The holiday season is upon us and with it comes hectic time of rush, rush, rush. I would like to challenge you to do something different this year. Really, a new way to approach the holiday season that will hopefully stay with you into 2016. I’d like us all to enjoy this holiday season with the “Italian art of living” attitude. This attitude has been explained to me by Italians as “living life every day in the moment, valuing your surroundings and the people in them, savoring delicious food, good company and exquisite wine.” Now doesn’t that sound like a great way to spend the holidays? I’m not going to leave you stranded with this thought. I am going to start you on the path of the “Italian Art of Living” with exquisite wine!
At this point you are probably expecting me to recommend Italian wine; however, Italians are not the only one to craft their wines in the spirit of the “Italian Art of Living.” Ferrari-Carano Vineyards also understand the importance of the “Italian Art of Living.” Don and Rhonda Carano are both second generation Americans who understand how to live life. Rhonda explains, “Italians approach life as art and our lifestyle reflects our love of wine, food, entertaining, gardens and music.” So this holiday season you can celebrate the season with great food, wine, music and art, surrounded by those you love and inspired by the “Italian Art of Living with wonderful Ferrari-Carano wines from Sonoma, California.
I was recently invited by the kind people at McCue Communications to participate in Ferrari-Carano’s #FCWinterWines virtual tasting featuring executive winemaker, mom and tri-athlete Sarah Quider. It was a wonderful tasting event that was well-run, educational and delicious. Here are my notes on the wines we sampled:
Ferrari-Carano 2012 Reserve Chardonnay: This wine was crafted of 100% Chardonnay from grapes cultivated 90% in Napa Valley Carneros Appellation and 10% Alexander Valley Appellation. Bright yellow in the glass; pears apples and crème brulee is met with cinnamon, caramel, and toasted graham crackers; round on the palate with mouth coating creamy texture that is balanced by round acidity living a lingering finish of cinnamon and graham crackers; cooperage: 47% new French oak, 53% older French oak; 14.5% alcohol. This wine offers an ideal texture and flavor profile to pair beautifully with all your holiday meals! SRP $38
Ferrari-Carano 2013 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: This wine was crafted of 100% Pinot Noir from grapes cultivated in Anderson Valley Appellation. Soft ruby; cherry black raspberry, cranberry and pomegranate were met with spice notes of all spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a pinch of savory herbal notes of thyme and dried rose petals; light and classy with an elegant mouth-feel, round acidity and delicate tannins that offer a lingering savory finish; cooperage: 37% new French oak, 63% older French oak; 14.4% alcohol. Another wine with a great flavor profile to pair to take you through fall through winter and met all your holiday wine needs. SRP $36.
Ferrari-Carano 2012 Tresor: This wine was crafted of all five Bordeaux grapes: 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 7% Malbec, 7% Merlot and 6% Cabernet France, cultivated from the best selection of grapes in their Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys, Sonoma County. Bright, deep ruby with soft purple highlights; Black cherry, blackberry, black plums, baking spice, licorice, percolating coffee, dark chocolate covered walnuts, and a faint hint of cedar cigar box. Decadent and bold on the palate with a mouth-coating acidity and persistent tannins creating a full body wine with a rich lingering finish. This wine was a mastery of wine making artistry, grapes are de-stemmed, hand sorted, transfer to stainless steel and oak tanks for 4 days cold soak prior to fermentation. After fermentation each tank is drained to 40% new French, American and Hungarian oak barrels and 60% old oak barrels, keeping each lot separate while the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation for 21 in cave again before being blended and bottled into this luxurious, decadent wine. 14.5% alcohol. SRP $52. An ideal meditation wine, perfect again for your bold red wine needs this fall all the way to spring. If have good self-control, buy a few bottles, enjoy some now and age some for even further enjoyment in the next 15-20 years!
All three of the wines were beautifully crafted, well-balanced, and perfect for winter meals or just sipping enjoyment. I chose to pair these wines with a variety of food over the course of a few days including: pumpkin ravioli with a browned butter sage sauce, tomato soup with grilled cheese and a delicious lamb gyros.
“The bottom line is quality without compromise. This is a commitment we feel is reflected in every bottle of our wine,” Don Carano
The fact that the winery’s name incorporates the word “Vineyards” is a deliberate way to empha-size that grape source and terroir play important roles in the final product. From a small, 30-acre plot of grapes purchased in 1979, to today’s 19 estate vineyards in six different appellations totaling over 1,500 acres, Ferrari-Carano owns some of the finest wine growing properties in all of California.
Our customized vineyard practices help the vines produce the best fruit possible, and in turn, the best wine possible.
Since 1985, Ferrari-Carano has been a leading producer of world-class, nationally-acclaimed wines. Vintage after vintage, the wines exhibit a remarkable consistency of style and elegance. Don and Rhonda Carano’s uncompromising commitment to quality and excellence is a reflection of their desire to produce memorable wines that enhance the pleasures of gracious entertaining.
Ferrari-Carano understands the importance the “Italian Art of Living” places on great wines and paired with delicious meals. Therefore, they offer an extensive pairing guide on their web site including mouth-watering recipes from appetizers to dessert all designed to pair with their wines.
It’s no wonder Ferrari-Carano crafts such lovely wines. They have great vineyards, winemaking team and philosophy. The grapes are happy from soil to glass. I strongly encourage you to visit the Ferrari-Carano web site to learn more about the winery, view their entire portfolio of wines, and order these wines and more for your fall and winter wine needs as well as year-round enjoyment!
My Song Selection: These Ferrari-Carano wines are smooth, classic and timeless. Slow down, grab a glass, invite some friends, make some great food, listen to great music and experience your own “Italian Art of Living” this holiday season!
Get your own bottles of Ferrari-Carano wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!