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Spring Releases and Club Shipments

After the year we have all had, Spring is a welcome time of year. Flowers are blooming, trees are greening, vineyards experience bud break, daylight lingers further into the evening, and it’s time for wineries to ship their Spring releases. What more can a sunshine-craving wine guy ask for?! (Other than the end of the pandemic.) So sit back. See what has arrived. And see what is keeping us busy.

spring releases

Wineries will release wines each year in the Spring and Fall. Spring wines are typically whites and rosés, along with previous vintages of red wines. Fall releases are usually wines that have been aging. Sometimes for as short a time as since the last harvest (lighter reds) or for several years (bigger and bolder reds).

Spring Releases Also Means Club Shipments Arrive

Direct to Consumer Wineries (DTC) have clubs that one can join. The clubs that we gravitate to offer two shipments, Spring and Fall. Since we live in the south, you have to be aware of the heat, so these times of year make the most sense. Wine clubs or shipments of any kind require an adult signature because of the alcohol. So an adult must be available to sign for the package. I work from home, so that works most of the time. For those who go into an office – it is best to ship to your work address if you can.

Gary and I currently belong to four wine clubs at wineries in California and Oregon. We join a few clubs every year for a few reasons. The obvious first reason is that we truly enjoy the wine that they make. But in addition to that, sometimes those same wineries will also make a small- or micro-batch of a new wine for club members only. And FOMO is real in this household.

Methven Family Vineyards

I first tasted Methven Family Vineyards when I was at WWET Willamette in August 2019. It was after the seminar that we tasted their Gamay Rosé which became one of my favorite wines.  I immediately ordered the current rosé vintage to ship home and subsequently organized a tasting of six different wines here in Charleston. It was a huge success. We have been club members ever since. The current club shipment included two bottles of the 2019 Chardonnay, two bottles of the 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir, and the 2015 Holdridge Creek single-vineyard Pinot Noir.

And yes, I added six bottles of the 2019 Gamay Rosé because I heard they were running out of it, and there may not be a 2020 Gamay Rosé which just hurts my heart.

spring releases

Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards

Acquiesce is a unique winery in that all they make are white wines (and a rosé). On top of that, they are Rhône varietals.  My love of white wine started with Rhône varietals, and so these wines are a match made in heaven.

To be clear, I have a great relationship with the winery owner, and I promote her wines through private wine tastings and virtual events whenever I can. So we remain a club member to get the best prices and stay on top of the latest vintages.  This club shipment included two of the 2019 Belle Blanc (a blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Viognier), one 2019 Roussanne, one 2020 Picpoul Blanc, one 2020 Grenache Blanc, and one Grenache Rosé.

The Acquiesce Club is also brilliant because of the shipping deal. It is only $15.00 for the six bottles and FREE if you make it a case.

Helioterra Wines

We just joined the Helioterra Club and are awaiting our first delivery. As you can see below, the Helioterra Club offers exclusive micro-batch wines. While I enjoy all of this winery’s wines, we joined the club for the exclusives. It is a bonus that we also get club pricing on all of the other wines as well. We have not yet received it, so there is no picture—just two amazing descriptions.

2020 Auxerrois!
This is a Club Helioterra exclusive, released in April 2021. Auxerrois is a white wine grape that is important in Alsace and is a full sibling of Chardonnay that is often blended with the similar Pinot blanc. We fermented this wine in four neutral oak barrels and aged it on the lees. Only 60 cases were produced.

2019 Grenache!
Another Club Exclusive! This wine is an early release. Why? Because we believe this is going to be your new favorite summer red wine. In fact, we encourage you to add a little chill to it before serving. This juicy, vibrant red is loaded with berries and spice and carried through with great acidity. We hope you love it as much as we do! With only 50 cases produced, this will not last long!

Dracaena Wine

Spring Releases that is also the Club Shipment

Dracaena Wines are a micro-winery started by a wine writer friend and her husband. They have always wanted to make wine and own a winery, so while working other jobs, they started down that path making a single wine, a Cabernet Franc from fruit sourced out of the Paso Robles AVA. Once that got off the ground, they added a Reserve Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc, then a Rosé, and this year they added a Chenin Blanc with fruit sourced from the Clarksburg AVA.

There Cabernet Franc wines are both beautiful wines and quite affordable. So with the addition of the white wine, it was time to take the plunge and joined the club.  Their spring releases are their spring club shipment, so this is a win for me.

spring releases
The rosé is a blend of Tempranillo and Grenache, a blend I have never seen before. I can not wait to try it.

Side Note: My friend and her husband have always had Weimaraners as pets. There is a story that connects the winery name and the name of their first Weimaraner. It is a sweet story. But the winery name, at first, was hard to remember how to pronounce. So when sharing their wine with friends, they asked how to pronounce it. I butchered it and tried again and again. As a joke, I then said, “it’s Dog Wine.”  Even though I now know how to pronounce it (drah-SEEN-ah), I think it may be forever… “dog wine.” That is what my friends now call it as well. (sorry, not sorry… lol)

Upcoming Virtual Event That You Need to Attend

Cook, Drink & Learn

– What a Great Early Mother’s Day Gift

The third in a series, this Cook, Drink, Learn virtual tasting is just in time to celebrate Mother’s Day! These delicious 3 bottles include our award-winning 2018 Belle Blanc (a blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and Viognier), our 2020 Grenache Rosé, and 2020 Viognier (two of our new spring releases). Have a virtual party with family or friends! Order these wines and join us for the virtual tasting and cooking demonstration. And hopefully a fun education too. Price includes FREE shipping! $90.00 for General Public and $72.00 for Wine Club Members. All orders must be in by April 25th.

Order your kit HERE. Be sure to put SC2RW in the special instructions box when you check out.

New To Us: Two Shepherds Wines

As a wine writer, I often see what my contemporaries are writing. Sometimes it is from samples they were sent, and other times it is about the wine they keep on hand in their home. It is usually easy to tell the difference. Two Shepherds Winery seems to make wines that wine writers want to buy. So I had to see for myself.  We have only consumed two bottles so far, but I have to say that each one was delicious and unique. I would highly recommend these wines for the “wine explorer” as they are not like anything you have tasted before.

spring releases

One of the wines that we have already drunk is the red blend Pastoral Melange—fifty percent (50%) Cinsault and fifty percent (50%) Carbonic Carignan.  This is a great summer red wine that can take a chill on it.  Before you drink it, put it in the fridge for about thirty minutes.

Side Note: Carbonic maceration is a winemaking process that I will share in a later post. Suffice it to say that this practice brings forward the fruit flavors to light- to medium-bodied red wines as well as soften their tannins.

Boom! Fresh and light with easy, mild tannins and soft acidity.  For me, the nose was holding the aromas tight to the chest, releasing just a bit of tart red cherry and unsweet black tea. But the palate is a cornucopia of raisin, pomegranate, red currants, and lingonberry with secondary hints of gravel road dust.

I loved this wine out of the gate with my first sip. It took Gary a minute before joining the fan club, but now he is also on board the Pastoral Melange train.

It sells for $26.00 a bottle. And is available direct from the winery only.

I can’t wait to dig into the others we bought.

That is all for now.

Rick & Gary
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