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NorCal Wine Blog

Tasted: 6 Current Releases from Two Shepherds

In July, I wrote a profile of Two Shepherds winery, a Santa Rosa-based specialist in Rhone-variety wines. Since that time, they’ve released some new wines. I’ve tasted each of them multiple times now. There’s no sign of a sophomore jinx for Two Shepherds in their second year. If anything, these wines are even stronger than those of the excellent first vintage.

2011-GB-front

The 2011 Two Shepherds Grenache Blanc has all the mouth-watering freshness of the 2010. However, the new release has more body and slightly riper fruit for impeccable balance. Aromas of pretty white flowers, pear and hints of stone fruit with a distinct note of minerality. The palate is smooth and dry with medium-plus body and acidity. The flavors are nuanced and include pear, spice, subtle stone fruit, mineral and citrus pith. The finish is clean and lengthy with fine grained texture. Two Shepherds 2011 Grenache Blanc is an enchanting wine that will sell out quickly with a price of $24 and just 100 cases made. Drink now through 2013. Very Highly Recommended.

2011 Two Shepherds Grenache Blanc Saarloos Vineyard, Santa Ynex Valley
Rating: Very Highly Recommended
Drink: Now - 2013
Release Date: August, 2012
Closure: Cork
Production: less than 100 cases
Retail Price: $24.00

Winemaker: William Allen
Blend: 100% Grenache Blanc
Origin: Saarloos Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley
Fermentation: Native yeasts in neutral oak barrels
Aging: Sur lie aged; 75% 8 months in neutral oak barrels, 25% 5 months in neutral oak barrels then 3 months in stainless.
Alcohol: 13.9%

 

The 2011 Two Shepherds Pastoral Blanc is a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc from Saralee’s Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. The nose is pretty but not flirty; jasmine petals, lightly tart peach, pineapple and green apple. In the mouth, the wine is smoothly textured with body and acidity that lean toward medium-plus. The flavors of nectarine, mineral chai spice and pineapple dissolve gradually into a mineral finish. Drink now through 2013. Highly Recommended.

2011 Two Shepherds Pastoral Blanc Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now - 2013
Release Date: August, 2012
Closure: Cork
Production: 70 cases
Retail Price: $24.00

Winemaker: William Allen
Blend: 45% Roussanne, 20% Marsanne, 20% Viognier, 15% Grenache Blanc
Origin: Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley AVA
Fermentation: Native yeasts in neutral oak barrels
Aging: Sur lie in neutral oak
Alcohol: 13.8%

 

The 2011 Two Shepherds Viognier is a finely balanced wine from start to finish. One sniff tells you this is Viognier, but the hallmark aromas of honeysuckle and ripe peach are gentle and in harmony. And there’s a touch of pineapple. It is full-bodied and creamy in the mouth, yet fresh. The core of nectarine and honeysuckle is enhanced by hints of pineapple and background minerality. The finish is long and clean with fine-grained texture and persistent fruit and minerality. Drink now through 2013. Highly Recommended+.

2011 Two Shepherds Viognier Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended+
Drink: Now - 2013
Release Date: August, 2012
Closure: Cork
Production: 25 cases
Retail Price: $24.00

Winemaker: William Allen
Blend: 100% Viognier
Origin: Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley AVA
Fermentation: Native yeasts in neutral oak
Aging: 4 months sur lie in neutral oak
Alcohol: 13.8%

 

I tasted a barrel sample of the soon-to-be-released 2010 Two Shepherds Grenache. The nose is very pretty with aromas of red cherry, brown sugar and baking spice. The body is medium to medium-plus as are the light-grained tannins. Flavors match the nose. A very nice representation of Grenache’s lighter side. Highly Recommended.

2011 Two Shepherds Grenache
Rating: Highly Recommended (preliminary, barrel sample)
Drink: Now - 2015
Release Date: Fall, 2012
Closure: Cork
Production: tbd
Retail Price: tbd

Winemaker: William Allen
Blend: 100% Grenache
Origin: Russian River Valley AVA
Fermentation: Native yeasts in neutral oak
Aging: tbd
Alcohol: tbd

 

The 2010 Two Shepherds GSM is a wine that I reviewed in the profile. With a few extra months in bottle, the flavors have rounded out and gotten sweeter. Now, it smells of sweet, garden-fresh strawberry, baking spice and a wedge of tangerine. The light and lively flavors of strawberry, tangerine and red cherries with medium-body and buoyant acidity are perfect for outdoor dining during Spring or Summer. Talc-like texture adds a note of seriousness and broadens the range of food it will complement. Drink now through 2014. Highly Recommended.

2010 Two Shepherds GSM, Russian River Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now - 2015
Release Date: Summer 2012
Closure: Cork
Production: 50 cases
Retail Price: $32.00

Winemaker: William Allen
Blend: 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre
Origin: Russian River Valley AVA
Fermentation: Native yeasts in neutral oak barrels
Aging: 10 months, neutral oak
Alcohol: 13.8%

 

2010 Two Shepherds Syrah Mourvedre is a savory wine which will do well alongside slices of smoked duck breast or grilled lamb chops. Aromas and flavors include brown spices, black cherry, orange and raspberry with notes of blood and iron. The palate is medium-plus in body and framed more by substantial freshness and moderate tannins which are light-grained and refined. Drink now through 2013. Recommended+.

2010 Two Shepherds Syrah Mourvedre
Rating: Recommended+
Drink: Now - 2016
Release Date: August 2012
Closure: Cork
Production: less than 25 cases
Retail Price: $32.00

Winemaker: William Allen
Blend: 50% Syrah, 50% Mourvedre
Origin: Syrah from Saralee’s Vineyard in Russian River Valley, Mourvedre from Livermore Valley
Fermentation: Native yeasts in neutral oak
Aging: 10 months in neutral oak
Alcohol: 13.8%

 

Note: Two Shepherds wines are unfined and unfiltered. They will look somewhat cloudy or foggy in the glass and may include sediment and/or tartrate crystals.

The wine above was provided for review.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

Comments   

Two Shepherds
#1 Two Shepherds 2012-10-01 15:49
Thanks for the very thoughtful writeup Fred. So glad you liked the new releases! Cheers :-)
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