Wine reviews, pairings, events, and getaways
On a recent visit to Amador County, my first stop was the historic Terra d’Oro. I went there honestly not knowing the significance of the place and expecting it to be the most “commercial” of my tastings that day. Luckily, I had a head start on fellow tasters that day, as I strolled into the winery at 10:30am on a Monday. I pretty much had the place to myself, which could have been awkward I suppose, if it hadn’t been for the knowledgeable staff who shared, not just wine, but stories as well.
Impulse buy. Total impulse buy. But I must say, I have good impulses. I was standing at the store with a wine in each hand debating back and forth between two Pinot Noirs. But what drew me to Scott Family Estate was its Russian River roots. Being a young wine, I knew that the freshness of the river’s soil, the bright fresh fruits, and that little something extra found in the valley would be found in the wine.
I’m not afraid of Merlot. I’m just throwing that out there because in the past I’ve had my share of bad Merlot experiences and, as a result, I was firmly against it (read: it has nothing to do with a certain book or movie). But I’ve come to appreciate it as its own art form. When done right, it can be quite beautiful.
Now, I’ve recently been turned on to wines from the central coast so when searching for my next Merlot experiment, I decided to deviate away from my Napa-Sonoma obsession and broaden my horizons. So, today, I present to you, Hayes Valley Central Coast Merlot.
I feel like this is a name I’ve seen around the stores for quite some time, but never actually grabbed a bottle. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen it so much, I just assumed it would be generic and unfulfilling. You’d think by now I’d learn never to assume anything when it comes to wine. Anyway, long story short, it was my partner in wine crime (who appears as a ghostly reflection if you peer into the bottle in the photo below) that picked this bottle out — kind of on a whim. Well, whim and assumptions aside, we were in for quite a treat when we popped the cork on this Mer Soliel Reseve Chardonnay.
Sitting at home with the heater on, fireplace blazing, curled up in a comfy quilt while listening to rain patter against the window — it’s the perfect scene for a heart warming glass of Pinot Noir. The kind that enlivens you with its earthy aromas; envelopes you in its smooth, silky texture; and kisses you softly with the plush, subtle finish of over-ripe bush berries. The experience itself is like being wrapped in a warm blanket.
It’s an experience that Pinot lovers appreciate as an endulgence because not every bottle will gift it and, in fact, not every wine drinking moment calls for it. But when it’s what you want, it’s what you need — and there’s nothing like satisfying that craving.
There’s a reason that Testarossa sets my Pinot Noir bar — more specifically, Testarossa Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir. Because with each vintage it continuously delivers that undeniable — inescapable — heart-warming and utterly indulgent Pinot Noir experience.