Masut: A Return to the Earth

By Blake Myers

Barney Fetzer and his wife, Kathleen, journeyed to Mendocino County, California in the 1950s so he could work in the booming logging industry. No one could have predicted the decades-later outcome of that trip west. 

Because of his Italian heritage, Barney had an inborn love of the land and of wine. In 1968 he finally decided to follow his dream of producing wine, as many generations before him had done back in the “old country.” So he established Fetzer Vineyards, and over the ensuing twenty plus years until his death in 1981, worked unrelentingly to build his brand. Eventually he was joined in the winery’s operation by Robert, one of his 11 children. 

But by 1991 the winery’s production had become so large that Robert increasingly yearned to return to the roots of the small, family-owned vineyard his father had started. As a result, he sold the Fetzer Vineyards name to Brown Forman. Then, in 1994 he bought a 1,200-acre property close by, and named it Masut, a Native American word meaning “dark, rich earth.” His goal was to grow the finest Pinot Noir possible, and in 1997 began planting the first vines. Tragically, an accident took his life in 2006 at age 50.

His family decided to honor his legacy by continuing his vision, and in 2009 founded Masut Vineyard & Winery. Under the leadership of two of Robert’s sons, Ben and Jake, in 2009 they released the first vintage from the vines Barney had planted in 1997. 

The 2015 Masut’s Pinot Noir is the first vintage they’ve released to Nevada. 

To proudly introduce this product of the original 20 year-old vines, Jake traveled recently from California to speak at a wine seminar held at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Nevada. The winery grows multiple Dijon clones on the property; the 2015 vintage we tasted was a blend of several of them. The total bottling consisted only of 1,500 cases.

The wine has a citrus nose, followed by flavors of black cherry, berry and currant. It has medium acidity and low tannins, and produces a pleasantly soft finish. With its characteristic lighter note, this Pinot merits your consideration.

 

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits Academy in Nevada is certainly one of a kind. This state-of-the-art facility and its renowned staff of Sommeliers, Mixologists and Cicerones hold classes for Industry professionals and invited guests who want to obtain higher levels of certification and knowledge, and it was here that we recently enjoyed a tasting of the fine wines of Rioja.

Every wine region has their iconic wineries and Marques de Riscal is one of them. Brand Ambassador Jose Luis Muguiro brought these fine wines from Rioja to the SGWS Academy. It is one of the oldest Rioja wineries founded in Elciego (Álava) in 1858 by Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga and one of the first to make and age red wines using Bordeaux techniques. 

Barón de Chirel wine first appeared in 1986, the result of experimental production using a selection of grapes from very old vines, between 80 and 110 years old. The wine is aged for 20 months in Bordeaux barrels made of French oak. It presents with dark cherry color in the glass, on the nose, toasted spicy aromas, ripe, dark-berried fruit jump out. The palate is creamy and elegant with light tannins on the finish. 

Marqués de Riscal Reserva is made from Tempranillo vines first planted before the 1970s. The Reserva spends two years in American Oak barrels, which gives the wine its characteristic, classic Rioja style that produces a fresh, fine, elegant wine suitable for ageing. The color is bright red cherry in the glass then moves to a nose with elements of ripe red fruit and toast. The finish is long, featuring soft tannins and a hint of oak. 

The Grand Reserva uses grapes from 80-year-old estate vineyards. It is put into American oak casks where it ages for two and a half to three years, then a minimum of three years bottle ageing before release. Deep purple in the glass followed by a nose featuring hints of black fruit and spice that prepare for a finish with long soft tannins.

It’s not all just about the wines with Marques de Riscal. They also have a 43-room hotel that is part of Starwood Hotel’s Luxury collection. The luxury boutique hotel features a fine dining restaurant headed up by Michelin Chef Francis Paniego who shows off the traditional gastronomic delights of the region. A combination of visiting these iconic wines within the chic academy confines provided all who attended an increased knowledge and resect of fine wines from Rioja.

 

The Fine Wines of Rioja Show Well at The Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits Academy 

By Elaine & Scott Harris

 

photos by Elaine & Scott Harris

Barney Fetzer and his wife, Kathleen, journeyed to Mendocino County, California in the 1950s so he could work in the booming logging industry. No one could have predicted the decades-later outcome of that trip west. 

Because of his Italian heritage, Barney had an inborn love of the land and of wine. In 1968 he finally decided to follow his dream of producing wine, as many generations before him had done back in the “old country.” So he established Fetzer Vineyards, and over the ensuing twenty plus years until his death in 1981, worked unrelentingly to build his brand. Eventually he was joined in the winery’s operation by Robert, one of his 11 children. 

But by 1991 the winery’s production had become so large that Robert increasingly yearned to return to the roots of the small, family-owned vineyard his father had started. As a result, he sold the Fetzer Vineyards name to Brown Forman. Then, in 1994 he bought a 1,200-acre property close by, and named it Masut, a Native American word meaning “dark, rich earth.” His goal was to grow the finest Pinot Noir possible, and in 1997 began planting the first vines. Tragically, an accident took his life in 2006 at age 50.

His family decided to honor his legacy by continuing his vision, and in 2009 founded Masut Vineyard & Winery. Under the leadership of two of Robert’s sons, Ben and Jake, in 2009 they released the first vintage from the vines Barney had planted in 1997. 

The 2015 Masut’s Pinot Noir is the first vintage they’ve released to Nevada. 

To proudly introduce this product of the original 20 year-old vines, Jake traveled recently from California to speak at a wine seminar held at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Nevada. The winery grows multiple Dijon clones on the property; the 2015 vintage we tasted was a blend of several of them. The total bottling consisted only of 1,500 cases.

The wine has a citrus nose, followed by flavors of black cherry, berry and currant. It has medium acidity and low tannins, and produces a pleasantly soft finish. With its characteristic lighter note, this Pinot merits your consideration.

 

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits Academy in Nevada is certainly one of a kind. This state-of-the-art facility and its renowned staff of Sommeliers, Mixologists and Cicerones hold classes for Industry professionals and invited guests who want to obtain higher levels of certification and knowledge, and it was here that we recently enjoyed a tasting of the fine wines of Rioja.

Every wine region has their iconic wineries and Marques de Riscal is one of them. Brand Ambassador Jose Luis Muguiro brought these fine wines from Rioja to the SGWS Academy. It is one of the oldest Rioja wineries founded in Elciego (Álava) in 1858 by Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga and one of the first to make and age red wines using Bordeaux techniques. 

Barón de Chirel wine first appeared in 1986, the result of experimental production using a selection of grapes from very old vines, between 80 and 110 years old. The wine is aged for 20 months in Bordeaux barrels made of French oak. It presents with dark cherry color in the glass, on the nose, toasted spicy aromas, ripe, dark-berried fruit jump out. The palate is creamy and elegant with light tannins on the finish. 

Marqués de Riscal Reserva is made from Tempranillo vines first planted before the 1970s. The Reserva spends two years in American Oak barrels, which gives the wine its characteristic, classic Rioja style that produces a fresh, fine, elegant wine suitable for ageing. The color is bright red cherry in the glass then moves to a nose with elements of ripe red fruit and toast. The finish is long, featuring soft tannins and a hint of oak. 

The Grand Reserva uses grapes from 80-year-old estate vineyards. It is put into American oak casks where it ages for two and a half to three years, then a minimum of three years bottle ageing before release. Deep purple in the glass followed by a nose featuring hints of black fruit and spice that prepare for a finish with long soft tannins.

It’s not all just about the wines with Marques de Riscal. They also have a 43-room hotel that is part of Starwood Hotel’s Luxury collection. The luxury boutique hotel features a fine dining restaurant headed up by Michelin Chef Francis Paniego who shows off the traditional gastronomic delights of the region. A combination of visiting these iconic wines within the chic academy confines provided all who attended an increased knowledge and resect of fine wines from Rioja.