I received a rather cryptic email telling me that there would be a blow-out tasting at D. Vine Fine Wines in Livonia, and I was free, so my curiosity got the best of me. I got there a bit early, not knowing what to expect, but it was not an S.R.O. evening, I did see some of the usual crowd and a few new faces, though I have to admit that I am not that frequent of an attendee. I went about setting up my little “photography studio” atop of a couple of cartons of wine with a blank piece of white paper for a back drop and I was ready to do some tasting.
The first wine of the evening was an Apriori Sauvignon Blanc 2014 from Napa Valley. I have had another wine from this winery that I enjoyed, so I looked forward to it, and the name of the winery actually means “from the beginning” or a fancy way of saying deductive reasoning. The fruit came from the Farella, Morgan Lee and Yount Mill vineyards. The fruit was hand harvested and fermented in Stainless Steel for thirty days, and then it was aged for eleven months in neutral French Oak. The winery produced five-hundred-forty cases of this wine. The wine had a very soft straw color in the glass and I thought a much better nose than I usually encounter from a Sauvignon Blanc with a decent finish to it. One of the people at the table that I was seated at, attested to tasting white grape juice, but I thought that it had the classic flavor of grapefruit, which I look for, from this varietal and others as well as our host agreed.
The second wine of the evening was from a new winery to me, not that I am such a maven. The Young Inglewood Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014. The winery itself is located in St. Helena and was originally part of Rancho Carne Humana, a Mexican government land grant that stretched from what is now Rutherford north to Calistoga, and vineyards were planted there in the late 1870’s, continuously except for the Prohibition era. This wine had its fruit from the Michael Mara Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast, so I did not get a chance to taste an estate wine, and I am sure that the estate wines must be stellar from the care that they used to make this wine. The hand-harvested clusters were gently pressed whole over night and two-thirds of the juice was aged in French Oak, and one-third in Stainless Steel. The juice was aged Sur Lie for sixteen months without racking, fining or filtering. Only twenty-five cases of this wine were produced. This wine had a great nose, too bad that every Chardonnay wine does not, a beautiful light gold color, decent legs and a long finish. I was upset that there was a disclaimer at the top of the wine sheet, that said most of the wines would not be available for purchase. I thought this would be a wine that would stop the ABC (Anything but Chardonnay) crowd dead in their tracks, but I was surprised that most of the attendees were not crazy about this wine, but then it was not the usual California Chardonnay and all I could think of, is that it is a shame that my Bride had a prior commitment as she would have gone crazy for this wine. I felt like I was a voice in the wilderness about this wine, and with the small production, I was just glad that I had a chance to try it.