I have had quite a busy time with projects and sometimes I just have to put on the brakes and do something different. We normally go out and have dinner and have wine or sometimes we have wine at home. Most of the time I tend to avoid wine tastings unless there is a featured winery that tickles my fancy. Recently I found myself home alone as my Bride had something going on and I really didn’t want to stay home. I had recently gone to a wine tasting for J. Vineyards & Winery at d.vine fine wines and I knew that they have a special wine class on Tuesdays with guest speaker Lee Hershey. I first encountered Mr. Hershey years ago giving a wine seminar at the Culinary Extravaganza that we always try to attend. So, as they say I bellied up to the bar, paid my admission fee and tried six new wines that I may have not tried otherwise.
Of the six wines offered that evening, I will start off discussing the first two wines that started off the tasting. The first wine was a bubbly, but not a Champagne. The wine featured was made by Montserrat Mascaro from Catalonia, Spain and was made in the Methode Tradicional, the Spanish spelling of Methode Traditional, the approved wording in the EEC for the old expression Methode Champenoise. As you may have surmised we had a Cava wine, but this was a pink Cava. The Mascaro Rubor Aurorae Cava Brut NV was a refreshing sparkler made entirely from the Grenache grape, a mainstay in Spain. Most Cava wines are not made from Grenache and this wine was aged for twelve months, and it not only offered a delightful soft pink color, but very tiny little bubbles, which one looks for in a good sparkling wine.
The second bottle of the evening was a marvelous job of marketing as the bottle would stick out on any shelf as it had gold lettering baked on the bottle in a graffiti appearance and a line from a Robert Frost poem. Jim Regusci and James Harder created Tank Garage Winery and their presence is in an old Art Deco styled gas station in Calistoga in Napa Valley. Tank Garage Nothing Gold Can Stay Chardonnay 2014 was a charming Chardonnay. The fruit is from Carneros with only two percent from the Russian River Valley, so it carries a Napa Valley AVA. The wine was aged for thirteen months in French Oak, of which forty percent was new and yet it did not have that overpowering Oak/Butter taste and they made twelve-hundred cases of the wine, which is not a massive amount of production. This is the second wine that I have had from this winery and I feel that they are very serious about their craft, even if their showroom and labels have whimsy.