Wednesday, December 05, 2012

A Little Uneven, But Not Rusted -- Tin Roof

Thanks to Tiffany and the good folks at Balzac, I had the chance to do a rundown of the Tin Roof Cellars portfolio. Tin Roof, a widely-available series of wines from California, produces a slate of reds and whites all available for around $8-9. All the wines are in Stelvin screwtop bottles, a delivery system of which I heartily approve, especially as an evening wears on.

Balzac sent me six of their recent releases. My thoughts on this set of yummies:

Tin Roof Cellars 2011 Chardonnay – Simply put, this is a solid, basic California chardonnay. Fermented in stainless steel and aged for five months in oak, the fragrance and flavors are largely apple and peach, with a strong shot of vanilla on the palate. There’s some woodiness and buttery, creamy flavors but thankfully not too much of either.  It’s a little bit heavier palate-wise than chardonnays I usually prefer, but if you’re into a fuller style for whites, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Tin Roof Cellars 2011 Sauvignon Blanc – The grapes for this sauvignon blanc are from Lake County and the Sacramento delta, both cooler climate regions. Cooler climate whites tend to have a little more complexity in my experience, and that was the case here. At first sample, some slightly herbal overtones led to a green apple scented nose. This wine’s mouthfeel has pretty reasonable weight with tart apple and lime as the major flavors. The finish has a bit of an acidic bite, but that’s what you’d expect in a sauvignon blanc. I found it flavorful and drinkable, although this isn’t the season where I drink a ton of sauvignon blanc. I’ll keep it in mind after winter.

Tin Roof Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon & Tin Roof Cellars 2009 Merlot – The evening menu came up “steak and sweet potatoes,” so these two got a side-by-side tasting. The merlot is sourced from North Coast and Central Coast and includes small amounts of petit sirah. The Cabernet is sourced from grapes across California and includes a splash of syrah in the blend. In all honesty, the Cabernet was one of the better sub-$10 bottles I’ve had in quite some time. Good tannic structure, nice flavor, and actual complexity within its dark cherry and berry notes. With both the steak and the chocolate, also a winner. An excellent effort.

As for the merlot – on its own, I wasn’t impressed. I thought it was rather flabby and unremarkable. I thought it leaned over to the fruit juice side of the ledger, and the tannins were so soft that they were almost unnoticeable. I did notice that this wine improved greatly with food. One thing I don’t see U.S. winemakers doing very much is making (or at least marketing) inexpensive, all-purpose table wine – wines that can be poured with almost any sort of food and be decent, as with inexpensive Italian Chianti. This merlot showed a little more backbone as a complement to the strong, meaty flavors in the food – largely by staying out of the way. That would be this wine’s niche, in my opinion.

Tin Roof Cellars 2011 Lodi Zinfandel – When Zinfandel began its recent meteoric rise in popularity, California winemakers engaged in an arms race to see who could create the highest alcohol fruit bomb possible. I cut my wine-tasting teeth on Sonoma County zin, but as the years went by, the profiles of most California Zinfandels became so in-your-face that I stopped buying – turning instead to its Italian cousin, Primitivo. This relatively inexpensive California Zin gives me hope that the pendulum has begun to reverse its swing. Clocking in at a modest 13.5% alcohol, this wine actually has a lighter touch than some California pinot noirs I’ve tasted recently. It’s not especially fancy or complex, featuring raspberry and blueberry flavors in a reasonable balance with alcohol and tannin. With roasted meats, barbecue sauces, and (of course) chocolate, it’s a nice quaffable entry that reminds me more of an import from Puglia than a California monster with some “zin-based” pun for a name.

Tin Roof Cellars 2011 Red Blend – The vast majority of domestic wines you’ll see in a wine store as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” “Merlot” and so on are actually blends. If a US wine contains at least 75% of a single varietal, it can be labeled as that varietal. (See above, for instance.) If a wine is called a “blend” (or “meritage” or “claret”), it’s a blend where no one varietal is above 75% of the composition. In this case, this wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Petit Sirah. Honestly, I found it a little too fruity for my tastes. It reminded me a great deal of the Merlot I mentioned before, although it’s got a little more structure. I got berries and cherries here with a tannic finish. All in all, I think it’s decent but unremarkable on its own. Like the merlot, however, it would work as a table wine if you’ve got some heartier fare on the table. I had it with roasted red pepper and eggplant soup and it worked just fine. 


Roofing Sarasota said...

You have made your content quit clear. There’s no way to mistake your points of interest. I enjoyed this writing very much and I agree with your ideas. Thank you.

jone said...

super post :)

kite projects said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
prepaid travel cards said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
wood bow tie said...

This informative article will help those who read and Thanks for sharing this great info with everyone.wood bow tie