September Dirt – Strong California Wine Game with Vermont Heart

We’ve been upping our California wine game. We’ve been very lucky recently because some new California wines that have never been available in Vermont before, are starting to break their way into our little state. Small growers, family run estates, limited production, thoughtfully made, delicious wines – all things we look for when selecting wines to share with our customers.



The Pairing wines have a Vermont connection. Winemaker Matt Dees graduated from UVM with a degree in Soil Science. A degree in terroir is a good place for a winemaker to begin, understanding the effect the soil has on the vines. Matt went on to work at wineries like Staglin in Napa Valley and Craggy Range in New Zealand, broadening his understanding of winemaking. The Pairing is the ‘little sister’ to Matt’s highly acclaimed Jonata and The Hilt projects – both of which we’ve just brought into the shop. The Pairing wines are made for pleasure. At the core, these wines are an exploration of style, vineyards and blending.


The Pairing Pinot Noir 2014

The fruit for this wine is harvested from vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. It’s aged in French oak (35% new and 65% neutral) for 11 months. The nose is captivating – dried autumn leaves, red and black cherry, raspberry, and hibiscus. It’s spicy on the palate with lots of red berry fruit and notes of anise and smoke. It’s not a shy Pinot Noir, it has weight and concentrated flavor, it would love to be paired with Tea-Smoked Duck Breast.

The Pairing Red Blend 2012

This is a Bordeaux-style blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, and 7% Petit Verdot that has aged in French oak (55% new and 45% neutral) for 22 months. It offers up aromatics of blackberry, black currant, black raspberry, smoked herbs, and baking spice. Lots of black fruit on the palate with firm structure and a savory finish of smoked cedar. It’s dark and brooding. Perfect with Braised Lamb with White Beans.

The Pairing Syrah 2013

The fruit for The Pairing Syrah comes from vineyards located in Santa Ynez Valley. The juice is aged in French oak (35% new, 65% neutral) for 22 months and only 500 cases are produced. It gives up classic Syrah notes of blueberry, black raspberry, olive pit, and violets. In the mouth it’s rich and savory with notes of black licorice, peppercorn, smoke and blueberries dipped in chocolate. It’s intense with chewy tannins backing the dark fruit. Pair this with Stilton Burgers with Onions.