As I am unpacking the last of the three wines that we received from “A Taste of Monterey” I am always interested, naturally to see the wines. I also enjoy reading the enclosed newsletter and the lead article is “To Blend or Not to Blend.” There was a side bar article on Sauvignon Blanc and another one was on the cheese Raclette. There was also an interesting recipe for Prawns Sambuca, where the dish will undergo a step known as flambé, but the recipe does not mention if it is White or Black Sambuca, but since the dish calls for Chardonnay, I will presume that it is the White. The other thing that amazes me, each time I get a shipment of wine, is the packing used. Originally alll wines were shipped in wooden crates, so the odds of the crates being flung around was rather limited, but then I think of how large the cartons and the Styrofoam pockets that I had to purchase years ago, when I had to ship “olive oil” from California to the felony State of Michigan. Now I just marvel at these engineered pressed “cardboard” containers that will adapt to most of the classic wine bottle shapes, and as of yet, I have not had one damaged carton, knock on wood.
The last wine in the carton is a bottle of Folktale Winery and Vineyards Le Mistral Joseph’s Blend 2017. Folktale Winery and Vineyards was originally founded in 1982 by Bob and Patty Brower, as Chateau Julien Wine Estate and they wanted to replicate their wine experiences in France to the Carmel Valley. In 1996 they expanded the property and structures to ensure that they were making great wines, and my Bride and I visited Chateau Julien each time we had holidays in Carmel-by-the-Sea. In 2015, the property was purchased by local winemaker, Gregory Ahn, and renamed Folktale Winery and Vineyards; and as a side note, from what I gather the label Chateau Julien is still property of the Brower family. The five-acre vineyard at the winery is one-hundred percent organically farmed, and they are working towards this goal in the three-hundred acres in the Arroyo Seco that they maintain. The winemaking team is led by David Baird who focuses on the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes that produce great wines in the area.
David Baird also works on his Rhone varietals for Folktale’s Le Mistral brand, which was founded in 1992 and named for the Mediterranean wind. Joseph’s Blend is a single vineyard blend from the Arroyo Seco vineyard. The wine is sixty-four percent Grenache, thirty-three percent Syrah and three percent Petite Sirah. The wine was aged for eleven months in a mix of French Oak barrels, with just over nine-hundred cases made and an aging potential of ten to twelve years. The winemaker strove to create a wine big enough to stand up to food or elegant enough to drink on its own. With the grapes used, it is no wonder that the tasting notes call for notes of cherry and raspberry, black pepper, Herb de Provence and a finish of vanilla and crème Brulee. Since the wines of the Rhone were some of the original wines that I enjoyed as a teenager, because they were priced so well, is it any wonder that I am always interested in trying “California Rhone” wines.