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Winning Wines from the SWE

No surprise, the most common question I field after tasting 100-ish wines at something like the Society of Wine Educator’s conference: What were your faves? Believe or not, a few stunners really do shine in my memory. Over the next couple of days, I’ll quickly highlight them here…

Stunner #1: 2012 Onesta Bechthold Vineyard Lodi Cinsault Rosé ($18)
Oh, yum. (No secret, I’m passionate about Rosé – you can read my most recent musings here.) This bright-strawberry-and-guava gem just rang to me; dry in the classic French style, it’s bright, juicy and boasts a remarkable creamy character I just found addicting.

Winemaker/owner Jillian Johnson is crafting her copper/pink Rosé mainly from Cinsault, a native French grape we don’t grow alot of here in the U.S. This fruit comes from the Bechthold Vineyard, in Lodi, CA, which was planted in 1886 – these 127 year old vines are probably the oldest Cinsault vines in the United States.

Onesta owner/wine maker Jill Johnson

Onesta owner/wine maker Jillian Johnson celebrating her Cinsaults.

Lodi is a warm-climate wine region roughly East of San Francisco and south of Sacramento, and deservedly famous for its Zinfandels and historic old vines. Based on this Rosé, and several other impressive Lodi wines tasted both at SWE and from my cellar (Turley’s zins are a favorite and a story for another day), I am already planning a Lodi visit in Spring of 2014. Given the small production of the Onesta Rosé, knocking on the winery door may be the only way to snag some – I’m soooo there.


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