Wine of the Week: 2009 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2009 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification.

The Winery

Justin Winery is a family owned and operated winery making estate grown and produced wines. The property was founded in 1981 by Justin Baldwin when he planted the 160 acre property to the major Bordeaux varietals and created their Estate vineyard.

It was probably the first true “destination” winery in Paso.  Besides the winery there is the JUST Inn B&B, and Restaurant on site.

The winery is located in the Paso Robles appellation of California’s Central Coast. The region’s first grapes were planted in 1779 by Franciscan missionaries and today are home to the third highest concentration of wineries in the United States

The Wine

I picked up this wine during a trip to Paso Robles a couple of years ago.  Blend of 67% Cab Franc, and 23% Merlot. Aged for 16 months in 100% French Oak Barrels (45% New French oak). 14.9% alcohol.

2009 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification

2009 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification

My tasting notes follow:

Garnet color with dark cherry, mixed berry, and a hint of spiced cassis aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fruit forward and supple with well-integrated tannins, and dark cherry, blueberry, tobacco and vanilla flavors. Medium-long finish.  To find this wine, click here.

Rating: A-: Love this wine.  Wish I had more!

Pair with: Moussaka, Vegetarian Lasagna, or Veal Chops with Portobello Mushrooms.

Sample purchased for review

Related posts you might enjoy:

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

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TGIF Bubbly! 2012 Yorkville Cellars Sparkling Petit Verdot Brut Rosé

My wife and I usually make it a point to drink sparkling wine on a weekly basis.  It’s typically Friday night…thus “T.G.I.F. Bubbly”  It’s a celebration of sort, to the end of the work week.  We switched it up a bit this week, because we always have a sparkling wine for Thanksgiving.  We chose the 2012 Yorkville Cellars Sparkling Petit Verdot Brut Rosé for this week’s sparkling wine. 

The Winery

Yorkville Cellars is located in Yorkville, California in Mendocino County. Yorkville’s claim to fame is two-fold.  They are the only winery I know where all 8 of the Bordeaux varietals are estate grown and then offered as separate varietal winesAnd their two vineyards are both certified organic – the oldest of which has been certified organic since 1986. 

My wife and I have visited Anderson Valley three times over the last several years and we make sure drop in at Yorkville Cellars each time because we enjoy the wines.  It’s fun to try varietal bottlings of the lesser known Bordeaux varietals like Carmenere, or Petite Verdot, but our favorite has been their best red Richard the Lion-Heart. On our last visit, we tried a delightful Sweet Malbec.  I highly recommend stopping by Yorkville Cellars if you’ve visiting Anderson Valley. The wines are wonderful and fairly priced, and you’ll enjoy their diverse offerings.

The Wine

The 100% estate grown grapes for this wine are sourced from Yorkville Cellars’ Rennie Vineyard, which is located in front of its tasting room. The vineyard is certified organic, and planted to six of the main red grapes originating in Bordeaux, France: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec and Petit Verdot.  The vineyard was planted in 1990.

The wine is a blend of 87% Petit Verdot, and 13% Cabernet Franc.   Sparkling Rosé produced from primarily Petit Verdot (or other Bordeaux grape varieties for that matter) is scarce.  Petit Verdot is an aromatic grape, and in this wine it add some intriguing aromas not typically found in sparkling wine.  When young Petit Verdot has aromas that can be likened to banana, but in this wine it also seems to adds other intriguing aromas.  I’d recommend trying it in a red wine glass rather than a sparkling wine flute to get the full impact of the aromas.

The wine is produced using traditional method (Methode Champenoise) whereby  the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle.

TGIF Bubbly; 2012 Yorkville Cellars Sparkling Petite Verdot Brut Rose

2012 Yorkville Cellars Sparkling Petite Verdot Brut Rose

My tasting notes follow:

Appealing pink color with an orange hue and tiny beads of bubbles. It shows captivating strawberry, raspberry, banana, and a kiss of tropical aromas. On the palate, it has a creamy mousse, and approaches off-dry with tart raspberry, strawberry, and ruby grapefruit flavors. Lingering finish. – (89 pts)

Rating:  B+ : This wine has an intriguing aromatics, and is very food friendly.  

Pair with: We really enjoyed this with our Thanksgiving meal.  It’s a very food-friendly bubbly that  seamlessly adapted to the diverse spices, textures, and taste we enjoyed from appetizers through the main course.  Snag some for the upcoming holidays!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

Sample provided by winery

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!  Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2007 Corté Riva Cabernet Franc

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2007 Corté Riva Cabernet Franc.

My choice of wine for this week was largely driven by the fact that today, August 29th is #CabernetDay, a global celebration of all things Cabernet (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet blends) on social media.  If #CabernetDay holds true to form, King Cab will dominated the conversation.  But, I’ve chosen to take the road less traveled, and selected a Cabernet Franc instead!

The Winery

Corté Riva is the first Filipino-owned winery in the Northern California wine region. The owners of the winery, husband and wife, Lawrence Cortez, and Nieves Cortez, and Romel Rivera immigrated to the US from the Philippines in the late 70s.

They are great example of immigrant who have achieved the “American Dream”  They worked their way up from the bottom in the wine industry - picking grapes, pruning, suckering, watching for frost on the cold spring nights (Filipino immigrants have been part of the labor force responsible for California’s vineyards since the 1920s).

After decades in the wine industry and working their way up the ladder, in 2003 their first vintage was released; 350 cases of 2001 Corté Riva Merlot. The vintage received warm praises from many in the wine industry and sold out in two months!

Romel who is now the wine consultant, assists Lawrence, who has taken on the major roles of winemaker & cellar master for Corté Riva.  Nieves is Sales Manager, and in charge of the business aspects of the winery.

The concept for the brand pays homage to their last names Cortez & Rivera, thus transformed to Corté Riva! The vase used on the label reflects a past and present history of family – saving for the future.

Corté Riva has two collections of wine, the premium “Corté Riva” line is headed up by their flagship Mabuhay (which means “long life”) Cabernet Sauvignon, and their value-oriented “Cortez 78” line of wines (I tried the Cortez 78 Merlot Rosé, and it was very good!)

The Wine

The wine is a blend of 85% Cabernet Franc from Thalia Vineyard, and 15% Merlot from the Kenefick Ranch Vineyard.  The Cabernet Franc grapes add a floral note and structure to the wine.  The wine was  aged 2 years in a 100% French Oak; 50% new.

Wine of the Week; 2007 Corte Riva Cabernet Franc #CabernetDay

My tasting notes follow:

Inky opaque violet color with compelling dark fruits, violet, pencil lead, dark chocolate aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, focused and smooth with sweet fine-grained well integrated tannins. It exhibits delicious cassis, plum, and dark chocolate flavors. Medium-long finish. 85% Cabernet Franc; 15% Merlot 

Rating: A-: 

Pair with: I enjoyed with tri-tip and marinated grilled mushrooms.  Consider pairing with kare-kare (a Filipino oxtail stew), beef caldereta, lasagna, or Middle-Eastern fare!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2008 Robert Keenan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2008 Robert Keenan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Winery

Robert Keenan Winery is located in the Spring Mountain District AVA (it’s one of 16 sub-appellations of the Napa Valley AVA).  The Spring Mountain District sits on the steep terraces of the Mayacamas Mountains - well off the beaten path of Highway 29.   and high above  the Napa Valley floor at an elevation of 1,700 feet.

The site for the winery has a long history in the Napa Valley.  Robert Conradi started the first winery on site in the late 1800s, but went out of business during prohibition.  Robert Keenan, who ran his own insurance agency for 20 years before purchasing his “retirement property” –  180 acres of land in 1974.  He had an engineer redesign the original winery structure, and brought in a contractor to begin construction.

Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were the initial grapes planted.  Their first harvest was 1977.

They recently completed a solar power system on the property to supply all of the winery’s power. As a result all their estate wines carry the “Solar Powered and Sustainably Farmed” phrase on the label.

Rightfully so, Keenan winery is proud of their track record with Robert Parker, Jr. As stated on their website…

See and taste for yourself why in the last eight vintages, 42 wines have been rated between 90 and 97 points by Robert Parker Jr.

Today, aside from the aforementioned Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay, Keenan produces Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Zinfandel and Syrah. Annual production is nearly 14,000 cases.

I’ve not had the pleasure of visiting Keenan, but after tasting this wine, it’s at the top of my list for my next visit to Napa (click here for a virtual tour of the winery)!

The Wine

The wine is mostly composed of mountain fruit from the Keenan estate, with the balance of the fruit sourced from Pope Valley.  According to Keenan…”The
Estate grown Cabernet imparts amazing concentration and remarkable structure, while the portion of Cabernet harvested from Pope Valley adds complex aromas and a balanced mid-palate.”

Robert Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley

2008 Robert Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque violet color and aromatically complex with dried herb, dark fruit, graphite, and chocolate aromas. On the palate it’s intense, medium-full-bodied, and supple with dusty tannins and blueberry, cassis, dried herb, vanilla and chocolate flavors. I Vinturied, but this wine would definitely benefit from some aeration. Medium-long finish – 92pts

Rating: Highly Recommended – This is wine is a fantastic value 40 bucks!  I’ve enjoyed it  more than many Napa Valley Cabs selling for 2x or 3x the price (Opus One comes to mind it’s 5x the price of this wine)!

Pair with: Juicy red meat like steaks and chops. Of course a T-bone, or Rib-eye steak are classics, but also consider lamb chops, Korean Sizzling Beef, Shepherd’s Pie, or a  Cheddar Cheese Bacon burger!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 14.3% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > California>> Napa Valley
  • Varietal(s): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 76% Estate, Spring Mtn. Dist.; 24% Pope Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cooperage: Barrel aged in French and American Oak; 33% new.
  • Retail: $49
  • Cases produced: 2,240
  • Drink: now – 2023
  • >>Find this wine<<

This above wine was from my cellar – a gift from my very generous boss!


#Cabernet Day – In Words and in Deeds

Yesterday was #CabernetDay – a worldwide celebration of the Cabernet grape ( you do know there’s another Cabernet beyond his royal highness Cabernet Sauvignon, right?- there’s also Cabernet Franc) .  It’s a chance to get together with friends and kick it with some Cab! Since there’s hashtag you can also kick it with your friends on social media.

“A bottle of wine begs to be shared: I have never met a miserly wine lover” – Clifton Paul Fadiman

My wife and I decided to celebrate the third annual #CabernetDay by inviting some of our wine loving friends from our community wine-tasting club over.  The Evite simply stated ”We’ll open up a couple of great bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Redmond Cellar and chop it up!”

#CabernetDay – Friend, Food, and Fun!

In other words, no blind-tasting, no tasting notes – just a communion with Cab, conversation, and cuisine (okay…it wasn’t really “cuisine” it was more like carry-out, cheese and crackers but I couldn’t resist a lame attempt at an alliteration – I give myself a “C” ;-))

Of course when wine lovers get together there are plenty of words.  Certainly, there was talk of aromas, flavors, body, finishes, etc. But mostly we talked about other stuff  - like how to get rid of ants (Terro is literally “killer” ant control by the way), our kids, fun times like vacation and scaring the hell out of 5 year-olds on Halloween. And on this night, we also “chopped it up” on some “third rail” topics like politics, race, and discrimination. Interesting and intellectual indeed.

But beyond all the words, there is what we do, or as the saying goes – “Action speaks louder than words”.  So when I get together with my wine loving friends and we’ve got a bunch-o-bottles of wine from which to choose, I pay attention to which wine disappears first.  And that tells me more than the all words uttered about the wine.  In that regard, there was a clear winner last night – a wine that disappeared stunningly swiftly – Damn quick, fast and in a hurry!  More on that later.  I hereby offer my words in the form of tasting notes on the five wines we enjoyed last night.

Bottle #1

2010 Wild Horse Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Wild Horse Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Wild Horse Cabernet Sauvignon

Garnet color with baked black cherry, raspberry, and dried herb aromas. On the palate it medium-bodied with tart black cherry and vanilla flavors and dusty tannins. Medium finish – 86pts.

Varietal(s) – 99% Cabernet Sauvignon/1% Syrah; Appellation – 91% Paso Robles/9%; Cooperage – French, Hungarian and American oak-25% new; Alcohol – 13.9%; SRP-$20. Production – 30,700 cases; Media sample

Bottle #2

2010 Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Dark garnet color with aromatic cassis, licorice, plum, and boxwood aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-full bodied with black raspberry, black currant, cocoa flavors. Slightly tannic. Young. Medium-long finish – 88 pts

Varietal(s) - 85% Cabernet Sauvignon/11% Merlot/3% Syrah, and 1% Malbec. Appellation – Napa Valley; Cooperage – Aged 20 months in small oak barrels (25% new) Alcohol – 13.5%; SRP – $28; Production: 117,000 cases; Media sample 

Bottle #3

2005 Ferrari-Carano Tresor Reserve

2005 Ferrari-Carano Trésor Reserve

2005 Ferrari-Carano Trésor (Reserve)

Deep garnet color with lifted dark fruit, anise, and earthy aromas. On the palate it medium-full bodied and smooth with well-integrated tannins, cassis, black cherry, and vanilla flavors. Long finish. - 91pts

Varietal(s) – 69% Cabernet Sauvignon/10% Malbec/8% Cabernet French/7% Merlot/6% Petit Verdot: Appellation – Sonoma County; Cooperage – Aged 20 months in French oak (45% new, 55% older ); Alcohol – 14.2%; SRP – $58; Production: Unknown

Bottle #4

2007 Piña Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 Piña Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 Piña Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Cahoots

Deep garnet color with aromatic dark fruits, licorice, mint, and oak aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied with well-integrated “Rutherford Dust”tannins, good acidity and ripe cherry, blueberry, and cocoa flavors. Long finish. 15.2% alcohol.

Varietal(s) - 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; Appellation – Napa Valley; Cooperage: Aged 18 months in French oak (50% new); Alcohol – 15.2%; SRP – $45; Production: 260 cases

Bottle #5

2008 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

2008 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

2008 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Carmine color with beguiling cassis, anise, and violet aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, balanced, and fresh blueberry, cherry, vanilla flavors with well-integrated tannins. Medium-long finish. 

Varietal(s) – 75% Cabernet Sauvignon/20% Merlot/3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc; Appellation – Santa Cruz Mountains; Cooperage - 100% air-dried american oak barrels; (40% new, 50% one year old, and 10% two years old). 20 months in barrel; Alcohol – 13.5%; SRP – $38; Production: unknown

There were 9 tasters, 5 of which I would consider “hard-core” wine lovers.  We enjoyed all the wines.  But as I stated earlier there was one wine that disappeared more quickly than all the rest….

2008 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

It was the clear winner in that regard.  Next fastest was the 2007 Piña, followed by the 2005 F-C Trésor, the 2010 Wild Horse, and the 2010 Franciscan Estate. For the value, the majority of the tasters preferred the Wild Horse.

It was a great evening great evening with friends, wine and food!  Let’s do it again next month for the #PinotSmackdown!

Other stuff you might like:

What A #CabernetDay!! Library Tasting of Monte Bello and SCM Estate at Ridge Vineyards


Wine Of The Week: Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Merlot

My Wine of the Week (“WoW”) for July 21-July 27 is the 2009 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Merlot.

The Winery

The Robert Mondavi Winery was established in 1966 by Robert Mondavi, one of the most influential and esteemed winemakers in California history (Click here for his story).  It was the first major winery built in Napa Valley, and for decades was California’s most famous winery.  It was acquired by Constellation Brands in 2004.

It’s a beautiful property with classic California mission-style architecture, with the expansive archway and bell tower.  I must confess, I haven’t been in a long time.  I recall visiting one of my first trips to Napa.  Nowadays, I tend to visit the smaller wineries.  But after tasting this wine, and their Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (see post below), I’m going to have to drop by next time I go to Napa!

The Wine

The grapes for this wine are sourced from vineyards throughout Napa Valley including a couple of Napa’s iconic vineyards, To Kalon, and Wappo Hill ( 73% Stags Leap District (including 38% Wappo Hill Vineyard); 15% To Kalon Vineyard; 12% Napa Carneros)

What struck me most about this wine is  how well-balanced it is.  That’s the exception rather than the rule at its price point of $23!

2009 Robert Mondavi Winery Merlot

My tasting notes follow:

Deep garnet color with cassis, cedarwood, and hints of tobacco aromas. On the palate it’s light-medium bodied,well-balanced with fine-grained tannins, cassis, black cherry, blueberry flavors. Medium finish – 88pts

Recommendation: Highly recommended. It’s a nice value at $23!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

Alcohol: 14.9% alcohol.

Closure: Cork.

AVA:  >CaliforniaNapa Valley

Varietal(s): 93% Merlot; 3% Cabernet Franc; 2% Cabernet Sauvignon; 2% Malbec

Cooperage: Aged in French Oak for 14 months

Retail: $23

Cases produced: Unknown

Media Sample

Many thanks to Folsom & Associates for providing the wine.

Wine Of The Week: 2006 Miner Family Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

My wine of the week for April 28-May 4  is the 2006 Miner Family Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

The Winery

Miner Family Winery – Napa Valley is located in the eastern hills of the Oakville AVA in Napa Valley.  They source their grapes from various vineyards throughout California, and offer a wide range of wines.  According to their company overview:

Founded in 1998 by Dave & Emily Miner, Miner is defined first and foremost by a sensational portfolio of wines, wines consistently characterized by and committed to individualistic style and uncommon quality. Each wine is crafted in a style to encapsulate the distinctive elements and the indelible fingerprints of their respective vineyards. This combination of excellent vineyard sites along with passionate and thoughtful winemaking injects the necessary components for creating profoundly joyful wines.

The grapes for this wine were sourced from the Stagecoach Vineyard, which is straddles the Atlas Peak AVA in Napa.  The Stagecoach vineyard ranges in elevation from 1,200 to 1,750, making it the largest south-facing mountain vineyard in Napa.  Aside from this wine, Miner also produces Marsanne, Merlot, and Syrah sourced from the Stagecoach vineyard.

The Wine

This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc

2006 Miner Family Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

Cost: Unknown; Bottle received as a gift

Alcohol: 14.5%

My tasting notes follow:

Dark garnet color with dark fruit, sweet oak and a hint of earthy aromas. On the palate it’s elegant, smooth, well-balanced, and medium-bodied with well integrated fine tannins, and black cherry, cassis,  and anise flavors  with a lengthy finish – 91pts

Pairing with food

Pair with foods that traditionally work well with Cabernet Sauvignon like Cheddar or Gouda cheese, steaks, hamburgers, or lamb.  If it’s adventure you seek, I’d recommend trying this one with a rare Ahi tuna steak!

Wine Of The Week – 2007 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

My wine of the week for February 25th to March 2nd was a no-brainer for my wine of the week. Last Saturday was Open That Bottle Night, an event held annually, the last Saturday in February. According to the organizers:

Every year since 2000, on a special Saturday night in February, friends, couples and groups around the world get together to enjoy particular bottles of wine, champagne and spirits. The bottle that you enjoy, traditionally, is one that you have been saving for some special event that, so far, has never quite happened. Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) is the event you have been waiting for…the time when you are entitled to uncork that cherished bottle and enjoy the contents. It doesn’t matter if the wine is expensive or low cost, white or red, or even if it is still good. What matters are the memories.

We opened up the 2007 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (bottle 1 of 3). My tasting notes follow:

Dark opaque violet color with reticent dark fruit, dried herb, sweet cigar box aromas. On the palate, nice amplitude, plush tannins, and vivid blackberry, cassis, mocha, vanilla flavors. Medium-long finish. Glad I’ve got a couple of more bottles. Will be interesting to see how it evolves. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot; 18 mos. in 100% new French oak; 93% To Kalon Vineyard and 7% Oakville AVA; alcohol 15.9% – 92pts

It was an excellent Cab, from an iconic Napa Valley winery! I’m looking forward to seeing how the other bottles evolve!

Tasted 2/25/2012.

Wine Words Demystified: Meritage

You know the deal, the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus - Wine Words Demystified!

This week’s word is meritage (rhymes with heritage)

According to Karen MacNeil‘s The Wine Bible:

 A United States trademarked designation, adopted in 1988 by the Meritage Association for California wines that are a blend of the varieties of grapes used in Bordeaux.  A red Meritage might be made up of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc.  A white Meritage would be a blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon…Producers may choose to not use the term Meritage even if their wine meets the qualifications.

In other words, it’s a Bordeaux blend without using the term Bordeaux on the label, which would infringe upon the Bordeaux region in France’s legally protected designation of origin.  The word itself is a combination of the words “merit”, and “heritage”.  According to the Meritage Alliance:

A Red Meritage is a blend of two or more of the red “noble” Bordeaux varieties — Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and the rarer St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenère. If the blend includes any other grape variety, it is, by definition, not a Meritage. Also, to qualify as a Meritage, no single grape variety can make up more than 90% of the blend.

To qualify as a White Meritage, a wine must be a blend of at least two of three specific white “noble” varieties — Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon or Muscadelle du Bordelais. No single variety can make up more than 90% of the blend. The wine does not qualify as a Meritage if the blend includes any other grape variety.

I’ve not come across any white wines labeled as Meritage in my wine travels.  Have you?

Calling All Cabernet Lovers – #Cabernet Day Is Almost Here!

A week from today, September 1st,  is Cabernet Day (click here for the 411 including a list of meetup locations, participating wineries, etc).  Cabernet Day is a worldwide virtual wine tasting that’s focused on Cabernet.  Of course that includes Cabernet Sauvignon, but also includes Cabernet Franc (a parent, along with Sauvignon Blanc of Cabernet Sauvignon), and Cab Blends.

Ed Thralls of Wine Tonite provides this explanation of what a virtual tasting is all about:

For those new to social media, an online Social Media Community Tasting is simply when people who love wine gather socially both at physical locations, such as wineries, wine shops and their own homes, and virtually via Twitter, Facebook or any social channel turning the event into one big wine party! Throughout the event, wine-lovers from across the country and the globe will share their thoughts on the wines they’ve chosen to drink on this night and “conversing” with like-minded connoisseurs…

Remnant of a bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon

Here’s how you can participate.  It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Pick a wine for the #CabernetDay tasting, or go to a participating winery, restaurant, or meetup location.

2. Whether you’re at home, at a restaurant, winery, or at meetup location post your comments on your favorite social media site such as FB, Twitter, YouTube, etc. for others to see using the “#CabernetDay” hashtag.  Adding the hash tag make your comments searchable.  I recommend Twitter – that’s where most of the action takes place.

3. Join the on-line conversation by searching on the #CabernetDay hash tag.  It’s a great way to get recommendations from other Cabernet lovers, and ask questions of winemakers, and wine enthusiasts.

I’m planning to celebrate twice!  First, I’m planning to attend a vertical tasting of the iconic Monte Bello Cabernet at Ridge Vineyards , then later than evening I’m going to pop and pour (well maybe, pop, decant, and pour) what I expect be a great bottle of Cab, the 2005 Kendall-Jackson Meritage Stature!

So catch a Cab, and laissez les bon temps rouler (Let the good times roll;-)  I hope to see you online!