Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Diverse Lineup Rocks TWAV 2nd Anniversary Tasting

From Italy to the coasts of California and Missouri to a wine vinted in Toledo, the recent 2nd Anniversary TWAV tasting covered a lot of turf stylistically. The tasting team and friends gathered last weekend to celebrate the blog’s second anniversary and the TWAV Facebook page passing 200 friends. We don’t need much of an excuse to celebrate!
Here’s a partial list of the wine selection:

2009 Foley Estate Vineyards, Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay Steel – This is one delicious Chardonnay. We didn’t realize this was steel finished until we more closely examined the label. The minerality of the fruit is in the spotlight rather than the oak you get in other Chards. This has a lively crispness with an edge of lime. The bottle retails for $30 and we rated it a **** on our 5-star scale. This was my favorite of the night!

2010 Dreaming Tree Central Coast Chardonnay – Thanks to Dave Weiden of Walter Berman & Co. we were able to sample this and several other wines. Dreaming Tree is musician Dave Matthews’ entry into the wine world. We found this to to have a fantastic QPR (quality price ratio) at just $14.99. It has tastes of pear and lemon with just the right touch of light oak. We rated this between a ***+ and ****.

2005 Tabbarini Montefalco Sagratino – This is a wine I picked up at the 2011 North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville. Sagratino is native to the Umbria region of Italy and there are only about 250 acres of this grape in the world. This wine has massive tannins and is not for the squeamish. It’s a big wine with charisma overflowing with dark fruit and earthiness. This wine goes for about $40 if you can find it. We rated it between ***+ and ****. This was a favorite of yours truly.

2009 Dreaming Tree Central Coast Cabernet – Another wine from Dave Matthews’ label, this is a smooth drinking Cab with raspberry flavor notes. It isn’t complex, but it is rewarding. *** All three Dreaming Tree wines are at the $14.99 price point.

Cellar No. 8 2009 Eight Red Wine – A  proprietary red blend from Cellar No. 8, this is a mixture of Petite Sirah, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvedre, Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. It retails for $9.99 and is a great QPR selection. It has ripe red berry flavors. This is an easy drinking wine that would be at home for a tailgate party or barbeque. ***+

2010 Kessler Vineyards Pinot Noir – We were thrilled to have a tasting of the first batch of Pinot Noir made by tasting team member Josh Kessler. He currently has bottled wines made from his own vines, but the Pinot Noir was made from Washington State juice. Fiancée Casey is not yet ready to give up her day job, but the vintage shows promise. We rate it a *** and in the future we will be able to tell Wine Spectator that we knew Josh when he first started winemaking!

Dreaming Tree 2009 Crush Red Wine – This is the third of the Dave Matthews’ wines (OK, he got help from Sonoma winemaker Steve Reeder) we sampled and we rated it the best. This had smoky berry and red jam. This compares very favorably with other popular red blends. We couldn’t determine the exact blend, but Dave Matthews rocked out this wine. ****

2008 Stone Hill Vineyard Norton,
Missouri – Norton is a true native American grape and perhaps no one makes it better than Stone Hill Vineyard,which has 160 years of winemaking heritage. It is a dry red that tastes very different from Cabernet. The deep impenetrable color befuddled our tasting crew – it actually colored the sides of the glass and the decanter.  It has a beautiful nose and a light body of blackberry and spice. One taster said its value lay in its uniqueness while others were undecided. I enjoyed the adventure. The average score was ***.

Special thanks to Glorious T and Ace of Bass for hosting the tasting. The food and hospitality were spectacular!

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