Guenoc Victorian Claret 2011
This wine pairs well with any meat dish or is just as delicious on its own.
Blend: 30% Merlot, 22% Syrah, 20% Petite Verdot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Zinfandel
Guenoc Valley lies sixty miles north of San Francisco — a breathtaking panorama of oak-strewn grasslands, rolling green hills, craggy outcroppings and perfect volcanic cinder cones, painted with the shimmer of a dozen azure lakes. The 21,349-acre Langtry Estate is one of the largest contiguous private land holdings in California, and among the most beautiful.
Guenoc wines are sourced from a blend of estate vineyards and premier growing sites from around California. Soils range from rocky volcanic highlands to mountain valleys lined with gravelly riverbeds. The combination of these unique sites allows us to produce wines that exemplify the diversity found in these distinct regions.
Guenoc California wines embody the independent spirit of famed actress and winery founder, Lillie Langtry, who defied the conventions of her time and forged her own path, becoming a Lake County vintner in 1888. The wines are fresh, vivacious, and distinctly California.
Reaching up California's coastline and into its valleys north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Marin, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake. While Napa and Sonoma enjoy most of the glory, the rest produce no shortage of quality wines in an intriguing and diverse range of styles.
Climbing up the state's rugged coastline, the chilly Marin County, just above the City and most of Sonoma County, as well as Mendocino County on the far north end of the North Coast successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and in some spots, Riesling. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc produce some impressive wines with affordable price tags.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.