Thursday, December 18, 2014

2012 Sullivan Heart of the Vineyard Napa Valley Red Wine

Well it's officially one week till Christmas, so not a lot of time to prepare if you haven't done so already.  Tonight I am preparing some gifts to bring in to work tomorrow but why not take some time out to share what wonderful wine I'm enjoying this evening, even as I wrap and clean and prepare for my own Christmas party on Saturday.  Tonight I've opened a bottle of 2012 Sullivan Heart of the Vineyard Napa Valley Red Wine, an interesting blend of Cabernet Franc (38%), Cabernet Sauvignon (34%), Merlot (17%) and Petit Verdot (11%).

The wine is a bright ruby color in the glass with just a bit of opacity.  The nose is rich and jammy with black cherries, vanilla bean and marionberries with just a hint of leather at the end.  The taste is quite fruit forward with a burst of black cherries, blackberries and candied plum, which transitions nicely to some graphite, dark chocolate and white pepper spice midpalate.  The finish is smooth and inviting, as fine, dusty tannins lend considerable support to the velvety mouthfeel and long, smooth, dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a very well structured and high quality wine, but also a decent value (I bought this one from Wines Till Sold Out for about $30).  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a rather nontraditional pairing of dungeness crab ravioli with roasted pepper and garlic alfredo sauce.  The fruit and spice of the wine nicely balance the richness of the crab in the ravioli.  Cheers!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Seven Hills Estate Merlot

Have you ever made it to the end of the day and felt like you've just been beaten up?  That's how I feel today, after trying to get my house decorated for my upcoming Christmas party next weekend not to mention that I still have a lot of cleaning to do, particularly vacuuming spruce needles!  Oh well, I'll get it done soon enough, but until then it seems only appropriate to open a nice bottle of wine at the end of the day, and tonight it's one of my favorite varietals from one of my favorite wineries, the 2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Seven Hills Estate Merlot, which is actually a blend of Merlot (78%), Cabernet Sauvignon (13%) and Cabernet Franc (9%).

The wine is a beautiful rich ruby color in the glass, with a nice dark indigo at the center.  The nose is quite inviting, with aromas of black cherry, green cedar, and a hint of fresh herbs.  The taste is a rush of ripe fruit, blackberry, cherry and a hint of candied plum, which transition smoothly to some earthy elements of tar, toasted oak and pepper midpalate.  The finish is remarkably earthy, with integrated tannins supporting the long, smooth dry finish that leaves you wanting another sip.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's drinking very well now, but given it's from a strong vintage it will no doubt improve with some time in the cellar.  Tonight I am enjoying this with a nice petite sirloin, grilled rare, along with a big baked potato and some grilled Brussels sprouts.  A Merlot like this one is a sure bet to pair well with a nice steak house sort of dinner.  Cheers!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2012 Encantado Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Saturday!  It was certainly a busy one for me as I was running around getting Christmas trees and finding food for my annual Christmas party next Saturday, and today I bought the biggest tree I've ever bought for the family room, a blue spruce that stands about 9 feet tall and seems to be about 6 feet in diameter at the base!  So it's time to relax, and before you accuse me of repeating a wine post (not that it's never happened) our wine this evening is a little different than the 2012 Encantado Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as this one is made only from grapes produced in the Oakville AVA, home to some rock star wineries like Silver Oak and Opus One!  But like the regular cab, this one is still produced by Pine Ridge Vineyards, so let's get busy with the wine already!

The wine is a beautiful, deep ruby color in the glass with nice legs.  The nose is just what you'd expect from a high-quality Cabernet from Oakville, ripe black fruit, blackberries, plum and a hint of strawberry over some smoke, baking spice and a bit of mint.  The taste is quite refined, with a burst of mellow fruit up front, ripe berries and plum that transition relatively effortlessly to some earthy notes of tar, dusty limestone and black pepper.  The finish is delightful, as the fine tannins support a rich, velvety mouthfeel amid the long, smooth and exceedingly dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5 as this wine has all that I would expect from a $50 bottle, but I bought this one from Wines Till Sold Out for just $23!  Like any quality Napa Valley Cabernet, this wine would be perfect with red meat or a variety of hearty dishes perfect for the winter months.  Tonight I am enjoying this with a USDA Prime petite sirloin steak grilled rare with a baked potato and some haricots vert almondine, a classic steak house dinner with a classic Cabernet!  Cheers!