In northern California, winemaker Helen Keplinger is a serious powerhouse. After cutting her teeth at a series of standout wineries—including Grace Family, Bryant Family, Carte Blanche and others—she was named Wine & Spirits Magazine’s 2012 Winemaker of the Year and, two years later, graced the cover of Wine Spectator magazine. Today, most of her bottles boast prices sized to match her big list of her accomplishments.
That’s one reason she created ‘Vermillion,’ a passion project in partnership with her husband DJ Warner, that doesn’t wear her name. Though more accessibly priced than her primary range, it’s made with just as much care using grapes from choice vineyard plots across Napa Valley, Sonoma County and the Sierra Foothills. The 2018 is a blend of grenache, mourvèdre, syrah, petite sirah, and counoise. And while it may be Rhône-inspired, its lushly vibrant spirit is California to the core! Flavors of ripe raspberries, plums, blackberries, and cherries shimmy across the palate, accompanied by flourishes of sweet spice, cinnamon, cedar, vanilla, and earth. Delicately balanced and dangerously drinkable, this is sure to elevate burgers or other grilled fare, but definitely won’t stop there!
“Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Red Blend leaps joyously from the glass with bright, expressive raspberry coulis, Black Forest cake and blackberry compote scents plus touches of garrigue, fertile loam, fried herbs and dried roses with a waft of Sichuan pepper. Medium-bodied, the palate is softly spoken with a wonderfully plush texture and oodles of freshness, finishing long and perfumed.” RP91