Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Where the time Wente

by Rob Bralow, Wine Post Editor

It seems like forever ago (which means I really need to blog more often or at least be timely about my blog posts) that I participated in a Taste Live event with Wente Vineyards hosted by Karl Wente, fifth generation winemaker for the winery. It was a lot of fun to listen to Karl talk about his wines on twitter and to be thrown back into the community of wine bloggers and enthusiasts that are included in the Taste Live events.

Aside: Before I popped the corks and started the tasting I wandered around the Wente website and found on the homepage a link to something called "Discover the Wine Discover the Music" and felt the need to share. I particularly enjoy when wineries find ways to include other passions with wine. I find wine is best in company, with a meal, with music, or doing whatever else you might enjoy. Yes, plenty of bloggers (myself included) go a little gaga for the liquid on its own and for its own merits, but there are so many ways to enjoy life that it make sense to combine as many of those ways as possible.

This past year was Karl's tenth vintage as the winemaker of Wente Vineyards. Unfortunately those wines are still a bit fresh from the vine to taste yet, so we tasted three of the new releases:

2008 Riva Ranch Chardonnay - The grapes from this wine are primarily grown in Arroyo Seco in Monterey and the Chardonnay has a slight amount of Pinot Blanc and, surprisingly, Gewurztraminer. I say that is surprising because I do  not see a ton of Gewurz blended into Chardonnays. Karl said it was to bring some tropical notes to the wine. I found it to be clean and crisp with clear apple, pear and peach flavors. A very nice wine and a great expression of the grapes.

2007 Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon - This wine was not nearly as good as the Chardonnay. There was little fruit and what was there was muddled by the tannins. Nothing very exciting but this is also supposed to be an entry level wine.

2007 Nth Degree Syrah -  Here is a serious wine. What could be called Icon or certainly fantabulously awesometastic. This wine was rich, meaty, and filled with blueberry, blackberry, with lots of pepper. It is huge with a nice smoky, bacony finish. I let it sit in my glass for an extra hour and tasted it again and found a lot of the pepper had softened into more fleshy fruit.

Disclaimer: These wines were all received as samples.
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