Earlier this month I was invited up to VinTank where they were hosting @garyvee for the day as he interviewed a bunch of wine luminaries in a still undercover content operation that should soon unveil itself on cork’d. As part of this the winemakers obviously brought along the best of their wares to share and @pmabray was kind enough of to invite others (like me) to enjoy the fruits of their labor. I did have the chance to meet Gary and he was every bit as nice as you would think (and hope) he would be. I also meant a gang of other people which made this more of a social gathering than a tasting event and will explain my limited tasting notes below :-) Given that I have four highlights of what I am hoping to become far greater wine experiences to share…
- 2009 Natural Process Aliance Sauvignon Blanc ($N/A) – There is a big broader story to be told about NPA but for today let’s stick to the wine which hails from the Russian River Valley (800 cases made). 1/3 of this is fermented with skins, another 1/3 in clusters and the last third on its own. It was bottled the morning before it was delivered/tasted which is the norm for this wine (and quite interesting). Before you even drink this one you’ll certainly notice two things about it. #1) It is bottled in a Kleen Kanteen. #2) You will be taken aback by the cloudy, hazy color this unfiltered wine displays compared to its more translucent peer set. Almost like a summer day in San Francisco if you will allow me to reminisce. Now to the main event, this one starts with a big, fragrant nose loaded with orange fruits: peach, nectarine and cantaloupe; that leave you waiting to get knocked over by the same boldness on the palate but it never happens. Instead you find a wine that is surprisingly refreshing! Loaded with the great flavors of the same aforementioned fruits this one has several more layers that I could spend an evening dissecting and I look forward to doing so. Now I just need to get on @theNPAhardy‘s milk route for a delivery!
- 2009 Pithy Little Wine Co. Sangiovese Rose ($22) – I was lucky enough to get a chance to taste through a bit of their portfolio and enjoyed all I tried (Chardonnay, Pinot, Syrah and Zin) I must say that while some men are suckers for blonde for me it is all about rose and this (hailing from Paso Robles) was no exception. Jeff mentioned that when they arrived at the custom crush facility that many were surprised to hear they were making a rose with the Sangiovese. Well I am glad they did and guessing you will be as well! The nose on their 2009 was reminiscent of a strawberry jolly rancher (with a bit of watermelon mixed in) that I found delightful. The palate delivers more of the same with loads of strawberry throughout that meet with a crisp, refreshing finish. This is a perfect light bodied summer wine that can be had as an aperitif or served with a nice meal off the grill. That said rumor has it that @winefinesse puts aside a sizable chunk of the 120 cases made for herself so you may have a hard time tracking this one down, but if you do you’ll be glad you did!
- 2006 B Legacy Reserve Merlot ($60) – Well this one started interesting; you see the VinTank team had set up a visit for me at the Bolen Family Winery about a month earlier but due to technology failure (read dead iPhone battery) I never arrived. I did my best to apologize but upon meeting Eric and his father Mike I was promptly (and rightfully) coined the “a**hole”. That said there were still kind enough to share their wine and their passion with me. Their sole focus is Merlot which allows them to take a different approach than most where it is picked earlier rather than later as Cabernet is the kingmaker. But here they can let the grapes hang. In fact they get many nervous calls from growers wondering when they are going to pick as they are often the last grapes hanging on the vine, sometimes harvesting as late as November. As for the wine itself (hailing from Oak Knoll) it is aged for 26 months in 20% new oak. The nose shows the wines nuances straight away with layers of red berries and spice. On the palate this is surprisingly juicy showing great balance before showering you with an assortment of flavors on the finish with just a hint of warm barrel spices peeking their way through. For someone like me who rarely favors Merlot this was an eye opener. At $60 a bottle it is definitely spendy but if you call yourself a Merlot fan you need to give this one a try or at a minimum get up to the tasting room soon.
- 2006 Tallulah Les Trois Voix ($30) – Again, here, I was lucky enough to enjoy a few of the wines from the Tallulah portfolio. The Como, a blend of 53% Marsanne, 37% Chardonnay, ~10% Viognier, was toasty and full bodied with a zesty, slightly sweet finish and the Syrah was remarkably approachable. But my favorite of the lot was this Grenache/Mourvedre/Syrah blend which is often associated with the Chateauneuf Du Pape. The 2006, hailing from Shake Ridge Vineyard in Amador County, is composed of 53% Grenache, 29% Mourvedre, and 18% Syrah. With rich fruit and herbs up front this one showed great meatiness and nice vibrant acidity leading to a spicy, earthy, balanced finish. There were only 416 cases made so I’m glad I have a bottle in my possession.
There was many more good wine being poured including Hanzell, Titus, Failla, Modus Operandi, Salinia and Shibumi Knoll which I am bummed I didn’t get to spend more time with. And I missed the Opus One entirely! Next time I’ll have to be faster on my feet. It was a great event, thanks to Paul and the Vintank team for having me!