Saturday, April 08, 2006

Barrel Tasting at Pelerin Wines

After tasting the wines of Talbott Vineyards, my friend and I took the scenic Los Laureles Grade and then Highway 68 to Salinas. We had an appointment with Chris Weiddemann, owner and winemaker of Pelerin Wines, in one of Salinas's industrial parks where he currently shares a space with another winery. We had really enjoyed his 2003 Pelerin Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands and we were eager to try some of his new wines.

The name Pelerin means pilgrim in French and reflects Chris' ultimate quest for balanced and complex wines. While working for other wineries, Chris was able to forge relationships with some of the best grape growers in Monterey County and purchase grapes from Rosella Vineyard and Paraiso Vineyards, both in the Santa Lucia Highlands, and more recently, from Mesa del Sol Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco appellation. His first vintage was released in 2002.

Rosella Vineyard is a 50 acres east-southeast facing vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Thanks to the soil made of gravelly loam, and the cool climate (foggy mornings, sunny mid-days, windy afternoons), it is a place where Pinot Noir is thriving. The vineyard is owned by Gary Franscioni, also co-owner of the close by Garys' Vineyard, who named it after his wife Rosella.

Paraiso Vineyards is a 400-acre property located at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation. The land is owned by the Paraiso Vineyards winery, which sells part of its production to other wine producers.

Mesa del Sol Vineyard is a small organically farmed vineyard located in the Arroyo Seco river canyon, south of the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation. The site is warmer than in the Santa Lucia Highlands and a great place to grow heat-loving varietals such as Syrah, Primitivo and Sangiovese.

Chris is doing well and has plans to grow and move to a new facility at Paraiso Vineyards where he works part-time. He is also very happy with his Rhone-style wines, the quality of the grapes he gets from the Mesa del Sol Vineyard, and plans to make some Roussanne and Viognier in the near future.

Tasting notes:

2005 Pelerin Rosé (from barrel): fresh and very fruity

2005 Pelerin Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard (from barrel): a lot of structure, complex aromas, very promising

2005 Pelerin Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands (from barrel): tasty but a lighter version of the Rosella's Vineyard

2005 Pelerin Syrah/Viognier blend (from barrel): powerful flavors of mint and pepper.

2005 Pelerin Syrah Monterey County (from barrel): very fruity, nice to drink already

2005 Pelerin Syrah Mesa del Sol Vineyard (from barrel): has tannins, structure, and complexity, my favorite with the Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard.

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1 comment:

Mark Martinez said...

Thanks for this blog and specifically about the Perelin barrel tasting. There is a wine dinner at Bistro 45 in Pasadena that we are going to tomorrow night and my research into the wines dug up your site - appreciate the detailed notes! We've had their pinot before, but now they are pairing the roussanne blend, 2006 pinots and 2006 and 2005 syrah and a sangiovese with five courses. Should be fun!