The trio of grapes in the blend is what gave our wine of the week winner – the Trentadue, 2006 "Old Patch Red" North Coast – an edge.
With an eye to the Fourth of July weekend, the Press Democrat organized a "hamburger red" tasting, looking for the best reds to pair with a juicy burger.
The rustic Tentadue makes the perfect burger wine because the zin-based blend is intensified with petite sirah, and the carignane gives it acidity and juiciness.
Interestingly, California does particularly well growing these three grapes, but finding the right blend is the key.
"Blending is difficult simply because there are a lot of possibilities," said Miro Tcholakoy, winemaker of Trentadue in Geyserville. "It could be very simple – just a mathematical equation or simply a balance sheet if quality or intrigue is not part of the deal.
"The success of the blending is when everybody is happy — the accountants, the owners, the general manager and finally the winemaker. We all know that there are things we say in front of the media and the reality of the production. If we as a winemaker can make only glorious wines — the world would be too perfect."
As for the house style, Tcholakoy said it's not a formula but rather a goal – bold, juicy and a bit rustic.
The hearty work of winemaking appealed to the farmer and bohemian in Tcholakoy, he said.
"I have no illusions and I never had illusions that winemaking is a glamorous occupation," he said.
"It is farming and hard work, but the results are very exciting and rewarding, versus growing soy beans or corn."
Tcholakoy said the great thing about the Old Patch Red is that it's down to earth. "It is a wine that one does not need the Encyclopedia Britannica to understand and enjoy."
You can reach Peg Melnik at 707-479-3880 or peg.melnik @pressdemocrat.com.
Wine, The Press Democrat
Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.
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