California, Napa, Red blends, Red wine, Sonoma

Artesa Elements 2005

Winemaker: Mark Beringer
Grape: 39% Tempranillo, 18% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Franc, 7% Garnacha, 1% Graciano
Region: 65% Sonoma county, 35% Napa, California

See other wines from this producers:
Artesa Cabernet Sauvignon Napa/Sonoma

I have never been in Artesa winery, but I was told by a trusted friend that it is one of the most beautiful wine estates in California, combined with a modern technology. If you visit their tasting room, please let me know how you liked it. The large portfolio of their wines are definitely worth to check out.

Imagine to combine a most typical grape varietals of the three major Old world’s wine regions – Bordeaux, Rhône and Rioja and put them in one bottle. That’s Elements. A very unique blend, isn’t it? I am not sure, but it might be the only blend of such a grape combination on the market.

Artesa’s winemaker, Mark experienced with all these varietals while working at Duckhorn Vineyards. When Duckhorn expended their wine production beyond Bordeaux grape varietals, Mark was leading their new wine project to launch Paraduxx, (an unique blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon). Paraduxx became an instant hit and was later followed by Goldeneye, the winery’s Burgundy style wines from Anderson Valley.

The San Francisco Chronicle named Mark Winemaker of the Year for his work at Duckhorn Vineyards.

The grapes for Elements were sourced from Artesa’s Alexander Valley mountain-side vineyard, Carneros estate Tempranillo and a Carneros Syrah and Tempranillo vineyard. This cool climate area produces wine with spice and leather characteristics. The Alexander Valley vineyard is a warmer region that participated with an aromatic and expressive fruit.

Each lot was hand harvested, de-stemmed and gently split open. Extended maceration of fruit followed the fermentation in open tanks, to extract a richer a deeper structure of different varietals for the final blend. Most of the varietals were pressed directly to the oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation took a place in French oak barrels (about 30% new oak) and wine then aged for 22 months.

Tasting notes:
Dark ruby color and lovely aroma of blackberry, raspberry and spices on the nose. On the palate it’s a rich, yet velvety red with a layers of different flavors, ripen dark fruit, plums, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate. This wine is developing richer and richer flavors as it opens up. Soft tannins are promising a good aging potential. Generously long finish that makes you reach for a second glass.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $ 20.00

Ideal food pairing:
Steaks, lamb, dark meats, artisan cheeses, Beef chorizo, Pistachio crusted rack of lamb, spiced sausages, ribs etc.

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A true friend

A true friendAll of us might come up with a different definition if we were asked to specify what the term “true friend” means to us.

When you think about it, it meant different things in different stages of our life. When we were young, the true friend would be somebody who held our hand when we were afraid. Or maybe somebody who stood next to us when we were in trouble.

Later on it might have been someone who you tried your first cigarette with, someone who never betrayed you. Perhaps true friend to you was a good listener and someone you spent hours on the phone with, discussing all the important issues of your life. How do you describe the true friend today?

Is it somebody who is always there for you? Is it somebody who brings you food when you are sick, who makes you smile when you are sad and who shares your values and success with you proudly? Does your true friend care when nobody else does? Is he someone who doesn’t judge you when you failed and offers a shoulder to cry on instead? Is he someone who will always have a helping hand for you even at times he needs one himself?

I must say, I feel blessed to have a few true friends in my life. The closest ones are of  Italian heritage, French Canadian, Spanish and Polish. They are a substitute for my own family that lives far away. They have always been there for me. When we were moving few years ago, they came to help us for several days, sacrificing their own time, driving hundreds of miles not to mention working like dogs, so we can get back to normal as soon as possible. When I think about it, there are not many people throughout my life that would have done more for me than my friends already did.

A true friendWe spent this Labor weekend with a couple of my friends. We have shared our passion for food, wine and fun with them on every occasion we had.

This couple came to almost each of my wine events to support me. They would bring their friends along. They even joked that I spoiled their palate – so now they can’t go back, drinking wines they once used to like.

When times were not so good, they were there again, helping, praying, checking on me, and offering a hand. I never took it for granted. I am not sure if I ever told them that but I hope they know. Lately, they were even considering putting their own house at risk to help me to pursue a dream to open my own business. I wouldn’t be comfortable with that thought anyway, but that’s just the kind of friends they are.

 A true friend

We have laughed a lot this last weekend (which I needed really badly), ate a lot – although I decided to prepare all kinds of finger food – tapas to accompany our “special wines” – we ended up eating much more than if we just had a regular dinner. (I was fixing my stomach later at night with Fernet-branca – what a good medicine that is). But most importantly, we have opened some spectacular wines together.We took our time to enjoy it – started slowly with Cava and whites, so by the time we got to “the real stuff”, the reds were just about ready for us. You probably know that opening a special bottle with the wrong company can spoil the enjoyment for you. I think we all have done that mistake before. But when the opposite happens, it is a pure heaven. This weekend will most likely be very hard to beat (although we can always try) and this is how they changed my prospective on a true friend definition:
The true friend is someone, who lets you spoil their palate. Someone, who trusts you enough to let you hook them on wines you adore yourself and now they adore them with you.

Someone who allows you to turn proud Italians into Spanish food and wine enthusiasts. And when the times are not so great, the true friend will go out, buy that special bottle (when you can’t do it yourself) and brings it over to your house to enjoy it together. The bottle they have never tasted before. The bottle they only heard you bragging about.

A true friendSo this weekend, our wine list sustained of Segura Viudas Brut, Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc (Californian exception), couple of bottles of Muga Blanco, a bottle of Alto Moncayo Veraton, and we finished this Spanish dream with a bottle of Clio.

For a desert we have opened a bottle of Jorge Ordoñez Victoria, an outstanding sweet Moscatel from Malaga and yes, we have finished the whole thing. There you have it! We loved every drop of it!

It tasted so much better when shared with people that appreciated it as much as we do. Life is good when you have true friends. I am really grateful for that. Believe me, that’s the kind of true friends you want in your life. I truly appreciate to have them in mine.