While I was at my wine club picking up my selections for June, I thought I would ask if there was anything I should try. If they are busy with sales, when I venture in, I do not even ask about wine tasting, because I always figure that there is another day. There were some wines that I have already talked about, so that would be too repetitive. The first two wines that I tried were both from the states, but one was from the Santa Lucia Highlands, California and the other was from Columbia Valley, Washington.
I think that my ears actually perk up when I hear Santa Lucia Highlands mentioned. Not that I am the end all, when it comes to wine, but I have opined more than a few times that I think that particular AVA is as close to Burgundy as I have found for both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. That is not to say that I haven’t had other varietals from the region, but those two seem to be prevalent and for the most part awesome. The first wine that I tasted was Hope and Grace Doctor’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highland 2014. Hope and Grace began in 2001 with the focus of single vineyard, single varietal artisan wine and their first wine was a Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highland. The winemaker has some thirty years’ experience in the industry and he and his partner are now up to three thousand cases of wine of assorted varietals and vineyards; and they have not strayed from their original goal. Doctor’s Vineyard I have mentioned in the past is known for its east facing sweeping shelf of eroded sandy loam soil, which is buffeted by cool, semi foggy winds every afternoon. This wine was aged for sixteen months in French Oak and two Pinot Noir clones were used. There were forty barrels produced and while the winemaker suggests 2020 for this wine, I think it will age beyond that, as I didn’t notice any signs of aging. The nose offered red fruits, some rose petals and some spice. I notice a bit of heat in the initial taste which went into red cherries, a trace of terroir and a nice finish. I think it would be excellent with Roasted Duck.
The second was Sleight of Hand Cellar “The Spellbinder” Red Blend 2016 from Columbia Valley, Washington. Sleight of Hand Cellars began in 2007 and in the past twelve years they have received plenty of accolades from within the industry and wine writers. “The Spellbinder” is their proprietary Red Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot. The fruit came from four different vineyards and while there were no winemaking notes about production, it did say that there twenty-five-hundred cases produced. The nose was pure Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and the taste was dark fruit with some nice terroir and tannins with a nice long finish. This wine would work well with most meat dishes and I think it would be a nice wine with cheese and crackers and friends as well.