Do you guys hear the sound of progress? It’s me having published three samples columns since the holidays and I’m happy that I’m really making some progress of tasting these wines and am still able to tell some great stories along the way. Today we talk about more samples that I wanted to make sure you heard about.
Made was my surprise discovery of the tasting. It was delicious. From a vineyard site in Yountville, this sparkler is made entirely from Pinot Noir and tastes exuberantly of strawberry and citrus. Wet stone-like texture implies enduring minerality and chalky structure, with lasting notes of cardamom and clove. Strawberry, cherry, pomegranate and minerality.
NV Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne
Always consistently a good choice, I always enjoying opening a bottle of Piper Heidsieck. I get notes of almonds, pear, apple, ginger, a touch of cherry and fresh baked bread.
In 2020, I had the chance to talk to Alice Paillard, CEO of the company last year. This has always been a special grower’s favorite of mine. I tasted notes of citrus, grapefruit, raspberry, cherry, almonds, and brioche. It contains more than 30 crus, and the final composition is a house secret.
2019 Chehalem Rosé of Pinot Noir
This is always another wine I always enjoy. It has note of lime, cranberry, strawberry and a nice balanced minerality.
2017 Silk Road Rkatsiteli Amber Dry Wine
This wine from the country of Georgia is made in the Qvervi wine making process. This process takes a stone or wooden wine press along with the juice, stalks and the pips and pours it into the qvervi (or vessel) to make, age and store the wine. It’s a deep Amber color with notes of citrus and toasted walnut.
I tasted this wine last year in a special way when it was shipped with Dungeness crab. This year, I see the fruit shining through again with some more muted notes of flowers, caramel, spice, oak, and herbs.
2019 Chehalem Inox Unoaked Chardonnay – All-stainless fermentation and aging puts an emphasis on bright, fresh fruit first and foremost. Ripe enough to feel deliciously sappy, this mixes Meyer lemon, pineapple, and mixed citrus in a generous, lingering palate.
2018 Brick & Mortar Manchester Ridge Pinot Noir — Fragrant and floral, this juicy Pinot Noir has flavors of cherry, blackberry, cedar, and earth. It’s well balanced and drinkable today but will age brilliantly.
2017 Messina Hof Private Reserve Malbec — This Texas grown Malbec has notes of black fruit, chocolate, vanilla and plum.
2019 AG Matta Vineyards Pinot Noir — I couldn’t find much about the winery, but I really enjoyed this well-priced Chilean Pinot Noir. It was balanced and jammy with some spice and a hint of mocha.
2017 Knights Bridge Estate Vineyard Red Blend — This blend of 65 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 percent Merlot, 10 percent Cabernet Franc and 5 percent Petit Verdot was a big wine. I tasted black current, raspberry, oak, and herbs.
Lots of flowers, spice, pepper, tea and bursting with fruit. It’s a wine that could be served slightly chilled. I just wrote an in-depth article about Troon if you want to dive in more into a story of reinvention and sustainability.
2018 Be Human Red Blend — A crowd-pleasing wine that is a blend of 44 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 37 percent Merlot, 16 percent Malbec and 3 percent Cabernet Franc. It has notes of black and red fruit, spice, and it’s a perfect pizza wine.
2018 Roaming Dog Cabernet Sauvignon — Very easy drinking with notes of red and black cherry, vanilla, baking spice and pepper.
2018 Lucky Draw Cabernet Sauvignon — Lucky Draw Cabernet sources fruit from Sonoma, Napa, Lodi, and Paso Roble counties. It’s a blend of 92 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 8 percent Malbec. I tasted notes of blueberry jam, cherry, baking spice and mocha.
2017 Devils Candy Red Wine.com — Fruit is sourced from vineyards in Calistoga, Oakville, Rutherford, Coombsville and Pope Valley and it is a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet, Petite Sirah, and Charbono. It has notes of raspberry, cherry, blackberry, chocolate, spice, and licorice.
Multiple Bottles or Grouped Tastings
71 Painted Wines — 71 Painted Wines launched in Texas Hill Country in 2020. It brought the Dunten and Taliaferro families with the goal of combining wine, art, and philanthropy.
This story begins with Jared Dunten who has overcame what people deemed the impossible. After a freak accident where he broke his neck, spent over a month an intensive care unit due to a spinal cord injury and he became paralyzed from the neck down, he began painting and was awarded a student scholarship by the MFPA (Mouth & Foot Painting Artists) in Lichtenstein. Jared’s mission became to, “paint himself out of the wheelchair” as an advocate for research and advocate for a cure for paralysis. Justin Taliaferro and his wife commissioned a painting from Jared, and it led to a discussion about forming the two families coming together to start 71 Painted Wines.
Jared’s paintings titled “Mea Culpa” and “Maybe Tomorrow” now represent the company’s cabernet sauvignon and red wine blend. They have added “The Lady,” which is a sparkling blanc de blancs and “Why Not,” a chardonnay. The wines all are sourced from California vineyards – Napa, Paso Robles, and Santa Maria Valley.
My hands down favorite was “The Lady.” It was such a fun surprise sparkler with notes of lemon chiffon, baked bread, baked apples, and flowers. Other than loving the overall story and cause, I enjoyed trying all these wines and look forward to the next chapter.
A Trio of Rosés
I am a strong believer a good rosé stands up in any season. And it was fun to compare the three different regions in France that make very different types of rosés. The age-old question is always “can rosés be aged.” And the answer is yes if has structure, acidity, complexity, balance, variety and terroir. But these today are seizing the moment and enjoy wines.
2020 Ferraton Pere & Fils Cotes du Rohone Somorens Rosé – This wine is primarily Grenache (75 percent along with Syrah and Cinsault). It comes from the Rhone and has juicy red fruit, spice, and lots of minerality.
2020 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays d’Oc Rosé — From the Languedoc, it is a blend of 60 percent Grenache and 40 percent Cinsault. I get citrus, berry, floral, herbs, grapefruit, and spice.
2020 Chateau des Ferrages Roumery Cotes de Provence Rosé — This Provencal style wine consists of 60 percent Cinsault, 30 percent Grenache and 10 percent Syrah. It had notes of red fruit, stone fruit, minerality, grapefruit and a nice crispness.
Journey to Sonoma County
I couldn’t join the live event with winemakers from Sonoma County for their “Taste of Sonoma at Home” event, but I was happy to see some old favorites that I wanted to highlight.
These were my favorite:
2019 Pedroncelli Chardonnay – lots of tropical fruit, key lime, citrus, stone fruit, vanilla, and honeydew. Traditional and overdelivers for the price from one of the first families of Sonoma.
2018 Gary Farrell Russian River Chardonnay — made in an Old-World style with lots of juicy nectarine, honeysuckle, lemongrass, and notes of baked bread with lots of mineral notes. I’m a fan of Gary Farrell wines and got to explore seven different expressions of one grape last year.
2018 Flowers Chardonnay – Lots of white flowers, tropical fruit, pear, toast, and mineral notes with a long finish.
2019 Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel – This is like a gift that you get to unwrap that is one of the best priced Zinfandels in town. I get notes of cherry, blackberry pie, vanilla, clove, black pepper, spice, and violets.