Qupe 2014

Wines We Love – Letter from America

This month we gave free reign to David to choose a favourite wine from the shelves as our Wines We Love choice.  And what a belter he’s gone for!  A favourite of Kate’s and one of the best kept secrets in the shop hailing, as it does, from our cousins across the pond…

Qupé Syrah 2014, Central Coast, California, £24 (just £21.60 to club members)

California has much to offer the wine lover – and in the UK we only really scratch the surface of what’s on offer, with very few exceptions. In spite of this, at BinTwo we have always had a little corner of US goodness comprising a few carefully chosen bottles that complement our strengths elsewhere. As a part-organic and part-biodynamic winery, Qupé (pronounced kew-PAY) fits that bill nicely. I’ve described the open nature and texture of such wines in previous tasting notes – and this Central Coast Syrah reminds us of that warm and honest fruit delivery.

So what then of the history here? Qupé was established by Bob Lindquist in 1982 when he was working as a tour guide for Zaca Mesa winery in the Ynez Valley and it was there that he began to develop his winemaking skills. Qupé was always going to be Rhône led in terms of variety, with Bob’s love of the French Region’s wines, in particular Northern Rhône Syrah such as Cornas, St Joseph and Côte Rôtie. Such continuous improvement for over three decades is a great source of quality, and Bob picks up regular best-Syrah-in-category awards.

A taste then….and it’s a surprise from the word go: soft supple, jammy fruit; fresh but so ripe. But how so? I expected pepper and tobacco, something to chew on, but this is lush and plush. If we’re talking winter pleasures, this is the comfy, modern armchair, and not the firm button-back chesterfield, so will especially please those seeking a silky, comforting red. Overall style and softness is primarily due to the ripeness of the harvest in 2014. It became necessary to pick far earlier than usual, by 4-5 weeks in fact and even though the wine is fermented to dryness and aged for 12 months in French oak, it remains ultra-accessible. In variety, it is Syrah 88%, Tempranillo 7%, Grenache 4% and Mourvèdre 1%. I’m not sure I can taste each variety, but it’s fun to imagine isn’t it?