Tag: wine tasting

Bodega Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros 2016 Garnacha

While I’ve found a few California producers who create extremely refined Grenache, I’m not a huge fan of the Spanish or South American garnacha. There’s something about the focus on rusticity that usually turns me off — harsh without a purpose, it seems. And yet, when you’re in the mood for some spice in your life, there are a few varietals that immediately come to mind. For me, Garnacha is certainly one of them. So when I found this bottle at a local wine shop for under $20, I figured, why not try something different? So…here’s that story.

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Inman Family 2017 Endless Crush Rosé of Pinot Noir

This is my first taste of Kathleen Inman’s wine and I have to say I am absolutely honored that she and her team sent this my way. Because of scheduling issues, I’ve had to turn down at least two invites to meet with the iconic vintner herself, which left me gutted. Well, this little pink surprise perked me right back up to day the least. A solid acidity that provides a hint of effervescence that just fizzes away on the tongue leaving a solid finish — without giving too much away here, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised at how structurally sound this rosé of Pinot Noir was; it’s a rosé varietal that’s proven a bit too fruity and fatty in the past. If you’ve had that experience, cast those aspersions aside. Kathleen knows what she’s doing and, what’s more, it’s a wine that’s important to her, as it has a bit of a personal story behind the name and label…

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Stony Hill Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

I was so excited to try this Cabernet Sauvignon from Stony Hill. Even more so than the Chardonnay — but don’t ask me why. I guess there’s some pretense when you see the words “Napa” and “Cabernet” on the bottle. It can turn some people off because it may automatically connote “big, bold, chewy” -type vocabulary. But not so here, and this predominantly has to do with seasoned winemaker’s, Mike Chelini’s, winemaking techniques. According to the winery, Chelini is constantly monitoring the vineyards throughout the season, harvesting by chemical balance rather than by flavor alone. Testing the grapes for the perfect amount of pH versus acidity, means grapes with just enough acid to encourage ageability in the resulting wines. So what Chelini produces are both red and white wines that can age for years to come or be enjoyed straight out of the bottle. And with this Stony Hill Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon — you can honestly go either way.

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Wise Villa Winery 2016 Pinot Noir

I’m going to be honest here and say that I don’t have an elegant introduction to go along with this wine. This is the first time in a long time that I chose a wine based on its label. First of all, I’ve never had a wine from Lincoln before, although I’ve heard there are some quality wines coming from that old-town region. And what better way than to experiment with one of my favorite varietals? The name of the winery was intriguing. And that owl? Come on — that’s pretty bad ass, no? Alright, now that we’ve dissected the obvious information, let’s dive in and taste, shall we?

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Stony Hill 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay

Oh Stony Hill — another winery to cross off my bucket list! The original Stony Hill Vineyard, located in Napa’s Spring Mountain AVA, was purchased by Fred and Eleanor McCrea back in the early 1940s. The first vines were planted in 1948 and by 1954 the couple already had a reputation for crafting fine Napa wines. When Fred passed in the late 1970s, assistant winemaker Mike Chelini took the winemaking reigns, and he’s held on tight to those ropes for over 40 years now. The bulk of the business remains in the family, with Fred and Eleanor’s son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Willinda, running the day-to-day operations and with their daughter, Sarah, taking over as president as of 2011.

According to the winery, Fred and Eleanor loved the white wines of Burgundy and would have loved to have planted their entire vineyard to Chardonnay. Well, they didn’t plant the whole vineyard to Chardonnay. But I can say that Fred and Eleanor would be proud that their family does great honor to the fruit that founding couple held in such high esteem.

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