Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2010 Tre Nova Nebbaro

Happy Wine Wednesday!  Tonight I've opened a bottle that I found in the cellar, and I have to admit raised more questions than answers!  By all accounts, this wine looks Italian, has a Super Tuscan sort of label, and it's a blend of Italian varietals, but it was from the Columbia Valley of Washington.  I looked further at the label and found it was produced by G. Cuneo, and I remember visiting their tasting room when I was in Walla Walla in 2015, but I don't recall buying this bottle.  In any case, here it is, the 2010 Tre Nova Nebbaro, a blend of Nebbiolo (51%) and Barbera (49%) from the Columbia Valley AVA.  Nebbiolo is the king of Piedmont varietals, from which we get classic Barolo, so let's see what this wine has to offer!

The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass, somewhat darker than your typical Sangiovese, but just what you'd expect from a Nebbiolo or Barbera.  The nose is a cascade of leather, smoke, dried Italian spices over rich black fruit.  The taste is wonderfully fruit forward, with rich plum, black cherry and cassis amid undertones of dried spice with a hint of mint and licorice.  The tannins are well structured, providing nice backbone for a long, smooth dry finish with just a bit of tartness on the end.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a lovely example of some old world varietals meets new world creativity.  This wine would pair well with Italian dishes like a wild mushroom risotto, but it would also be great with a variety of steaks and roasts, ideal for winter.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a little offbeat dinner of oven roasted chicken with wild rice and steamed broccoli.  Cheers!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

2015 Pepper Bridge Walla Walla Merlot

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around my house!  We had a bunch of snow today, so to avoid cutting down my Christmas trees in the snow, I went out yesterday afternoon to get them.  And in typical Clark W. Griswold fashion, I probably went a little overboard on the family room tree as it really fills the space!  In any case, you can get a sense of the holiday cheer in the photo below (and yes, that is an official Christmas Story leg lamp in the background!).  I also confess I'm apparently on a bit of a Merlot kick, but to be fair, wineries keep sending me Merlot in wine club shipments so I can't really help it!  In any case, tonight I've opened a bottle from the latest wine club shipment from Pepper Bridge Winery, the 2015 Walla Walla Merlot, which is a blend of Merlot (78%), Cabernet Franc (15%) and Malbec (7%) from the Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge and Octave Vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley. 

The wine is a deep inky color in the glass, just what you'd expect from a nice Merlot.  The aromas of leather, black cherry, and tea leaf abound on this wine from a very warm vintage (based on my discussions with a lot of Walla Walla folks, the 2015 vintage will likely be much more fruit concentrated and likely better for early drinking rather than cellaring).  The taste is a fantastic rush of ripe black fruit, cherry, plum and layers of fig that yield to notes of black pepper and fennel.  The tannins are lush, supporting the warm, dry and voluptuous finish. 

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's just a lovely Merlot that's versatile and food friendly.  This is a wine that just speaks to the upcoming holidays, and I could easily see this wine pairing with anything from fire glazed ham to turkey with cranberries, to dark chocolate and peppermint bark.  Tonight I am relaxing after decorating (more to finish tomorrow!) and enjoying this wine with a dinner of pan seared sea scallops on a bed of baby arugula with pesto penne.  Cheers!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

2015 Seven Hills Merlot

Happy Wine Wednesday!  It's been a busy week so far, but at least there's wine.  Tonight I've decided to open a recent wine club selection from one of my favorite wineries, Seven Hills out of Walla Walla.  And much to the dismay of "Sideways" fans everywhere, I am a bit fan of Merlot, and tonight I'm enjoying the 2015 Seven Hills Walla Walla Merlot, so let's see who's right!

The wine is a lovely deep, inky purple in the glass with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is a subdued affair, with notes of leather, blackberry, cherry and cassis with just the slightest hint of green grass.  The taste is not nearly as fruit forward as some past vintages, but still nice black cherry at the outset that evolves into some lovely white pepper notes before diving into dark chocolate and mocha midpalate.  The finish is quite nice, with somewhat tightly wound tannins with a reprise of tart cherry before the long, smooth and exceptionally dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's drinking quite nicely now, but has the potential to improve quite a bit with a few years in the cellar.  This wine would pair well with a variety of roasts and stews, classic chill in the air autumnal fare, but tonight I'm enjoying this wine with a prime eye of ribeye grilled Pittsburgh rare with some steamed baby red potatoes with butter and parsley and some steamed broccoli.  Cheers!