Summer Stash: The Final Four…

Phew! 51 down! How many more to go you ask? Just five, and what a final 5 they were! We will cover four today and these all deserved a post in their own right. Instead they will share the stage here and go down in history as some of my highlights from the summer of 2010. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for my top pick of the summer but before we jump ahead let’s shower these with some accolades…
two reds...

I’m sure you are looking at these price tags and saying wow! I’m certainly outside of my comfort zone here as I don’t drink wines in this category too often. Both of the below were received as samples and I haven’t repurchased them (or any wines whatsoever in this price category) but if I were an active shopper in this price range these would be at the top of my list. First up is the Emblem Cabernet. Here were my notes; “(14.3%) Big and brawny on entry this young buck is still throwing its weight around. Warm and embracing with rich chewy tannins and constrained oak galore. The dark cherry fruit is not yet taking center stage but plays a sublime secondary role with cassis, tobacco and dried herb notes on the mid palate. This leads to a smooth, toasty finish loaded with dusty chocolate flavors that lingers on pleasantly. Rich and powerful yet smooth and balanced. Drink now or later (it will certainly age well) and if you are lucky enough both.” The Three Sticks Pinot was equally as impressive. From my notes; “(14.4%) Wow! Brick brown in color. The bouquet here is so warm and inviting you may lower your nose so deep into the glass you’ll accidentally stick it in the wine. The palate starts juicy, vibrant and floral with a bit of spice. It has an amazingly big but perfectly balanced flavor profile. A nice acidity manages it through the mid-palate and finish where a bit of soft spice emerges before you get some beautiful smooth, tingly tannins that linger on seemingly forever. The depth is outstanding the oak is well integrated adding just a hint of toastiness. A Pinot of epic proportions. Elegant & powerful yet restrained at the same time. It’s all here. I’d welcome another encounter any time…”

two whites...

The Graf Hardegg was sent to me as a sample and served as a beautiful message as to why I need to further educate myself on Grüner Veltliner. That said I don’t have a lot of tasting experience with this varietal but I sure did like this one. From my notes; “(13%) Awesome lemon rock on the palate with a full white fruit flavor profile. Incredible depth with a nice stony structure which leads to a nice, tingly, mineral finish. Extremely crisp with a nice tartness throughout. Everything I want in an offering and a wine I wish I could find again…” As for the La Clarine Farms Grenache Blanc I noticed a number of people whose palates I respect tweeting @LCFWino) about their wines I decided to seek them out and boy am I glad I did. From my archives; 2008 La Clarine Farms Grenache Blanc “(13.5%) My wife cracked this one and guzzled the first half+ with a friend while taking the kids on a play date proclaiming “I thought it would be okay since it was a screwcap” when I called here on it. Light and golden in color. A sweet, rich floral honeyed nose with pollinated orange blossoms and peach notes. The palate is full and floral with a nice mineral backbone; like a flower bed growing in the middle of a rocky creek. From there it has an almost coal-like smokiness and hints of an oaky creaminess with a slightly spiciness and lingering tannins on the finish. Pure and enjoyable. This Grenache Blanc is now long gone 2008 La Clarine Farms Grenache Blanc(only 48 cases made) but looking forward to trying more of La Clarine Farm’s offerings soon…”

There you have it. Have you tried any of these? Did any wines make your summer of 2010 highlight reel? Either way would love to hear your thoughts via the comments below.

*all of these wines were received as press samples other than the La Clarine Farm which was purchased with my own real American dollars…

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