Whether you are seeking a high end special occasion wine, a refreshing summer sipper, or a good value bottle, Diageo Chateau and Estate Wines can fit the bill. Their ever expanding portfolio continues to gain accolades with their latest purchase of Rosenblum Cellars; who’s award winning wines are numerous, including vineyard designated Zinfandels, Syrahs and Petite Sirahs from various appellations.
I had the pleasure of tasting many of Diageo’s offerings recently and also chatted with a few of the winemakers to gain their impressions of current releases and how the newest vintage is progressing along. My questions were met with enthusiastic responses that reflected both pride and careful attention to vineyard practices, the all important fruit, and the winemakers’ decisions each step of the way toward the final masterpiece. Here is a snapshot of several of my favorites from the Diageo wine portfolio:
Edna Valley Vineyards 2005 Paragon Vineyard Chardonnay: Notes of toasty oak, citrus and fresh juicy peaches rise from the glass. Round and full in the mouth with peach and pear flavors layered with subtle vanilla, butterscotch and nutmeg accents; balanced with a lingering finish. Winemaker Harry Hanson also crafted a beautiful 2005 Reserve Chardonnay made from fruit that saw a longer hang time in the vineyard. Exquisitely structure, creamy and focused with stone fruit at the core, the essence of French oak nicely integrated, and a pleasing dollop of spice adding complexity.
Jade Mountain 2005 Paras Vineyard Viognier: Glorious honeysuckle aromas and a hint of oak lead to a lovely explosion of ripe peaches and mandarin oranges coating the palate; and just the right amount of residual sugar. Very well crafted example of this fragrant varietal.
Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2006 Snipes Vineyard Gewurztraminer: From Washington state; this expressive wine opens with aromas of spice and sweet-scented lilacs. Clean and pure on the palate with a succulent nectarine focus at the core, surrounded by spice and florality; and a satisfying finish.
Acacia 2005 Winery Lake Vineyard Chardonnay: Satisfying toasty oak and butter cookie in the nose. Rich, expansive and mouth filling on the palate, with caramel apple and ripe pear flavors entwined with alluring spices. Artfully balanced with a nice level of acidity.
Provenance 2007 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc: Delightfully herbal and floral in the nose, with zesty lemon lime and bright grapefruit on the palate. Minerality and racy acidity screams “food wine”! This beauty will pair with oysters or any shellfish dish; its creaminess comes forward when paired with goat cheese too.
Beaulieu Vineyard 2005 Carneros Napa Chardonnay: From the Napa side of Carneros, this crisp, apple focused Chardonnay is a beauty. With a generous thread of minerality alongside bright fruit and a dash of oak, it boasts plenty of acidity and length.
Beaulieu Vineyard 2004 Tapestry: This blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec is enticingly aromatic and irresistible. The entry through mid palate is pure cassis and dark cherry/berry flavors cloaked attractively in toasty oak; a harmonious blend with a lasting finish.
Beaulieu 2004 Georges De Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark, brooding fruit aromatics open to an expansive burst of cassis, black cherry, black currant and a dose of tobacco which meld together seamlessly and broaden beautifully on the palate. Full bodied and complex with well integrated tannins, finishes memorably with alluring oak notes.
Moon Mountain 2004 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Abundantly fruited in the nose with hints of cocoa and coffee bean, this Cab is rich and ever so smooth on the palate with velvety tannins and a beautiful purity of blackberry and blueberry fruit from entry to the lengthy finish.
Provenance 2005 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon: Winemaker Tom Rinaldi does it again with a powerhouse Cabernet from Napa’s Rutherford appellation. This darkly hued vintage is full of warm dark berry pie and spicy aromas, unveiling layer upon layer of black cherry, cassis, tobacco and earthiness on the mouth filling mid palate. Beautifully structured with plenty of gutsy tannins suggesting a long life.
Acacia 2005 Lone Tree Vineyard, Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir: Earthy, aromatic truffle notes up front are just a precursor for the full structured blossoming black cherry, cola and licorice flavors that weave enticingly on mid palate. Perfectly balance with beautiful acidity and an elegant finish.
Orogeny 2006 Fox Den Vineyard, Green Valley Pinot Noir: Wow, juicy cherry and strawberry aromas with a pleasing thread of earthiness open way to delightful cherry cola and ginger spice flavors that are both ethereal and plentiful on the palate. Bright and pretty with silky tannins and plenty of length.
Hewitt 2004 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: The dark inky hue and expressive blackberry fruit with dusty earth notes set the stage. The lush chocolate scented fruit entwined with hints of spice and oak is rich and complex now, and this intensely structured Cabernet should unfold beautifully through the years.
Rosenblum Cellars 2005 Harris Kratka Vineyard Alexander Valley Zinfandel: Tempting aromas of dense dark cherries draw you in, and stay focused on the palate with jammy berry, cherry and juicy plums melding deliciously alongside accents of licorice and spice to round out the flavors. Memorable finish, too!