What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Native American Wine? Do you think it is a wine crafted from a flower like dandelion wine, or perhaps a type of distilled beverage like grappa? What if I told you the Cedar Band of Paiutes were crafting high quality wines with an extensive portfolio in Lodi, the 2015 Wine Enthusiast Magazine “Wine Region of the Year?” Do I have your attention?
A while back I was contacted by Twisted Cedar Native American Wines to share their story and offer media samples. I must say I was intrigued. My graduate school focus and thesis was on the Amerindian people of Latin America in the 16th to 18th centuries so I confess to having a soft spot in my heart for indigenous peoples and cultures of the world; add that to wines crafted in one of my favorite wine regions and I am an easy fish to catch. Shortly after responding to the email I received eight wines in a beautiful box from Twisted Cedar Native American Wines. Before I share my tasting notes with you I want to share with you a bit about the Cedar Band of Paiutes and Twisted Cedar Wines.
First here is how the Cedar Band of Paiutes describes themselves on the Twisted Cedar Wines web site:
The Cedar Band of Paiutes, located in southwest Utah, is one of five constituent Bands of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah. Our Paiute name is Suh’dutsing, which means Cedar, derived from the cedar tree that heavily populates our region. Our language is the Numic language, which relates to the Shoshone and Ute Tribes. Early Southern Paiutes were hunters and gathers and lived off the land close to water. Today, we have a total of 257 members enrolled in our Band and have approximately 2,137 acres of reservation land, which runs adjacent to the I-15 corridor about 8 miles south of Cedar City, UT.
Native Americans have been making wine long before they encountered western civilization. In all their tribes and languages they recognize themselves as people of the land. This does not come with a sense of ownership; rather it is their inherent belief in stewardship; therefore, they take extra steps to craft wines that consistent with their beliefs in sustainable farming, habitat protection and water management. Native American wine is blessed by the Elders. It is not just a beverage; it is “a tribute to the Great Spirit, Mother Earth, Father Sky and a proud people. It’s produced with the spirit of our ancestors and the hope for future generations.”
Having participated in several Lodi wine tasting events I am constantly impressed by Lodi wine growers sense of community, stewardship and sustainability. I do not know how the Cedar Band of Paiutes came to crafting their wines in Lodi but I believe it is a perfect fit for like values.
Respect for the land and sustainable farming practices are strong cultural beliefs held by the Cedar Band of Paiutes and our California winery partner. We build our business on respect for the land, responsible energy use, and a desire to make the best and most environmentally friendly wine possible. Unlike other farming practices, sustainable winegrowing is all encompassing in its approach. We are not only concerned with the health of the vineyard but its surrounding natural environment as well. Sustainable farming is the balance of environmental health, economic profitability and social equity.
We show our commitment to sustainability by having our wine certified sustainable through The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Wine Growing. The Lodi Rules are sustainable winegrowing standards that are designed to lead to measurable improvements in environmental health of the ecosystem, society and wine quality. To become certified, a third party organization examines the vineyards and practices to ensure we meet all requirements. Look for the Lodi Rules logo on our wines………enjoy!
2013 Moscato: 100% Muscat Canelli; golden yellow; highly viscous; sweet aromas of lychee, apricots, orange blossoms, and honeysuckle; lively on the palate, well-structured with elegant sweetness balanced with crisp acidity, mouth-coating medium finish;11.2% alcohol; SRP $12.95
2013 Sauvignon Blanc: 100% Sauvignon Blanc; soft gold; white peaches, melon, citrus, tropical fruit and grassy notes; zesty on palate with penetrating acidity and lingering, dry finish;13.2% alcohol; SRP $12.95
2012 Chardonnay: 89% Chardonnay, 7% Semillon, 3% Viognier, 1% Muscat Canelli; golden yellow; green apples, pears, nutmeg, toasted cedar; soft on palate, rich texture yet crisp acidity, long pleasing finish; aged for 10 months in 65% French and American oak and 35% unoaked create a well-balanced Chardonnay; 13.8% alcohol; SRP $12.95
2011 Merlot: 77% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 2% Sangiovese, 1% Petite Sirah; garnet with scarlet hues; vibrant red fruit of cherries, strawberries, cranberries and plums, with milk chocolate, vanilla and soft thyme; not complex wine but palate pleasing with well-balanced acidity and tannins; medium body, clean finish; aged for 18 months in French oak; 13.9% alcohol; SRP $14.95
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot; 13.9% alcohol; garnet; black cherries, plums, cranberries, spice notes, touch of tobacco; well-integrated flavors with round acidity and tannins, easy drinking, not complex, lingering, dry finish; aged 9 months in oak;SRP $14.95
2011 Zinfandel: 82% Zinfandel, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Teroldego, 7% Petite Sirah; deep violet; black fruit notes of black berries, black cherries, and plums, with spice notes and vanilla; lively palate with layers of flavors, round acidity, integrated tannins, lingering dry finish;14.5% alcohol; SRP $14.95
2013 Petit-Petite: 53% Petit Verdot, 47% Petite Sirah; inky dark purple with black hues; juicy aromas of black berry marmalade, black cherries, blueberries, and plums, with spice notes, candied violets, tobacco, cassis, and vanilla; big juicy wine with layers of flavors, round acidity, juicy tannins, full body, lingering mouth-coating finish;14.3% alcohol; 90pts Wine Spectator Best Buy! SRP $14.95
Twisted Cedar Wines are distributed in nineteen states. They are also available to order online on the Twisted Cedar Wines web site as well as other web sites throughout the US. I encourage you to visit their web site to learn more about the Cedar Band Paiutes and Twisted Cedar Wines, view their entire portfolio of wines and buy some wine for yourself.
My Song Selection: What better song to express the connection and commitment of Twisted Cedar Wines and the Cedar Band of Paiutes people to our beautiful earth!
Get your own bottles of Twisted Cedar Wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!