GIFFT by Kathie Lee Gifford Red Blend 2015
Blend: 30% Petite Sirah, 26% Merlot, 18% Petit Verdot, 14%Syrah, 9% Tempranillo, 2% Riesling, 1% Muscat Canelli
Founded in 1972, Scheid Family Wines is a family-owned company with ten estate vineyards located along a 70-mile spread of the Salinas Valley. Kathie Lee Gifford is the co-host of the fourth hour of NBC's "Today" and a well-known wine lover. Introduced through a mutual acquaintance, Kathie and the Scheid's hit it off and decided to form a partnership to craft GIFFT wines. Kathie Lee's goal – to offer ultra-premium wines at an affordable price – was perfectly suited to the Monterey growing region and Scheid's strengths. The GIFFT team decided to launch the brand with a 2012 Chardonnay, a varietal that is practically synonymous with the Monterey appellation, and a 2011 Red Blend that uses an intriguing assortment of red varietals from Scheid's southern Monterey County vineyards.
The GIFFT name derives from Kathie Lee Gifford's last name and her belief that friendship, love and laughter are gifts to be cherished. The classically-styled package depicts Kathie Lee's favorite place to enjoy wine with friends – her garden gazebo at her home – and features a consumer-friendly screwcap closure.
A geographic and climatic paradise for grape vines, Monterey is a part of the greater Central Coast AVA and contains within it five smaller sub-appellations, including Arroyo Seco, San Lucas, San Bernabe, Hames Valley and the famous Santa Lucia Highlands. The climate is relatively warm but tempered by cool, coastal winds, allowing the regions in Monterey County an exceptionally long growing season. Bud break often happens two weeks sooner and harvest tends to be two weeks later compared to other surrounding regions.
Monterey’s coastal side, where the cooling ocean fog allows grapes to develop a perfect sugar-acid balance, excels in the production of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Warmer, inland subzones are home to fleshy, concentrated and full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel.
Chardonnay, covering about 40% of vineyard acreage, is the most widely planted grape in all of Monterey County.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.