Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Spelletich Family Wine Co. Releases

File these under the "samples I discovered while unpacking at our new house" label. I was sent three wines from Spelletich Family Wine Company last year and meant to write them up at that time but with the job, harvest, and moving to a new house all the samples were shuffled into boxes that went into the cellar. I've been slowly unpacking all those boxes and categorizing the wines since the move.

If you drink wine and live in California, chances are you know of the Spelletich Cellars label. I sold the wines with great success back in my retail days, they were always of high quality and priced competitively. In particular, I used to enjoy their cabernet sauvignon. Now, it would appear that the Spelletich family has expanded product lines with one called 3 Spells and one called Spellwine. As explained by the website "SPELLwine, created by Kristen Spelletich, characterized as “A Next Generation” brand produces around 2,000 cases annually, priced from $15-$20. The newest brand, 3 SPELLS, is our“3rd generation” wines, priced from $22-$30 range."

I was approached by the PR rep to try the Spelletich wines and ended up being sent three bottles. The 2009 3 Spells Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma Valley and 2011 3 Spells Chardonnay from Lodi, plus the 2009 Spellwine Chardonnay from Mendocino County. Unfortunately, none of the actual Spelletich Cellars wines were included.

2009 Spellwine Chardonnay Mendocino County ($25 retail)
Shows some reduction at first, as well as notes of lemon, struck match, and gun flint. As I swirled, a vegetal aroma came out. Swirling some more to get the reduction in check, I picked up a touch of cream and red apple. On the palate this is soft and smooth, with lemon and pear dominating. A subtle herb and melon thing kicks in, but it's barely there. Very simple and compact, without any layering or nuance. The finish wasn't that great for me, with a chemically aftertaste. 14.2% abv.

2011 3 Spells Chardonnay Lodi ($22 retail)
Smells much, much better than the Spellwine bottle. Ripe lemon, melon, and pears galore. Very fruity and expressive on the nose. The attack is quite soft and easy, like a wine made for sipping on the patio. It tastes low acid (it's Lodi, after all) but has tons of flavor. I found lots of apple and lemon plus a satisfyingly grapey thing. The finish a touch hot from the 14.2% abv, but that would easily be covered up if you served this with a white pizza or grilled shrimp.

2009 3 Spells Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley ($30 retail)
The bouquet takes me back to working retail in the early 2000's in California. Tons of oak in the form of spicy wood, vanilla, and cocoa. Beyond that likes plenty of black fruit - think cherries and blueberries - surrounded by some black pepper. At first I was worried that this might lack structure, but it doesn't. Firm, grippy tannins reign in the ripeness and even help temper the alcohol. It's a bit hot, just like so many 2000's era California cabs. That said, I think this could be enjoyed on the back deck with grilled burgers or ribs. The tannic finish really begs to pair with something smokey and charred. 14.5% abv.

After tasting these three wines, I gotta say that can't recommend that Spellwine chardonnay. However, I will suggest that if you enjoy bigger, lusher cabernet and chardonnay and spot the 3 Spells wines on the shelf, you give them a shot. Both 3 Spells wines I tasted will stand up to food and are well made, but are also a bit pricey at their retail listings. Knock $5-7 off the price of each and then we'll talk about QPR.

To learn more about the Spelletich Family Winery lineup, visit their website.

These wines were media samples for review purposes.

Beau Carufel

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