With Thanksgiving behind us and the long haul of the rest of the build-up to the holidays ahead, it’s time to start drinking some serious wines. This week, we start off with a whet-your-whistle SB before moving on to two bigger, rather dramatic reds. ‘Tis the season for wines like these, after all...
Viña Casa Silva Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2009, Colchagua Valley
There’s a nice grapefruity nose here, with hints of warm hay and tarragon. The palate, however, is where things really get interesting: Unexpected concentration fans out to a bright, kumquat- and white grapefruit-flavored wine, with flashes of minerality providing complexity at the edges and a hint of something with an almost fresh-mint aromatic component lingering on the finish. Well-made, and a very good wine for the price.
Mount Veeder Winery Reserve 2005, Napa Valley
The nose here is absolutely intriguing: It starts off at the intersection of cream and clay, with licorice and coffee and beef carpaccio livening it up throughout. On the palate, it shows amazingly well-defined red and black cherry, spice box, cedar, graphite, and wildflowers, the last of which follow through to a finish as elegant and pretty as the palate is complex and rich. Exquisite balance, dusty tannins that still show plenty of life, and the promise of another 10+ years of evolution. Even better on day two. Built for the long-haul. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec.
Ehlers Estate Merlot 2007, St. Helena
As soon as you pour this wine into the glass, you’re given an inkling of just how exciting and accomplished California Merlot can be, naysayers notwithstanding. It’s all rich cafe mocha, nutmeg, warm cream, and cherries, with an edge of minerals and sage providing lift. Sweet cherry, birch bark, a touch of balsamic, sun-warmed fraises de bois, and dusty cinnamon sing through, swirling around the palate and given ballast by the utterly elegant tannic structure and perfectly balanced acid. This is one of those wines that, no matter how long I’d like to hold onto it (5 - 7 years), I probably couldn’t keep from raiding the cellar and popping the cork the next chance I have. Stunning.