What We Say Clan Red
Mission Codename: A Wine By Another Name
Operative: Agents White & Red
Objective: Investigate Rumors of New Juice From Gryphon Wines
Mission Status: Ongoing…
Current Winery: Marie Johnston Wines (Gryphon Wines)
Wine Subject: Non Vintage Clan Red
Winemaker: Marie Johnston and Jonathan O’Bergin
Upon hearing that Gryphon Wines of Monterey was working on a Top Secret project to release some great new wines that cherry picked the best grapes at the peak of ripeness, carefully blended and offered at a great price point we had to investigate. We were most intrigued since we really loved the Gryphon Pinot Noir. Below follows the results of our initial tastings…
After yesterday’s tasting of the Chardonnay we had the opportunity to taste the wine that the folks at the winery drink as their everyday wine. And, what do you drink everyday, when you can drink the best. Well, a wine that you love, is easy and delicious. The Non-Vintage Clan Red is just that wine. Perfect for any occasion, yet sophisticated enough to stand on its own. Making this wine so perfect is the blend of two of our favorite varietals, the Syrah grape and Cabernet Franc. As an added bonus, this wine is an exceptional value for the money – stock up, this wine is perfect for any occasion.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark and ruby red with fine pink edges and fat legs that creep down the side of the glass.
Smell – Dark berry and aromatic violet with sweet cherry and red candy apple.
Feel – Cool and full-bodied feel, with a slight zing at the rear of the mouth – a happy feeling wine with lovely medium mid-palate tannins.
Taste – Delicious and fruit-juicy, this blend is a stellar balance of fruit, sweet and semi-tart. Give big credit to the choice and proportion of the juice that Marie Johnston used. The Syrah and the Cabernet Franc present candy apple, tart cherry, blackberry, blueberry, plum and a hint of smoked strawberry.
Finish – Bold at first with the more tart flavors lingering, then falls off to finish more sweet and semi-dry with its great medium tannins.
Conclusion -This great wine is comprised of 77% Syrah has 23% Cabernet Franc. The Cab Franc which really comes through, contributing a great deal of character to the sweet and yummy lightweight Syrah used in the wine. If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you know that I am enamored with Cabernet Franc, which I believe to be the most universally wine varietal, in its ability to be enjoyed alone or with nearly any foods. This particular blend, this Clan Red, holds its own as a stand-alone sipping wine or as a wine to be enjoyed with a meal. If you are looking for a great wine to stock up on for the holidays, this red blend is a sure winner. Its a wine that even casual sippers will take notice of for its character and flavor.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The Paso Robles region (Central Coast, CA) can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Marie Johnston Wines
WILDFIRE ALERT: Today, we are donating $1 per bottle sold to the American Red Cross, in support of those affected by the fires in southern California. We will sustain these donations, in partnership with our wineries, for as long as possible. Enjoy your wine purchase today and thank you for doing some good!
About This Wine
This wine is a blend of ’05 Syrah (77%) and (23%) ’04 Cabernet Franc. Technically, it is a Syrah. But this wine is so much more. During blending I found a ‘sweet spot’ and the result is delicious. Chock full of berries and violet notes, this wine is full bodied yet smooth with finely integrated tannins and a lingering finish of roses and chocolate. Marie Johnston is delighted to promise “No corked bottles”!
Marie Johnston Wines
My husband and I decided in January of this year to launch the Marie Johnston Negociant label because we had come across some remarkable wines in barrel. Wines we felt, with assiduous ‘cherry picking’, careful blending, our nurturing and at the precise moment of peak flavor, bottled under screw cap, would yield delicious wines at a great price. This is our First Edition.
We are using my name, Marie Johnston, because there is a 250 year old history of negociant winemaking in my clan. Early in the 18th century, the Johnston Clan established themselves as the leading exporters of wine from Bordeaux. This tradition continues today.
While I do not claim to be part of the Bordeaux Johnston’s, as member of that clan with strong personal ties in Bordeaux and California, I give you my commitment to continue the Johnston tradition of excellent quality and value with my California wines.
For those of you who are interested in more information on the history of the Johnston’s and their contribution to building the Bordeaux wine trade, I suggest you get your hands on a copy of Knee Deep in Claret by Billy Kay and Cailean Maclean. While this book is currently out of print, we are hoping to make a few copies available along with our other Cool Stuff. Stay tuned!
Acidity: 3.48 Ph
Appellation: Central Coast
Sub-Appellation: Paso Robles
Bottling Date: July 16, 2007
Release Date: September 15, 2007
Special Designation: “It’s what we drink!”
Time In Oak: Cab Franc 30 months / Syrah 18 months
Varietal: 77% Syrah & 23% Cabernet Franc