This year I’ve gotten to dive deep with so many winemakers – mostly virtually – and taste some amazing wines. I knew that I was behind the curve on samples, but I didn’t realize how far behind the curve.
I had gotten so behind that I started to just tell almost everyone “No more!” (with the exception of some must try wines). The guilt of boxes piling up with the inability to share with my usual tasting group due to pandemic reasons paralyzed me on writing about these individual wines. Today I’m going to try to take this in bite sized pieces knowing how many wines I have sampled this year – which, not including the Zoom tastings which usually yielded 3-6 bottles, is several hundred. First world wine problems, right?
So, here’s a go. Today I’m going to focus on wineries that sent me three or more wines to try.
Multiple Wines from One Winery (3 or more)
This is a story I have told before and it’s a great one. Alma de Cattleya was created in 2012 and the name is a Spanish translation of the word soul combined with Cattleya which is the national flower of Colombia, where Winemaker Bibiana González Rave is originally from. I tried three wines:
2019 Alma de Cattleya Red – Comprised of 64 percent Syrah, 22 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 14 percent Merlot, this wine delivers with notes of cassis, dark chocolate, blackberries, pepper, and licorice notes.
2020 Alma de Cattleya Sauvignon Blanc – this wine has lots of fresh citrus, pineapple, passion fruit and a great minerality.
2019 Alma de Cattleya Chardonnay – lots of floral, stone fruit and white flowers.
I’ve remained a big fan of the wines of Merry Edwards and was lucky enough to have conversations with Merry, former proprietor of Merry Edwards Winery & Vineyards, before she retired in 2020. The opportunity to taste so many single vineyard wines under the direction of Heidi von der Mehden, Winemaker, and former assistant winemaker, assured me that the legacy that Merry created will continue with signature, diverse and well-crafted wines well after its acquisition by the Roederer family.
2019 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc – I loved the complexity of this wine. Lots of tropical fruit, citrus, melon, orange blossom, peach, and white flowers. It is a stand-out.
2019 Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Chardonnay – Made from older vines planted in the mid 70s, this is also a wine that you want to take your time with. It has lots of dimension with notes of apple, peach, lemon, hazelnuts, and creme brulee.
2019 Merry Edwards Bucher Pinot Noir – this wine allows its terroir to shine through with blackberry, dried flowers, earth, and spice.
2019 Merry Edwards Georganne Pinot Noir – this wine was full of dark fruit, cherry, rose petal, chocolate, plum and graphite.
2019 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – this is bursting with red, black, and blue fruit with notes of flowers, violets and has a great finish.
2019 Merry Edwards Coopersmith Pinot Noir – this was a wine that totally stimulated my senses. It had notes of cherry, Asian spice, purple flowers, pepper, licorice, balsamic and cranberry.
2019 Merry Edwards Olivet Vineyards Pinot Noir – the last time I tasted this, I categorized it as swoon worthy, and it has not lost its swagger. It’s a powerful wine with notes of chocolate, cherries, black tea, earth, and dried fruit.
2019 Merry Edwards Meredith Estate Pinot Noir – this was Merry’s first vineyard and it’s a classic Russian River pinot. I tasted notes of red and black fruit, herbs, spice, and cherry cola.
2019 Merry Edwards Sonoma Country Pinot Noir – lots of dark cherry, herbs, flowers, spice and minerality.
Silverado Vineyards— Founded in 1981 by Ron and Diane Miller and her mother, Lillian Disney, Silverado Vineyards has some of Napa’s most-recognized wines. Silverado Vineyard was one of the first four in Stags Leap District to plant Cabernet in the 1960s.
Today, the third and fourth generations of the Miller family sustainably farm 360 acres across six estate vineyards in the Napa Valley. They produce estate and single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Chardonnay as well as a variety of other small production wines including the Borreo Collection. The Borreo Collection is a tribute to Felix Borreo who built a stone and redwood winery on his vineyard property near Napa Soda Springs. Borreo planted new vines in addition to fruit and olive orchards. In 1992, the Miller family purchased the site, and the winery remained one of Napa’s last ‘ghost’ wineries – until it was destroyed in the 2017 wildfires. This year the Miller family renamed the vineyard in honor of Felix Borreo and this historic site.
2017 Silverado Vineyards Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon – this is a blend of 85 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 14 percent Merlot and 1 percent Cabernet Franc. I tasted dark chocolate, mocha, dark cherry, herbs, spice, and tobacco.
2018 Borreo Sangiovese – this was full of juicy fruit with cranberry, blackberry, cherry, raspberry, herbs, vanilla, and basil. It was light, it was balanced, and it was nice.
2019 Borreo Kerner – This was my surprise wine. Kerner is a Riesling-like varietal, and it quickly became one of the group favorites of our super small tasting group. I tasted melon, pepper, citrus, floral notes, melon, peach, and ginger. I didn’t want this bottle to end.
2018 Borreo Single Vineyard Zinfandel – a brambly mix of black fruit, pepper, and spice.
It’s so interesting the differences between the three wineries – one is a boutique started by a woman who always knew she wanted to make wine; one is a female pioneer who built an amazing legacy, and one is a fourth-generation family member who was one of the first to plant Cabernet in Napa. What isn’t different is the commitment and passion to make exceptional wines for every family.