Over the last week, I had three unique and stylistically different wines I would like share with you.
The first one was previously unknown to me, 2014 Russian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Martin Vineyard from Santa Cruz Mountains (California). The winery itself is located in San Carlos, California on the San Francisco Peninsula. It is a small artisan winery producing less than a thousand cases a year. I pulled the bottle from the cellar and opened it in the kitchen. As I swirled the deep colored wine and took my first smell, I knew this was something special as oak, black berries and pipe tobacco resonated in the aroma. The first sip was indeed laced with quality, showing defined tannins and an uncanny sophistication of a true Cabernet Sauvignon! As I sipped on the wine, this was not a typical “urban winery” Cabernet Sauvignon. I went to their website and sure enough this wine won a Double Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle in 2018. The price listed is $38.
The second wine is a “tried and true” Merlot from Napa Valley. The 2015 Duckhorn Merlot from the cult like vineyard, Three Palms Vineyard. This has been a favorite for many, many years but had not given it a try for some five years or so. What a treat. If you somehow turn your nose up at Merlot, you have missed a great opportunity to experience what a premiere Merlot offers. This wine is 91% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 1.5% Petit Verdot and .5% Cabernet Franc. It is aged in 75% new oak and 25% neutral oak. Out of the bottle this is a deep red color and medium heavy viscosity. On the nose aromas of blueberry and cedar wake up the senses. On the palate, dark cherries and plump plums carry you to a world not typically associated with Merlot. While yet so smooth, the mouth experience provide a sense of a “heavy chewable wine”. The tannins were silky smooth with a finish of minerality and dark chocolate. The current release, 2017 is $110.
The third wine was once again a new wine for me was a 2016 Chateau Clamens which is blend of 70% Négrette and 30% Syrah. Négrette is a dark red wine grape grown primarily in South West France in the region between Albi and Toulouse. 98% of the world production is in France and 2% in the United States. Négrette is a black skinned variety. It is used in rosés with its fruity and spicy finish. Négrette wines are generally soft and silky with a hint of rustic old world. This Chateau Clamens was an extremely dark color in the glass. On the nose, soft floral notes with blackberries and in the mouth very little tannins and acidity. This made for an excellent sipping wine by itself. The price range is roughly $15 to $20.
These three wines comprised an unique and wonderful treat for the holidays.