Amuse Barrel Selection 2010
An amusing blend of the five Bordeaux-style reds.
Bill's method of developing his blended wines is to make the individual wines as stand-alone wines first and then, knowing their individual taste characteristics, he blends them together to create his multi-award-winning blends.
For the Bordeaux style wines this means that he first makes individually; Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Each of these, with the exception of Petite Verdot, is bottled as a stand-alone wine variety to make the Amour Merlot, Sultry Cabernet Franc, Tango Malbec and Seduce Cabernet Sauvignon.
These wines, in their time, have won gold medals in the world's two largest competitions for American wines.
For his Bordeaux-style blends, Bill takes these varietal specific wines and blends them together. The concept of the blends is to produce a range of wines that comprise the best qualities of each of the individual wines.
Some of these blends are designed by Bill to pair with particular food styles, for example Entice Cuvee has the unique ability to manage pepper in foods and show the true flavor of the food.
In other blends Bill has been influenced by the five great First Growth Chateaux wines of Bordeaux, for example Ravish Melange was influenced by the characteristics of Chateau Petrus, while Clarissa Vin Rouge was influenced by the characteristics of Chateau Haut-Brion wines.
When all this wine making and blending is done there are still some barrels of these fine wines remaining to which one of his winemaking colleagues recently referred as "an excess of riches."
Amused by this concept Bill decided to select certain barrels of these wines and make a blend, not typical of grand Chateaux, but more like a wine made by legendary Australian winemaker Murray Tyrrell which Murray simply called "Long Flat Red."
Hence we have Amuse Barrel Selection. An enjoyable, everyday red wine made from a blend of exquisite gold medal winning wines and designed to simply quaff.
Amuse is a serious wine with a playful profile. The nose is fruity with flavors of rich berry fruit, a hint of chocolate and silky smooth tannins that add richness and complexity. This wine tastes great with many different dishes, particularly richly flavored foods such as spicy tomato-based sauces, Asian or Indian cuisine, smoked meats and BBQ.
The 2010 grape harvest was challenging with a wet spring followed by a late bud break and then a long, cool growing season that ended with a heat spike bringing the grapes to a quick maturity. As expected this gave us slightly lower sugars with higher acids and deep colors and flavors.
The season caused us a lot more time in the vineyard trimming fruit or pulling leaves to assure full fruit maturity and lower than normal yields. We ended up with remarkable quality of fruit throughout our range of vineyards which led to a more restrained, elegant style of wine.