Four Gates Cabernet Franc and Kos Yeshuos Vin Gris – strut Cali style
This past Shabbat was a quiet one and a very enjoyable one given the wines I had to taste. The meal was a simple and quiet one; with black bean soup, and for the main course – my meatballs recipe, quinoa, roasted veges, and green salad.
For the wines I enjoyed two wines that are not publicly available yet, though one will be soon. The Cabernet Franc was the soon-to-be released CF from Four Gates Winery, though this one was sourced from another location than his usually vaunted vineyards. The wine is very unique and very mineral based and a true joy, but I will wait for Benyo to talk about it before I say more.
The other wine was from a young man who I watched grow up in my midst – here in San Jose, CA. His name is Joshua A. Rynderman and his story is a unique one at that.
When we first moved into this community more than 20 years ago, the Rynderman family was already here and they were, and are still, a pillar of the community. Young Joshua at that time was far too young for me to gauge where or how his interests would take him. Sadly, the 2000s came around and with it the horrific decimation of human and real capital in Silicon Valley. Many companies shuttered their doors, and sadly the Ryndermans, and others, moved east for a myriad of reasons.
Fast forward to some few years ago, and the pull of the Silicon Valley has once again reached into the far crevices of America and the Rynderman family has once again gone west – and the San Jose community is once again blessed by their presence.
In their return to the Bay Area, we were once again reunited with their family, who was not a bunch of young children any longer, but rather a group of young men and a lady each showing strengths with their interests. Unbeknownst to us, during their departure – Michel had inculcated the love for all good things to his family, including art (his wife is a world-renowned artist), food, and wine. While Michel was part of this community he was affected by the many wine makers that were and are still part of this community; including the then owner of Gan Eden Winery – Craig Winchell, the afore-mentioned Four Gates Winery owner and winemaker – Benyamin Cantz, and Ernie Weir’s Hagafen Wines.
So, when we invited them to a Shabbos dinner some 6 months ago, Josh was already becoming quite the wine aficionado – and I never knew it! I have to say, living in San Jose and finding another person who really gets wine – is like finding a gold coin while walking down the street! Of course there are folks like JR (AKA Jim Bob) and others who love and make a mean glass of wine, but a wine freak is an entire other matter! Of course I say that with great affection. Anyway, it turns out that he had been helping Benyo for a bit already and that he was talking about making wines. JR had already made a wine two years ago and again last year – so I hope to taste his new creation sometime soon as well, the last one – Quail Hill – was quite nice!
Fast forward to late August and lo and behold, Josh had made Cabernet Sauvignon and in the process he made some Vin Gris. As you know I am a freak for acid and mineral based wines, and when I first tasted it after fermentation it was quite lovely, but I was going to withhold my opinion until it was encased in glass.
This past Friday afternoon, Josh stopped by with the bottle and I could not help myself. I popped it open and sure enough that insane acid was still there, along with some new and interesting notes. As my notes will talk to it, the grape varietal called Cabernet Sauvignon is a grape that is a hybrid of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc! Yes, the beloved king of wines is a hybrid of white wine! Of course the two original grapes are part of the noble family of grapes, but still, it is always a funny fact to talk about. So, when people say they made rose from Cab – I am always fascinated because inevitably – those Sauvignon Blanc flavors bleed through into the Saignee process. As we have spoken before, saignee is the process of bleeding juice out of the wine must to concentrate the flavors of the original fruit juice.
Once you have bled some juice, you have this off-color liquid – why not taste it and see what it tastes like! Sure enough Rose was created! Rose is all the fad now in the kosher and the non-kosher market. However, this is not a new idea, it is a wine and process that has been used for more than two hundred years!
So, what can I say, I really liked the wine. It starts off absurdly tart – almost like lemon juice, but with time it calms down, and its underlying fruit shines through and bolsters what is far more than skin deep – its red colored roots (Cab/Franc). Of course, it shows it white fruit leanings, but the red fruit helps out in the end.
As Josh continues to move along with his wine interests, and moves his skills from garage to some facility I hope he takes his passion seriously! Of course, anyone can strike gold once – given the correct circumstances and while I strongly believe this is not the case, all I can say for now is BRAVO and my advice – keep making wine! I still remember what the late Daniel Rogov used to say to me when I asked what I can do to improve my palate – his reply was simple – drink more! The more you drink the more you know what you like, what you dislike and what you are tasting. I am not a winemaker, but Josh has Benyo and others in the area to lean on, and hopefully he will take his passion to school with him and take up some online courses while finishing his bachelors degree. Till then, swing by more often and help me taste through my wines, help Benyo and learn from the master, and never give up your passion – it has gotten you this far!
My wine note follows below:
2015 Kos Yeshuos Vin Gris – Score: A-
What can I say, I am a freak for acid and tart fruit and this wine is literally crack for people like me. The wine is made by a young man who I have known for a long time, as he grew up, for much of his young life, in our Jewish community. With that said, he has made other things and well, I was not impressed. This wine, is his first attempt at a rose and it is dynamite! The wine is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that was left on the grapes for a short period of time to get it that light – not quite rose color, hence the Vin Gris name. The wine is a classic Garagiste wine – as he actually made it in his father’s garage. Still, do not let the humble origins of the wine making location – define your opinion. Sadly, only a few bottles were made, but the vineyard and technique both show hope for more great wine to come in the coming years!
The nose on this wine is redolent with intense tart fruit, insane pink grapefruit, gooseberry, straw, litchi, peach, rose hip, and floral notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is insane, it is an acid bomb that is balanced with rich fruit, which has a nice body, along with layers of tart dried apple, more crazy grapefruit, intense lemon drops, rose water, tart juicy strawberry, tart juicy raspberry, sour cherry, and mineral. The finish is long and tart, where citrus flavors command attention, along with lovely saline, slate, and mineral, with a dollop of orange pith, and tangerine. This wine is basically mad acid, tart and juicy fruit and lovely pith. If I closed my eyes and tasted this – I would think it was a mix of Sauvignon Blanc and some red wine – which humorously is what Cab was bred from – Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. BRAVO my man!!!