We had quite the wine weekend. Before heading home from the Festival on Friday afternoon, we stopped at both Liquor Direct Covington and Cork N Bottle Buttermilk (Thanks Ryan!) for their free tastings. Saturday afternoon we took in the Wimbledon Wines seminar at Liquor Direct in Ft. Thomas. The seminar was led by John Erikson, whom we met on Friday at the Festival. John seems to really enjoy his job and I suspect he is quite good at what he does.
We tasted four different wines from the Wimbledon portfolio. Wimbledon includes Cycles Gladiator, Mettler Family Vineyards, Calistoga Cellars, and Hahn Estates, among others. Their wines span the valleys of California’s wine country, from Napa and Sonoma down to the Central Coast.
I learned all sorts of miscellaneous tidbits, but John kept repeating something that I’ve heard a lot of lately. It bears repeating often – Wine is all about what you like. It’s not what Robert Parker or your wine store likes. It’s all about your tastes.
We had a great time at this seminar and really enjoyed meeting the guys from Republic, as well as talking more with John. I hope Liquor Direct hosts more seminars like this.
Let’s get to our wine tasting notes. Keep in mind that after the Festival and tastings on Friday, our palates were sort of tired.
Follow the jump for the details.
Remember, prices will be slightly higher in Ohio. All prices listed are for Liquor Direct Ft. Thomas.
2005 Calistoga Cellars Chardonnay, $16.68: 100% Chardonnay – not a blend. Crisp and tart, with some pear. I tasted a little bit of smoothness on the finish, but not buttery. This chardonnay was created using a 65% malolactic process. It was a good Chardonnay, and I didn’t mind it. It certainly wasn’t oaky. However, it wasn’t anything unbelievable either.
2004 Mettler Family Vineyards Petite Sirah, Lodi, $22.99: Note: The marketing sheets I have are for the 2003 vintage, but I’m fairly certain we tasted the 2004. 87% Petite Sirah, 9% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.2% alcohol content. There was a hint of spice and herb in this wine. It had a lot of big, dark cherries and made my mouth sort of tingle.
2004 Cycles Gladiator Syrah, Central Coast, $7.99: 83% Syrah, 14% Petite Sirah, 3% Merlot. I hate it when I have really high hopes for a wine, because they are usually dashed. I do better when I have no expectations and can be surprised. Needless to say, I had really high hopes for this one. It tasted a bit oaky, but it wasn’t overpowering. The wine spends about 2 years in French oak, before moving to neutral oak, which doesn’t impart flavor but allows for continued aging. There were black cherries and a dry finish. I guess our biggest complaint was that the oak was all on the attack. I will say that this wine tastes like it is at least a $9.99 or even an $11.99 wine. $7.99 is a great deal. It would be a fantastic party wine. One comment in our group was that the wine needs some steak to help it, and I would agree. I thought it tasted a little uncontrolled and perhaps food would tame that wildness.
Irrelevant to the tasting is the label. The bicycle symbolized a sort of freedom for women in turn of the century Paris, and that freedom is displayed on the label. Due to my rather fiery red hair at the moment, John jokingly referred to me as the model, only clothed. Many thanks for the compliment!
2005 Hahn Estates Meritage, Central Coast, $10.99 (on sale, usually $17.99): I didn’t find a huge nose on this wine. It was pretty subtle. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Meritage is basically the California way of saying "Bordeaux-style." I tasted a tiny bit of green pepper in this wine, but I bet if I let it sit if only until September or so (or perhaps decanted), that might disappear. This had light berries and light tannins. I would think it would need to be enjoyed fairly young. We brought a bottle home only to discover that we had enjoyed it at a previous tasting and purchased a bottle already. I’ll never complain of two bottles of the same good wine.
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