On a recent visit to the Concannon Vineyard in Livermore, California we were impressed with the way in which concepts of sustainability and conservation were everywhere we looked in the vineyard. We were particularly intrigued with the conservancy wines. These wines help protect precious California vineyard land from urban development. This is because Conservancy winegrowers have placed their land into a legal trust that protects against development forever. At that time we were very curious about these wines but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that we had the opportunity to try several of these wines. (See article)
The wines we tasted were: 2009 Crimson & Clover, 2008 Merlot, 2010 Chardonnay and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Several people tasted the wines in different circumstances. Without question the star was the 2009 Crimson and Clover.
Celebrating a special event, Jackie, Steve, Leon and Barbara took this wine to Babylon, a small informal BYOB restaurant serving middle-eastern food. It was the perfect wine.
This wine is very special since it was created as a tribute to Jim Concannon who was the father of America’s First Petite Sirah. The wine was presented to him at a celebration of his 80th birthday, which was held at Concannon Vineyard on July 25, 2011. Crimson & Clover is the first blend and the fifth wine in the Conservancy portfolio. The Tri-Valley Conservancy currently has over 3.100 acres.
2009 Crimson & Clover
Jackie and Steve noted that Crimson & Clover has: a lovely bouquet of blackberry, black currant, black cherry, anise and oak. It has a velvety texture and pepper on the finish. It has a beautiful garnet color. It pairs well with anything savory and black olives, black grapes, and cheeses. Lamb brings out the pepper qualities and spicy chicken was great. The wine combines Petite Syrah, which dominates, zinfandel, which accounts for the pepper finish and cabernet, which gives it body. It will decant well and be especially good if you can wait until 2014. We couldn’t.
Jackie and Steve noted that the Chardonnay 2010 had a slight citrus taste / lavender & pear bouquet and was slightly oaky, but not overwhelmingly so, and had a grassy finish. They found it went extremely well with hard cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano), and also went well with herbed goat cheese. They thought it would pair well with a fatty fish like poached cod and would also be excellent with an herbed chicken, or other mild chicken preparation. A more spicy chicken or fish dish would overwhelm the wine. This wine would be great with any fish, salty snack or pasta salad.
Jackie and Steve enjoyed the 2008 Merlot, Conservancy at home. They found it to be medium-bodied and food-friendly. Aromas and flavors of blueberries, chocolate, dark cherries predominate. Secondary notes of cigarbox, brambles and caramels add complexity and lead to a rich textured finish. This wine has lush ripe flavors, fine tannins and great depth. The first taste was of dark fruits-- cherry and blackberry or current-- a bit peppery. Soft tannins were noted. It became a bit smoky on the back of the palate. It was more smoky than oaky.
They had the Merlot with Pasta with pesto and a savory sausage and also blue cheese, chocolate and parmigiano reggiano. Additional thoughts they shared were that this paired well with all of these and was very good with hard cheeses and chocolate.
First taste is of dark fruity-- cherry and blackberry or current-- a bit peppery. Soft tannins. Becomes a bit smoky on the back of the palate. It was more smoky than oaky.
They found it to be extremely versatile.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
One evening Barbara and Leon had Noel and Corey join them at home for some carry out Middle Eastern foods that were flavored with herbs and spices. The group noted that there was a strong cherry flavor that was not overly sweet with a chocolate finish. It opened up well. Flavors that worked well were a lemony flavor in the mushroom, chicken flavored with mild curry, steak and pasta.
We also tried it with raw almond and found it neutralized the flavors making it milder. Dark chocolate was wonderful with it, too.
We all agreed that this wine greatly enhanced our dining experience.
The Conservancy collection includes Petite Sirah, Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon and the very special, Crimson and Clover. Conservancy wines are nationally distributed with an SRP of $15.00 reflecting John Concannon’s (4th Generation Vintner) great-grandfather’s vision of offering handcrafted wines at a reasonable price. All of these wines were very satisfying and are strongly recommended.
For more information or to place and order go to: www.ConcannonVineyard.com
Chicago, Illinois 60647
Photos: Leon Keer