Saturday, 02 December 2023

Foodie Freak: Six Sigma spring wine release




I love getting wine release invitations. It’s the closest thing a foodie freak like me gets to a red carpet movie premier.

Wine release parties are held in a variety of venues, whether it is a tasting room, vineyard, or sometimes even in the winemakers’ actual home. Six Sigma Winery held their spring release party last Saturday on their ranch just outside their cave. Instead of being a long red carpet you get to travel a long dirt road, which is much more fitting for the event.

The Six Sigma ranch can be a little bit intimidating upon entering since just after the “welcome” barrel is a sign saying that you only have two more miles to go. You will drive slowly down the one lane road looking at the vineyards, then the vineyards turn to cattle ranch, and just before you hit vineyard again you see the cave. To a guy who has never owned a plot of land that I couldn’t throw a rock across, it’s quite an impressive place.

Kaj Ahlmann, the owner of the Six Sigma ranch, was there talking to everyone as we tasted his wines accompanied with many different cheeses and crackers.

Christian Ahlmann surprises me every time I see him. Every time we meet, Christian remembers my name and where he saw me last, even if it’s been years. If my wife goes on a trip and comes back a week later I have a problem recognizing her so he’s definitely got an ability that I lack.

The first wine I tasted was the 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from the Rooster Vineyard, which is aged in stainless steel vats. This is a very subtle wine that has a very light color and fruity flavor with what I thought was just a hint of lemon. If someone had never tasted wine before in their life this would be the perfect wine to get their proverbial toes wet with. I would want to pair this wine up with a halibut steak poached in a court bouillon.

The 2006 Tempranillo, arguably the most popular Spanish wine grape in Spain and gaining popularity everywhere, is aged in oak. I noticed a slight peppery start with black cherries and cinnamon. Being a tannic red wine it would pair well with meats but it is a little lighter than say a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel, so I feel it would be a good pairing with barbecued pork.

The 2008 Tempranillo was being tasted right out of the barrel using a wine thief (a special siphon used to sample the wine from the barrel, which I can only not too eloquently describe as a glass turkey baster minus the bulb.) This was a very young tasting wine that I know is going to age into something great.

If you ever get a chance to taste a finished wine right next to a young wine still in the barrel, jump at the chance. It is quite an educational experience. I’d compare it to looking at professional photographs of a 25 year old supermodel right next to her high school class picture.

On the whole winemakers are very generous people and I have personally experienced that generosity on many occasions. For instance, Six Sigma is one of the wineries that donated to the inaugural Catfish Cook-off. At this release party I was again the beneficiary of this generosity as Michael Ahlmann was kind enough to let me sample a couple of wines that weren’t widely available.

The 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from the Michael vineyard isn’t ready to be released but is oak aged. It is now my favorite wine with its peach nose (fancy wine guy speak for smell) and rich color without having an overbearing oakiness to it. This is a wine that I thought should be brought to a potluck dinner (I attend them frequently) because this wine would go well with all of the dishes that you associate with potlucks: ambrosia, asparagus in cream sauce, fruit salads, ham, cold cuts, even sweet potatoes with those little marshmallows. I hope the Ahlmanns take that comment as the compliment I intend it to be.

The 2006 Rose is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Sauvignon Blanc mix that is the perfect wine to encourage a white wine drinker to start dabbling into reds. It’s far from the cloy Rose that you can get at the kwik-e-mart in a jug. This is a wine that as I sipped I thought would be the perfect wine to sit on the porch and drink after a day of gardening, because it’s so refreshing and drinkable.

These are just the wines that are being released now. If you’d like to learn more about the wide variety of their entire line, take a look at their very informative Web site, .

Visit Six Sigma Ranch and Vineyards at 13372 Spruce Grove Road, Lower Lake, telephone 707-994-2086 or toll-free, 888-571-1721.

Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community.

Upcoming Calendar

12.02.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
12.02.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Free mending workshop
12.02.2023 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Festival of Trees
12.03.2023 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Lower Lake Hometown HoliDaze Street Fair
12.09.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
12.09.2023 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Christmas in Middletown
12.14.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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12.16.2023 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Kelseyville Wreaths Across America ceremony
12.16.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

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