Castle Rock

Appellation Wines at Affordable Prices

Producing low-priced wine is not difficult in California – as long as one uses undistinguished central valley grapes. Yet Castle Rock Winery sells premium, handcrafted wines from the best appellations in California, Oregon and Washington at prices that match those wines labeled “California.” Castle Rock Winery’s secret to providing “appellation wines at affordable prices” is to operate as a kind of “virtual winery,” owning neither its own vineyards nor a winery. Instead it maintains close, long-term relationships with around forty growers in such areas as Monterey County, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Willamette Valley and Colombia Valley and leases state-of-the-art winemaking facilities in all three states. Winemaker August "Joe" Briggs works closely with the growers to ensure they produce the best quality fruit while overseeing the winemaking at the same time. This unique method of operating allows Castle Rock to avoid the “money pits” of land and fancy buildings that sink many wineries and focus everything on securing the best grapes and crafting delicious wines. Since the beginning in 1994, Castle Rock has focused particularly on Pinot Noir, making distinct bottlings from such key Pinot districts as Carneros, Russian River Valley and Willamette Valley. However, over the years the winery has also branched out into other popular varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Riesling. Though an oft-repeated wine country adage goes, “it takes a fortune to make a small fortune in the wine business,” Castle Rock Winery has shown there is a way to make captivating wines for the discerning drinker without deep pockets. 

Wines from this Winery

2015 Castle Rock Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Castle Rock Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc

The vineyards planted on hills and plains along the headwaters of the Russian River that flow through Mendocino County make for a sublime pastoral landscape. Featuring alluvial soils and a climate of warm summers and cool autumns, these vineyards produce crisp, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. Aromas of citrus and pineapple and crisp flavors of lemon and peach make this wine an excellent choice for lunch, an aperitif or a casual dinner of spicy chicken, Asian salads or seafood. Gold medal winner at the California State Fair. 

Details
¥ 2,000
2015 Castle Rock Central Coast Chardonnay

2015 Castle Rock Central Coast Chardonnay

The grapes for this enticing Chardonnay were sourced from excellent vineyards located up and down the Central Coast, a region characterized by a perfect combination of sunshine, fog and ocean breezes. It’s conditions such as these that produce Chardonnay that balances intense flavor with bright acidity. Because dry conditions in 2015 inspired an early harvest, yields in Central Coast vineyards were lower than usual. However, lower yields led to more concentrated, flavorful fruit. Rich, ripe and fruity, this Chardonnay will pair well with fish, poultry and lightly sauced entrees.

Details
¥ 2,000
2012 Castle Rock Lodi Petite Sirah

2012 Castle Rock Lodi Petite Sirah

With a history that goes back to the 19th century, Lodi has started reclaiming its reputation for fine wine after many decades of being ignored by wine aficionados. Featuring a true Mediterranean climate, the AVA is staking its reputation on the California classics: Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. Though having all but disappeared from its French homeland, Petite Sirah (a.k.a. Durif) has been a mainstay in California – whether in the “field blends” of the pioneers or as a varietal wine more recently. Black-skinned and high in tannin and acidity, it can add structure and freshness to Zinfandel, or it can be made into a hearty, age-worthy varietal wine loaded with perky dark fruit and spice. Castle Rock’s Petite Sirah is dark, full-bodied, deeply concentrated and delicious. What value! Try it with grilled meats, hearty stews or pasta.

Details
¥ 2,300
2012 Castle Rock Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Castle Rock Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

An arid plateau east of the Cascade Range and beyond the tempering influence of the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia Valley has little in common with the appellations along the west coast. On the other hand, at 46° N, it shares the same latitude as the great French wine growing regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy, allowing for much longer summer days than in points south. The Columbia Valley’s combination of a long growing season, rich volcanic soils and plenty of mountain run-off for nurturing vines in the dry climate produces bold and nuanced wines, full of structure and balanced acidity. Castle Rock’s south-facing vineyards produce a Cabernet Sauvignon that is rich, structured and supple.

Details
¥ 2,300
2014 Castle Rock Mendocino County Pinot Noir

2014 Castle Rock Mendocino County Pinot Noir

Because getting to Mendocino takes more effort than does a drive to the Napa Valley, the area remains rural and rugged. Forests, ranches, farms and vineyards encompass the landscape with restaurants and winery tasting rooms far and few between. The Anderson Valley and the western side of the county features a cool climate that allows Pinot Noir to develop wonderful aromatics and bright fruit flavors. The 2014 Mendocino PN is a great value, offering attractive cherry and wild berry fruit as well as notes of earth, cedar and savory herbs. Lamb, chicken, salmon and light pasta dishes will all pair well with this wine. 

Details
¥ 2,400
2014 Castle Rock Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Castle Rock Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Located between Monterrey and Santa Barbara, the Paso Robles AVA is not among the Central Coast’s cooler climates. Indeed, the Santa Lucia Mountain Range that forms the AVA’s western border, shields most of Paso Robles AVA from coastal fog and winds, which is why Zinfandel, Syrah and the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon feature prominently among Paso Robles wineries. On the other hand, Paso Robles does feature the widest day-to-night temperature swing in California, so that red wines develop complex flavors over a long growing season. Diverse soils are another key feature of Paso Robles: granite, marine and volcanic rocks, calcareous shales and sandstone can often be found within the same vineyard block! With Castle Rock’s Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon you get a classic, dark, rich Cab at a price that merits midweek drinking. Pair it with beef, lamb or even spaghetti Bolognese.

Details
¥ 2,400
2014 Castle Rock Monterey County Pinot Noir

2014 Castle Rock Monterey County Pinot Noir

Whereas southern Monterey County is warm, dry and well-suited to Bordeaux varietals, the northern half, with sandy soils and a moist, cool maritime climate, is perfect for such Burgundian varietals as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Cooler summer temperatures allow for a longer growing season for Pinot Noir, while also allowing extra “hang-time” on the vines, giving way to a characteristic depth and concentration of flavor. Castle Rock’s Monterey County Pinot Noir is elegant and medium bodied, and its silky texture and mild tannins ensure that it pairs well with lamb and chicken as well as salmon or pan-seared tuna steaks. 

Details
¥ 2,700
2012 Castle Rock Los Carneros Pinot Noir

2012 Castle Rock Los Carneros Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is well-known as a finicky grape that, if planted in the right spot, can express the terroir like no other. Carneros was among the first of California’s cool-climate AVAs to prove that the “right spot” need not be in Burgundy to make a wine that is subtle, elegant, complex and sublime. Castle Rock’s Los Carneros is a fabulous value, delivering a smooth and heady mix of fruit and spice. Lamb, chicken, salmon or light pasta dishes would pair well with this versatile wine. 

Details
¥ 2,700