I have recently been plagued by a cold that makes the actual plague seem enjoyable. Since I could hardly breathe, let alone taste anything, I was a bit behind on sipping the wines sent to me for January’s #WineStudio. Run by PROTOCOL Wine, the monthly wine studios are meant to present a twitter-based educational program that allows people to interact with, learn about, and discuss wine. It involves both tasting and instruction, and it’s taught me a lot about the world of wine and how others approach it. January’s session was particularly informative because the discussion centered on wine credentials, the different types of wine programs, and the reasons to pursue wine education. Although this particular session is over, you can join in on February’s “Stories of Wine” by searching for the hashtag #WineStudio every Tuesday at 9 pm East Coast time.
As we talked about the benefits of wine credentials, the differences between various levels, and why someone would pick one program over the other, we also sipped on some phenomenal wines. We started out with Steven Kent Winery‘s 2011 Petite Verdot, a wine that I really dug. This dark plum wine gave off some awesome aromas of dark berries, lavender, and herbs. On the palate, there were more dark berries and leather flavors that lingered. A vibrant, fun wine with nice acidity, the grapes came from the Livermore Valley and were aged for twenty months in 60-70% new French and American oak barrels. When I paired this one with different foods, the fruitiness worked best with my Point Reyes blue cheese pizza. There were 142 cases produced and the bottles go for $50, and I’d suggest getting your hands on this one because it’s a wine that’ll stick with you for a while.
From the Petite Verdot, we moved on to the winery’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a more aggressive, complex wine than the Petite Verdot that was made up of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petite Verdot, 5% Merlot, and 2% Cab Franc. This was blended about six months before release and aged 24 months in 60% new oak, mostly French. There was a lot of spice, herbs, and cherry on the nose, with all of these three flavors predominantly coming through while tasting as well. There was nice balance to it, though the finish wasn’t as long as the Verdot. With an SPR of $48 and 983 cases produced, this is a solid, lovely option for Cabernet lovers.
After we had the opportunity to experience these wines, we tried two different Cabs from Hall Wines. I started with their 2012 “Eighteen Seventy-Three” Cabernet Sauvignon, a “members only” wine that needed a lot of time to open up. Mine sat for at least two hours before I was really able to enjoy it. A blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot, this wine was very woodsy with lots of plum, cherry, and mocha on the nose. There was a spice to it that surprised me as the wine hit the back of my throat as well as a chewiness that allowed the wine to linger. These bottles go for $80 a pop, and if you’re interested, check out their website for membership details.
Although I enjoyed the first Cabernet from Hall Wines, I was even more into the 2011 “Jack’s Masterpiece” Cabernet Sauvignon. First and foremost, this one rocked a very cool label that thankfully wasn’t the only interesting thing about the wine. Made up of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot, this was a touch less spicy than the wine I tried before this. With a lot of dark berry and some floral aromas, this dark garnet wine provided dark berry, particularly cherry, and a nice herbaceous flavor. There was a silky mouthfeel to this one giving it a long finish. Out of the two, this is the one that should absolutely be held on to for a few years before popping it open, though both this and the “Eighteen Seventy-Three” will probably be even better a few years from now. With a price of $125, this isn’t my everyday kind of wine, but it was fantastic enough to be worth the investment.
At this point, I’m probably drinking more Cabernet Sauvignon than anything else, so it was great to have the opportunity to try these wines and discuss them with others during #WineStudio. If you want to participate, but don’t have access to the wines, don’t let that stop you. The discussion is more focused on the world of wine and how it impacts all of us. For anyone interested in wine, I think #WineStudio is a fun learning experience with a ton of friendly participants, which is exactly what I need as I’m figuring out my own footing among all these winos I know. Next discussion will be on the 17th; hope to ‘see’ you there!
These wines were kindly provided to me by the wineries listed above, but all opinions are my own.