Red Blend •Arroyo Seco
California: Monterey County
What We Say
[Welcome to Accolades Week at The Wine Spies! All this week, we’ll be featuring wines that have won awards or high praise from judges and wine writers.]
: : Agent Red Reporting : :
Subject: 2003 Ventana Vineyards Beaugravier
Silver – 2007 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Bronze – 2007 International Eastern Wine Competition
Bronze – 2007 West Coast Wine Competition
Bronze – 2007 Riverside International Wine Competition
Bronze – 2007 Monterey County State Fair Wine Competition
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby red
Smell – Cherry, pepper, leather and apple
Taste – Silky smooth in the mouth, this wine exhibits great character, with a fullness of dark cherry, raisin, casis, red apple and blackberry. The finish is long, with flavors that stay with you after the wine is gone.
Conclusion – This Rhone style blend of Grenache and Syrah is an elegant wine that has big aromas and flavors without trying to bully your senses. Having thoroughly tested this wine, I give it my full recommendation.
Wine Spies Deep Background Check:
Vineyard – The Vineyard is located on the west side of the Salinas Valley, Monterey County, California, where the Arroyo Seco River exits the Santa Lucia Mountains. The Arroyo Seco River drains the coastal range wherein is located the Ventana Wilderness Area. Today the Arroyo Seco River flows, (when it runs), on the Eastern edge of the vineyard. The Vineyard is not open to the public, but can be seen in this satellite photo.
Soil – Long ago the Arroyo Seco River cut a deep groove in its travels to join the Salinas River. Subsequently, it began to fill up its previous cut with alluvial gravel, rock, sand, and some silt. The Ventana Vineyard is planted on that alluvial deposit, enjoying drainage to, nominally, ninety feet or so, low nutritional characteristics, pure water, and the benefits of sun reflecting benefits of stones. The rocky “soil” creates very difficult farming situations and is very abusive to equipment. The soil has a very low moisture holding capacity. These tough farming conditions and rough looking soil actually help aid in the development of superior flavors in the fruit and thus in the wine. It slows the vigor of the wines and allows the fruit to develop more slowly which intensifies the flavor.
The Vines – Since 1976, the Ventana Vineyard has been a viticultural research vehicle, conducting in-depth studies on the major questions facing cool climate winegrowers. Monterey is the coldest grape growing region in the United States during the growing season. The outcome of the research can be seen in the “look” of the vineyard and in the vines themselves. Vineyard rows are very close together, 6 feet apart and vines are very close to each other within the row. The distance between the vines within the row varies a small amount by variety and location. The majority are 3 1/2 feet apart between vines resulting in 2074 vines per acre. Larger-cluster and /or more vigorous varieties are at 4 to 4 1/2 feet between vines resulting in a range of 1815 to 1613 per acre. This allows the vineyard to grow more tons of fruit per acre, but more importantly, the proximity of vines ensures that the expectation of production from each vine is less. This lesser expectation allows each vine to “concentrate” on its manageable load and to have fully ripe, intense flavors that are found in the best wines.
Wine Spies Technical Analysis:
Total Acidity: .64 g/ 100ml
Composition/Blend: Grenache Noir, Syrah
Appellation: Arroyo Seco, AVA
Fermentation: 100% Barrel Fermented
Barrels: French Oak
Vineyard: Ventana Vineyards, Monterey, CA
Soil Type: calcareous composition of alluvial deposit with rock and gravel
What the Winery Says
Winemaking Notes “Beaugravier” (pronounced “bow–grav–e-air”) means beautiful gravel in French. Years ago we spent many weeks in the Cote du Rhone studying the wines and vines. We worked with many winegrowers learning their methods, eating their foods and laughing with their families. The Beaugravier is the result of these times and loves. This wine is a blend of Syrah resting upon a foundation of Grenache Noir – the primary grape of the Cote du Rhone. When grown and experienced with elegance rather than power in mind, this combination is sublime at table. We love the “candy apple” and “cherry” of the Grenache carried by Syrah when in the company of just about every red meat, particularly lamb.
Tasting Notes This enchanting blend has a beautiful deep ruby red color and aromas of cherry, pepper and leather. Liquid silk caresses the palate with intense flavors of black cherry, black currant and candy apple. It is full bodied and full flavored with a lovely lingering finish.