I attended a special event for wine club members at Pine Ridge Winery in Napa Valley this past weekend. They started everyone out with a sheriff’s badge and an “incident investigation report” which listed all the wines they had planned for us to taste throughout the afternoon and set us loose.
Stop one was the PRV Gazebo where we sampled the only white wine on the menu for the day: 2009 Sans Barrique Chardonnay. Fermentation for this Chard took place in a steel tank and at a cool temperature for 19 days. Flavors included pear, kiwi and spice. Oak was not a big component.
Local chef on-site (Eric) gave us an extensive overview of their Cabs at the next step, the Estate Garden, where he not only poured but grilled lamp skewers basted in garlic sauce. Bring it on! It was impossible to only have one and their 2006 Epitome Cabernet Sauvignon was one of my favorites of the day. The soil that this wine came from is all sandstone giving it more structure and less fruit. What was prominent was the chocolate, red cherries and spice based in. Smooth baby smooth.
The 2007 Tessitura was poured by an Aussie who shared that this blend was the first time the winery had deviated from a Bordeaux blend. Tessitura, Italian for “texture”, is crafted from choice lots of estate-grown grapes, deftly interwoven for layers of rich and complex flavors. I found this 67% Cab to be chewy and meaty, the added Syrah giving it a nicely balanced taste overall.
It has a purple-ruby hue and in addition to the chocolate and cherry flavors deeply embedded in the wine, I picked up currant and raspberry fruit, peppercorn and nutmeg. This wine would make an excellent companion to a creamy risotto, scallops in gorgonzola sauce and a buttery chicken Kiev.
From there we went barrel tasting – 100% cabernet, and relatively new…..it has only been in the barrels since October 2009. A video of our experience can be found here.
I also sampled the 2006 Andrus Reserve ($110 retail), the 2005 Fortis ($140 retail), the 2006 Stags Leap District Cabernet ($80 retail), the 2006 Onyx ($60 retail) and the 2006 Oakville Cabernet, which they were offering 50% off a case or more, so while it won’t blow your socks off, at roughly $37 a bottle with the discount, it was a pretty good deal at that price.
The service was top notch as was their knowledge base. We also managed to see a private secluded area that is designed for private functions, back in the bowels of the cave itself. In the rear, as dark as the setting was, a series of beautifully colored and brightly lit Dale Chihuly pieces of glass sat glowing. His work always adds beauty and warmth to wherever his art is placed and this cave was no exception.