2004 Clautiere Vineyard Grand Rouge
Mission Codename: Rouge Agent
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Comb the Paso Robles region and secure a delicious and beautifully balanced red blend, worthy of our exacting Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Clautiere Vineyard
Wine Subject: 2004 Clautiere Grand Rouge
Winemaker: Terry Brady
Backgrounder: Paso Robles has long been regarded as a wine producing region that gives other California regions a run for their money. With a climate and soils that make for perfect growing conditions for grapes, it is no wonder. Winemakers in Paso are a somewhat unique breed, often declaring themselves to be the renegades of Cali wine – while delivering wines that are distinctive and delicious. Today’s wine lives up to the promise.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful deep garnet with a deeper heart of concentrated blackberry and soft pink-hued. When swirled, this wine has a dynamic bounciness to it that leaves behind two intriguing levels of chubby legs that move slowly down the glass
Smell – Earthy and intense, with aromas of blackberry bramble, dark plum, sweet cherry, blueberry and dusky dark cherry. These are all layered atop delightful aromas of subtle dark chocolate, clove and cinnamon
Feel – Wet and light weight, soft and slightly dry on the attack. Slowly, this wine unfolds in the mouth as a medium body is revealed as the wine gently coats the mouth and a slight grippiness is introduced. Well-structured tannins and a balanced acidity rounds out the feel, showing it’s food-friendliness
Taste – Dark and red fruits are delicious and finely balanced with beautifully integrated flavors of bright red cherry, soft plum, blackberry, softest oak and subtlest tomato stem with a hint of spice
Finish – Tender and flavorful at first, ultra long with lingering ripe blackberry and blueberry. Then, soft spice and a slightly earthy minerality overlaps as fruit flavors diminish and the finish dwindles down to the soft spice and flinty minerals
Conclusion – This is a fantastic red blend from our newest Paso favorite, Clautiere Vineyard! A delicious wine with a perfectly balanced fell and great acidity, we found ourselves discussing each small (and large!) sip at length. This discussion was supported – or, perhaps inspired – by the unusual varietals in the wine. The climate in Paso Robles allows for winemakers and growers to dabble in these unique varietals, giving us distinctive wines of depth and beauty. Please note that where some may tend to associate the region with robust or deeply extracted wines, today’s wine is a refined and balanced beauty with plenty of grace to go along with it’s great character. In other words, this delicious wine is a balanced treat.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Terry Brady
DATE OF BIRTH: October 8th
PLACE OF BIRTH: Sacramento, California
WINE EDUCATION: In the cellars of the legendary John Munch (Adelaida & LeCuvier) and Matt Trevisan (Linne Calodo) plus UC Davis Extension & seminars
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Making Clautiere wines since 1999
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Wine that works with food, is elegant and balanced – “European style with California fruit”
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Cabernet, Syrah and Rhone Blends
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: When my 2003 Cabernet got Best of Class ($20-$30) in the San Francisco Chronicle
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Double Golds and Best of Class on our Port, Mourvédre, Mon Beau Rouge (Rhone blend) in various judging competitions
WINEMAKER QUOTE: I grow and make world class wines because that’s what I want to drink
AGENT RED: Greetings, Terry. We are thrilled to be showing your beautiful Estate Grand Rouge today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today – and for the opportunity to show your great wine!
TERRY: You’ve picked a gorgeous wine to showcase for this sale – Grand Rouge could be called a “Super Rhone” since it’s a Rhone Blend with Cabernet. With 6 different varieties in the blend – Syrah, Cabernet, Counoise, Grenache, Mourvédre and Viognier – I was able to produce a wonderfully complex wine that drinks smoothly and has layers of flavor. All these varieties are from Clautiere Vineyard, a classic example of an Estate Wine that truly expresses our terroir.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
TERRY: Visiting Robert Mondavi’s winery in the early 1970’s when he just started his new state-of-the-art winery and being able to compare it to The Christian Brothers Winery with their huge redwood tanks (now the west coast Culinary Institute of America) – then drinking Cabernets from Napa since the 70’s.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
TERRY: Working for two vintages in the cellars of other winemakers, making Clautiere’s 2000 and 2001 vintages.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
TERRY: Style – elegant and balanced wine that complements food – I think of it as French style wine using California fruit.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
TERRY: Jim Yerkes – a long time winemaker/consultant from Napa who worked with me in the early years of Clautiere – impressed me with the importance of paying attention to every detail at each step of winemaking – growing, harvesting, processing, ageing, blending – each step is equally important but in the end having a passion for perfection must be the guiding principle.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
TERRY: 10 years
RED: Who do you make wine for?
TERRY: Claudine – my beautiful wife
RED: That sounds like the right answer! Tell me, what makes the Paso Robles region so special?
TERRY: Paso Robles is an amazing appellation for many reasons – huge temperature swings from day to night of 50 degrees, great soil, perfect sun. Clautiere Vineyard grows all of our fruit on sloping hillsides giving tremendous drainage of the roots and our soil is very rocky with a high level of chalky, calcareous content. I have several fossils from the ground here – ancient clam and oyster fossils that show the origin of the dirt we grow our grapes in.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
TERRY: Make sure you have a passion for it – its way too much work if you don’t
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
TERRY: Harvest 2009 – we picked our Viognier last Friday and today – September 9th, start with one of our Syrah clones.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
TERRY: Grand Rouge was developed as a signature blend to express our vineyard. We wanted a wine that would include all the grapes we were growing in the vineyard at that time, but we wanted it to be balanced and perfect. After considerable blending trials, we produced a blend of 36% Mourvédre, 27% Counoise, 24% Grenache, 6% Syrah, 5% Cabernet & 2% Viognier. Clautiere Vineyard makes wines exclusively from our vineyard where we currently grow 13 different varieties. We are a “single vineyard winery”.
RED: It’s all very impressive, Terry. What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
TERRY: New York steak (medium rare), bbq grilled onions, buttered corn on the cob and a classic Caesar Salad with generous amounts of parmesan cheese.
RED: Yum! Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
TERRY: The first time I made wine was in 1997 on the island of Madeira, Portugal from 100 year old vines that grow on our Quinta (estate) there. It was perfectly awful.
RED: What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
TERRY: Clautiere 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
TERRY: Drink what you enjoy and what appeals to your own taste – our palettes change over time and what we enjoy changes over time
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
TERRY: Chateau Lafite Rothschild – Pauillac – any vintage from 2004 to as old as you can find.
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
TERRY: Question: Where did the name Clautiere come from? Answer: Claudine and Terry, the owners of Clautiere Vineyard
RED: Very nice. Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
TERRY: Thanks to you Agent Red. Say hi to Agent White – we have an amazing Roussanne and Viognier. Terry Brady
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Clautiere Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.