Why Wines Taste Different from Year to Year

Have you ever wondered why you might love a particular Pinot Noir from 2013, but may not be as fond of the 2014? If so, you’re not alone.

The answer is complex, just like the winemaking industry. Having an understanding of these variations will give you a greater appreciation of just how much goes into making that 2013 vintage that you love so much.

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Why does a wine differ in taste from year to year?
There are an endless number of variables that can have an effect on how a particular year’s yield will taste. However, there are two main factors that winemakers can confidently rely on being ever-changing.

  1. Weather and climate
  2. Winemaker’s growing, harvesting and aging process

How Weather & Climate Affect Wine
There are countless variables in nature that can have a major impact on the outcome of grapes. There are a few main factors that winemakers must pay close attention to.

  • Precipitation. The amount and timing of rainfall directly impacts a winemaker’s end product. If there is too much rainfall around harvest time, vines will absorb water, diluting the grape and causing an imbalance in flavor. Growers are looking for just the right amount of precipitation before harvest.
  • The land the grapes are grown in (soil). The soil that grapes are grown in can have an astounding impact on wine. For example, grapes that are planted in rich, fertile soil with lots of moisture will often produce light and fruity wine. However, the same grapes planted on a hill-side with broken up, dry soil cause the vines to work harder to get nutrients. This produces a more robust wine with higher tannins.
  • Temperature. The temperature that grapes are grown greatly impacts what kinds of varietals should be grown in a given region. Some grapes flourish in moderate temperatures, while others grow best with warm days and cooler nights. And some grapes grow best in extreme heat (for example, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel).


How Winemaking Process Affects Wine
To make great wine, it’s crucial to have quality grapes. But, how the grapes are harvested and processed also has a considerable impact on the end product. Among many factors, three of the most important that winemakers must consider include:

  • The date of harvest. The exact time that grapes are picked has a much higher impact on the overall taste of a wine than you might think. If grapes are harvested earlier, the wine they produce will have a lower alcohol content and higher acidity. Conversely, if grapes are picked later in the season, there will be more sugar present, which translates to a higher alcohol content and less acidity in the wine. The goal is to pick grapes when acidity and sweetness levels are balanced.
  • Aging process. Wine is aged in either oak or steel. The result? Oak-aged wine is more traditional and produces natural aromas like nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon. Steel barrels produce a zestier, more refreshing wine, like Pinot Gris. Wine aged in steel barrels has become more common in recent years due to its value proposition (reuse of barrels, easier cleaning, more control over oxygen exposure).
  • When it was bottled and how it was stored. What might sound like a very simple step in the winemaking process is another critical phase that demands a winemaker’s planning and expertise. Exposure to oxygen can make or break a wine during this important step. Winemakers must walk a fine line between aging (good) and oxidizing (bad) wine. This means wine must be stored at the right temperature in properly sealed bottles. Other factors include keeping the wine in a dark, consistently cool space, minimizing movement and knowledge of what wines usually improve with age.

 

These, among many other factors, all contribute to why that 2013 Pinot Noir was so outstanding!

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Tips to Learning More About Wine

Whether you’re new to loving wine, or someone who has been tasting for years, there’s always more you can learn. However, the seemingly endless pages of fine wine at nice restaurants, hundreds of ways to describe wine, and varietals changing from year to year, can make wine education intimidating.

So, where do you begin?

In order to handle the wine list with confidence, discover what wine qualities you like, or simply expand your taste, we have a few ideas for you.

1. Get a wine-centric group of people to form a tasting group.

Glass in Hand 2Find a group of individuals who have the same interest in wine and plan to get together once or twice a month to taste and discuss preferences. Try to mix up the wines you are tasting to expose your palette to as many wine varietals as possible.

If you live near vineyards, have everyone meet at a winery’s tasting room (visit us at Regale!). The pourers will be able to enhance your depth of knowledge and bring new perspectives to your tasting group. They’ll be able to tell you more about each wine you taste, including where it was grown, how it was barreled, and how long it was aged, among other factors.

2. Find a favorite local wine bar. Get to know the staff. Become a regular.

Stop by the wine bar once or twice a week for a glass of wine. Become acquainted with their menu by trying different wines each time you visit. This will help you to identify characteristics that you like and dislike in wine.

3. Host a dinner party with a themed wine selection.

Pick a wine that you would like to know more about (for example, Pinot Noir). Have everyone bring a bottle of Pinot Noir so you can taste and discuss multiple bottles.

Cheers

Take it a step further.
To take your themed dinner party to another level, have everyone bring a Pinot Noir from a different region. This will allow you to draw comparisons between wines produced in different types of land and soils (like the Willamette Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains). Take detailed notes to assess your preferences and compare with your guests.

Regale-99_preview4. Taste frequently.

(Our favorite tip!) Take advantage of the resources you have around you. Find a good local wine shop and get to know the people who work there. Each time you buy wine, ask for one bottle that is full bodied and one that is light bodied.


5. Follow wine experts.

Pay attention to what the experts are doing. This will encourage you to branch out from wines you typically drink and allow you to find new wines you never knew you’d like.
To increase your knowledge of wine, your best bet is to experience as much as possible. Each of these tips will help you to do so, but keep in mind that the very best way you can learn is to taste.

In addition to making these tips part of your wine tasting routine, be sure to have a few good resources to reference. This will keep you on top of wine trends and ongoing education.

Some resources we like:

  • Calwineries.com – A guide to wineries in California with information about terrain, history and more.
  • WineSpectator.com – A leading wine resource, with information on just about anything you ever wanted to know about wine.

 

How knowledgeable are you about wine?

Take our wine quiz to see if you’re on your way to becoming a wine connoisseur!

Regale Wine

The world of wine can be intimidating. With so much information, regions and varietals to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to begin. A beginner wine connoisseur might know key differences between a red and white, but it’s also important to understand the nuances between all wine types and varietals. See how much you know with Regale’s first wine quiz.


Can you answer these 10 questions about wine and the growing process correctly?

  1. True or False? Grape vines are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves during winter months.
    • A – True
    • B – False
  2. When at a restaurant and a small amount of wine is poured to taste, the purpose is to:
    • A – Confirm if you like the wine
    • B – Make sure the wine is not spoiled
    • C – Give the person who ordered the first taste
  3. Why should you drink dry wines before sweet wines?
    • A – To prevent dry wine from seeming overly dry
    • B – To create a “dessert” effect at the end of tasting
    • C – To have a full-bodied taste
  4. How long does it take newly planted grapes to bear fruit worthy of winemaking?
    • A – The following harvest season
    • B – About 3 – 5 years
    • C – About 15 years
  5. What is the difference between red wine and white wine?
    • A – Red wine is harvested later and therefore darker in color.
    • B – Red wine is made from a different kind of grape.
    • C – When red wine is produced, the skins of the grapes are left inthe wine during fermentation.
  6. Which of these wines is usually a little sweet?
    • A – Sauvignon Blanc
    • B – Chardonnay
    • C – Riesling
  7. Which of these red wines is commonly described as a little spicy or peppery?
    • A – Syrah/Shiraz
    • B – Cabernet Sauvignon
    • C – Pinot Noir
  8. What gives champagne its effervescence (bubbles)?
    • A – Champagne is aged in a steel barrel.
    • B – Bubbles are added during bottling for taste.
    • C – Champagne goes through a second fermentation process (usually with yeast and sugar).
  9. What word describes the apparent weight of a wine in your mouth (light, medium or full)?
    • A – Body
    • B – Tannin
    • C – Aroma
  10. What is the ideal temperature to serve red wine?
    • A – 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit
    • B – 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit
    • C – It varies depending on the body of the wine.

• Scroll Down for Answers •

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How did you do?

  1. True – grape vines lose their leaves in the winter. (10 points)
  2. B – Taste is poured before serving to make sure the wine is not spoiled. (10 points)
  3. A – Drink dry wine before sweet wine so wine doesn’t seem overly dry. (10 points)
  4. B – 3 to 5 years for newly planted grapes to be worthy of winemaking. (10 points)
  5. C – When red wine is produced, the skins of the grapes are left in wine during the fermentation process. (10 points)
  6. C – Riesling is usually a little sweet. (10 points)
  7. A – Syrah/Shiraz is commonly described as spicy or peppery. (10 points)
  8. C – Champagne is effervescent due to its second fermentation. (10 points)
  9. A – Body describes the apparent weight of a wine in your mouth. (10 points)
  10. C – The ideal temperature to serve red wine varies depending on the body of the wine. (10 points)

5 Reasons to Have Your Wedding at Regale winery and Vineyards

1. The Foliage
It’s true that the most beautiful thing at a wedding is always the bride, but Regale’s multicolored array of flowers, towering trees, and greenery will only serve to complement and enhance her beauty. Your wedding photos will have the look of an Italian destination wedding without the cost. An added bonus: It’s virtually impossible to take a bad wedding photo when you’re surrounded by a gorgeous background.

2. The Bride’s Dressing Suite

The second-story room in our villa is the perfect spot for a bride and her attendants to get ready. It’s quiet, private, and has its own bathrooms and bar. With a working fireplace and an Italian fresco mural, it’s a lovely backdrop for any pre-wedding photos of the blushing bride and her ensemble, a first look reveal, or a touching mother-daughter moment.


3. The Romance
The Italians are known for their passion, and we’ve successfully captured that passion with our Tuscan-themed grounds. You’ll be swept away by our intimate garden vignettes, rich greenery and flowers, sparkling fountains, and open-air dining areas. These features are the perfect recipe for a romantic, memorable wedding that your guests will still be talking about years later.
4. The Weather
The weather in the Santa Cruz Mountains region is reliable and mild. Your guests will be able to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful surroundings during your ceremony without the threat of a sudden downpour.

 

5. Our Flexibility 
We understand there’s a lot of pressure to get everything just right for your wedding day. That’s why we only work with premier local caterers and DJs. And for the brides who are feeling overwhelmed, we can provide you with a list of trusted, reliable photographers, florists, bakers, and other vendors. No matter who you choose to work with, you can rest assured your wedding will be in good hands.
table set up and fireplace
If you’re interested in celebrating your special day at Regale Winery and Vineyard, visit our wedding page and full out an inquiry form for more information. You can also see more pictures of Regale weddings on Pinterest and Instagram.

 

Meet Rosie & Sangiovese

Our expert vintners are dedicated to the fine art of making wine. But they wouldn’t be able to fully devote themselves to their craft if they didn’t have some behind-the-scenes help from two of our most important employees: Rosie and Sangiovese!

Rosie 2.1

Rosie and Sangiovese (who prefers the less formal Sangio) help keep things at Regale running smoothly. Their most important job is patrolling our vineyard and chasing away unwanted pests.

Of course, vermin population control isn’t their only duty. Rosie and Sangio also have many important administration tasks, including napping on keyboards, napping in the middle of the office floor, napping on laps, and some occasional light filing.

Rosie

Rosie, the more outgoing of the pair, is a pretty little thing. Her white and grey coat is accented with soft, sunset-orange markings. She’s also quite the charmer. You can often find her meowing for pats and attention. In her spare time, Rosie loves “collecting” bugs and lizards (which she wants to share, much to our dismay).

While Sangio is more shy and reserved, he’s still a very handsome boy with a coat of grey and tabby markings. He also has quite the appetite and can sometimes be coaxed over with the promise of food. On his braver days, Sangio will visit us in the office to make sure everyone is doing their work and staying on task.  Sangio 1.jpg

If you’re interested in meeting Rosie and Sangio (and maybe even tasting some of our delicious wine!), visit our website tasting page for days, times and details.

The Santa Cruz Mountains: An Ideal Location for Growing Grapes.

At Regale Winery and Vineyards, we’ve built our core winemaking values on honoring the traditions of those before us: To always question and innovate. We push ourselves to transcend the everyday and create wines that are extraordinary.

When you visit our winery and take that first sip, you experience not only the fruits of the labor of our master winemakers, but also the labor and experience of our vintner forefathers, who first settled in the Santa Cruz Mountains in the late 1700s.Regale Pouring Wine

The history of winemaking in the Santa Cruz region spans over 300 years. It began when the priests at the Santa Cruz Mission planted grapes that were “rough and hardy – and made terrible wine.”[1]

It wasn’t until the 1850s that the Santa Cruz Mountains region revealed its true potential — some of the most influential pioneers in California’s winemaking history sought to seed the land with grapes of a much higher quality than their unrefined ancestors.[2] Early vintners included John Burns, John and George Jarvis, Charles Lefranc, Paul Masson, and John Stewart,  men who all made substantial, lasting contributions to the growth and success of the region’s commercial wine industry.[3]

But of all the places to build a winery, why would winemakers choose the Santa Cruz Mountains? Minimal rain, warm weather that encourages and accelerates ripening, and soil that is “fertile, alluvial and loamy in nature” are the key elements responsible for the success of the region’s wineries.[4]

Jon Bonné, former wine editor and chief wine critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, poetically describes the region’s influencing factors thusly:

The mountains are sliced in half by the San Andreas Fault. The North American Plate’s sandstone and Pacific Plate’s uplifted ocean floors are constantly grinding. The result? An utter jumble of shallow, rocky soils, not unlike portions of the Sonoma Coast.

Two converging climates are also at work — cool moderating influences of the ocean to the west, and a similar, if warmer, influence from San Francisco Bay to the east. Slightly warmer sites can ripen a subtle style of Cabernet, while delicate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive nearby.[5]

Wine Bottles

Santa Cruz wineries benefit from these ideal growing conditions. Winemakers aren’t at the mercy of unpredictable weather or stingy earth. This allows wineries to become “a perfect laboratory for winemaking not held hostage to fashion.” Santa Cruz’s vintners are free to stretch their wings and create wine that is intriguing and able to stand on its own merit, avoiding what Bonné describes as the wine industry’s “steroidal tendencies of the past 20 years.”[6]

The verdant, yielding land of the region, combined with indulgent weather, allows us to handcraft batches of remarkable wines every year. The grapes from our estate-grown Pinot Noir vineyard and other exceptional local vineyards give birth to wines that stand apart from the rest with finesse, provocative personality, and balanced acidity.

January Vines

We produce some of the finest Californian wine available, yet many wine connoisseurs and experts feel Santa Cruz wineries are overlooked compared to Napa and Sonoma.[7] This is the perfect opportunity for wine lovers to delight their palates with something new. Make the relaxing, scenic drive to Regale Winery and experience the charm of Old World wine country, tucked away in the mountains of Santa Cruz.

If you’re ready to taste all that Regale Winery and Vineyards has to offer — including Pinot Noir, Cabernet, and our popular Chardonnay — visit our website tasting page for days, times and details.

 

[1] Stacey Vreeken, “Uncorked: Vines to wines — History of grape growing in Santa Cruz County,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, Aug. 27, 2012.
[2] Ibid.
[3] CA Corks, “Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains.”
[4] Matthew Citriglia, “Bordeaux vs. California Cabernet — Why They Should Never Be Compared!” Winegeeks.com.
[5] Jon Bonné, “Santa Cruz Mountains wines reach a peak, quietly,” San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 28, 2010.
[6] Ibid.
[7] CA Corks, “Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains.”

Taking Team Building to the Next Level

We’ve all been to the corporate event with the scavenger hunt or the escape room. And if we’re being honest, it’s not the most exciting day on the job. At Regale Winery, team building activities are planned with a goal of creating a memorable and fun experience for employees; one that is unlike the corporate “puzzles” or “challenges” of years past. The beautiful, Tuscan-inspired vineyard is the perfect location for participants to enjoy fine wine and craft food with a genuine, rewarding bonding experience. The range of activities offers something unique for everyone, no matter the group dynamic.

From wine blending to grape stomping, you can pick and choose from a number of options to create the ultimate, customized corporate experience at Regale. In addition to the variety of activities, there are multiple event spaces to choose from on Regale’s stunning grounds, one of which is sure to fit your needs.


What kind of team building experience are you looking for?


If you’re looking for a relationship-building experience, you should try:

2017_regale_aroma_teamBlind Tasting: The good news is, there’s no need to be a wine expert in this challenge. Regale will test the group’s knowledge of different varietals under the guidance of one of our wine specialists. Individuals or teams work to identify wine varieties based on three basic senses: taste, sight and smell. Each member of the winning team receives two passes to a member-area tasting.

 

Grape Stomping Platform

Grape Stomping: Take a step back in time and experience the art of grape stomping. Find out which team can collect the most grapes and stomp out the most grape juice. Teammates will work through clues and challenges to gather grapes for their barrel. Grapes can also be won at the wine bottle ring toss, a hole-in-one putting competition and by figuring out answers to the wine trivia game. Continuous wine service is sure to break the ice during this challenge!

*Available late April through September.


If your team is very competitive, you should try:

engineeringCork Engineering: We all live in a digital world, but occasionally it’s worth getting back to the basics. In cork engineering, each team is given a supply of corks and rubber bands and is challenged to build the tallest cork tower.

Sports Package: With a wide variety of game options, including an in-house bocce ball court, badminton, Ping-Pong, cornhole, horseshoe and Giant Jenga, your group is going to get their game on. Break into teams for a healthy dose of competition amongst each other.

2017_regale_sports_pong

 Wine Trivia: New to wine? Not a problem. Learn the fundamentals of wine and the outstanding wine regions of California through Wine Trivia. Individuals will break into teams to get a basic understanding of wine terminology, where wine comes from and how to best taste them. Participants will then need to work together to come up with the best answers for each question. A Regale wine expert will reveal answers and award a winning team.


If you’re looking for an employee appreciation experience, you might consider:

Wine Blending: Become a winemaker for a day! Teams work together to develop a winning Bordeaux-style blend from traditional varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Beakers and graduated cylinders are used to create original concoctions, tasting blends as they go.

2017_regale_profile_stationSignature Black Glass Tasting Experience: If you couldn’t see the wine you were tasting, do you think you could tell if it were red or white? Put your senses to the test by sampling wine from a line of black glasses for varietal secrecy. A Regale wine expert will guide individuals through the experience to help describe and analyze flavors and aromas. Using your sense of smell and taste, you’ll try to identify what varietal you’re enjoying.

 
If you’re ready to take your corporate event to the next level, schedule a visit with our events team and see firsthand how unique and memorable your experience can be.

 

Weddings at Regale

Inspired by Italian landscapes and Old-World villas, Regale Winery and Vineyards provides an opportunity to share the relaxed and sophisticated lifestyle that surrounds the production of wine in celebration of your wedding. Imagine saying your “I Dos” in the formal gardens, surrounded by lush greenery with fountains, olive trees and a bocce ball court complete with a view of the mountains. This space is perfect for an outdoor ceremony under the clear Californian sky. For your reception, you can utilize the gardens, in conjunction with the Outdoor Bar and Courtyard, which includes a covered portico with large granite tasting bar and a neighboring wood-fired pizza oven. The orchard patio offers another gorgeous outdoor space complete with market lights, trellised grape vines, and a luxurious reclaimed wood barn backdrop perfect for an outdoor reception. For a romantic and welcoming indoor affair, the second floor dining room features a vaulted travertine ceiling, Italian fresco paintings, Venetian plaster, and ornate fireplaces to create an old-world Tuscan atmosphere. The room opens onto a heated, open-air terrace with breathtaking views of the coastal range and our formal gardens. End the evening with dancing in our spacious barrel room against a backdrop of wine barrels.

 Balcony Bride Close

Regale is a truly unique, exclusive venue designed to reflect old world wineries in Italy & France.  Our lovely Italian fountains, ornate gardens, olive orchard & vineyard offer an unforgettable setting for your event.

Regale Facade      Fountain

Formal Gardens

Lush gardens with fountains, an olive orchard, open lawn space and a bocce ball court complete with a view of the mountains is a beautiful outdoor ceremony location.  For your reception following the ceremony, utilize the gardens in conjunction with our outdoor bar and courtyard which includes a covered portico with large granite tasting bar and a neighboring wood-fire pizza oven.

May-October: 100 guests maximum capacity

Novemebr-April: 75 guests maximum capacity

Bocce Bride

Ceremony Set Pano

Ceremony Reverse

Executive Dining Room/Bride’s Dressing Room

This second-story room in the villa has a working fireplace and an Italian fresco mural as well as its own private bathrooms and bar.  A beautiful space for a pre-dinner reception or a palatial bride’s room.

May-October: 100 guests maximum capacity

Novemebr-April: 75 guests maximum capacity

    Executive Dining Room Reception with Doors Executive Dining Room Reception

Bride Behind Bar

Bride Staircase     Bride Window

Veranda

This second-story enclosed veranda overlooks our formal gardens and is accessible via an exterior staircase and elevator or through the executive dining room.  This beautiful space, protected from the elements, is perfect for a reception, small seated dinner, or covered ceremony.

May-October: 100 guests maximum capacity

Novemebr-April: 75 guests maximum capacity

      Veranda ReceptionVeranda Balcony Bride

Barrel Room

Our barrel room is complete with cocktail seating and opens into the adjoining tasting room creating the perfect space for dancing after dinner, or can be utilized as a cozy interior space for meetings or dining in case of inclement weather.

May-October: 100 guests maximum capacity

Novemebr-April: 75 guests maximum capacity

Barrel Room Corner   Barrel Room Head Table

Barrel Room Pano

Orchard Patio

Our orchard patio is highlighted with trellised grape vines and fruit trees, a romantic setting for outdoor dining. The space is complete with market lights, built-in sound systerm for music or microphones, and a granite bar in a rustic barn accented with reclaimed wood.

May-October: 100 guests maximum capacity

Novemebr-April: 75 guests maximum capacity

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Photos by B. Wild Photography & Francesca Penko
Rentals by Williams Party Rentals

How-to: Blind Wine Tasting

Here at Regale, we love parties – Fresco Croppedespecially one with a good icebreaker, and, even better, something involving wine!  Might we suggest incorporating a little blind wine tasting to your family gathering, game night, company team building, or throwing a whole party aimed at getting your guests interacting with a fun blind tasting.  It will get people thinking, comparing notes, and most importantly… talking! If you are looking for a gorgeous locale as a bonus, come visit us for a private event at Regale and have a blind tasting hosted by one of our wine specialists.  It make your party an event to remember and is great to add to an offsite as a team building activity!

A How-To for a Blind Tasting Party:

The Setup

  1. Gather three-five bottles of wine (definitely throw a Regale bottling in there!) – ideally single varietal bottles from different regions and vintages. Alternatively guests can each bring a favorite mystery bottle to share.
  2. Cover and number your bottles – for our team building events at Regale we have snazzy burlap blind tasting bags printed with numbers, but you can use brown paper bags, decanters, or even wrap your bottles in aluminum foil! Remember- a bottle’s shape can be a cue towards the varietal, so keep this in mind when selecting how to disguise the bottle if your guests are wine savvy.
    IMG_1252    Blind Tasting
  3. Provide tasting cards so your guests can take notes and eventually submit their guesses.  Decide if you want to provide a key of the different offerings or leave them completely in the dark.Lepori_0383

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As guests are tasting, you can sound like an expert by reminding them of…

The Three Steps to Blind Tasting:

  1. Consider the appearance for maturity and other cues
  2. Consider the aroma for varietal cues
  3. Consider the mouth for taste, body, finish, overall quality

Step 1: Appearance – Color and Opacity

  • What color is the wine? Whites gain color as they age, reds are most vibrant when young and fade or take on a more brick color with an orange or brown hue.
  • How opaque is the wine? Can you read text through the wine or is it so opaque that light barely comes through it?

Step 2: Aroma – Smell and Physical Indicators

  • 1st Sniff – Does it remind you of varietals you have tasted in the past?
  • Shirt sniffs vs. long draws; swirling for aeration
  • Think about the descriptors:
    • F – Fruit
    • E – Earth
    • W – Wood
  • Physical reaction – Acidity (salivation), tannin (bitterness), alcohol (heat)

Step 3: Mouth – Taste, Texture, and Finish

  • Body – Light-medium, medium-full, full:
    • Pinot Noir                            Light to Medium
    • Sangiovese                           Light to Medium
    • Cabernet Franc                   Medium
    • Barbera                                 Medium
    • Zinfandel                              Medium
    • Merlot                                   Medium to Full
    • Malbec                                  Medium to Full
    • Syrah                                     Medium to Full
    • Petite Sirah                          Full
    • Cabernet Sauvignon          Full
  • Is the wine balanced?
  • Dry, off-dry, or sweet?
  • Alcohol – Prominent (riper/warmer region) or balanced (cooler climate region)
  • Tannins, if any- how heavy?
  • Length – Short, medium, or long (acidity and complexity)

Conclusion

  • What varietal could it be? Use your past tasting experiences and memory.
  •  Are there any varietals you can rule out?
  • The important part is the journey to reach a conclusion – don’t worry too much about the final guess!

The more you practice, the better you get – so cheers to that!

What’s so ‘Super’ about that Tuscan?

It is a matter of much debate who was the first to coin the now trendy moniker, although their origins are mostly attributed to the hallmark wines Tignanello and Sassicaia beginning in 1974, both marketed by Antinori. What is more clear about the history of these lovely wines is that Super Tuscans originated in Italy as wine estates aimed to make higher quality wines that didn’t necessarily fit the strict legal regulations in place for wine production as set out by the DOC.

It is hard to imagine in the relaxed landscape of California where we have some general laws about labeling appellation or varietal but otherwise are relatively free to experiment, blend, and proprietarily name to our delight. In Italy the DOC regulations mandated everything from which varietals could be grown in which regions including the strict percentages in which they must be blended (like the inclusion of white grapes in Tuscan red wine!), to precise accepted levels of alcohol, acidity, and extract as well as establishing viticultural regulations such as restrictions on yield and specific winemaking practices. These laws preserved the practices of low quality and high quantity. Wine estates that dared step outside the box were relegated to the lowest generic label of Vino da Tavola (or table wine) that had been historically the mark of bulk swill. These quality wines changed the ideology by wearing Vino da Tavola as a badge of honor, which began a revolution in Tuscan estates. With the goal of creating wines of more depth, intensity and body, estates began the previously unthinkable use of French oak barrels and blending with international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Regale Winery Super TuscanOur Regale Super Tuscan calls to mind that focus on quality that is present in all Regale Wines, and pays homage to the producers who dared to step outside the expected boundaries of the time. In classic Tignanello style, our Super Tuscan is a blend of predominantly Sangiovese with a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon. While we didn’t trek to Italy, our Super Tuscan grapes were sourced from the Napa Valley on the lower end of the Silverado Trail. With a smoky, earthy nose, ripe cherry and currant on the palate and a rich tannic finish, this wine definitely represents what you would expect from a classic Super Tuscan.

Now that you know a little more about the history of Super Tuscans, come taste at Regale to see just how super a Super Tuscan can be!