There are a number of factors that go into why we love the wine producers that we do. For some of us, maybe we’ve been to the winery, maybe one of their wines is tied to an important memory, or maybe we just love their labels. All of these are reasons that most wine enthusiasts can relate to, but there is one additional factor that is key for us here at the Wine Outlet: are the wines consistently good? When it comes to Bill Easton’s Terre Rouge and Easton Wines, the answer is a resounding yes! What is even more compelling about these wines is not only their consistency of quality but also their diversity of variety. From ‘Rhone’ varieties such as Grenache, Syrah, and Viognier to other grapes such as Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and even Barbera, Easton/Terre Rouge produces wines that have breadth of variety and depth of character. We are beyond excited to host a tasting with their National Sales Manager, Les Doss, and let’s discuss a bit more about what makes this winery one of Wine & Spirits top wineries of the world for 2019 and what makes California’s Sierra Foothills and Amador County such a successful location for Bill Easton’s wines.
About Terre Rouge
Terre Rouge means ‘red earth,’ and for Bill Easton “this vermillion-colored soil is one of the hallmarks of our region.” The place and the soil in which these vines grow is so central to Terre Rouge that it actually is reflected directly in the name itself. This project began over 25 years ago for winemaker Bill Easton, and grapes that are the focus of the Rhone Valley became the focus for Terre Rouge. The grapes Syrah, Grenache, Mourvédre, Viognier, etc. grow very well in warmer climates such as in California’s Sierra Foothills. These wines also retain balance and acidity through higher elevation vineyards, and this added structure to the wines makes them highly age-worthy. Many of Terre Rouge’s wines have been acknowledge for their ‘cellar-ability,’ and we certainly see why! For our tasting on July 9th, look for excellent balance and bold structure from Terre Rouge’s Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvédre blend called ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (a Wine Outlet staple) as well as their 2016 Viognier, which will carry complex aromas of flowers, honeysuckle, brioche, and apples. Lastly, look for their 2008 “DTR Ranch” Syrah, as a special offer, to exemplify how these wines can age so well. With 12 years having gone by since its 2008 harvest, this wine is by no means tired.
Bill Easton puts his name on the wines that are formed from grapes traditionally found outside of the Rhone Valley. These include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and, of course, Zinfandel for which Amador County is very well-known. Here, it may be best to leave it to Bill to broadly describe his reds and whites under the Easton name: “The style of our red wines emphasizes deep color, balanced flavors, full middle palate, and a long finish, with power and finesse. They gain complexity with age. Our whites are aromatic, flavorful with nice texture, and balanced with good acidity. They also show an amazing mineral sense that is derived from our stony mountain soils.” Whether red or white, Easton wines show the versatility of the Sierra Foothills when it comes to growing a variety of grapes, and the quality of winemaking and attention to detail is very evident when one dives into a glass. As Bill notes, look for the Sauvignon Blanc to have bright acidity and balance fruit flavors. For the Zinfandel, we have the unique opportunity to taste a younger Zin from Easton’s Amador County vineyards as well as an aged Zin from their library selection. While separated by 15 years, these will be excellent to taste side by side to experience how precisely made Zinfandel can age wonderfully over time.
A Quick Note on Sustainability
Easton & Terre Rouge has a commitment to sustainability and environmental consciousness. In fact, 90% of their entire operation is run off of solar power. Not only does the sun provide the ripeness needed for many of their Rhone varieties, but it then powers the winery that brings them to consumers. The winery uses no chemical pesticides and implements natural remedies to deter pests, weed growth, and other pesky creatures that can harm a vineyard. All of their materials have a focus on recycling, and Easton/Terre Rouge provides their bottle glass to Anheiser-Busch, which then becomes beer bottles. So, I guess your next Bud is on Bill Easton! Their respect for the environment in which they plant seems wrapped throughout their operation from the vines to the bottles, and we can’t wait to share their amazing wines with you on July 9th. Please see below for a listing of the wines we are going to taste along with links to pick them up or have them delivered from your most convenient Wine Outlet location.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our tasting with Les Doss of Terre Rouge and Easton wines. Les presented five incredible bottles that showed how versatile of a winemaker Bill Easton is. Les described factors such as soil type, elevation, harvesting, grape selection, and a variety of other elements that go into making these wines some of the best values we’ve tasted in a while. We’ve uploaded clips of our tasting to YouTube, so next time you have either the 2017 Easton Sauvignon Blanc, the 2016 Terre Rouge Viognier, the 2013 Terre Rouge Tete-a-Tete, the 2015 Easton Zinfandel, or the 2000 Easton Estate-Bottled Zinfandel you can listen to Les discuss each wine in detail.
While the tasting can be watched almost entirely on YouTube, there is one element that I wanted to quickly point out, and that is the ageability of Terre Rouge and Easton wines. There are many locations in California where wines can become tired or past their prime after only a few years of sitting in the bottle. Not a single wine in the lineup felt like it had too much age on it, particularly including the 20-year-old Zinfandel. Both the Sauvignon Blanc and the Viognier had crisp structures with relatively high acidity and alcohol to allow them to age beautifully. The Tete-a-Tete Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah blend is a 2013 and that is the current release! This show that Bill Easton not only is committed to allowing wines to be consumed in their prime but also to investing in that process – which storing wine is always the most financially beneficial endeavor for winemakers. What results are beautiful wines that can age flawlessly.
Thank you so much again to everyone who joined, and please click the links below or call our stores to get your hands on our Easton/Terre Rouge selections for our upcoming wine tasting. Cheers!
McLean or (703) 288 2970
Vienna or (703) 639 0155
Great Falls or (571) 459 2170