Mitch Cosentino from pureCru Wines is our guest on California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger. The first pureCru vintage was in 2006, but he started Cosentino winery in 1980. They went public, which he says he didn’t enjoy, and he left it in 2010. They don’t have a tasting room at the moment. He considers pureCru “a winemaker’s wine project.”
Before we go on with Mitch, Dan Berger has brought a “cellar dweller” from Dan’s wine cellar. It’s a 2014 Black Kite Chardonnay from the north coast, made by Jeff Gaffner, who has been on the show before and will be again soon. It’s made in the European style and at seven years old, it’s ideal. The wine has a bit of burnt wood and tropical fruit flavors in it.
Mitch Cosentino’s first wine tasted today is a 2017 Chardonnay, Orchard Avenue in the Oak Knoll district of Napa. Dan and Mitch agree that it is one of the most prestigious Chardonnay locations in California. Mitch has been making this since the early to mid 90s. It is in a very European style, including 14 months in barrels. They are special barrels with three woods, that only he and his consulting clients use. “The barrels on all these wines are the black velvet in the jewelry store. It’s to set off the fruit, the balance and the character.” This Chardonnay would go with oysters, they think, but Dan Berger thinks Oysters Rockefeller would be best.
He has no tasting room right now and all his wine is sold through the wine club at the website.
From 1980 to 1990, Mitch Cosentino had the second largest winery in Modesto. There were only two; the other one was Gallo.
Bottle Barn is open again for in-store shopping, from 10am-6pm. Bottle Barn can ship wine to most states.
Mitch Cosentino says his cellar is more than 10,000 bottles. He lost 800 in the 2014 earthquake, including wines from all over the world.
In about 2 weeks, the 2019 German Rieslings are coming in. It’s one of the best years ever for German wines.
Now they open a 2018 Pinot Noir from Carneros. It’s the first wine he releases from the vintage. It’s the only red that gets less than 3 years in barrels. It’s silky. They stir the lees on Chardonnay for about 10 months, and they do it also with Pinot Noir. What he gets from that is a kind of leafyness and faint dried herb compnent. Dan: “I would call this exotic.”
Mitch says that as a wine consumer and fan, I like spice, aromatics and texture. He likes it with an oregano based sauce. This is designed for rare roast beef, but not a steak. It’s elegant but flavorful with wonderful acidity.
Nick’s Cove in Marin is open for takeout and has lots of outside space for patrons to relax and enjoy their food. “Dining at Nick’s is pure California joy.”
Mitch has been making Cabernet Franc since 1985. For a long time he was the only one. He has made over 50 bottlings over the years for different wineries. Most winemakers use Cabernet Franc as a blending wine. It’s the genetic parent, along with Sauvignon Blanc, of Cabernet Sauvignon. Clove is the most accurate spice tracer for Cabernet Franc. You will get more red cherry component from Cabernet Franc.
Dan says it has the structure of Pinot Noir, made with punch down, rather than pump over. They also do whole berry, mentions Mitch. It’s a 2016 but it’s very young, for him. The 2014 is released, he did not do a 2015 and the 2016 will be released in April 2021. Dan says to decant it for 2 hours.
Lamb would go well with it, or anything gamey. It’s great with duck.
Finally they taste the 2015 pureCos, the wine that started everything. This wine is actually a Meritage plus one, it’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and a little bit of Sangiovese.
The Sangiovese gives it a Jolly Rancher Red Cherry component. That’s the only time Jolly Rancher has come up in a wine tasting, but Mitch does taste a pomegranate. This wine could work with blackened salmon.
The first vintage was 2006, and the price is the same despite that the grape prices have more than doubled. Cabernet Franc is more expensive than Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley, $8,000/ton.
There is one more white wine to taste, to finish. It is a white Meritage wine, technically. It’s called Purity. He has been making this since 1982. It’s based on Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Obreon Blanc is the grape, it’s a white Bordeaux style wine. They are rare and people don’t know it very much. “Semillon ages like forever,” says Dan Berger. nicks