Although there are only a handful of wineries in Ventura County, California they are producing some seriously high quality wines. One such winery is Four Brix Winery, a collaboration of six longtime friends and passionate wine lovers. Karen Stewart, whose husband Gary Stewart is the wine maker, opened the Brix House tasting room for me one Tuesday afternoon to share the Four Brix wine portfolio with me. I will tell you upfront the wines were excellent! As you know the term “brix” measures how much sugar is contained in grapes. To play on this wine making word Four Brix winery is named after their four flagship wines representing different wine growing regions: Rhondezvous for France, Tempress for Spain, Zeductive for California and Scosso for Italy. Each of the European wine regions holds a special place in the hearts of the owners through their travel adventures. As you will notice from the pictures their labels are as unique and expressive as their wines. So let’s get to tasting….
Desirous 2012 Grenache Blanc: This wine offered an inviting bouquet and lively flavors of orchard and stone fruit with a touch of toasted almonds and a citrus zest; it was well balanced with round acidity; the grapes were grown in the Camp 4 Vineyards of Santa Ynez Vally in Santa Barbara County and aged in ½ American oak and ½ stainless steel; a lovely Grenache Blanc; SRP $26.
Smitten 2012 Viognier: This wine is 100% Viognier; offering orchard, tropical and stone fruit flavors with a touch of honeysuckle and a lemon custard finish that lingers on the palate; it is round and has a surprisingly nice acidity for a 100% Viognier; this wine underwent cold stainless steel fermentation; saw no oak; very nice; SRP $24.
Temptress 2010: This velvety purple wine was crafted from 85% Tempranillo, 8% Grenache and 7% Mouvedre in a Spanish Rioja style from California central coast vineyards; it was stunning in the glass and bold on the palate with concentrated dark berries, tobacco, Asian spices and dusty earth minerality finish that was round and lingering; well-structured acidity and tannins; very impressive; SRP $32.
Rhondezvous 2011: This Rhone-style blend was crafted from 47% Grenacha, 35% Syrah and 15% Mouvedre from Paso Robles sourced grapes; it poured a deep garnet with orange highlights and dazzled with beautiful aromas and flavors of bright red fruit, violets, tobacco, black pepper, and vanilla; it offered deep tannins with round acidity that filled the mouth and lingered on the palate for a beautiful finish; WOW!; SRP $40.
Meritage 2012: This Bordeaux blend was crafted from 64% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon using Paso Robles sourced grapes; it poured a deep inky violet into the glass and bursted out flavors of dark fruit, smoke, tobacco, black pepper and espresso with a licorice on the back of the tongue; no wilting flower here; it was reminiscent of an old dark wood panel study where pipe smoke lingered in the wood; dazzling and delicious; round in the mouth with well-structured tannins; $40.
Petite Sirah 2011: This wine was crafted from 100% Petite Sirah with grapes sourced from a single vineyard, Gold Hawk Vineyard in the Russian River Valley; it was dark violet in color and offered aromas and flavors of dark black and blue berries, tobacco, licorice, vanilla and black pepper; it was well balanced sexy wine that was robust yet velvety smooth on the palate with a pleasing earthiness; another winner; SRP $40.
Scosso 2011: This wine was crafted from 69% Sangiovese 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Merlot in a Super Tuscan style with grapes sourced from Paso Robles; this big fruit full body wine was dark garnet with violet highlights and offered a great fruit nose followed by flavors of concentrated berries, a touch of tobacco, espresso, spice and licorice; this is Four Brix #1 best-selling wine and it is not hard to see why; outstanding; SRP $40.
Zeductive 2012: This wine was crafted of 89% Zinfandel and 11% Petite Sirah with the Russian River Valley; this lush sexy wine put a lot on the table; deep dark violet in color with flavors of black berry jam, black raspberry compote, black pepper, dark chocolate, and licorice with dusty earth and damp underbrush; it was full of body and round in the mouth leaving nothing to the imagination it was properly named!; this big juicy Zin had round tannins with ripe round acidity leaving a well-balanced, well-structured wine that lingered pleasingly on the palate; this is Four Brix #2 best-selling wine; va-va-voom!; SRP $40.
As Karen shared these wines with me it was evident the amount of heart, soul, and passion she and the others have put into all aspects of Four Brix Winery. For example, she shared the stories of each wine and how they were named (like a loving mom talking about her children), Karen became emotional sharing the story of Scosso, which in Italian means “rider-less horse” and the history of the name regarding the Palio di Siena, a horse race held twice each year in the town of Siena, Italy. It was a moving story of history, family, culture and tradition of the beautiful people of Siena. I encourage you to read more about the Palio di Siena by visiting their web site.
Karen Stewart, “Our wines are near & dear to us and the result of several years of growing and improving our craft.”
At Four Brix there is always something going on. They source their grapes from grape growers, not wineries, but their full production facility is located at their winery. They are open Fridays 4-8 and Saturdays and Sundays 12-5 with a full calendar of fun events, tastings, concerts and educational opportunities to learn about making wine. They encourage you to stop by for a visit. They offer First Friday Food Trucks each month, pizza in the Brix house every weekend as well as many other fun events throughout the year. I strongly encourage you to visit the Four Brix web site to learn more about the winery, view their entire portfolio of wines and order some for yourself. My only regret from my time at Four Brix is that I did not buy some wine! It was all very high quality, I enjoyed every sip I had and would happily drink their wines again. I hope you will take time to explore Four Brix Winery.
My Song Selection: Karen Stewart told me Four Brix has an upcoming Johnny Cash event. I love Johnny Cash! Furthermore, it is a perfect fit because after all he is “the man in black” and so many of the Four Brix wines were dark, inky, brooding and mysterious. Therefore, the song I have chosen to pair with the wonderful wine tasting at Four Brix winery is Man In Black by Johnny Cash.
Get your own bottles of Four Brix Winery wines and let me know what song you would pair with them. Cheers!