we were asked to share an anniversary celebration dinner at the acclaimed Stonehouse at the San Ysidro Ranch in nearby Montecito. What an enjoyable evening it turned out to be.

The Stonehouse is a former fruit-packing house now converted to house a pair of restaurants in the ranch’s resort hotel setting. San Ysidro Ranch served as the site for the Lawrence Olivier-Vivian Leigh wedding and for John and Jackie Kennedy’s honeymoon. Its restaurants have won James Beard culinary awards and the wine list has earned a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. For our friends, for us, as well as countless other couples seeking an ambiance suited to a special romantic occasion, it proved to be a great choice.

While our friends enjoyed steak and seafood, the fetching Mrs. Wine Guy and I enjoyed a delightfully smooth, rich and creamy spaghetti al limone. Best of all was our paired wine, a Jean Luc Colombo Viognier La Viollette. This very well balanced white offered scents of lemon and honeysuckle on the nose with bright pear, honeydew and peach flavors that blended into the a palate caressing finish. The Wine Guy has long been a fan of Viognier and this wine ranks not only among the most enjoyable but also among as the most unique Viogniers I’ve had.

Uniqueness is an attribute that is often applied to many of Jean Luc Colombo’s wines. This versatile oenologist, vigneron, negociant and consultant has made quite an impact over the past couple of decades in France. Raised in a culinary family (both his mother and grandmother were chefs) he has served as a consultant to scores of French wine growers and winemakers and has been innovative in his own wine growing and wine making methods. He believes in 100% de-stemming and utilization of older vines and lower yields. He also places importance on longer maceration periods, often involving both stainless still and oak vessels for that part of the winemaking process as well as for aging. The result is wines that achieve fruit forwardness without sacrificing elegance and expression of terroir. His wines are usually characterized with great acid balance and drinkability both in their youth and after periods of ageing. I’ve previously enjoyed many of his reds, particularly his Syrah and Cotes du Rhone. This was my first experience with one of his whites and I clearly wasn’t disappointed.

This Viognier is sourced from grapes grown on 20-year old in the Languedoc-Roussillon (Colombo was responsible for introducing the varietal there and not being a traditional varietal accounts for the wine’s Vin de Pays d’Oc designation). 80% of the wine was macerated in stainless steel and 20% in oak barrels. Six months of ageing on the lees followed with 70% occurring in tanks and 30% in barrels ranging in age from one to three years. The resultant depth of fruit expression and creaminess contributes to the uniqueness of this Viognier. It also makes it quite suitable as an aperitif and it may be in that regard that my readers would most enjoy this wine.

For red wine drinkers who want to experience the uniqueness of Jean Luc Colombo’s wines, I would recommend his Les Abielles Cotes du Rhone. If you’re willing to spend a little more, a must try Syrah recommendation would be his Les Means Cornas

To good friends, Kent & Kara, thank you for a wonderful evening and for allowing us the honor of sharing your special occasion. May you be blessed with many more years of happiness together

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