December Domestic Wine: 2012 Peachy Canyon ‘Incredible Red’ Zinfandel, Paso Robles, CALIFORNIA

Peachy Canyon Winery is a small family owned winery in the beautiful wine country of Westside Paso Robles on the Central Coast of California; near Hearst Castle and Big Sur. Peachy Canyon Winery specializes in estate Zinfandels and has been family owned and operated by the Beckett Family since 1988.

Made in a traditional style, this Zinfandel originates from dense, ripe grapes offering an array of delicious characteristics. A bright and pleasing wine, every glass is packed full of berry flavors and lanced with lightly toasted oak and mild spice aromas.

History of Peachy Canyon: When Doug and Nancy Beckett, a couple of school teachers looking for a better life, moved to Paso Robles in 1982 with their two sons, Joshua and Jacob, they never knew the life they would lead today. The label’s start came in 1988, thanks to a load of Zinfandel grapes from Benito Dusi’s vineyard. Though only amounting to a couple hundred cases, the premiere release centered the label’s reputation for premium red wines.

Today, the Beckett’s brand has become nationally distributed in 49 states and select international destinations. In order to secure premium fruit, Peachy Canyon sources grapes from over twenty local growers in the Paso Robles AVA and 100 acres of their own vineyards. The winery is still headed by founding vintners Doug and Nancy, as well as the family’s second generation. After years away from home, both Josh and Jake returned to Paso Robles and Peachy Canyon to work for the family business. Josh has been with the winery for nine years and has been the winemaker since 2003. Combining his varied experiences with different winemakers and regions, Josh keeps an open mind in order to create the most exciting wines possible. Jake wasn’t able to resist the lure of the family business either. For years, Jake worked as the vineyard manager over-seeing the four Peachy Canyon Vineyards and working with local growers to ensure fruit quality is kept at their high standard. In 2005, Jake wanted to learn other aspects of the business and joined the sales team. Jake now is the General Sales Manager and travels the country promoting the family brand.

Varietal(s): 90% Zinfandel and 10% Petite Sirah

Alcohol: 14.1% by volume

Food Pairings: Perfect for any occasion! Enjoy this bottle with or without food, but pairs perfectly with rich bold flavors. Try with grilled meats, savory stew, etc. Enjoy!

Tasting Notes: Bright, luscious and fruit-forward, the fan-favorite Incredible Red Zinfandel bursts out of the glass with a rich cherry nose, and develops into red summer fruits on the palate. Balanced acidity and structure and subtle notes of leather finish  with spicy oak and mocha in a lingering finish.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Ripe and loaded with berries and spicy fruit with a long deep finish. Great with BBQ and other grilled meats. I know this is a sure winner! Peachy Canyon has always been a favorite of mine, and I’m sure it will be a favorite of yours too!”-JL

December Imported Wine: 2010 Chateau Bellevue Gazin Cotes de Bordeaux Red, Bordeaux, FRANCE

Owner/Commune: Alain and Anne-Sophoe Lancereau / Plassac

Background: The estate is situated at the top of the hill overlooking Plassac, a very privileged area of the Cotes de Blaye wine region on the borderline between the Pays d’Oc and the Pays d’Oeil offering a superb view over the Gironde Estuary. Alain and Anne-Sophie Lancereau bought this wine estate with the aim of making it part of a larger cultural and tourist project. Their passion for wine, and for this chateau in particular, stems from the profession of Anne-Sophie’s grandfather, a wine merchant. By investing in the vineyard in 2003, they aimed to recreate a once great wine. They have carried out extensive restructuring in the vineyard and modernized and extended the winery.

Surface or Vineyard Size: 15 ha

Average Age of Vines: 40 years

Grape Varieties: The vineyard boasts a rich mix of grape varieties: Merlot dominates, together with a large proportion of Malbec (also known as Cot), which is quite atypical. Cabernet and Petit Verdot complete the blend.

Terroir: Calcareous clay and clayey gravel

Winemaking/Ageing: A wine that certainly merits the title of “Grand Vin”. Best cellared for two years; will be ready for drinking from 2012 and onward.

Varietal(s): 70% Merlot, 15% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot

Alcohol: 14.0% by volume

Food Pairings: Pair this great bottle with anything! Try with a great piece of meat, BBQ and great cheeses!

Tasting Notes: Outstandingly situated at the highest point of the Blaye region facing the Medoc with a view of the whole Gironde Estuary, this small growth has yielded a beautiful, deep red wine with deep purple tints. The product of the excellent 2010 vintage, its generous bouquet is redolent of red fruit, blackberry and blackcurrant with toasty notes denoting ageing in high-quality oak. Rich, chewy palate with an evident but not excessive tannic presence and a persistent, balanced finish.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Rich, supple and elegant. Loaded with spicy and red aromatics. Great with lamb, veal or steak! Awesome this time this year!”-JL