This month, Wine Blogging Wednesday returns to it’s founder, Lenn Thompson of Lenndevours for a little twist on drinking locally. Lenn charged us to not only drink wines that are made locally, but rather to DRINK them locally, vis a vis at a winery. Well, I took it an extra step. As I had a wine adventure to the Sideways Land planned with some friends, I thought I’d tell you about the shining beacon of hope in an otherwise rained on my parade weekend.
The Curran Collection of wines has a tasting room in Lompoc the Danish village of Solvang, but they make their wines in a small shared use space on a ranch that grows grapes, veggies, and legends. Kris Curran, half of D’Alfanso-Curran, got her start at Cambria but really cut her teeth at Seasmoke where she shined as a superstar winemaker. In 2008, she left Seasmoke for Foley Estates, and also focuses on her Curran label. Kris has the distinction of being the ONLY person who is allowed to call me Precious. Yep, that’s right – she named me Precious after the first 5 minutes, and we hit it off like mozzarella and crust for the next 3.5 hours.
The other half of the team is Bruno D’Alfanso, who was instrumental in making Sanford a powerhouse in the Santa Rita Hills wine scene. Bruno started at Sanford in 1983, and left when Sanford was cold to a corporate interest. Personally, I’m glad to see him using his talents on his own wine! Now, he’s making D’Alfanso and Badge wines in partnership with Kris at Trio VintnersTasting Room, their name for the three labels they are producing.
We were greeted with the Curran Grenache Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley, 2007. This spicy little number was an amazing departure from the more well known Chardonnays of the region, and was impressive. The crispness of the fruit was fermented in stainless steel,and carries a lot of citrus fruit, baked apples, and spice. It wasn’t heavy but it wasn’t as acidic as a Sav Blanc and was just delicious. This was the wine we went back to and kept opening as we chatted the early evening away and is a MUST BY at $22.
Next, we moved on to the most beautiful dark salmon-colored rosé, the Curran Grenache Gris, Santa Ynez Valley, 2007. Here’s a fun little factoid about Grenache. Did you know there are actually three Grenache grapes? There are three color related varietals: Noir, Blanc, and Gris. The Noir is what you would typically find as a Grenache red wine, while the Gris actually produces the pink juice, as opposed as a sagniee method rose where the juice is bled off or fermented on the red skins. This crisp rose had a ton of tropical fruit and melon flavors, with a hint of roses. It was a meaty rose with bold blood orange flavors. I loved this wine. I’ve been drinking a lot more rosé lately, and this one is a MUST BUY as well, at $22
I confess, at this point, I was having a blast and the last wine I will review will be the Curran Black Oak Reserve Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley, 2005. This wine really developed in the glass and was a velvety dark wine, with tons of plum and fig fruit. This is a STRONG BUY, only because it’s $38. However, the quality of this wine deserves the price, and I would buy it again.
Overwhelmingly, I am impressed by how approachable Kris and Bruno are. They truly are a power couple, and are simply lovely, funny, irreverarant, REAL people. I’m sure they’ll appreciate my stalker love 😉 The fact that they maintain an affordable price point between $20-40, when they could be $30-70 easily just drives the point home that you don’t have to charge cult prices for cult wines.
You can find Curran at the source, but also at K&L in NorCal and Woodland Hills Market in SoCal.