Wino’s Picks of the Week: The Schmall Family Blends
The question comes every once in a while: “does ApCal make any wine?”
And no, but that is just the short answer.
ApCal does not make wine by any measure — there are no cellars hidden in the basement or wine barrels piled so inconspicuously in the garage. The long answer is much closer to the truth. While ApCal does not produce wine, our fearless leader and internationally-renowned cigar masticator, Monsieur ApCal, fathered two wines from his family vineyards. So instead of the nominal gamut of red, white and sweet, this edition is dedicated to our ApCal-exclusives: Alejandra’s Tres Amigas and Chosen, the Schmall family blends.
Alejandra’s Tres Amigas
This wine bears the Spanish namesake of Mr. ApCal’s first daughter, and was released 2014 in celebration of her twenty-first birthday. “Tres Amigas” is a euphemism for the three featured varietals: Alicante Bouschet, Merlot and Grenache.
Fresh from the bottle, Alejandra draws up hot, peaty, and with a faint aroma of raspberries. As the wine opens, the smokier element shift into a clove-like aroma while the berry notes move from faint to mild and long. Medium-to-light-bodied, garnet in hue. Once decanted, Tres Amigas cools into a mild berry-driven wine with a light tart note and a soft, pleasant smoky finish.
There are, according to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, over 400,000 children in foster care throughout the United States. Over 100,000 of these children are in immediate need of an adoptive family. Chosen is a tribute to the very act of adoption. Upon its release, fifty cases of Chosen were donated to Fresno’s Infant of Prague adoption center. As for the wine itself, it is the youngest of the two Schmall family blends, and was released in 2015. It, like Tres Amigas, is a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Merlot and Grenache, but in different concentrations.
Like Alejandra, Chosen’s is hot and berry-forward when poured fresh into the glass. As the wine opens, it cools into a juicy, blackberry and plum-rich bouquet. Light-to-mild bodied, rich and dark in hue. Whereas Alejandra carries a warm smoky element over the palate, Chosen boasts a soft, balanced composition of black pepper and berry. So there we have it — Madera born and bottled, each with their respective names, palates and purposes. While ApCal may not be a winery, the fruits of our labor are always on the table, open and ready to be shared and enjoyed.
Til next time.