Charlie Opines About Wine

In my search for interesting wines to serve to guests at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, I attend many planned and impromptu wine tastings. I am happy to share my experiences with you. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 Summer Wine Tastings Underway in Sandwich

Smiling man with glasses
Charlie Preus
Charlie’s Weekly Wine-ings

Sure signs of summer on Cape Cod, other than the perfect weather:  increased traffic on the bridges, paying to park at the public beaches, and new guests every day at our Inn seeking that unique experience of a summer escape to our beautiful island. Or, as one of my friends said, another day of living "the dream".

For us wine lovers, another true sign that summer has arrived is when the weekly Wednesday wine tastings move from inside the restaurant to the patio at the Belfry Bistro. At the second of the patio tastings, we had wines presented by Mr. Joseph Carr. No summer series of wine tastings would be complete without Joe's visit. Mr. Carr is a well known and successful Napa Valley winemaker, founding his Joseph Carr Wines in 2005 and later the wildly popular Josh Cellars label, dedicated to his father. Even though he is known worldwide for his Napa wines, he is also a favorite son of Cape Cod as a part time resident of Dennis. We locals and regulars at the tastings eagerly anticipate his informative and entertaining presentations.

At past tastings we have enjoyed all of the afore mentioned wines. This tasting was my first introduction to Carr’s latest venture, Dylan’s Ghost Winey, a collaboration with the renowned Napa winemaker Aaron Pott. We had the tasting of the inaugural release of their joint efforts. The wines are being made in very limited quantities in the Oakville facility from select vineyards in Oakville, Stags Leap District, and the Oak Knoll District.

Rose wine with white lable
2013 Angel
The ever engaging Mr. Carr regaled the participants with the story of his personal wine journey that has culminated in these special new wines. He explained how a random vineyard walk with Aaron included a conversion that moved from soil and grapes to the brooding literature of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. He reminded us that the iconic folk/rock legend Bob Dylan had changed his name from Robert Zimmerman to also honor this same poet. Mr. Carr connected these dots to the logical origins of his new Dylan’s Ghost Winery. All the enjoyable stories and antidotes aside, the proof is always in the quality of the product, the wine, and we were not disappointed.

Red wine with white lable
Dylan's Ghost
Hell Hollow
We tasted three Dylan’s Ghost wines and the old classic Joseph Carr Chardonnay, which we have discussed before in this blog and will not cover again here. We started with the light and refreshing 2013 “Angel”, a 100% Cabernet Franc Rose from Napa Valley. Cab Franc is one of the major classic Bordeaux blending grapes that you are only recently seeing bottled as a single, stand alone varietal, and I have never seen a Napa Cab Franc Rose. The wine was crisp and fruity and perfectly paired with Oysters Rockefeller. The wine was a real treat and, with only 200 cases released, may be very hard to find.

Next we had two great reds, which I think will be the signature wines from this new winery. We had the 2010 Dylan’s Ghost "Hell Hollow" paired with Chicken Tagine. This cuvee is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc. Again, limited production with only 400 cases produced.

Red wine with white lable
The Beast
For me, the last wine was the best. It was the 2010 Dylan’s Ghost Stags Leap Ranch
"The Beast". This single vineyard field blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Syrah was by far the biggest and best of the night and paired very nicely with Tuna Sashimi.  With only 500 cases made, it was a great treat.

Although of very limited production, Dave and Kris at Cellar 55 were able to secure some for this tasting and with their contacts maybe able to fill some future orders. It’s worth asking them next time you stop by their shop.

The Wednesday tastings are always fun, but to have Joseph Carr share these great wines made it very special. The next time you visit Cape Cod, stay with us at our Sandwich Bed and Breakfast and make it on a Wednesday to experience a great wine tasting and maybe even meet the likes of Mr. Carr.
Happy Wine-ing