Tag Archives: Ruby Trust Cellars

Ruby Trust’s 2012 Gunslinger

Let’s do a bit of a comparison between Ruby Trust‘s 2013 “Gambler” (discussed earlier this month) and their 2012 “Gunslinger” — both full, lush Colorado wines.

We could hardly say that this blend is a lighter wine than Ruby Trust’s “Gambler.”  Syrah at 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon at 33%, and Petit Verdot atGunslinger 2012 17% would hardly lessen the weight of the 100% Syrah in “The Gambler.”  Both are hefty at almost 16% alcohol.  The Gunslinger is a little lighter in color and has a different flavor profile.  Blackcurrant and cedar, with hints of herbaceousness (a trademark of Cabernet Sauvignon) plus red fruit flavors from Petit Verdot combine to brighten the aroma and add zest to the mouthfeel.  Minerality and acids are a little higher to the taste in the “Gunslinger” than in “The Gambler” and the overall effect is a juicy, mouthwatering wine that cleanses the palate and would brighten any rich dish.  A long, clean finish seals the wine’s title for being a full, succulent red.

Tannins are fine and balanced, although a little stronger than in “The Gambler.”   Both wines are winners in the heavy-weight department.

Rating:  90+

Emotional rating: Very High

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Ruby Trust’s “The Gambler, 2013” — A Syrah Worth Every Dollar!

Gambler 2012 - AThe cork has been pulled and we will evaluate this wine with and without an hour’s breathing.

It is opaque, clear, and bright with a purply edge.  Its youth is evident.  It’s “legs” run slow, indicating the viscosity of this 14.9% alcohol wine.  I stopped counting the wicking effect as the legs reformed for their fourth time!

Dark aromas predominate on the nose, accompanied by dark chocolate, an underlying foundation of ripe blackberry, a slight touch of smoke, old leather, the softened remains of burnt rubber (which would have been much more pronounced when tasted in barrel), toast, and the benchmark of meatiness.  On the palate, the fruit comes through with a rush of richness on a silky texture — perfectly balanced.   The tannins are well integrated and fine, and they appear to be dominantly from the oak.  They don’t pucker your mouth or dry your throat, but are evident on the aftertaste.

On to the next stage of enjoyment:  the finish is very long and the coating of the palate seems to last almost endlessly.  Deep, dark flavors with a cleansing acid that makes a great food wine competes for attention with the wine’s complexity.  It is a wine well worth the price.

Buy two, three or more bottles.  Lay two down and enjoy the others in their expressive youth.  Those you lay down for 3-5 years will surprise you with the flavors that develop in such a fruit- and oak-rich wine.  This wine can be laid down for a long time if you choose.  We all have special occasions and, without embarrassment, this will “wow” your friends and any knowledgable wine lover.  Can’t afford this much?  There is a less expensive Syrah-based blend from Ruby Trust called Gunslinger.  That’s next weeks write up.

Rating:  93

Emotional rating?  If you love full and rich wines, this one will ring your pleasure bell at 98!

After breathing for an hour, little change was noted.  The nose had muted a little, the mouthfeel kept its richness and the finish was very similar.  Conclusion:  this wine does not need breathing or may require much more time to notice any significant change.  Change, however, in my opinion is not needed.

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You’ll find many great Colorado wines described in my books, “Experiencing Colorado Wine, Volume 1 – The Dry Red Wines ” and “Experiencing Colorado Wine, Volume 2 – The Whites and Rosés.”  Volume 1 also provides descriptions of the pairing of several Colorado wines with a great recipes by great Colorado chefs.

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This Syrah Is Well Worth the Extra!

Gambler 2012 - ARuby Trust’s “The Gambler” 2012 — 100% Syrah

You pay more, but you get a lot more with this Syrah that has seen spicy new French oak and is both rich and entrancingly complex.  Syrah holds rank as one of the most noble red grapes and it is no surprise that the Aussies stole the name of France’s best expression of the grape — Hermitage — as the name of their best expression of this grape.  When Syrah is the wine in your glass, you are drinking from a variety that goes back two millenniums and more to ancient Roman times.  Although it is intriguing to believe it came from Shiraz, a district in Southern Iran, and that the adopted Australian name (Shiraz) for this grape is a recall of this origin, it simply is not true.

Two French grapes, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche, are its parents and France its place of origin.  It can produce some very dense wines if the yield is kept low and you employ one secret: pick it at the right time.  Don’t let it hang too long or it can quickly lose its acid backbone, weakening its structure.  All the good things in Syrah’s grape skin (anthocyanins) are concentrated in comparison to some other red grapes and as one source notes, as much as 40% more.  This should get your attention.

It’s source in France from the Rhone valley will tell you that location is important.  Cote Rotie (roasted slope) and Hermitage are the favored sites, with St Joseph at second place and Crozes-Hermitage bringing up a distant rear.  Place makes a difference!  Compare Australian Shiraz with the northern Rhone Syrah and you might be excused for thinking they are two different grapes.  California’s Central Coast, Washington, and many other places around the globe have produced some exciting examples that are more like the French originals, and this wine places Colorado in that impressive lineup.

Syrah, in its early developmental stages, often displays burnt rubber and black pepper aromas, which betray its affinity to oak — especially new French oak.  If young, concentrated, and from the right region, it can be too strong for some taster’s preferences, but all this will change with age.  This example is a bold, but softened, wine.  Ruby Trust’s Syrah, when tasted in its first year from their high quality French oak barrels, can be quite stern and punchy, but the oak will mellow and smooth the wine with more time in barrel.  Red and black fruit lie in wait for their debut to emerge with barrel aging and show the future of the wine.  A good taster will detect the hidden treasures in a Syrah in its first stage of barrel maturation.  But also lying in wait are the meaty, savory features of this serious food wine.

Let me introduce you to an excellent representation of Syrah, Ruby Trust’s The Gambler 2012, which is no gamble.  This is a wine with longevity written all over it, so don’t hesitate to lay it down.  If you want to drink it now, pair it with a grilled steak or a substantial savory dish.  Many cheeses will be glad to play a supporting role to its solid performance.  And if you want to know the meaning of structure, this wine has a solid frame to which its more delicate features cling.

Colorado is warm, in fact hot at times, and Syrah seems to love the heat and the soils laced with river rock.   My next blog will unravel the pleasures of this wine and what can be done with this noble grape in high altitudes and at the hand of a skilled, experienced winemaker.  In the meantime, enjoy.

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EXPERIENCING COLORADO WINE, Volume 2: The Whites and Rosés! 

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You’ll find many great Colorado wines described in my books, “Experiencing Colorado Wine, Volume 1 – The Dry Red Wines ” and “Experiencing Colorado Wine, Volume 2 – The Whites and Rosés.”  Volume 1 also provides descriptions of the pairing of several Colorado wines with a great recipes by great Colorado chefs.

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These books entertain, educate, and entice readers to experience Colorado wine!

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This Red Wine Blend Is a “Fortune” Full of the Fruit You Seek!

Ruby Trust Fortune SeekerRuby Trust Fortune Seeker 2011 

Do you love a wine that has loads of fruit obviously evident on the nose and the palate?  Many people do.  Do you sometimes wonder if it has too much fruit?  Wines are being made with more fruit-forwardness than they used to be.  Fruit is important.  Remember the dictum, “No fruit, no future.”  I think no one wants a wine with no fruit flavors.  Here’s a simple wine experience to heighten your awareness, no matter what your level of wine knowledge.

Buy an inexpensive Australian Shiraz and compare it with Ruby Trust’s Fortune Seeker 2011.  Even though the Fortune Seeker (a red wine blend) is more fruit forward than some of Ruby Trust’s other wines, you should notice quite a difference between the two immediately.

Sometimes fruit can leave the impression that the wine is one dimensional.  By that I mean fruit is about all you can identify.  Maybe one flavor, like cherry or raspberry, is the wine’s dominant note.  Each mouthful is more cherry and the next more cherry and the wine keeps striking the same note.  It can become too much of a good thing.  Is this what you sense about the less expensive Shiraz?  If not, what?

Now, try the Fortune Seeker.  Notice a difference?  The fruit is abundantly there, but the presence of well-chosen oak adds many dimensions that leaves you wondering whether its layers of flavor are limited.  The flavors have blended into a mysterious whole and, although you can taste abundant fruit, there is the unmistakable presence of something that is harder to define: the marriage of fruit and oak.  Oak makes for more mystery in a wine and more complexity.  It creates a nondescript, interesting new set of flavors that keep you guessing and loving the mystery of it all.  Nothing is too much.  Vanilla (from French oak in this case), — oh, I love rising clouds of vanilla in a wine — but it is vanilla flavored with rich red and black fruit.  Maybe my pleasure comes from walking the vanilla fields in Tahiti and feeling the surge of emotion at its overpowering perfume.  And then as you keep tasting, you notice the fruit again and back to the chocolate and coffee (dark, of course) that comes from the oak treatment.  You can finish the rest of the taste experience for yourself.  You don’t need me.  See what you get.

Are both well made wines?  Yes.  But one is clearly a superior wine.  Depth, that’s it — the depth or richness from added and married flavors.  Oak and wine is a match made in heaven.

Ruby Trust’s Fortune Seeker 2011 is 68% Petit Verdot (which can impart quite a burst of fruit),  16% Syrah (more fruit), and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon (to add the power, structure, and the dark fruit flavors akin to blackcurrant and Montana huckleberries).  The fruits change with their continuing marination in French oak.  Lay this down and in 5 to 10 years, you will find a treasure trove of flavors yet undiscovered in this young beauty.

Rating — 90 plus

Emotional rating — Greater for the comparison, but either way highly stimulating to the endorphins.

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Horse Thief? What Kind of Wine Would That Be?

Horse ThiefWell, that’s its name, and not too surprising in this world of eclectic labeling.  Ruby Trust Winery has put yet more power on our tables.  It’s a potent offering that is made from 100% Colorado grapes.  Featuring 50% Petite Sirah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Syrah, this is indeed a black (deep purple-red shade) wine, fully extracted, and if you love big, rich, full, and powerful wines, you simply must not pass this wine (or any of their wines) up.  I tasted each of these wines (Petite Sirah, Cabernet, and Syrah) before blending in their barrels and was eagerly awaiting their debut in the heavy bottle that is now their appropriate sturdy home.

A perfect complement to Petite Sirah is a good white Cheddar from England.  The cheddar is strong enough not to be lost in the match and rich enough to soften the wine so that you are tasting two wines, one straight and another completely different experience with the cheddar.  Try it!

Petite Sirah and its old slogan “P. S., I love you” is seeing a revival of interest in California as winemakers are seeking its best expressions.  The Horse Thief comes in at 15.4% alcohol with high aromatics, showing blackberry, raspberry and blackcurrant reminders that form a fruity foundation for notes of vanilla, spice, leather, dark chocolate, and earthy tones, creating a very complex nose.  All of these play in the shadow of the Petite Sirah’s firm structure.  The Cabernet and Syrah only deepen the effect and add their own characteristics for further interest.

This is a wine to sit and watch as the tears/legs fall.  They form slowly and the wicking effect on the glass forms repeated displays of these tears, one after another.  Fascinating!  The wine has a rich mid palate and the flavors follow through to the finish.  Tannins from the oak dominate — fine ones that are felt mainly on the checks, while some fruit tannins can be detected on the inside of the lips as well.  These tannins will soften more as age takes its effect and the result is a wine to lay down or enjoy now if you must.  (I succumbed.)

Rating: 90

Emotional rating for those who love a big wine: 98!

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You’ll find many great Colorado wines described in “Experiencing Colorado Wine,” and you’ll find the description of the pairing of several of them with a great recipes by great Colorado chefs.

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C. S. Vin, who was trained in French, German and Italian wines, has relied on his  background as a state wine retail manager and 30 years as a wine enthusiast to produce a valuable asset to those interested in wine in Colorado.  Written in a warm, entertaining and conversational style, Experiencing Colorado Wine — Vol. 1 (SRP $24.95, 5.5 x 8.5, 396 pages, ISBN 978-0-9835718-6-5) is available from “Experiencing Wine” on Square Market.