Castle Rock Wines and California's Little Secret

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It’s not really a secret. There have been articles in the wine press about it. But it’s something California premium wine makers, marketing their products as exclusive and having limited availability, don’t want you to know about - there’s way too much wine made in California to support the elitist prices the better labels want to charge. I’m not talking about the mass-produced, mass-marketed labels that fill the grocery store shelves and the glossy magazines. I’m talking about very high quality wines from top-rated wine makers and estate-grown grapes.
     Back in 1994, entrepreneur Greg Popovich decided to do something about it. He teamed up with consulting winemaker August “Joe” Briggs to form the Castle Rock “winery” right in the heart of the beast...Napa, California. Together they select the best “juice” available from wineries in California and Washington’s Columbia Valley, then bottle it under the Castle Rock label at a very nice price. If you look carefully at the bottles, you will see the phrase “Cellared & Bottled by Castle Rock Winery, Geyserville, CA.” Very cleverly worded. This week we’re reviewing the various Castle Rock offerings we carry in the store and offering them to you at 20% off the very reasonable “line price” of $14.95 - just $11.96. That’s even more of a steal than usual.
 
Below is a description (from the Castle Rock website) of each wine.
Central Coast Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (100% Chardonnay, 100% French oak)
Our Castle Rock Chardonnay is made from grapes grown in some of the finest vineyards in California’s Central Coast region. Here the warm sunshine and cooling ocean breezes provide an ideal climate for growing Chardonnay grapes, which remain on the vine a full month longer than in other regions, leading to a characteristic depth of flavor. This elegant Chardonnay offers a rich, ripe and fruity character with a delicious blending of vanilla, pear, citrus and melon flavors, subtle oak undertones and a long, balanced finish. In any season this Castle Rock Chardonnay will complement most cuisines and is an especially pleasing accompaniment to fish, poultry and lightly sauced entrees.
 
Mendocino Zinfandel
Our Castle Rock Zinfandel is produced from grapes grown in Northern California’s beautiful Mendocino County where vineyards were first planted in the early 1860s. Here the headwaters of the Russian River carve a fertile and rugged landscape. The warm summers, cool springs, crisp falls and wet winters make ideal growing conditions for producing Zinfandel grapes. This medium-bodied wine has outstanding complexity and character with flavors of blackberry, raspberry and plums mixed with notes of pepper, spice and earth, leading into a soft and lingering finish. Our Zinfandel pairs well with foods such as grilled chicken, steak or lamb and most pasta dishes.
 
Monterey Pinot Noir
Our Castle Rock Pinot Noir is produced from grapes grown in Monterey County along the Central Coast of California, where the climate and soil quality provide excellent growing conditions for this Burgundian varietal. Here, the cooling air from Monterey Bay helps to produce a longer growing season for grapes, with extra grape-time on the vines leading to a characteristic depth of flavor in the wine. Our Pinot Noir is elegant and medium-bodied, offering aromas of cherry, tea and herbal spice. On the palate, the wine gives flavors of black cherry, plum and spice. It is smooth with a silky texture and mild tannins. This versatile food wine pairs well with lamb, chicken, veal, salmon and light pasta dishes.
 
Napa Cab (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot - Barrel Aged 18 months in 75% French, 25% American oak)
Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon is made from grapes grown in the Napa Valley, one of California’s most prestigious appellations, where the climate and soil conditions are perfect for this important varietal. This elegant fullbodied wine has a deep ruby color, has aromas of dark cherry and molasses, and is loaded with nuance and flavor. On the palate it gives flavors of black cherry, ripe plum and spice with hints of light oak. These flavors unite to form a long, smooth and harmonious finish. This wine makes an excellent companion to beef, lamb, venison, pasta dishes and most cheeses.
 
Columbia Valley Cab (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot - Barrel Aged 18 months, 100% French oak)
At Castle Rock Winery we produce our wines using the highest quality grapes from the finest growing regions on the western coast. Our Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon was produced from grapes grown on the beautiful south-facing vineyards in the prestigious Columbia Valley (Washington), which shares the same latitude as the Bordeaux region of France. To soften and add complexity, it has spent 18 months aging in French oak barrels. This full-bodied wine offers layers of concentrated flavors of cassis, blackberry, black cherry, and ripe plum, with a hint of light oak. All these flavors unite to form a long, smooth, and harmonious finish.
 
Columbia Valley Merlot (75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon - Barrel aged 18 months, 90% French, 5% Hungarian, 5% American oak)
This rich, medium bodied, complex wine offers layers of concentrated flavors of ripe berry and plum, mocha and spice, with a hint of oak. All of these flavors unite to form a long, smooth, and harmonious finish.

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