Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cellarmistress Does The Napa Valley Film Festival--Part Three Continued: Tasting Yountville

Saturday afternoon, we bloggers had the opportunity to taste wines in conjunction with the Yountville Pavilion, TasteLive, CellarPass and Mutineer Magazine. The Yountville tasting was interesting as I was able to sample wines from wineries I'd never visited before. Each winery sent a sample bottle of what we were going to taste. Wineries featured were John Anthony Vineyards, Jessup Cellars and Chiarello Family Vineyards!

John Anthony Vineyards offered up two wines, the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The winery sources its Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards in the Oak Knoll district of Napa, which is just north of the town of Napa. This wine is 100% Cabernet, nothing else was blended into it. Like a lot of the 2007 vintage in Napa in general, it packed a lot of fruit up front and I was pleasantly surprised that the finish was a lot longer than some I had tried. The $56 price point is well-worth it. This wine would age very nicely. The Sauvignon Blanc, in my opinion, had a much higher perceived value than its price tag of $20 would suggest. It was all citrus and very elegant. And I have to commend their winemaker for sticking to a style that's very typical of Napa Valley. So many Napa producers are starting to shy away from the California style opting for a style that mimics New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and I hate that. I enjoy both styles but the last thing we need is our tried and true California style changing so drastically. After the tasting was over, a fellow blogger brought up the alcohol level of this wine. At over 15%, I agree it is a bit much. But the point is to savor this wine with a meal. It's not a "sit on your patio sipper." There are plenty of other wines out there that fall into that category!

The 2009 Jessup Cellars Juel was interesting! I felt kind of special being one of the first people out here to sample it. The wine won't be released to the public until sometime next Spring! The wine is huge, young, and definitely commands a great meal to go along with it. It is Merlot-based and each year, they change up the blend just a hair. During the tasting, I enjoyed the intense flavors but unfortunately when I went back to it several hours later, the wine had sort of fallen apart. It wasn't nearly as huge and the finish disappeared. Even capped with a rubber stopper with the air pumped out of it. I truly hope that a few more months of bottle aging will prevent this from happening in the future or maybe I received a bad bottle? The winemaker suggested the retail price on this bottle would be somewhere in the $85 range and that's a lot of money to spend on something that may not age well. Let's hope this is not the case because this wine was packing a lot of flavor!

The 2008 Chiarello Family Vineyards Roux is an old vine Petite Sirah (from 99 year old vines) and it was my favorite of the tasting! It was hearty, meaty, had a huge backbone and was completely in your face. It rocked!! This was the first of any Chiarello Family wine I'd had proving that not only is Michael Chiarello a great chef and businessman but he certainly knows a little about wine! If you tasted this wine, you would ask yourselves why more producers don't make a Petite Sirah. I wanted short ribs with this---the short ribs I tasted at Michael's Yountville restaurant, Bottega on my birthday! This wine could age for the next ten years but you wouldn't want to wait that long! The next time you're in Yountville, stop by NapaStyle and pick up a bottle or if you dine at Bottega, order it by the glass. $46 is pricey for Petite Sirah but guess what? It's worth every penny!

"You Saw It Here First"...This post was created solely for "Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk" by Grace Hoffman. Grace is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with an all-consuming passion for wine and all it encompasses.

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