A few years back we were thrilled to see Helen Keplinger’s comments in Wine Spectator that she had cultivated her knowledge and love of wine with us, while doing Medical research in Boston. It seems Helen would drive to Northampton to Big Y Wines to mix up a case of wines, studying one region after another. Helen knew Northampton as she attended Smith for undergrad. She has told the story a few times over the years, in Food and Wine, and most recently on Doug Shafer’s podcast. Each time Helen tells the story someone reaches out to us to point it out and what a fun connection we have with this winemaker. However Helen’s wines haven’t been available to us, until now. We are starting out with this excellent red blend that she and her husband, DJ Warner make each year as wine to pair with all sorts of foods and delicious enough to drink on its own. Let’s be clear this is a very talented winemaker, in 2011 Wine Spectator called her a winemaker to watch, 2012 Food and Wine Winemaker of the year, the accolades would take up too much space to all fit here. I hope to someday get to buy the wines under their Keplinger Wines label.
Vermillion Red 2016- $26.99 With the belief that the quality of any wine is based on the quality of all its inputs Helen crafts this wine through smart farming, pure and focused winemaking and ultimately attention and TLC at every step. Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Counoise and some Cabernet Sauvignon work together to make up this wine. And its a delicious wine! Great bold flavors and a strong intensity of structure and a long finish. I was thrilled to taste this and just as excited to get it into our selection! It’s not a wine of great production, just 1600 cases, but it is in relatively small production so I expect we will be able to keep it in stock. You’ll love this when you try it!
“The 2016 Red Blend comes from the Sierra Foothills (69%) and Sonoma (31%) and was aged 18 months in 30% new French oak. It’s blended of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Counoise and Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium garnet-purple colored, it’s scented of red cherries, warm plums, black raspberries and black berries with spice box and fragrant earth. The palate is medium to full-bodied and chewy, with good concentration and finishing long and earthy. 1,600 cases produced. 90 points.” Wine Advocate