red wine

  • Nine Hats Red Wine

    We first had the Nine Hats Red wine at Urban Farmer in Portland, OR during one of our trips.  It’s a great bottle of wine at a great price.  If you like reds from the Columbia Valley, you’ll love this.

    Nine Hats Red is a smaller wine label produced by Long Shadows Vineyards near Walla Walla, Washington.  Nine Hats is unique in that it’s the collaboration of nine winemakers from Long Shadows.  The wines are produced from juice in barrels that remain after they’ve blended the main line wines for the winery.  The remaining wine produces the Nine Hats line of wines.

    Tasting Notes: From the Long Shadows Vineyards website:

    This wine offers a wonderful spectrum of dark fruits, oak spice and a hint of earthiness. It is a well structured wine, with impressive depth and complexity, balanced by a long and silky finish. The fruit for this blend is sourced from a selection of the Columbia Valley’s most highly regarded vineyards: Weinbau, Boushey and Stone Tree; aged 20 months in French Oak barrels before bottling.

    Origin:  United States, Washington, Columbia Valley

    Blend is: 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 15% Malbec, 15% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 7% Petit Verdot

    Aged: 20 months in French Oak

    Price: $25 or less.

    Available from the vineyard direct or search Wine-Searcher.

  • White Rock Vineyards Claret

    White Rock Vineyards Claret is a great Napa red and a great value as well.  This was recommended to us by the staff at A16 in San Francisco.  It was a great recommendation.  It pairs well with just about anything.  We had it with short ribs, pasta and pizza.

    White Rock Vineyards is located in the southern part of the Stags Leap district of Napa Valley.  The winery and vineyards sit on 35 acres that is sustainably farmed.  It has a rich history and has been producing wine off and on since 1871.  After such a great experience with their Claret, we can wait to try the Laureate (a Cabernet blend) and their Chardonnay.  White Rock Vineyards also has a wine club and does tastings by appointment.

    Tasting Notes: From the White Rock Vineyards website:

    “The nose opens with deep boysenberry and raspberry, cedar, and a hint of violet. The fruit notes give way to elegant chocolate, and savory spices, with a succulent and round mouth feel. A balance of tannin and a long full finish show the integration of each traditional Bordeaux varietal, and its unique expression of Napa Valley.”

    Origin:  United States, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District

    Blend is: 51% Cabernet Sauvignon – 27% Cabernet Franc – 20% Merlot – 2% Petit Verdot

    Aged: 32 months in French Oak (40% new)

    Price: $40 or less.

    Available from the vineyard direct or search Wine-Searcher.

  • Blau, Can Blau, Mas Can Blau

    The “Can Blau” series of wines from Juan Gil in Spain are great, all around wines that are perfect drinking on their own or with your favorite food.  These wines are a staple in our cellar and are consistently great from vintage to vintage.  

    Quality and consistency are a hallmark of Juan Gill wines.  These Juan Gill wines originate from the Montsant wine growing region of Spain, which is located in the province of Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain).

    Blau
    Can Blau
    Mas Can Blau
    Price: $10 USDPrice: $14 USDPrice: $40 USD
    Varieties: 50% Carignan, 25% Syrah and 25% GrenacheVarieties: 40% Carignan, 40% Syrah and 20% GrenacheVarieties: 40% Carignan, 40% Syrah and 20% Grenache
    Tasting Notes from Juan Gil:
    The Garnacha vineyards planted in soils known as metamorphic rock llicorella along with Carignan vines growing on clay soils and Syrah in calcareous soils results in a wine of great complexity remaining 4 months in French oak barrels
    Tasting Notes from Steven Tanzer:
    Inky ruby. Deeper and darker in profile than the Blau, displaying aromas of black and blue fruits, bitter chocolate and espresso. Weighty, palate-coating cassis and bitter cherry flavors are enlivened by a spicy nuance. Finishes with solid grip, building tannins and a touch of candied violet.
    Tasting Notes from Steven Tanzer:
    Opaque purple. Exotic, pungent aromas of black and blue fruits, vanillin oak, incense and candied flowers. Ripe and spicy on the palate, offering sweet boysenberry and blueberry preserve qualities and strong notes of coffee, vanilla and cherry-cola. A zesty mineral quality adds lift and bite to the long, sappy, sweet finish.
    Aging: 4 months French oakAging: 12 months French oakAging: 18 months French oak

    These Juan Gil wines are readily available in the US.  You can find out where from Wine-Searcher.  

  • 2010 Blackbird Vineyards Arise Meritage

    We tried this nice little meritage on a whim.  It was very, very good.  Extremely dark, almost black in color, it’s not too tannic and not overly oaked.  We had it at Guard and Grace in Denver with a bone-in ribeye and it paired very well with the beef.

    What is a meritage?

    From Wikipedia: “Meritage is a brand for red and white Bordeaux-style wines without infringing on the Bordeaux (France) region’s legally protected designation of origin. Winemakers must license the Meritage trademark from its owner, the California-based Meritage Alliance. Member wineries are found principally in the United States, though increasingly elsewhere.”

    Tasting Notes: From the Blackbird Vineyards website:

    “The 2010 Blackbird Vineyards Arise exudes perfumes of cherry, blackberry, tobacco, and vanilla. Upon entry, the soft mouth- feel reveals flavors of black cherry, truffle, and subtle black olive which unfold into a succulent finish. The 2010 Napa Valley grape growing season presented fickle weather conditions due to the relatively cool spring coupled with unexpected heat spikes in late summer. The outcome was a lower-yielding harvest that produced supple wines with European-style texture and great complexity.”

    Origin:  United States, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District

    Blend is: 61% Merlot – 20% Cabernet Sauvignon – 19% Cabernet Franc 

    Aged: 21 months in French Oak barrels – 50% new, 50% seasoned 3.78

    Drinks best: 2012 – 2022

    Price: $50 or less.

    Video from the Winemaker: 

    Available from the vineyard direct or search Wine-Searcher.

  • April 2012 Wine of the Month: Dunham Cellars Trutina

    The  2008 Dunham Cellars Trutina is a wonderful red blend at a very reasonable price.  For around $25 a bottle, the Dunham Trutina is a combination of 42% Cab, 42% Syrah and 16% Merlot.  We had this with a ribeye steak and beef tenderloin and it was off the charts.  It also is great by itself and has a “shelf life” when opened of about 3 days, if stored correctly.  

    Here’s information about the wine from Dunham Cellars website:  

    “Graham cracker and boysenberry pie, mountain huckleberries and a hint of sweet tea. With its finely woven tannins, this wine illustrates the great nature of the 2008 vintage, and fulfills its promise of delivering a truly balanced wine.”

    Dunham Cellars Trutina was also featured in February 2012 as an Editor’s Choice selection in Wine Enthusiast, with the comments, “….the 2008 Trutina has elevated itself beyond any previous vintage. Firm, chewy, tight and spicy, it’s a fully integrated and complex wine. Cassis, earth, lead pencil, coffee grounds and a streak of iron keep the flavors piling on. This bottle tastes way more expensive than it actually is.”  We couldn’t agree more.  Run, don’t walk to find yourself a bottle of this…or a half case…or a case.  You won’t be disappointed.

    APPELLATION: VINEYARDS:
    Columbia Valley
    Lewis Estate Vineyard,
    Double River Estate Vineyard, Frenchtown Estate Vineyard,
    Wallula Vineyard, Phinny Hill Vineyard, Double Canyon Vineyards

    VARIETAL:
    42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Syrah, 16% Merlot 

    If you can’t find this locally and live in a state that accepts wine shipments, try our favorite site to find wines, Wine Searcher.