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Edmunds St. John Rocks and Gravel 2002

Rhone Red Blends from Central Coast, California
    0% ABV
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    Winemaker Notes

    Since the 1997 vintage, Rocks and Gravel has been our most popular wine. Inspired by the Southern Cotes du Rhone blends of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah, it has deomnstrated, year in and year out, that California is a great place to produce red wines with a Provencal spirit. The 2000 and 2001 vintages were especially fine ones for Rocks and Gravel, and we were able to put together wines that were virtually indistinguishable from fine Gigondas.

    In 2002 we weren't happy with any of our Grenache options, so the 2002 Rocks and Gravel is an unusual blend of, roughly 65% Mourvèdre, 25% Counoise, and 10% Syrah. Oddly, the results seem to evoke both the Cotes du Rhone, and points rather far North, way up in the Cote de Beaune. Go figure.

    Bright crimson, a bit of blue at the edge. spicy, pulse-quickening aromas of graphite, tree-bark, blood, and mulberries, with deeper layers of smoke and underbrush. Very supple and textured on the palate, with some fat, and a great sense of structure and balance. Long flavors leading to a clean finish, and crying out for a second taste.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Edmunds St. John

    Edmunds St. John

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    Edmunds St. John, Central Coast, California
    In ten short years, Steve Edmunds has carved out an enviable reputation as one of the true pioneers of the California "Rhône Ranger" movement. Located in Berkeley, California, Edmunds St. John specializes in Rhône style wines such as Syrahs, Mourvèdres and the blended Les Côtes Sauvage.

    Central Coast

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    The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.

    Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.

    While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.

    Rhône Blends

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    With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

    In the Glass

    The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

    Perfect Pairings

    Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

    Sommelier Secret

    Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

    EWLCAEDSROC02_2002 Item# 80258