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Vinum Cellars Red Dirt Red GSM 2014

Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
  • WW89
14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This medium plum colored Rhone red blend is complex and layered with spicy aromas and flavors. Upon entry, this wine has dark, dry cherry notes and is backed with toasted, charred oak notes which transition seamlessly to a silky leather texture and then is wrapped in black cherry flavors. The wine finishes with spice rack flavors including cinnamon, clove, and cardamom.

This is a unique blend that yields a combination of flavors that is only possible with a blend. The Syrah is very juicy and supple with a silky texture; the Mourvedre is responsible for the earthy notes and then the wine finishes with spicy Grenache which seems to express black and/or white pepper notes.

Aside from just sipping on its own, this wine is a perfect pairing with traditional Cassoulet and does well with lamb kebabs over wild and basmati rice or with tabouli and hummus. If none of these are available try a skirt steak grilled and served with a chimichurri sauce.

Blend: 55% Syrah, 24% Grenache, 21% Mourvedre

Critical Acclaim

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WW 89
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
A fine example of red Rhône style wine, the 2014 Vinum Cellars Red Dirt Red GSM exhibits pleasing red fruit and dried leaves in its aromas and flavors. The wine's softness in the finish pairs it well with a mildly seasoned chicken stew. (Tasted: November 7, 2017, San Francisco, CA)
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Vinum Cellars

Vinum Cellars

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Vinum Cellars, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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Winemakers Richard Bruno and Chris Condos first met while students at UC Davis, bonding over their love for Chenin Blanc and other obscure grape varietals. They established Vinum Cellars in 1997 with their first vintage of Chenin Blanc and since then have expanded production to include different varietals from multiple California AVAs.

Their philosophy is that winemaking begins in the vineyard and thus they value their strong relationships with top California growers in key locations. The duo has long-standing relationships with growers in Napa, Sonoma, Clarksburg, Monterey and Paso Robles.

Paso Robles

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Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines 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.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

HNYVCSRDT14C_2014 Item# 355163