Last week we had the great honor and distinct pleasure of meeting legendary wine maker Daniel Baron. It was a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, and we plan to tell you all about it later. But Daniel was there to pour wine, so lets talk about the wine first.
The wines poured were all from Twomey and Silver Oak, and all were quite delicious. Here are the capsule reviews.
Twomey Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – This is the first offering of Sauvignon Blanc for Twomey, and it makes me hope that they will continue to make it for a very long time. The aromas are powerful and alluring enough to make the mouth water. This is an excellent example of what this grape can do. It is very crisp, has great acidity, and is loaded with classic European-style Sauvignon Blanc flavors. The finish is almost creamy, probably as a result of 1/3 being aged in barrels, 1/3 in tanks, and 1/3 in stainless steel. This is a great wine. – $25
Twomey Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2008 – Beautiful light ruby colored, this is a very delicate wine, and unlike any California Pinot Noir that I have tasted. It is 13.4% alcohol and has wonderful fruity, perfumey, and floral aromas and flavors. The fruit is bright cherry and red raspberry. I would love to try this with a nice piece of grilled salmon. – $50
Twomey Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2008 – The beautiful darker color and bright cherry nose announce that this is a very different wine than the Santa Barbara. It is bigger, bolder with amazing cherry and mocha flavors. At 13.7% ABV it is still made with a gentle hand. – $50
Twomey Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2008 – With a lighter color than the Anderson Valley, and nose of perfumed cherries, this wine delivers classic Pinot Noir flavors. The lovely fruit flavors are accompanied by more earthy flavors like mushrooms and fall leaves. A beautiful expression of this grape. – $50
Twomey Sonoma Coast Russian River 2008 – This was my favorite wine of the day. Often I struggle with the fact that I love lighter, delicate wines created in a more European style, but also rave about huge fruit bombs. It seems that so many wine lovers and wine writers are in one camp or the other, and I truly appreciate both points of view. Maybe it is because, like most things in life, I often think of wine in musical terms. The fact that I find Corrine Bailey Rae’s breathy, sweet singing heartbreaking and beautiful doesn’t mean that I can’t be just as moved and touched by NIN’s Head Like a Hole. In fact, both have moved me to tears at times, and I refuse to give one up for the other. If radio were like this wine, I wouldn’t have to. With a richer color, and slightly higher alcohol, this wine delivers more power than any of the Pinots poured, but not in any overpowering or manipulated way. The nose is spectacular and redolent with ripe cherries, citrus zest and orange blossoms. The taste is fantastic and rich, but balanced by plenty of mouth-watering acidity. The finish can only be described as zen-like, as it seemed different and thought provoking. – $50
Twomey Soda Canyon Ranch Merlot 2006 – Merlot sometimes gets a very bad rap, but more examples like this would fix that. Blended with Cab Franc, this one reminded me a good Right Bank Bordeaux. Deep, bright ruby colored, with aromas of blackberry, vanilla and blueberry that carry over onto the palate along with a hint of rhubarb, this is a merlot with some muscle that also highlights this subtle grape. – $50
Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 – Inky purple, with highlights that reflect light, this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is an example of why Silver Oak is such a respected winery. The powerful nose delivers huge fruit, vanilla, freshly churned butter, butterscotch, and cassis. In the mouth there is rich dark cherries, cassis, leather and smoke. My notes conclude with the comment “very long finish with great gtnretsm.” I’m sure that I meant that quite sincerely at the time. – $70
Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 – Very deep, rich color in the glass hints that this is no ordinary wine. A Bordeaux blend made up of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, it offers up a wonderful melange of aromas so complex that they change just as they are about to be identified. It is loaded with huge fruit flavors coupled with fantastic vanilla. My only reservation about this wine is that there is a little green pepper note to it. I am sure that there are plenty of people who will disagree, but for my money a Cab at this price should not have any under-ripe flavors. Still, all-in-all, this is a delightful wine. – $100