The last few Wines I’m diggin’ now installments have been themed, so I thought I’d get back to simply recommending some awesome wines that I know you’ll enjoy. Well…you’ll enjoy if you like wine that is. As of late I’ve been heavy on the New World, hell for most of this year I’ve been a New World man; however fear not, after attending quite a few tastings and buying more Old World’s lately you’ll see more coming soon.
So without further adieu, it’s time for some wine!
2009 Orin Swift, The Prisoner, Red Blend, Napa $35
Orin Swift Cellars has quickly become one of Napa’s hottest wineries. Their edgy and beautiful labels catch the eye, the names of their wines (i.e. The Prisoner, Abstract and Papillon) make you think, and their wines capture your soul. The character, which is deep and brooding, kind of like an intense dream, is what has drawn scores of wine lovers to join the Dave Phinney fan club.
The ’09 Prisoner is a mammoth wine. A blend of primarily Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, it has load upon loads of black fruit which simply punches your taste buds. Light herbal and spice undertones follow and are then joined by well-integrated oak, nice acid and gamey tannins. Basically, it’s gluttony in a glass.
Senel Wine – 91 pts
2006 Flora Springs, Flora’s Legacy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa $110 ($39 on Wine.com)
Winemaker’s note: By now the story is well known, nearly 26 years ago, our mother and grandmother Flora Komes was suffering from a blood disorder. True to form, she chose not to follow her doctor’s wishes. Reading numerous reports on the benefits of red wine, Flora began a strict regiment of one glass of her very own Flora Springs Merlot each evening. We don’t claim to be working miracles here at Flora Springs, but Flora has adhered to her glass a day dose. November 7th Flora will be celebrating her 100th birthday!
What a fun and uplifting story from a terrific, yet underappreciated, Napa winery. I had this wine this past weekend while out to dinner at Juniper’s at the Wildflower Inn (Vermont). All four of us at the dinner table were momentarily speechless, rendered mute by the quality and grace of this wine. Oddly enough, I looked up reviews and they were rather muted for a wine of this quality (91 on Cellar Tracker). All I can say is the style is not typical Napa, so maybe that threw some folks.
The ’06 Flora’s Legacy is jaw dropping juice. Aromas of bright ripe raspberries, blackberries and currants are joined by leather and eventually graphite and herbal undertones. The balance between the alcohol, tannin and acid is easy to overlook because the flavor profile is so alluring; however the underlying character of this wine is more of a Pauillac/Napa hybrid than straight Napa. Tremendous!
Senel Wine – 94 pts
2010 Donelan, Rosé, Sonoma County $25
I’m going to be upfront, I love Tyler Thomas’ wines. The man’s alchemic touch is up there with the best winemakers in California. Typically I’m raving about his reds (the ’08 Cuvee Christine was #3 in the Senel Wine Top 10 of 2010); however this time he’s created quite possibly the easiest drinking, interesting and deceptive rosé that I’ve had.
The ’10 Rosé is made from Syrah and possesses all of the typically lovely qualities a rose should (i.e. watermelon, strawberry, lush acid, etc) however it’s the presence of rose petals, hints of citrus and white chocolate that put me over the top about this wine. To top it off, it’s exquisitely balanced, so much so that I couldn’t tell that it was 14.5% alcohol, until I stood up that is. The integration of a cornucopia of flavors, supple mouthfeel, deceptive alcohol and refreshing brightness makes this easily my favorite rosé.
Senel Wine – 93
2009 Gemtree, Tadpole, Chardonnay/Viognier, McLaren Vale (Australia)
This is a producer I first came across while putting together the original wine list for Juniper’s at the Wildflower Inn. I think underrated and underknown is a fair description for winemaker Mike Brown and the gang at Gemtree Vineyards. From top to bottom, they have a line-up that’s very impressive and pulls out the best of what McLaren Vale has to offer the wine world. Besides the Tadpole, look for their “Uncut” Shiraz and “Phantom” Petite Verdot, both are wines that will make you look past the screw cap and take notice.
Chardonnay mixed with viognier is certainly an Australian thing. This ’09 Tadpole is blended very nicely to create a wonderful sipper that pairs perfectly with fried foods, meatier seafood and poultry. The partial oak age is present; however Mike Brown’s restraint is appreciated. Flavors and aromas of citrus, light caramel and tree fruit meld together elegantly to provide a lush taste experience. The harmony of the flavors is carried into the balance between acid, oak and alcohol, which offer structure to an overall solid wine.
Senel Wine – 90
Have you had any of these wines? If so, let us know what you thought in the Comments section.