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Tierra Divina REDS 2010
This is a prettier wine than those of the past couple of years, and accordingly matches with a wider range of foods. While it will drink nicely with traditional REDS fare like pizza and burgers, the 2010 also goes great with milder cheeses and medium bodies pasta dishes.
Patrick majored in English, got a masters degree in Theology at Harvard then played viola in several orchestras in Sonoma County (more recently, he has seen the light and now performs bluegrass on the fidlde). While studying Buddhism and living at the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, he found his calling in viticulture. A self-proclaimed "vineyard guy," Patrick oversees the farming of every Tierra Divina vineyard in Lodi and Argentina. He believes that great wines start in heritage (aka old-vine) vineyards. Heritage vines' complex root structures spread broadly to collect all the micro-elements the soil can provide and they naturally produce lower yields, lending higher-concentrations of flavor in the wines. Starting with a great vineyard then focusing on proper management minimizes the need for "fixing" or manipulating in the winery. Tierra Divina wines are honest and vineyard-specific wines that exhibit integrity and depth.
These days, Tierra Divina vineyards are found exclusively in Lodi, the "Zinfandel Capital of the World," and Mendoza, Argentina where malbecs are the acclaimed varietal. REDS, an old-vine zinfandel blend and ZaZin, are known for being balanced, elegant wines in contrast to many highly-extracted, over-the-top Lodi zins. Terra Rosa, Tierra Divina and Vale la Pena are vineyard-specific, varietally-correct, 100% malbecs. They tend to be less oaky and more balanced than their Mendoza counterparts. Patrick flies to Argentina 5 to 6 times per year to sustainably farm the heritage vineyards in the foothills of the Andes mountains. He makes the wine in Argentina, then ships it up in containers where he barrel-ages and bottles it in Sonoma County.
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.
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 create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. 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.