Paradigm Winery

Paradigm Winery

Paradigm Winery  

(par’ – a – dime) noun. An example that serves as a pattern or model. A pattern for perfection…

Paradigm Winery, located in the Oakville appellation of Napa Valley, handcrafts small quantities of estate-bottled red wine. We’re known for our Merlot and our Cabernet Sauvignon, though we also produce a tiny amount of Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc. Regardless of the varietal, our wines are a rich expression of the vineyard we’ve been farming now for twenty-nine years.

Paradigm Winery is owned and managed by Ren and Marilyn Harris, two winegrowers with extraordinarily deep roots in Napa Valley. Marilyn’s grandparents immigrated from Italy to Napa Valley in 1890, while Ren’s family came to California in 1769. Marilyn and Ren purchased Paradigm Vineyards in 1976, and began producing wine with the 1991 vintage. Since that first vintage, the wines have been made by renowned winemaker, Heidi Peterson Barrett. Heidi’s father, Dick Peterson, was instrumental in laying out and designing the winery.

2009 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, OAKVILLE

paradigm cabernet

The highly touted 2009 vintage produced big, lush, fully ripe wines that are well balanced and worthy of aging. Our ’09 Paradigm Cab has dark garnet color with a black cherry, berry, and cedar aroma. While big, ripe and rich, the wine shows power and a silky, smooth texture. Tannins are structural and should help this wine last several decades. Flavors are layered from this Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot blend. Explosive, ripe fruit flavors marry with toasty French oak, moderate textural tannins, and good length. It is destined to be a classic vintage.

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Cobb 2008 Rice-Spivak & 2006 Emmaline Vineyard Pinot Noirs

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Cobb Pinot Noir Rice-Spivak Vineyard 2008

The Vineyard

This 6-acre vineyard is owned by Russell Rice and his wife, Dr. Helene Spivak. It is a few miles further inland than Cobb Wines’ other vineyards, but still influenced by the Pacific Ocean to the west. The soil is the Goldridge sandy loam found around much of this part of Sebastopol, California. However, extensive volcanic activity in the region’s past has laced the soil with an unusual amount of ash. This unique soil composition, together with a northern exposure, and the distinct varieties of Dijon and Swan pinot noir planted here, produce a characteristically aromatic, complex wine. Rice-Spivak is farmed by Cobb Wines’ longtime vineyard crew, and is the source for the Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir. These distinctive clones are planted in an unusual mix of sandy loam and volcanic ash. 450 cases made.

Tasting Notes

Winemaker’s notes: Aromas and flavors of high-toned fruit including raspberries, Bing and Rainer cherry, stone fruits, bergamot, orange melon; minerals and earth. Crisp, yet creamy mouth-feel; bright acidity on palate.

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Josh Raynolds. “Bright red. Sexy aromas of candied red berries, cherry-cola, anise and fresh bay, with a hint of potpourri that gains strength with air. Juicy, penetrating raspberry and cherry flavors show increasing spiciness and weight as the wine opens in the glass. The finish strongly echoes the raspberry note and lingers with impressive clarity and persistence. This is balanced to age.” 92 Points

Harvest Notes

The 2008 growing season for the 2008 wines at our vineyards was another near-perfect event. The early season was mild. The pesky spring drizzle and fog that can reduce a crop – or if severe, eliminate it entirely – was minimal for a change. The coastal locations of our vineyards helped us avoid the hottest weather that arrived just prior to harvest, and the wildfire smoke that threatened all of us on the coast in late summer never reached our vineyards. Three bullets dodged. Not bad for farming

Technical Notes

450 cases produced
alcohol: 13.5%
3.31 pH
17 months in barrel
35% new French oak

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Cobb Pinot Noir Emmeline Vineyard 2006

The Vineyard

Emmaline Vineyard (“-line” rhymes with “vine”) is at the western margin of Sebastopol, California, very much influenced by the Pacific Ocean further to the west. The two Dijon varieties planted there are growing in Goldridge sandy loam, and like our other vineyards, produce about two tons per acre. However, the combination of the pinot noir varieties and the terroir of this small vineyard result in pinot noir wines that are characteristically delicate, beautifully complex, and with relatively low levels of alcohol.

Tasting Notes

Winemaker’s notes: Dark ruby color. Flavors and aromas of cherry-plum, raspberry, citrus, cranberry, and truffle; minerals and traces of clove, chocolate, and hazelnut. Has lovely finesse with clear acidity. A very complex and age-worthy wine.

Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences
Issue 23, July 16, 2009
“Exceptional”
“Faintly earthy notes add depth to cherry, dried roses, and a note of spice. Silky yet still crisp. A subtler wine with only 12.8% alcohol and a 3.3 pH. Limited amounts left of [this] extraordinary wine.”

Harvest Notes

Not only was the fruit quality in 2006 nearly perfect, all components of ripeness and flavor came together at a relatively low sugar level. This resulted in a lower alcohol pinot noir with complexity and finesse.

Technical Notes

166 cases produced. 16 months in barrel. 30% new French oak. 12.8% alcohol.

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Camellia Cheese (in place of Bucheret)

Producer: Redwood Hill Farm 
Website: http://www.redwoodhill.com
Country of Origin: United States
Region of Origin: California
Milk Type: Goat
Milk Treatment: Pasteurized
Classification: Soft
Rennet: Vegetable
Rind: Mold Ripened
Shape: Disc
Size: 2.5 ins diameter, 1 in high Weight: 5oz

Located in Northern California’s Sonoma County, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery is both a goat dairy and a creamery producing specialty dairy products owned and operated by Jennifer Lynn Bice along with fifty-five dedicated employees.

Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery was started by Jennifer’s parents in 1968 while she and her brothers and sisters were raising dairy goats in 4-H. Jennifer and her late husband, Steven Schack took over in 1978.

In addition to a passionate interest in raising and milking dairy goats, Jennifer also continues to develop and maintain an excellent genetics program. The herd has won many National Champions and Top Ten milking awards and produces seed stock for breeders across the US, Canada, and Mexico. Redwood Hill Farm was the first goat dairy in the US to be Certified Humane®, which is considered to be the gold standard in third-party certification for humane animal treatment. Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery is committed to sustainability. They have recently installed solar energy systems, which offset 100% of the projected energy needs of the creamery and the farm.

Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery’s primary focus is on making natural artisanal cheeses, yogurts, kefir, and other specialty dairy products. Milk for production is sourced from their own dairy along with a number of other carefully selected local goat dairies. The milk is produced from Alpine, Nubian, La Mancha and Saanen dairy goats.

Made in the style of a Camembert, from pasteurized goat’s milk, Camellia is named after one of Redwood Hill Farm’s favorite does. During production, the curd is handled very gently to allow for the retention of as much moisture as possible. The cheese is allowed to drain naturally before being unmolded.

After production, the young Camellia are placed in a drying room before being transferred to maturing rooms where they will remain for two or three weeks.
Just after aging, Camellia has a mild, buttery flavor and a slight tang. It also has a bone-white color and a firm texture. Let it age longer (five weeks), the cheese develops more intense, complex flavors with notes of earth, mushrooms and truffles. At about six to eight weeks of age, the texture softens, becoming yielding and unctuous.

Pairings: Camellia pairs well with Hard Cider, dry Rose, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir wines.

Wine Jargon: What Is Tannin?

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Tannin, n.

A diverse and complex group of chemical compounds that occur in the bark of many trees and in fruits. Strictly speaking, a tannin is a compound that is capable of interacting with proteins and precipitating them, this is the basis of the process of tanning animal hides (hence the name tannin) and is also a process that is believed to be responsible for the sensation of astringency.”—Jancis RobinsonThe Oxford Companion to Wine

Fundamentals, people. We’re focusing on fundamentals. You can slam-dunk later on.

I’m sure you know this word already. Tannin was likely the first piece of wine vocab you learned. It was definitely the first term I absorbed. The word served as explanation for why I didn’t like that French red at that house party, the one nursed from the bottle, age twenty. My face had contorted, and someone pointed out Oh, that’s tannin, bro. Allow me to expand on that first lesson…

You are probably already skilled at identifying the sensation of tannin, that drying astringency mostly associated with red wines. However, red wine is not the only place you encounter the stuff. Black tea has tannin in spades (especially when oversteeped), as does the skin of a peanut. The skins of common apple varieties are always a bit tannic, but the tannin of crabapples and traditional cider apples is usually so intense (especially with their soaring levels of acidity) that it makes them pretty much inedible.

Tannin exists in the skin, seeds, and stems of grapes. Red wines get color and tannin by soaking these components in the fermenting juice. White juice usually ferments on its own, away from all that material, so they don’t show much tannin (although there is usually still a touch). There’s also tannin in the oak barrels that wine is sometimes aged in—how much depends on how the barrels were made and whether they’ve been used in winemaking before. Tannin is one of the main things that allows a red wine to age, with acidity being the other. These two become the framework upon which the fancier thing, fruit, is draped.

Why is one wine more tannic than another? Ugh, that’s a huge question, even for science, but grape variety will be the most important factor (compare the very tannic Nebbiolo of Italy‘s Piedmont against their softer Barbera, if you feel like it). Growing site, winemaking technique, and ripeness also seem to affect how much tannin makes it into the wine, while our old pal acidity seems to enhance our perception of it. It all begins to interconnect…

About the Author: Steven Grubbs is a sommelier and wine director at Empire State South (Atlanta, GA) and Five & Ten (Athens, GA). Ask him what to drink on Twitter, where he also accepts questions on tacos and manhood.

Wine Jargon: What is Minerality?

Glimmerschiefer

Another type of rock, another sensation of minerality: Glimmerschiefer in Austria [Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

“Lick it,” he told me, “Lick the rock.” I had heard of this kind of thing before, but still, I figured that Thibeault Liger-Belair, winemaker and inheritor of crazy-good chunks of prime Burgundy vineyard land, must have been at least halfway kidding.

He wasn’t. He demonstrated, turning an oblong hunk of mottled limestone in his hand and then dragging it lengthwise down the center of his unfurled tongue. He did it kind of hard. It was a little grotesque looking. He tossed the rock back into the clay of his sizable section of Les Saint Georges vineyard, for which Nuits-Saint-Georges is named.

I followed suit, taking it easier than he. He started making a weird pursing motion with his mouth. “Feel that? That is true minerality.” And, actually, I did feel it. It was a kind of pastiness, a thick adherent texture in the middle of my tongue. I have, in fact, since detected a shadow of this sensation when drinking wines from limetone soils. So, yeah, maybe Thibeault was right.

Minerality can be a slippery concept for new wine drinkers, partly because there isn’t a lot in our common culinary language to compare it to. Shellfish? Mushrooms, maybe? Overpriced bottles of acqua minerale?

There is also the fact that minerality comes in so many shifting shades. Often, it is recognizable as a scent, like the smell of river pebbles, hot rocks, or straight-up wet dirt. Other times, what we’re talking about is a flavor, a rocky saltiness, and this can feed into a saline, pasty texture. I think this was probably what Thibeault was driving at.

Where that sensation of minerality comes from is one of the enduring mysteries of wine science. There isn’t a generally-agreed-upon explanation for how the flavor of a soil finds its way into a grape. We don’t really know how it happens, though there are a number of theories.

But minerality isn’t just in our imaginations. We have experienced it for, like, thousands of years. And its effect in wine—which seems to work opposite of fruit flavors—can make the difference between a wine that is just okay and one that is truly fine. I don’t think we are dreaming. I don’t think we are nuts. Even if we are standing around, licking expensive, significant rocks.

About the Author: Steven Grubbs is a sommelier and wine director at Empire State South (Atlanta, GA) and Five & Ten (Athens, GA). Ask him what to drink on Twitter, where he also accepts questions on tacos and manhood.

Wine Jargon: What Is Acidity?

Editor’s Note: In this series, Steven Grubbs, wine director at Empire State South(Atlanta, GA) and Five & Ten (Athens, GA), seeks to break down the jargon he threw at you last night.

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You’ll need some riesling with that pork belly.

Acidity, n.

Last night, when I used this word at your table (I think the topic was how awesome the riesling is with pork belly), I loaded it with such obvious ardor that you must have wondered if acidity wasn’t some weird byword for quality, that acidity=good.

And the equation might hold, at least for many sommeliers. Acid may be for us what capsaicin is for judges of chili cook-offs. Most of us are hooked on the stuff.

It is the acidity of orange juice that wakes you up in the morning. And it is the lime squeeze that enlivens your carnitas, the malt vinegar that keeps you motivated in front of your fish-n-chips. Acid in wine not only helps invigorate your food, but also works within the matrix of the wine itself to make you want you want to keep on drinking.

Acidity gives discipline and shape to a wine. Otherwise, the fruit flavors and alcohol would just laze around anywhere, directionless. Acid does the clutch work of tidying up.

A few types of acid may appear in a wine. Which ones, and their relative proportions, will have some bearing on its texture. Tartaric acid is the abundant workhorse acid, performing much of that task of structural stability. High levels of malic acid, will make a wine feel tart and fresh, like green apple, whereas lactic acid is rounder and less acute. Wines that have gone through a conversion called malolactic fermentation will have at least some of its malic turned into lactic (most reds see this conversion, as do some whites).

Certain wines, like Pinot Gris from Alsace, or some Northern Rhone whites, make stylish use of lower acidity to create attractive satiny textures. These wines are interesting exceptions to our earlier equation (and can be used to refute us junkie somms when we go on and on and on about acidity).

About the Author: Steven Grubbs is a sommelier and wine director at Empire State South (Atlanta, GA) and Five & Ten (Athens, GA). Ask him what to drink on Twitter, where he also accepts questions on tacos and manhood.