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Flat front label of wine

Fife L'Attitude 39 2004

Rhone Red Blends from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • WE93
0% ABV
  • WE93
  • WE93
  • WE93
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3.7 5 Ratings
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3.7 5 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This southern Rhône-style wine is a blend of old vine Carignane, Syrah, Grenache Noir, Petite Sirah and Mourvèdre. Grown on the sun-washed slopes of the Ukiah and Redwood Valleys (latitude 39º), these meridianal varieties feel right at home in Mendocino County. Longer daylight hours during the growing season, coupled with clear, warm days and cool nights, rocky, well-drained soils, and favorable exposures on the hillside slopes above the Russian River create a terroir comparable to many parts of the Rhône, the ancestral home of these varieties.

Black fruit contributions from Syrah combine with the intrigue of wild berries, licorice, bitter chocolate, espresso, plus the heady scents of wild herbs, wood spice and sunbaked stones. The inclusion of Carignane from Redwood Valley adds a ripe jamminess that "glues" all the other components together. Forward and lush this offering has a mature, sophisticated rich finish. There are hidden layers of flavors that step forward to dance with almost any food on the table.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
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Fife

Fife Vineyards

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Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, The Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river which flows through the region. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, further from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

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, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red 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, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

FED49714_2004 Item# 90485