Monday, November 21, 2022

Zaca Mesa Toyon Santa Ynez Valley Red Wine

Zaca Mesa Toyon a complex Santa Ynez Valley Red Wine Blend

I wrote earlier this week about receiving Zaca Mesa Mesa Reserve Santa Ynez Syrah, our Zaca Mesa Wine Club fall allocation shipment, and notes on tasting that first label from that shipment. Here is the second label and our tasting notes from that distribution. This was a great accompaniment to hearty Rosati's "Monster" pizza with spicy sauce.

Brambly bushes and shrubs around
Foxen Trail Vineyards
Zaca Mesa Toyon is a red blend wine named after a native shrub found growing in the sandy hills and terraces that surround the estate vineyards. Toyon (also known as California Holly and Christmas Berry) is a native evergreen that grows into a dense 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide drought-resistant shrub. Covered in leathery leaves all year, it blooms pretty, but unspectacular, white flowers in summer.

Zaca Mesa Toyon is a unique blend comprised of a combination of Santa Ynez Valley Rhône and Bordeaux grape varietals, sourced from fruit grown on and off the estate.

Zaca Mesa Estate Vineyard adjacent the winery
Writing about the unique combination of grapes in this label's blend,  Matt Kettmann of Wine Enthusiast called it a "kitchen sink blend".  He gave the 2016 release of this label 90 points.

The primary grape selection is akin to a Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the so named appellation in the southern Rhône River valley where the primary grapes required to be in the blend are G-S-M - Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. 

The GSM combination and so-called label is a popular blend released by many producers in Australia, California and Washington State - areas where Rhône varietals are grown. 

But Zaca Mesa take it a step further and adds the popular Bordeaux varietal grape Cabernet Sauvignon to the mix creating a complex wine that is somewhat a cacaphony of flavors, although the producer calls it a "seamless wine that is unlike anything else we produce".

Zaca Mesa Toyon Santa Ynez Valley Red Wine 2019

The actual blend consists of Shiraz/Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cinsault grapes. Cinsault is another Rhône varietal. 
Actually, Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation regulations allow thirteen different specified grapes in the blend, however at least 70% is required to be GSM - Shiraz/Syrah, Grenache, and/or Mourvedre.
Toyon 2019 was aged 19 months in neutral oak

I write in detail about the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation regulations in my blogpost on Our  visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Château La Nerthe, back in 2019. Founded in 1936 when the decree of the appellation was published, Châteauneuf-du-Pape became the first wine-making Appellation-Origin-Controllee, AOC of France, which now governs all the major wine producing regions and has since been adopted in most major wine producing regions including Italy and the US. 
Indeed, the Bordeaux region alone has no less than 57 appellations that govern the viticulture and production required to bear the appellation seal of approval on the label. Napa Valley, America's premier wine growing region has seventeen officially designated appellations (AVA's) (See blogpost Mt Veeder Appellation and Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010.)
This was dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, complex, a cacophony of flavors with strawberry, black cherry currant and plum flavors with a layer of vanilla, accented by herbs, sweet tobacco and cinnamon spice, notes of earthy cedar and anise and a bit of pepper on a moderate tannin tangy acidic lingering finish.
RM 89 points.

@zacamesawinery @zacamesa