Mark Aselstine
November 20, 2013 | Mark Aselstine

#Winechat 11/20 We Host with Wesley Ashley Wine Sample

We're happy to be hosting #winechat tonight with a group of bloggers who received two bottles from Wesley Ashley Wines.  We're featuring these two wines, along with an Oregon Pinot Noir in our Special Selections Wine Club this month.

Instead of including newsletters in our sample shipments, we thought that simply adding our newsletter online....would make more sense as well as making the entire event more accessible for anyone who chooses to take part.

About Wesley Ashley: Only the grandson of two Baptist ministers could be brave enough to explore the question; does wine have a soul? Is the science of wine the most important aspect, or is there something intrinsic to specific wines, the sense of place that it comes from and some other incalculable quality that leads to some being better than others.   In this space, we don’t typically spend a ton of time talking about the people behind the brands but in this case Wesley Ashley is being pushed forward first and foremost by proprietor James Sloate who comes from an influential and successful background in real estate, into the wine industry for the first time. Wesley Ashley is named after his son (whose first name is his middle name) as well as his daughter and takes an interesting look at building a wine brand.  What you have in your glass are two interesting and unique looks into the Rhone varietals from Santa Barbara County, both of which should pair incredibly well with food.  Secondly, Wesley Ashley is making a series of keg wines, at lower price points, in compostable or recyclable containers, which are starting to make significant headway into restaurants in the east bay area of San Francisco.  I met Sloate at his urban warehouse which contains both the Wesley Ashley offices, as well as some of their storage and production facilities and came away impressed with both his passion for wine and his brand, while noticing immediately that this is a better funded winery operation than many startups we run into.  In any case, the wine is extemporary and deserves a space on your dinner table here in the near future.

Tasting Notes Cuvee Blanc: Stereotypical and enjoyable extremely aromatic Rhone white, only 250 cases of total production shows notes of pear, apricot and slight floral accents.  Creamy and silky texture, but enough backbone to give your mouth some warmth (one of the reasons we liked it with turkey).  Satisfying without length on the finish.

Tasting Notes Cuvee: Largely Grenache (75%), the classic strawberry flavors from that varietal are evident from the nose, to the palate.  There is also plenty of spice imparted from the Syrah and an innovative winemaking technique of fermenting the Syrah (20% of the final blend) and Petite Sirah (5%) together and allowing that fermentation to end while already in barrel, has left a nice mouth feel and some oak and vanilla flavors from the wood that you don’t normally have in Grenache.  If you’re someone wanting a Grenache with some more weight, this is a good bet and a good combo.



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