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blog swirl & savor

The 12 Wines of Christmas, 2010 Cenyth Red Blend

Beth Ribblett

A fun way to introduce you some of our favorite wines in the store that we believe would make great gifts!

The label for Cenyth is designed by artist Julia Jackson

The label for Cenyth is designed by artist Julia Jackson

Our 4th wine of Christmas is made by a female French winemaker with a famous winemaker father.

It's not often that I fall for a California wine. Italy and France are my wine drinking countries of choice - I like acid, lots of structure and subtle fruit and I'm fine with a little oak on my wines as long as I can't taste it or smell it!  That being said it is really nice when I find US producers that make wine with an old world sensibility. 

I tasted one such wine with Beth Reinhard a few years back when she was still working for Republic.  She didn't tell me what it was and the label gave nothing away so I was left to form an unbiased opinion based on purely on my nose and palate.  Both of which told me old world, probably right bank Bordeaux due to the softer tannins and more blue and black fruit,  not young - there was definitely secondary and some tertiary flavors - but not old either.  

When Beth revealed the origins of the wine I liked it even was a Bordeaux blend made by a young female French winemaker in Sonoma; 2009 vintage and the first vintage she ever made!  But she wasn't just any young French woman as her famous father was Pierre Seillan, a revered veteran of the industry. Pierre is the current winemaker at six properties sprawled across multiple winemaking areas: Vérité and Anakota in Sonoma County, Château Lassègue and Château Vignot in Saint-Émilion, Arcanum Valadorna in Tuscany, and Bellevue Seillan in Gascony. It was at the very last property on that list – Bellevue Seillan, a family estate – that Pierre began his wine career. Pierre then did some work in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux. But Pierre’s real breakout project came some time later – and on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. In the mid-1990s, Pierre came to America, to Sonoma, and created Vérité. Vérité’s wines have garnered high praise from the critics, including seven 100 point scores from Robert Parker. 

Helene & Julia

Helene & Julia

Obviously the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as the 38-year-old Hélène Seillan began her career in the wine business seven years ago while working as assistant winemaker her father's Bordeaux property where she also received her degree in Viticulture and Oenology.  She split time between France and Sonoma where she became fast friends with artist Julia Jackson of Jackson Family Estates.  

 Cenyth represents the ‘second generations’ of two families coming together to showcase an artistic expression of the place they call home, Sonoma County. Hélène Seillan creates the art inside the bottle while Julia Jackson created the art on the label. It is two women, working together to carry on a friendship that started almost 20 years ago. 

The 2009 received a 93 point rating by Robert Parker and her second vintage, which is even more gorgeous than the first, received a 94 from Parker.  Here's his review:  

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 94 points:
The 2010 Cenyth is composed of 54% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Franc and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. The alcohol is 13.4% and the fruit was sourced from the same vineyards. Very Bordeaux-like (no doubt due to the lower alcohol profile), it offers up notes of red and black currants, cedarwood, spice box, vanillin, licorice, underbrush and unsmoked cigar tobacco. The wine reveals fine-grained tannins and beautiful density and richness. Compared to the 2009, which is a Medoc-like blend, the 2010 is more of a right bank St.-Emilion-styled wine. 

So if an elegant California wine made by a talented French female winemaker sounds appealing, this beautiful wine in an equally beautiful package should fit the bill!  $52