The joys of wine are that there is always something new to discover, you don’t have to go to the market and keep buying the same wine every week. At my local wine shop and wine club The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, I know that I am not going to get a run of the mill bottle of wine, found in every gas station, grocery store, drug store and party store; and even some of the big names make wines for this niche as well. I am not trying to be a snob, but I think that I may as well try another wine, that is how we find our “house wines” and they can change when something new is discovered.
Bodegas Vina Hermenia Rioja Crianza DOCa 2016 was an excellent find. Vina Hermenia was established in 1949. The winery was named as an homage to the memory of his wife. The winery is located in the largest sub region of Rioja and is now named Rioja Orientale (Eastern Rioja) since 2018, since the region was historically known as Rioja Baja, but not in lower of quality, but because Rioja Alta is on an elevated altitude. The wine is a blend of eighty-five percent Tempranillo and fifteen percent Grenache. It is aged in a mix of American and French Oak casks for twelve months and then another six months in the bottle before it is released. It has a garnet color with red fruit for the nose with a touch of vanilla. The taste offered cherries and nuts, with a nice finish, just a well-balanced Rioja from the old school and my erudite scribbled note says “tasty.”
Chateau d’Alix Pessac-Leognan Rouge 2016 and Pessac-Leognan is an appellation for red wines of Bordeaux that was carved out of the Graves district in 1987, including some of the chateaus there were listed in the Graves Classification of 1959. Chateau d’Alix is a joint venture of Muriel Belloc, a third generation wine-grower and her husband Jean Noel who is also a wine grower. In 2008, they began with a clean slate of sixty hectares, of which twenty-one hectares were planted in the AOC delineation. In 2012 they had their first vintage in a brand-new cellar. The average age of the vines are five years, so it is a young tasting and fresh wine and an equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The fruit is harvested both mechanically and manually. Fermentation and maceration are done in Stainless Steel for about a month and then the juice is aged in oak for twelve months. The wine offers red fruits in both the nose and the taste with some nice gravelly terroir in a medium finish. I think the winery will definitely show promise for the future, if this young wine is an indication.