So, I have this weakness for Syrah…and Grenache, and weirdly eclectic Italian wines. But, mainly Syrah. From anywhere. But, it has to be extra delicious. I fall for it again and again and again. It is always so freaking expensive, too. This job has ruined me in that sense. I can never again just drink any wine, and I want the ones that are super small production and intellectual…and allocated.
Here are a few wines that just dropped that I am lusting after. This is just another way for me to indulge in them, I suppose. Although I am super high on all wines white and pink at the moment, I am showing some love for our more beastly, tannic reds in this post because they will not last long at all. Yum.
2000 ARIETTA VARIATION ONE, NAPA, California
‘Arietta is our name for wines born of a passion for music. The name Arietta, meaning short aria or art song, expresses our belief that all great wines must sing. Both wine and song should “take flight,” in the course of which the qualities of balance, vibrancy, depth, overtones, and complexity resonate and give us a sense of exaltation.’
The 2000 was the first vintage for this revolutionary blend of Merlot (70%) and Syrah (30%). Winemaker John Kongsgaard experimented with blending Merlot with Syrah beginning in the 1996 vintage, and liked the complexity gained by adding the wild, leathery, gamy, and floral qualities of Syrah to the luscious, more fruit-driven flavors of Merlot. Arietta Variation One has been a great success, and tasters have noted that the somewhat richer and grainier tannins of the Syrah make this wine particularly good with grilled meats and game. Bottle aging is needed to subdue the tannins provided by the Syrah. This has now happened to the 2000 Variation One, and the wine is well harmonized, approachable, and most appealing. Drink with aeration prior to serving, or await several years’ further evolution. (500 cases)
WOW. This wine is just amazing. LUSH opened it last Sunday for our ‘Merlot’ and company tasting. Mr. Kongsgaard is very highly regarded and his wines are incredibly difficult to find. And now I really understand why…I get it! Absolutely stunning with crazy funky, dirty old leathery notes meld with deep berry to really just make me wild for this wine.
OWEN ROE ‘LADY ROSA’, Dubrul Vineyard Syrah, WASHINGTON
Owen Roe was a seventeenth century Irish Patriot, who dedicated his life to upholding the highest principles of political equality and freedom. His commitment to great things makes him an ideal model for Owen Roe Vineyards, for we share his dedication to principle in our work to produce the wines of Owen Roe. At Owen Roe we do not compromise: only the best is good enough. Jerry Owen, on the vineyard side, and David O’Reilly, who makes the wine, have formed Owen Roe with a simple purpose: to produce excellent wines from grapes grown and cultivated in the best vineyards in the Pacific Northwest.
This wine is sublime with fragrant violets and spice loaded with berries and a long silky finish. As you might expect, this will not be around for long with only260 cases produced. My ONLY tasting notes from this wine were ‘Wow. I need to buy this wine right now.’ Uh-huh, that remarkable.
VILLA CREEK, PASO ROBLES, California
In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best. The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn. I am a very adamant believer that all great wine begin in the vineyard with a passionate farmer. The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars. The VC wines are always incredibly concentrated and yet immensely well balanced. Probably the most expensive wines in screwcap….VC wants these to be in your glass TODAY!
2007 VC WHITE
The first ever VC white is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Roussanne! Scents of pineapple, honey, freshly sliced Granny Smith apples, lemon curd and wysteria flowers. It’s very much like inhaling spring. The wine has a Rich mouth feel with nice acid. Quince and candied lemon peel lead to a mineral finish. Mmmm.
A new VC blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, and Mourvedre! Onda is aptly named for a Spanish word meaning “good vibe”. Aged in 100% new French Terransaud puncheons for twenty four months, Onda shows a warmth, and finesse that only time can award. This wine is reminiscent of traditional Rioja without the funk. The label depicts the pre-Columbian motif that adorns a favorite wedding gift; a custom made Oaxacan tapestry that brings good “onda” to our home. Hopefully this wine will bring the same to yours. The wine smells of caramel and espresso beans. Malabar pepper and cola spring from the glass with a new world raciness. On the palate there are exciting flavors of black cherry, cola, figs and spice. This wine is full bodied and luscious with great structure. Elegant, with depth and richness.
A LUSH favorite…and Denner vineyard is ALWAYS just phenomenal. The fruit always shows opulence without being ostentatious. Denner Vineyard is now in its 8th year of production. The fruit off this vineyard continues to evolve and impress. The 2006 Grenache is a pure, classic example of this variety grown in the limestone of west Paso Robles. The nose is chock full of white pepper, black cherry and red licorice rope, while the palate tastes of Pomegranate, blackberry and white pepper. Full bodied with nice viscosity and a smooth finish.
WILD CARD of the post:
ERCAVIO BLANCO, SPAIN
Airen is not one of those grape varieties that receive a lot of press, but is the most widely grown grape in Spain that no one talks about. But, this humble grape is doing some heavy lifting in the TASTE department. It just may be my favorite spring wine! The nose is highly aromatic with lime and citrus blossom, while the palate tastes of citrus, fresh pear with a dollop of honey, and maybe a little pineapple. Gorgeous mineral accents drive the clean, zippy finish. Pretty good for a grape I never heard of before.
Now I am just thirsty. Raise a toast with me! And, in case you are wondering, I haven’t JUST been drinking lately.