George and Sharon were our gracious hosts for a large group of avid wine tasters. We sat outside on a crisp spring evening. Food was plentiful and delicious and I brought six wines to share.
The 2019 Unshackled Rosé kicked off our evening. A blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre, Kat found it light and refreshing. Michael called it crisp with a fruity nose but found the finish to be short-lived. David liked its light salmon color and found it slightly sweet with a dry finish. Kim called it good for a summer afternoon. At $21, it scored three and a half out of a possible five stars.
Our second wine of the evening got mixed reviews – Fetzer’s 2019 Pinot Grigio. This wine underwent a slow, cool fermentation in stainless steel. Lisa loved the peach on the nose and hint of grapefruit on the palate saying it left her mouth watering. Esther called it ‘citrussy’ and very good. Kat said Fetzer is a long-time favorite and this did not disappoint. At $9 it’s an outstanding value. Our tasters awarded it just over three stars.
I was introduced to Merry Edwards wines last year. Their Sonoma County Pinot Noirs are magnificent, and I was anxious to try their Sauvignon Blanc. I poured the 2019 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc and it was a hit! Aged sure lie for four months, Esther called it a great wine with nice balance. Michael said “doesn’t disappoint. Finish lingers enticing another taste.” I found it creamy with Meyer lemon notes. While the $45 price tag made a few think twice, the group gave it high marks, just over four stars.
On to the reds and Dry Creek Vineyards’ 2018 Old Vine Zinfandel. This wine spent 14 months in French, Hungarian, and American oak, 28% new. I enjoyed its expressive nose with blackberries and dark fruits in the mouth. Michael picked up cherry and leather on the nose and said the “finish lasts like an old friendship.” Brian called it a grown-up Zin, and Kim added “Dry Creek does not disappoint.” At $38 it scored a solid four stars.
Next up was the 2016 McNab from Bonterra Vineyards. This single-vineyard Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon has just a splash of Petite Sirah. Michael called it wonderfully fulfilling. David called the nose delightful and said it smelled like a big wine. “It’s a wine that makes you hungry.” Jan said it was very nice and liked the balance and hints of berries and cherries. It garnered a couple of perfect five-star scores and at $50 it scored better than four stars.
George arranged for music with the LDR band to cap off the evening, and we concluded the tasting with Gen 7’s 2015 Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Jan enjoyed the nose, the balance, and the finish, but found the $115 price tag a bit much. Michael found the nose strong but not overpowering. “Opens with an explosion of flavor and the finish smiles and lingers.” David liked its beautiful color and said it was smooth at the first sip and opened up with a big Cab flavor. It scored better than four stars.