Indeed, I always enjoy assessing the "new" vintage of some of my favorite wines, identifying here and there a standout. I have long touted 2009 as my most recent favorite around the world and while 2010 and 2011 are just fine the 2012 bottlings seem a bit more inspiring. And I am beginning to venture into the 2013s.
One example of the latter is the Tarrica Riesling produced by the Paso Robles winery of the same name derived from daughters Taryn and Erica. The tasty 2012 ($9.95, 12.0 percent alcohol) was a Central Coast bottling that was recently included in my pairing column along with two yummy German Rieslings. The Tarrica '12 earned an enthusiastic thumbs up with spinach and bacon pasta, sautéed prawns, SaveMart roast chicken, dried cranberries, unsalted peanuts, and homemade brownies. Yup, I have long ranked this varietal as the most food pairing versatile. And then to my surprise the next shipment was the 2013 with the Monterey appellation and, like its predecessor, it sported a solid customer following and with good reason.
And then we have more kudos for the delicious Chateau Julien Royalty Red Merlot, Cabernet, and Syrah blend ($12.95). The 2010 and 2011 earned considerable pairing praise in a couple of prior columns as did the newly released 2012, the latter's extra dimension of subtle richness already documented as meshing beautifully with pork quesadilla and tasty with corn chips, guacamole and sharp white cheddar. No surprise that it was also comfy with floured chicken tenders the next night. Also no surprise that the '12, also 13.5 percent alcohol, proved a richly textured, slightly sweet companion to Charm's roast beef and veggies including carrots, mushrooms, red bell peppers, and baked potato. By the way, the 2011 and 2012 have the same 48 percent Merlot, 36 percent Cabernet, and 16 percent Syrah proportions.
And I noted that my salmon and red blend stats for ten blends scored an over 90 percent success rate so salmon it is on my next Royalty Red adventure. I'll keep you in the loop.