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You should always cap off a day of wine tasting with a good wine–the 2013 The Sheriff of Sonoma County is assuredly one of those. It’s a dark, spicy red blend from my favorite winery and culls grapes from AVAs throughout Sonoma County into one fantastic wine. This was a birthday gift and came out to play just this weekend.
This vintage is mix of Petite Sirah (30%), Cabernet Sauvignon (29%), Syrah (18%), Grenache (12%), and Malbec (11%)–what I’ve heard termed a “kitchen sink” wine by more experienced tasters because of the mash-up. It’s hefty, and I do not mean just the special bottle. The glass, adorned with this badge thing, is the heaviest bottle I’ve ever tasted and almost instills some gravitas into the tasting experience. What I mean is the actual wine itself. The Sirah/Syrah is very much present in this wine, an undercurrent beneath a rich Cabernet/Merlot layer. It is really magnificent and a worthy successor to the Caymus that I sampled just hours beforehand.
Last night the Sheriff accompanied bacon-wrapped filet mignon steaks, sizzled to perfection on hot NC evening, and sides of potato and salad. Tonight the 2013 complemented mixed salad greens (including freshly chopped basil that is fighting hard against some hearty sun…and getting some good love along its journey), waxed beans, and a couple of pork chops grilled up to taste and also accented with crushed black pepper and basil.
Say the Buena Vista folks, “Inspiring dark red fruit aromatics arrest the senses while rich raspberry, blackberry, and semi-sweet chocolate flavors are deliciously unleashed on the palate.” Yup, good friends all, those flavors, and accurately described.
The winemaker explains they have sourced the grapes from Rockville, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley in the 2013 The Sheriff of Sonoma County. I understand that it’s performed very well in competition and with reviewers, and this guy is no exception. It’s my second Sheriff of this year (neglected to post Notes on the first…story for another time…) and I’m truly appreciative of the gift and wish I had saved more to share. Fun beverage to write about, and even better to drink.
Ushering in a festive family weekend is this 2012 Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Merlot, a gentle red from one of California’s best-known wine makers. It had an opportunity to breathe and ultimately came out for the cocktail hour and hors de oeuvres on the back patio. The sun’s out, the company is good, and the food is here too–game on.
The 2012 Napa BV is a nice fruity red, with strong cherry vibes to it and of course a tad of blackberry. We sampled the BV with a cheese plate, crackers, and strawberry halves complemented with some dipping yogurt. I sort of avoided the strawberries, not sure how their flavors would mix with the Merlot (I might have had some if drinking a Pinot Noir), but in hindsight wonder if I missed an opportunity to bring out some other nuances of the BV. The 2012 had a mild finish and was very approachable.
Of the 2012, the winemaker offers, “Bing cherry, plum and raspberry mingle with chocolate-cherry truffle and red rose petal in this wine’s sensual aromas and flavors. Silky tannins and beautifully balanced acidity gently support the expansive flavors through the delicious, lingering finish.”
Tomorrow we’ve got an early curtain call for my cousin’s wedding, so we’re opting for discretion over valor – but yet moving onto a La Mer red blend shortly. Good decisions on both!
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Again in 2015 we had the opportunity to taste and, through Notes Of Note, share feedback on some excellent wine. Several new vintages (e.g., the 2013 Buena Vistas) lived up to their previous accolades while others (the 2012 Boom Boom! Syrah, for example) were slightly behind previous years’ releases. Others were first-of-a kind adventures that will bear repeating over the coming annum. As last year, the below is not necessarily a “best of” list but some notable grapes you’d do well to sample as time permits:
- 2012 The Aristocrat. A limited Buena Vista release that sold out quickly, and for good reason. It IS on my top five reds list and bears tasting any way you can.
- 2012 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon. A fantastic Chilean red made through eco-friendly farming without sacrificing taste in any way.
- 2013 The Count’s Selection Charbono, Buena Vista Winery. Our guests raved about it too–this one disappeared faster than anything we opened all year.
- 2010 Meritage, Dry Creek Vineyard. My favorite among their excellent offerings was not the highly acclaimed Mariner but this red blend instead.
- 2004 Merlot, Ramal Estate Vineyard Series. Mostly because I’d held this Buena Vista for quite some time (I never manage to hold wine) before opening, but it the bottle had good grapes too.
Many others were better visited or better wines overall, but you’ll have to explore Notes further to decide for yourself. I appreciate your readership and raise a glass to everyone who joined in the sampling here at our home or yours this past year. Best to you all in 2016!