Gems in My Glass . . . March 2012

1:21 pm Gems in MY Glass . . ., Tasting Notes

A plethora of expressive, noteworthy wines marched into my heart as spring was about to burst forward this year.  It happened during the 2012 Monterey Wine Competition at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds.  After the final results were unveiled, the delicious entries below ranked among those that most tickled my palate.

Baileyana Winery 2005 Blanc de Blanc, 1909 Cuvee Firepeak Vineyard, Edna Valley, CA:  The French roots of Winemaker  Christian Roguenant shine beautifully with the yeasty, freshly baked bread aromas of this delectable sparkling wine that was aged on the yeast for three years and disgorged in 2009.   Creamy pear and citrus notes upon entry with a tiny stream of bubbles that enlivens the palate and gains complexity as spicy, earth tinged flavors pop gloriously throughout; bright and oh-so fresh.  (SRP:  $32)

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards 2004 Royal Cuvee, Carneros, CA:   Aged for more than 5 years on the yeast, this deliciously dry sparkling cuvee (67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay) is invitingly aromatic with toasty yeast notes framing the juicy white peach and fresh apple flavors at the core.  Lively with a tiny bead and elegantly structured with accents of lemon zest, honeysuckle and almond brittle adding complexity on mid-palate, lingering through the satisfying finish.  (SRP:  $32)

Swedish Hill Vineyard NV Spumante Blush, Finger Lakes, NY:   If a sweeter sparkling wine is your forte, you’ll love this sassy semi-sweet sparkling wine made from a blend of grapes including Catawba.  Aromas of rose petals lead to a soft and round mouth feel with pretty fruit expression on the palate.  Delightfully balanced and clean with nice acidity offsets the sweet fruit.  (SRP:  $12.99)

Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2006 Blanc de Noirs, Finger Lakes, NY:  Beautiful floral aromas capture the senses with this dry sparkling wine, a blend of 96% Pinot Noir, 4% Pinot Meunier.   Strawberry, tangelo and lime entwine to create delightful mouth filling flavors.  Brilliant acidity and a creamy texture abounds and the yeasty notes speak clearly for its four years aging on the yeast before disgorgement.    (SRP:  $29.99)

Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2011 Gruner Veltliner, Umpqua Valley, Oregon:   Enticingly aromatic white pepper notes greet the nose and scream Gruner!  Stunning example of this variety from the new world.  The classic white pepper intertwines scrumptiously with fresh peach, green bean and lettuce leaves from the garden and a generous squeeze of lime.  Lifted on the palate with a gratifying minerally finish.  (SRP:  $24)

Goose Watch Winery 2010 Traminette, Finger Lakes, NY:  Spiced fruit on the nose promises exactly what you get when this luscious wine unfolds onto the palate with verve.  Lively and fresh with spot on acidity, nicely balancing the sun ripened peach and apricot flavors.  Finishes with pretty spice and a touch of florality.  (SRP:  $13)

Nicholson Ranch 2009 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA:   Enticing floral aromas set the stage for the sumptuous layers of concentrated black cherry, raspberry, wild cherry and tea box spices.   Full bodied and Impressive with its deft balance of fruit, acidity and tannins.  Skillfully crafted and should continue to blossom handsomely fully with age.   (SRP:  $42)

Miletta Vista Winery 2011 Edelweiss, Nebraska:   Pleasing ripe, sweet tree fruit aromas rise from the glass. The sweet pear and apple fruit flavors with fresh herb highlights remain focused and juicy on the palate.  The harvest date was well chosen, as the acidity nicely offsets the sweetness of the wine.  A pretty example of wine crafted from this winter hardy hybrid grape.  (SRP:  $15.25)

Davis Bynum 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, CA: Fragrant red cherries on the nose pave the way for a delectable mouthful of juicy cherries, sun ripened red raspberries, a hint of forest floor and subtle baking spices.   Gloriously balanced on the palate with a silky smooth texture and pleasing oak nuances on the lingering finish.  (SRP:  $30)

Robert Rue Vineyards 2008 Wood Road Reserve Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, CA:    Opens with heavenly black fruit aromas and explodes with brilliance on the palate.  Blackberry, blueberry, bittersweet chocolate and freshly ground multi-colored peppercorns all meld together lusciously and coat the palate with a purity and richness that is irresistible.  (SRP:  $32)

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