Qupé, the renowned California Rhône-style wine producer, is bringing everyday value and easy drinking to the table. Two wines make up their new “Blends Tier”, A Modern White and A Modern Red, lighter and refreshing value priced blends that pair well with a wide variety of food.
Qupé (pronounced kyoo-PAY) was founded by winemaker Bob Lindquist over thirty years ago. Qupé is Native American Chumash for the California poppy, and is an homage to the earlier residents of this California Central Coast region, where Lindquist’s American Rhône-style wines flourish. Lindquist, one of California’s original “Rhone Rangers”, was inspired by France’s Rhône wines. He championed the varietals of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne, finding a sympatico home in the cool climate cradle of the Central Coast.
The Qupé 2014 A Modern White, a blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, and Marsanne, is a delightful, refreshing white wine. Sourced from some of Qupé’s best vineyards: Bien Nacido in Santa Maria Valley, Sawyer Lindquist in Edna Valley, La Presa and Ibarra-Young in Santa Ynez Valley, the grapes were whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented in neutral French oak, to give richness to the wine without the oaky flavors. The Viognier adds aromatics and richness, while the Chardonnay and Marsanne brings acidity, structure, and balance. This is a pleasant white wine, with ripe peach, citrus, and green apple skin flavors, accented by a touch of floral aromas and framed by a stony minerality. At 13% ABV, it’s smooth in texture, yet you can really taste the characterful structure of the whole cluster winemaking technique. With a medium long finish, the Modern White is a crowd pleaser, a perfect sipper or pair with lighter foods.
The Qupé 2013 A Modern Red, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre, is a lightweight red, transparent in color like a Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo. A blend of fruit from quality vineyards in Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Ynez, this wine was crafted with many different techniques, all aimed at bringing a touch of complexity to the bottle. The individual components were aged in neutral French oak barrels for 16 months before assembling the final wine. Syrah dominant, this wine is savory and spicy, with berry fruit and pepper, accented by hints of fresh herbs. The Mourvedre gives some faint tannin structure and a gamey, earthy note on the finish. Well balanced at 13.5% ABV, this wine will pair well with most dishes.
Qupé offers four tiers of wine: the Single Vineyard/Estate, Reserve, Core, and now Blends. The “Blends” wines are crafted to appeal to a younger audience, offering a lighter palate This small production experiment, 2500 cases of the white and 7000 cases of the red, just hit the market a few months ago, retailing for about $16. It’s a good start, at an enticing price entry level, an introduction to California’s intriguing Rhône-style wines.