I always look forward to the last wines to be tasted, because by rights, and if the tasting proceeds as it should, the last two should really shine. This was the case the other night when I did a tasting at D. Vine Fine Wines in Livonia, Michigan. I go to the tastings whenever I am free on a Tuesday night to discover, I hope, something interesting and perhaps I wouldn’t try as I am walking down the aisle at a wine shop. I really don’t need any more wines, especially if I listen to my Bride, but as you may have heard, husbands have selective hearing or at least that is what we are accused of.
The fifth wine of the evening was listed as only having nine barrels produced and when I went to the winery they had listed this wine as having two-hundred-twelve cases made and the math seems close enough to me, either way. The wine they poured was Wrath Winery Ex Anima Syrah 2014 from Monterey County. I have to admit that I am a bit biased towards this winery and the county, as I seem to have quite a few bottles resting from both the winery and the county. The fruit for this wine was harvested from their San Saba Vineyard which is just below the Santa Lucia Highlands, a famed AVA sub-region of the county. This wine was a blend of grapes that were aged in Stainless Steel and neutral oak and the Syrah was very pronounced. It had very purple bubbles as it was poured and showed extremely long legs and I remarked to the fellow across the table from me, who I might add just passed and is now a full sommelier (and congratulations are in order), that I thought this was would be excellent with a roast turkey. He cocked one eyebrow as he looked at me, but over the years I have opened a Syrah as one of the wines with that dish. I am very happy to see that Wrath Winery is getting some shelf space in Michigan.
The last wine of the evening was a Taft Street Winery Merlot 2014 from Alexander Valley. I had never heard of Taft Street and they consider themselves as a “Garagiste,” the term that is used in a slightly mocking manner in Bordeaux. The winery originally began in a “garage” in Berkley back in 1979 and they are now in Sebastopol. Here was a wine that for all intents and purposes was a Merlot as there was one percent of Petite Sirah and one percent Syrah and the fruit was harvested from the Hansen Vineyard Ranch. The wine spent twenty months in oak, and they produced fourteen-hundred cases of this beautiful wine. I guarantee you that I would have walked right pass this wine without giving it a second glance, but now I know the difference. I will also take this moment to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving, if you are in the States.