Of the seventeen wines that the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan had ready for tasting, I only five and two that were not on the list. I was trying to be good, since I was only picking up the monthly wine club selections. I am guilty of always being ready to discuss wines, and if there is a wine to be tried, I am usually interested in trying some wines as well, after all, it is human nature. The first wine that they poured that day was not on the list and I fell hook line and sinker, and the best thing is that since I was only trying seven wines, there was no reason not to savor each wine properly. Of course, I have to admit that I very seldom have ever spit out wine, even though it is considered proper when doing multiple tastings, I guess I am from the old school and I hate to waste, unless the wine is not worth drinking, but that is rare and I do not write about the wine.
The first last wine that I will discuss is the last year for Atlas Wine Company’s Omen Zinfandel 2015. This wine is from the Sierra Foothills, one of the largest AVA designations in the entire country as it is 2.6 million acres with many sub-districts and many varied terroirs, which can be expected from such a large area. Zinfandel is one of the most grown varietals for the entire Sierra Foothills and this grape was planted there during the days of the Gold Rush and then most of the vineyards and wineries ended during Prohibition and it is only been recently discovered. The peculiar truth is, that since the terrain is difficult for almost anything but wine that has to be stressed, some of the vineyards were never ripped out and were just left to grown wild, and hence some wineries now have some very old vines. The Omen Zinfandel is a hand-crafted wine and I can only surmise that rather than just having another Zinfandel to sell, they will be using it to blend with some of their other wines like their Omen Red Blend.
The other last wine is actually a fortified wine that is normally the last beverage of the evening, and it was not on the tasting wine list. The owner of the shop had actually read some of my articles and there was one at a restaurant, which was not his, but he saw that I had enjoyed a Pineau des Charentes Vieux. He went a poured me a glass of Navarre Pineau des Charentes Vieux NV and he thought this was the finest example of this wine that he has encountered. He asked me if I had ever had the wine before, and I had to laugh, in fact we both laughed when I told him, that he had sent two glasses to the table my Bride and I had, the first time we tried his restaurant Vertical in downtown Detroit, and it was the first time that I had met him. This wine, which is a fortified wine that was introduced in 1945 for wines that were not considered Cognac. This wine is made from the Ugni Blanc grape and is blended with a six-year-old Grande Champagne Cognac from the same winery. The wine must be aged in Oak for at least eighteen months, and if it carries the wording of Vieux (old) then it must spend at least five years or more in oak. I found it to be a very smooth and elegant “Cognac” though it is technically not a Cognac, though it is made from the same grapes, same blending and the same region. This fortified wine was created to make use of the wines that were not considered to be classic Cognac, and it created a second market for the vintages that may have been excessively heavy or light. Perhaps my palette is not that sharp to discern such subtleties, but I find it very enjoyable and really easier to drink compared to some Cognacs that I have had in the past. A perfect way to end this tasting trip.