taste wineOur hearty group braved the December chill in Scott and Wanda’s comfy backyard. The patio heaters blazing, we settled in to taste six wines accompanied by divine food. Wanda had a crockpot filled with tender pulled pork. There was a superb assortment of other sumptuous treats.

We started off with the delightful Champagne Vollereaux Brut Rosé de Saignée from France. Ken called it “The Real Deal!” Brian said “Perfect! Delectable, floral yet dry.” Terry liked its strawberry nose and called it easy to drink. Chris said, “citrus nose extends to grapefruit, lemon, pear, and green apple, notes of almonds and brioche with a honey, buttery finish.” It scored better than four out of a possible five stars. $47

We’ve tasted many Pinot Noirs from Merry Edwards, but the 2019 Olivet Lane was the first time I’ve tasted a Chardonnay from this iconic Sonoma County winery. Aged sur lie for nine months and then barrel-aged in French Oak, 38% new, Scott loved the nose and the wine’s viscosity. Patrick called the nose slightly oaky and enjoyed the buttery finish, and said it would pair well with chicken and non-oily fish. George said “butter and oak… my favorites!” I loved the golden apple notes and its lingering finish. It scored nearly four and a half stars. $68

Next we tasted the 2016 Chàteau d’Aussiéres Corbières from France. Ken called it very drinkable. Brian loved the balance between fruit and terroir and said it finished beautifully. Kim said she doesn’t normally like French wine, but thought this was “nice.” Michael called it dry with hints of currants and tobacco. The “finish politely lingers and smiles.” Terry said it was smooth and soft. Patrick called it enjoyable. It too scored better than four stars and it sells for around $54.

The 2019 Saldo comes from The Prisoner Wine Company and is a blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. I got Zinfandel prominently on the nose and enjoyed this wine immensely. Ken was surprised it was a 2019 vintage, saying it didn’t taste young at all. Michael picked up plum on the nose saying it was quite fragrant. Patrick found blackberries on the nose and thought it would pair well with pepper steak. Chris liked the dark ruby color. He enjoyed the structure and balance and its satisfying finish. At $29, it scored higher than four stars.

We moved on to another Merry Edwards wine, the 2019 Meridith Estate Pinot Noir. Aged sur lie for 11 months in French Oak, 55% new, Tony said it was elegant, and his style. Jan called it a lovely Pinot with a classic nose. “Cherry-licious!”  Chris commented on the medium-deep ruby color with red cherry notes and silky texture. I called it simply sensational. Ken called it his wine of the night, just as he was expecting and hoping for. Brian said it was a great Pinot, smoky and silky. It scored nearly four and a half stars and it sells for $80.

We always get excited when we see a wine from Dry Creek Vineyard. The 2018 Meritage is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Lisa called it bold and dry. Terry said it was smooth with a nice fruit finish. Chris noted aromas of bing and black cherries with a hint of black pepper. He picked up espresso and pipe tobacco on the finish. It sells for $38, and it scored just under four stars.