The Withers Counoise 2018
This lovely wine offers up aromas of strawberry compote, a touch of caramel and earth, and then unfolds on the palate with a light medium body and complex favors of red fruits. It will pair effortlessly with fuller bodied seafood, pasta, fowl or meat.
Their aim is to produce elegant, nuanced, balanced, food friendly expressions of cool climate vineyard sites that don’t sacrifice flavor, complexity or intensity. For those wondering about the winery name, the withers is in four legged species the tallest point of the body. For horses, it is the place from which height is measured. They named the winery in the spirit of striving for heights in every aspect of their operation, and as a tribute to Mr.Burgess, the Irish Connemara pony who has been a member of their extended family for almost 15 years. The artwork on the label is an original illustration of Mr. Burgess drawn by a special young woman who has known their family and the horse since her childhood. He is a sensitive and beautiful animal willing to experiment with the many equestrian disciplines, having over time proven to be reliable and expert at every one.
They aim for the same concept in making wine; be unafraid of exploration and pursue heights of excellence across many disciplines, whether red, white or rosé and irrespective of varietal. What they seek in wine, friendships, music, and everything for which they have a passion is something to reach for, something that draws you in because it is not so obvious on its face, yet which intrigues you. Something that with patience yields an end result that builds from the first impression. Something familiar and evocative, yet which leaves you searching for descriptive words. Something soulful. In other words, they seek to produce qualities in their wines that we look for in every corner of their lives. So they embarked on the journey, determined, enthusiastic and hopeful.
This project has been 35 years in the making. Years filled with collecting, sampling, enjoying, learning, and sharing. What they are doing today wouldn’t be possible without help from close friends; extremely talented people about whom they care and who have shared their knowledge, expertise and time. They consider themselves very lucky to know such wonderful people, and to be working with them going forward. Combining a personal passion for wine with the hard work involved in making it for others to enjoy requires a healthy respect for the challenges to being successful and for the process itself. They have that respect, and believe that the most important element will always be working with vineyards which produce the high quality fruit from which every fine wine must come, then letting it speak for itself without attempting to alter its true character. They hope you will take an interest in what they are doing, share your true stories with them, and most of all, enjoy their wines with friends, colleagues, and loved ones!
As home to California’s highest altitude vineyards, El Dorado is also one of its oldest wine growing regions. When gold miners settled here in the late 1800s, many also planted vineyards and made wine to quench its local demand.
By 1870, El Dorado County, as part of the greater Sierra Foothills growing area, was among the largest wine producers in the state, behind only Los Angeles and Sonoma counties. The local wine industry enjoyed great success until just after the turn of the century when fortune-seekers moved elsewhere and its population diminished. With Prohibition, winemaking and grape growing was totally abandoned. But some of these vines still exist today and are the treasure chest of the Sierra Foothills as we know them.
El Dorado has a diverse terrain with elevations ranging from 1,200 to 3,500 feet, creating countless mesoclimates for its vineyards. This diversity allows success with a wide range of grapes including whites like Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as for reds, Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo, Barbera and especially, Zinfandel.
Soils tend to be fine-grained volcanic rock, shale and decomposed granite. Summer days are hot but nights are cool and the area typically gets ample precipitation in the form or rain or snow in the winter.
Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of red grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal and Italy are known for having a multitude of unique varieties but they can really be found in any region.