Monday, April 16, 2012

2010 Two Shepherds MRV

1 comment

I can recall when I started drinking wine I fell into the same trap that many do and have a very narrow portfolio of wines you'll drink. For me, it was only red wine. In fact, I was recently in a tasting room and heard multiple people pass on the first couple tastes, citing “No thanks, I don’t like white wine.” When I began venturing in to white wine my palate was all about the buttery, creamy Chardonnay that California has, for better or worse, become known for. Over time my appreciation for white wine has increased and I couldn’t be more thankful, especially when I get to open a bottle like the 2010 MRV from Two Shepherds Vineyards.

It was difficult to choose a wine to profile for White Wine Month but I have been so impressed with Two Shepherds that I wanted to make sure you all knew about it as well. I had intended to interview winemaker William Allen for this piece, but unfortunately, life went a little cray-cray and I was unable to do so. Thankfully I have known William for a little over a year now and have been able to talk with him on multiple occasions so I will just go on what I already know about Two Shepherds.

Two Shepherds, based in Santa Rosa, CA came on the scene with its first vintage in 2010 and if there was a “rookie of the year” award for wine, I would cast my vote for Two Shepherds. William Allen, creator of the influential wine blog Simple Hedonisms, along with his girlfriend Michelle, created Two Shepherds with 175 cases in 2010 and quickly found the demand to be huge. With a focus on unique Rhone wines, Two Shepherds produces a couple single varietal wines but believes that these Rhone wines truly shine as blends, which brings me to my profile of the 2010 MRV.

A blend of Marsanne (47%), Rousanne (47%) and Viognier (6%), this wine is one of my favorites from Two Shepherds. The grapes come from Saralee's Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. On the first sniff I detected aromas of both orange and lemon citrus. After putting the wine down for a couple minutes I sniffed again and got a little bit of pear. Just like the nose, the flavors of the MRV changed over time, which is something I love in wine. When each sip is just a little different it prohibits complacency and keeps you on your toes about what you will taste next. The first taste of the MRV started with some more citrus and lemongrass, followed by subtle notes of sweet honey. The acid in the wine showed on the finish as I was left with this beautiful crispness in my mouth. To be honest, I think I over-chilled this wine a little. However, this turned out to be a good thing because I was able to really notice the mouth-feel and body of the wine change as it came to the proper temperature. Even now the wine is still evolving in my glass, emphasizing the complexity of this white wine.

While Two Shepherds is distributed to a couple merchants in the SF Bay Area, don’t hesitate to order a couple bottles online if you live out of the area. I have the bonus of knowing William and aware of his passion for wine, but even without it, these wines will not disappoint. If this is what they can do on the first go-around, I am beyond excited to see what Two Shepherds produces in the future. I’m sure it won’t take much longer and I’ll be able to convince Katie to let us join the wine club and become members of “TheFlock.”



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review Jesse!
    First you hit one off the chords I have hit on for years as a wine writer/blogger - it pains me to hear people at tastings etc say "I only drink whites." When you inquire deeper, the story is often similar to yours. The experience with white was badly made Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio etc - usually overchilled too boot!

    And never write off a wine category because of a few bad examples. If you venture off the grocery store shelf, there are many great small vintners, and imported French chardonnays that taste nothing like the 'classic' California oak butter bomb. (Thank heavens.)

    The world of wine holds so many nuances and there are hundreds of white wine varietals to explore - Rhone whites are coming into vogue for good reason!

    White wines have more subtle nuances, but can be more complex than reds. And are actually hard to make.

    The MRV is an excellent example of a wine I suggest when someone says "I don't like whites." The density, weight, mouthfeel can be appealing. And the blend and vinification techniques make it complex.

    Your brought up an excellent I point, I suspected when I saw the pic you Tweeted last night - serving white wine over chilled is a classic mistake, many wine bars and restaurants even make. Most White wine should be served SLIGHTLY chilled. Slightly means 54-58 degrees. Your fridge is generally 38-44 degrees, so if its stored there instead of a cellar, leave it out for 15-30 minutes.

    Your possible slight overchill is an excellent way in fact to experiment with wine and try it at different temperatures, sounds like it worked!

    The 2010 Whites are rapidly running out, but we do have a few cases left, and some restaurant and retail with it. (I just updated the website today to add a few more locations.) We will also be pouring at a winemaker dinner in Toast in Rockridge April 24th.

    Fortunately we took a leap of faith and increased 2011 to ~500 cases, although some of those whites are already pre-spoken for! :) Intent, cash willing, for 2012 harvest is to push to ~700 cases. Still small, but will allow us to place our wine at more venues, which we had to turn down many recently, to stretch until the new 2011 whites come out.

    Cheers to West Toast and White Wine Month!

    William Allen - Winemaker, Palate Shepherd
    Two Shepherds - Unique Rhone Wines that Express Their Sense of Place.