Sunday, November 29, 2015

Uber gets that Hotline Bling


Uber: driving our drunk asses home since 2009.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wine Review: Matchbook The Arsonist 2013 Chardonnay

November is Matchbook Wine Company Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Matchbook The Arsonist 2013 Chardonnay

For information on Matchbook, you can read all about their great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

The Arsonist is a subset of Matchbook Wine Company's Matchbook label. It's kinda like their higher tier of wines, and there's only two right now: Chardonnay and Red Blend. The labels feature Prometheus, the Titan from Greek mythology that stole fire from Zeus and gave it to us mortals.

This is it. This is the wine that I was most looking forward to having again from Matchbook, and that's why I saved it for last. This is the new vintage of The Arsonist Chardonnay. The 2012 was phenomenal and the 2013 is right here in front of me. I'm more excited than a comedian when Donald Trump announced he was running for President. Let's do this!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Wine Review: Matchbook The Arsonist 2012 Red Blend

November is Matchbook Wine Company Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Matchbook The Arsonist 2012 Red Blend

For information on Matchbook, you can read all about their great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".


The Arsonist is a subset of Matchbook Wine Company's Matchbook label. It's kinda like their higher tier of wines, and there's only two right now: Chardonnay and Red Blend. The labels feature Prometheus, the Titan from Greek mythology that stole fire from Zeus and gave it to us mortals.

The Red Blend is the winery's first blend done with all Bordeaux varietals. It's 52% Petit Verdot from Dunnigan Hills, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County's Chalk Hill appellation, and 24% Merlot from Lake County. It spent 28 months in American, French and European oak barrels. The ABV is 13.8%.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Brace Yourself: Thanksgiving Edition


Because the wine needs to go with the thing you'll have a few slices of, covered in gravy. Please think of versatility for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wine Review: Matchbook Dunnigan Hills 2012 Tempranillo

November is Matchbook Wine Company Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Wine Review: Matchbook Dunnigan Hills 2012 Tempranillo

For information on Matchbook, you can read all about their great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Tempranillo is one of the loves of my life. Whether it's from Ribera del Duero, from Rioja, or under the alias of Aragon√™s from Portugal. You already know about my wine-crushes with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, but Tempranillo has a Hall of Fame batting average on my palate... well, for red... because of Riesling.

TEMPRANILLO VINES AT
MATCHBOOK VINEYARD
IMG Source: adventuresinnorcal.com
The wine that got me into wine was a Tempranillo. In 2008 I took a wine class that was offered to the employees of Luke's of Cape Cod and, being a history geek, I immediately found myself fascinated in the history and its connection to humans and civilization. That night I bought Protocolo Tinto (I believe it was the 2006 vintage) simply because it was on a 2 for $12 deal and, being in my 20's, I was naturally broke. Tasting Protocolo today would probably ruin the nostalgia for me, but I loved it at the time and fell right down the rabbit hole.

The Giguiere's feel the same way about Tempranillo (and other Spanish reds) but discovered it way before I did. In 1988 they planted their first Tempranillo vines in Dunnigan Hills, California. Since then they've continually planted different Tempranillo clones from the best Tempranillo areas of Spain. A few years ago, after trying Matchbook's Tinto Rey for the first time, I asked about their Tempranillo and was told that it was only available at the winery. So this might be kinda new to the market, or the salesman was either misinformed or a no-good, scummy liar.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wine Review: Matchbook Dunnigan Hills 2012 Old Head Chardonnay

November is Matchbook Wine Company Month on TheWineStalker.net!


For information on Matchbook, you can read all about their great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Old Head? Hmm. That's an odd thing to call a wine. An "old head" is just a used barrel, and this Chardonnay was aged in used oak barrels for eight months. What this does is give it a little oak character but not as much as new oak. So, for example, vanilla could be hanging out in the background rather than backhanding you across the teeth. And it's going to do those other things you get from oak aging such as a buttery and creamy mouthfeel.

I've had this wine and this vintage before. And, not to give anything away, I hope it's as good as I remember it. By the way: THIS IS MY 100TH REVIEW! (Although there's been at least ten reviews where I did more than one wine. But whatever.) HURRAY FOR ME!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wine Review: Mossback Russian River Valley 2013 Pinot Noir

November is Matchbook Wine Company Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Mossback Russian River Valley 2013 Pinot Noir

Mossback is an old nickname for a farmer. The wine is Matchbook Wine Company's label for their stuff out of California's Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill and their surrounding Central Coast. You can read all about Matchbook's great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Matchbook's winemaker Dan Cederquist actually spent most of his career in Russian River Valley before coming to Dunnigan Hills. With this Pinot Noir he uses his old connections and buys the best grapes from his favorite grape growers in Russian River Valley. 98% is Russian River Pinot Noir and 2% is actually Syrah from Dunnigan Hills. That splash of Syrah leads me to believe that this will be a  Pinot Noir for casual wine drinkers that don't fully grasp Pinot Noir, rather than the delicate, intricate complexity kind. Let's see if I'm right, shall we?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Oh, you ordered Pinotage???


Oh, you ordered Pinotage? I too like to live dangerously.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wine Review: Mossback Russian River Valley 2014 Chardonnay

November is Matchbook Wine Company Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Mossback Russian River Valley 2014 Chardonnay

Mossback is an old nickname for a farmer. The wine is Matchbook Wine Company's label for their stuff out of California's Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill and their surrounding Central Coast. You can read all about Matchbook's great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

This being a 2014 vintage, and it currently being November of 2015, I was expecting this to be an unoaked Chardonnay so I was leery of this wine being another one of those Chardonnay-that-tastes-like-Sauvignon-Blanc disasters. Buuuuut... 34% of it was BARREL FERMENTED while the rest was cold fermented in stainless steel, so I'm hoping for good results! If there's one thing I won't stand for, it's Chardonnay that might as well be a Sauvignon Blanc. Zero tolerance.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company

How The Giguiere Family Became The Face Of Dunnigan Hills.

The Tasting Room at Matchbook Wine Company

Just east of California's Napa County is Yolo County. This Yolo isn't the You Only Live Once phrase that self-justifies kids in their 20's to achieve alcohol poisoning while documenting it on Instagram. No, this Yolo derives from the native Poewin yo-loy, which translates to abounding in the rushes. It features the greatest concentration of organic farmers in California.

Within Yolo County is Sacramento Valley, and within Sacramento Valley is the Dunnigan Hills AVA for winegrowing. It's cooled by the Sacramento Delta and San Francisco Bay, giving the grapes a break from the heat, but this place still has less threat of frost than the rest of Sacramento Valley. The Dunnigan Hills region isn't as famous as its neighbors Napa and Lake County, but it's been an official AVA since 1993 thanks to a petition presented by John and Lane Giguiere.

John and Lane Giguiere
LANE AND JOHN
John grew up in the 1950's as the son of a wheat farmer and had an obsession with fire, setting numerous things aflame including his father's wheat fields. He also started some accidental fires setting off fireworks with his brother Karl. So you can see how Matchbook Wine Company got its name.

The self-proclaimed arsonist was lucky enough to find the love of his life in high-school, and he and Lane were married at a young age. Together they got into the wheat farming business. Broke and ambitious, they decided that they needed to expand their focus beyond wheat so in 1981 they planted a few vineyards. In 1983 they put everything they had into creating a new winery called R.H. Phillips.

They scraped by for a few years, living off of credit cards. When they were down to their last "sawbuck" ($10 bill) R.H. Phillps started to see some moderate success, so they continued to expand and try new varieties in their vineyards. Both lovebirds were big fans of Spanish reds and they planted their first Tempranillo in 1988.

Then in 1995 they started work on a new brand that would change everything. After two years of work, they released a Chardonnay in a long-neck bottle that featured a bear breathing fire on its label. I'm sure you're familiar with it. Toasted Head Chardonnay, named after the toasting of wine barrels, was born into immediate success. With such a big triumph on their hands it was time to finally cash in on all their hard work, so they sold R.H. Phillips and Toasted Head to the Canada based Vincor in 2000 with a five year no-compete clause.

Charring wine barrel
CHARRING OAK BARREL
In 2005 they left their jobs as executives at R.H. Phillips and briefly attempted to enjoy retirement, but the wine life was calling to them. That year they released a 2004 vintage of Matchbook that included a Tempranillo, a Syrah and a Block House red blend. Vincor was sold to Constellation in June of 2006.

In 2008 the Giguieres broke ground for the construction of a new winery they called Crew Wine Company, named so because they were able to bring back a big chunk of their old crew from R.H. Phillips. Today the entire company goes by Matchbook Wine Company.

John's brother Karl Giguiere runs the farming side of things. He was the first to start harvesting at night in Dunnigan Hills. You may remember the line titled Night Harvest by R.H. Phillips, the whole theme being that picking at night was the best time to do so. (It was quite popular in restaurants back in the day but was driven off of a cliff under Constellation. In 2009 Constellation actually closed up shop of all R.H. Phillips items except Toasted Head and put it under the watch of Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi.)

Dan Cederquist is the Matchbook winemaker. He graduated from the University of California, Davis for viticulture in 1987. He worked at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and Deloach Winery before coming to Matchbook in 2005.

Matchbook Wine Company makes four different lines: Mossback is an old nickname for a farmer, and their Mossback label features Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. They're sourced from Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill and their surrounding Central Coast. Sawbuck (remember Lane and John's last $10 bill?) is their non-AVA-specific California label. It has a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay and a Malbec. Chasing Venus is named after Captain Cook's personal mission to study Venus while he explored the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere, discovering New Zealand and Australia. This label focuses on Sauvignon Blanc, and has one from Marlborough, New Zealand and one from Russian River Valley, California.

The Arsonist
THE ARSONIST
Then there's Matchbook. This label is about the varietals that do the best in the warm climate of Dunnigan Hills: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvigon, Syrah, and most awesomely... Tempranillo. Their original plantings of Tempranillo from 1988 were the meh-whatever Valdepenas clone. Today they're constantly expanding their Tempranillo vineyards with the clones from Ribera del Duero, Tinta de Toro and Rioja. A taste of Spain in Cali. I love it.

The Arsonist is a subset of the Matchbook label. There's a Chardonnay and the company's first Bordeaux-style red blend. Keeping with the theme of fire, it features Prometheus from Greek mythology on its label. Prometheus was the Titan god of forethought, and he was given the job of creating mortal mankind out of clay. Seeing how terrible the humans lived made his paternal instincts kick in, so he stole fire from Zeus and hooked them up. He was busted and tied to a stake on Mount Kaukasos where, in a constant loop, an eagle ripped him open and ate his liver. Herakles (Hercules to the Romans) eventually freed him.

Oh, and the Giguieres also make olive oil.

This entire month on TheWineStalker.net is dedicated to Matchbook Wine Company. I'll be reviewing a total of seven of their wines, so everybody get cooled down because it's about to get real hot up in here.

November 1st: Matchbook Dunnigan Hills Tinto Rey Red Blend 2012
November 5th: A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company
November 8th: Mossback Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2014
November 12th: Mossback Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2013
November 15th: Matchbook Dunnigan Hills Old Head Chardonnay 2012
November 19th: Matchbook Dunnigan Hills Tempranillo 2012
November 22nd: The Arsonist California Red Blend 2012
November 26th: The Arsonist Dunnigan Hills Chardonnay 2013

- Joey Casco CSW/CSS
   TheWineStalker.net

Matchbook Wine Company

References:
Matchbook Wine Company
Toasted Head Winery
Giguiere's build a new winery
The Giguieres of Dunnigan Hills
Matchbook Ready To Set Fire To The Wine Scene

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Wine Pick: Matchbook Tinto Rey Red Blend 2012

November is Matchbook Wine Company Month on TheWineStalker.net!
This WINE PICK of the month was written for the Luke's of Cape Cod website.

Matchbook Tinto Rey 2012

I'm a big fan of Spanish wine and especially Tempranillo. The founders of Matchbook Wine Company are big fans as well, and they've been growing Tempranillo in California's Dunnigan Hills since the 1980's. They also have a love of doing things a bit unorthodox and planting other grapes you don't normally see in Cali. For example: Graciano is a softer Spanish variety used in Rioja, and Tannat is a highly tannic French variety that's enjoying success in Uruguay.

With their Tinto Rey ("Red King") blend they use 50% Tempranillo, 27% Syrah, 11% Petit Verdot, 8% Graciano and 4% Tannat. It's aged for 26 months in a combo of French, American and Hungarian oak. 22% of the wine is barrel aged in new oak barrels while 78% is aged in used oak barrels.

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