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Chaîne Garden State Baillage

The Garden State Chapter of the not-for-profit Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is a dynamic group of food and wine enthusiasts, in excess of 60 members, with discerning palates who share a common interest in a passion for fine cuisine and wines based in education, camaraderie and fun around the table

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George Staikos
Garden State Bailli
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A Virtual Event: Red Wine Blending Exercise with Winemaker Pinto Naravane

Garden State Chaine Blending Exercise Featured

Garden State Baillage

A Virtual Event: Red Wine Blending Exercise with Winemaker Pinto Naravane

By Victor S. Sloan, MD, Vice Chargee de Presse

(908) 968-3804; victor.sloan@shengconsulting.com

 

On Friday June 12, 2020 the Garden State Baillage came “together” by Zoom for a unique opportunity. Our Vice Echanson, Pinto Naravane allowed us a behind-the-scenes experience into the life of a winemaker. Co-owner and winemaker at Rasa Vineyards in Walla Walla, Washington, Pinto took the assembled confreres through a blending exercise. Pinto and his brother Billo had shipped from the winery barrel samples of their 2018 Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Pinto and our bailli George Staikos then hand-delivered each kit to the lucky recipients. Included in the kit (shades of high school chemistry) was a 100 mL graduated cylinder.

Fifteen minutes before the class, we were instructed to pour into glass #1 50 ml of the 2018 Petit Verdot barrel sample. glass #2 received 47 mL of the Petit Verdot and ½ teaspoon (~5%) of the Cabernet Franc, while glass #3 received 47 ml of the Petit Verdot and ½ teaspoon of the Merlot. The fourth glass received 47 ml of the Petit Verdot and ½ teaspoon of the Cabernet Sauvignon. Pinto then took us through the process he and his brother use to determine the blend for their award-winning Living in the Limelight Petit Verdot, one of the least-planted grapes in Washington State.

All of us were amazed at what a difference just 5% of a second varietal could make to the taste of the Petit Verdot. The consensus favorite was the addition of the Cabernet Franc, although several teams went beyond the basics and made blends of three and even all four of the varietals.

Pinto’s brother Billo has a background in science (bachelor’s from MIT, master’s from Stanford), but developed a love of wine and went on to study enology at UC Davis. He is one of the few Masters of Wine in the world. Pinto has a background in IT, but he too left his original field when he and Billo started Rasa in 2007. In their first year, they made only two wines. Their Principia Reserve Syrah received a perfect rating from Review of Washington Wines, and the 2007 QED received a 94 from Wine Spectator.  It’s clear that we are beyond fortunate to have Pinto as our Vice Echanson, and his “above and beyond” efforts in giving us a peek into the winemaker’s world were much appreciated.

While we missed being together in the same room, the food and companionship were still fantastic.