The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2012

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INTRO-VINOUS Jesse Katz Does It Again by Ben Weinberg THE 2010 ROTH HERITAGE RED BLEND IS ANOTHER STELLAR PROJECT FOR THIS ROCK STAR WINEMAKER C halk Hill Road, a tangled seven miles of reasonably kept north/south road on the eastern side of Sonoma County, borders on second-growth forest, a smatter- ing of luxury homes and row after row of grape vines. Some of the best winemakers in Northern California create their masterpieces alongside this blacktop, including Jesse Katz of Roth Estate. The Roth Heritage Blend 2010 is the Katz meow. 116 / the tasting panel / october 2012 Katz is committed to the truest expression of Sonoma's diverse and idyllic grape growing conditions. His newest wine, the Roth 2010 Heritage Red Blend ($36), is a case in point. A blend of Syrah from Dry Creek Valley, Petite Sirah from Knight's Valley and Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, it is ruby-red in color and smelling of red raspberry and orange crème. The plush, incredibly balanced palate is fruited in tones of currant and pomegranate. Red flow- ers, mace and allspice round out an impressively long finish, where a significant dollop of toasty French oak brings a sense of opulence and good breeding. While the Heritage does not require itself to be squirreled away for ten-plus years to be at its prime, no one, including Jesse, thinks such repose would do anything but benefit the wine. It is also the first Roth product to be partially packaged in kegs for easy, by-the-glass service. Family-owned Roth Estate is dedicated to crafting full-fla- vored wines from exemplary Sonoma County vineyards under the dedicated direction of Katz and consulting winemaker David Ramey. The wines are intended to be the most authentic expressions of the vineyard sites where the grapes are grown. Fruit is harvested block by block to allow full-flavored and well-balanced development. Reds are cold-soaked in temper- ature-controlled, stainless steel tanks and then gently brought to room temperature to encourage flavor and color extraction, further enhancing expression of site. Extended maceration following fermentation encourages greater extraction of flavors and structural development. Once maceration is complete, the wines are aged in seasoned French oak barrels from an array of coopers to help develop balance and complexity. Prior to bottling, the wines are calmly clarified followed by a gentle filtration to maintain authenticity, expression and character. Roth's wines are often dense and deeply textured, fruity and full, but what really sets them apart is their pricing. Rarely has such high quality juice cost so little. Jesse's current releases are among the first overseen by him from bud break to bottling, and the progress from year to year is so encouraging that we can't wait to see what he does next at Roth Estate. PHOTO: ANDY KATZ

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