Vinum Cellars Red Dirt Red GSM 2013
This wine pairs well with roasted chicken or Peking duck, short ribs with parsnip mashed potatoes or filet mignon encrusted with wild mushrooms and served with Israeli Couscous and organic pea shoots dusted with white pepper.
Blend: 51% Syrah, 32% Grenache, 17% Mourvedre
Vinum Cellars is a collaboration of winemakers Richard Bruno and Chris Condos, who first became friends while they were students at UC Davis. They share a long standing passion for Chenin Blanc and fondness for the more obscure grape varieties. After graduation, Chris went to work for Pine Ridge as Enologist, and Richard went to Bonny Doon as their distiller. Shortly after, their friendship was solidified over Chenin Blanc with the creation of their first wine "Pointe Blanc". Currently the Vinum Cellars team is working with over 10 grape varieties from Placer County Cabernet Franc to San Benito County Viognier. In addition to the Vinum Cellars partnership, they are employed as winemakers: Chris with Kathryn Kennedy Winery and Richard as a Napa winemaking consultant.
"We are a small, California winery committed to crafting quality wines from single vineyards in California’s premium coastal and cool climate growing areas. “It is our basic winemaking philosophy to work with great grape growers to develop the best fruit in the vineyard. We pick the grapes at optimal ripeness and gently process the fruit. In the winery, we are experimental with yeast strains and use different cultures for each variety. Our belief in the use of older French Oak barrels allows the varietal fruit of our wines to be expressed. We are committed to experimenting and learning new winemaking methods while preserving an old world approach.” - Richard Bruno & Chris Condos
Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.
Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.