About a week ago a friend called me up and said that she had a bottle of wine that she wanted to try and did I want to share it with her. Let's see....
She turned up with a delicious bottle of Abacela Tempranillo. A few improvised plates of appropriate Spanish nibbles later, and we broke out a second bottle. This time, a nice young Bordeaux. Turned out to be the perfect follow up wine.
So, for a change, I thought I would devote this blog post to a review of those two wines, along with a handful of others that I have had over the past couple weeks.
First up, the Abacela. The wine... A 2013 Fiesta Tempranillo. Now, normally, my experience has been that Tempranillo needs time to age and soften up. Young Temps are a little too edgy for me. But this particular bottling, unlike their reserve and gran reserva, is made to be consumed young. On the nose it has the aroma of oak that you want with a little mint and trademark Abacela earthiness. In the mouth it is all dark cherries, berries, a little licorice and plum. In other words, rich dark fruit. I don't know that any Oregon producer does it better than Earl and his team at Abacela. Delightful!
Next, Chateau Blouin, Bordeaux 2013. Again, a region and style that typically shows its true colors with a little bottle age. However, like the first wine, this one is made to drink. Typical blend of Merlot and Cabernet which results in all those familiar, delicious flavors. A little light on the nose but a mouthful in the glass. Surprisingly rich for a young example and it needed to be following that Tempranillo. Very easy drinking on its own, equally tasty with any hearty food. I can see this as a daily red.
Bennett Vineyards 2014 Rose. This was the star of a recent Wine Events Oregon gathering called "Misunderstood wines, Riesling and Rose." This rose is made 100% from Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and the elegance of the grape shows through. Nothing misunderstood about this wine. Crisp, dry, refreshing. This is what good rose wines are all about. There were a number of "sampler" treats to have with the wines and this one went with everything! Cheese. Dried fruits. Chocolate. Apples in caramel sauce. There simply was nothing that this wine did not make better. Highly recommended.
Pazen Riesling 2014. Winemaker Leo Pazen, not to be confused with the wines of his cousin Herbert Pazen, produced this wonderful Riesling form the Mosel region in Germany that was also featured in the wine event just mentioned. There was little doubt as to why this wine was included. Classic off dry Riesling from one of areas synonymous with good Riesling. Refreshing on the nose with aromas of stone fruit and citrus. In the mouth, more of that wonderful apricot, peach and honey with the brisk acidity you seek. A young wine, so no "petrol or diesel " you might find with a more mature example... But that was just fine with all the folk that day. Loved this wine. And value.
Eola Hills Pinot Noir 2013. Too often these days, one of my issues with young Oregon Pinot, is that winemakers tend to get a little heavy handed with the oak. This is particularly true in challenging vintages as they seek to balance out the fruit profiles or impart a sense of complexity to an otherwise simple wine. The good folk at Eola Hills really got it right in this bottling. The use of oak is spot on resulting in nice, soft tannins that really add to the enjoyment of the wine. The fruit is full of Pinot character right from the start. Cherry, Strawberry, Raspberry... Just what you hope for. Truthfully, it had been a little while since I had paid much attention to a bottle from Eola Hills. I'm glad I did. It won't be long before the next one.
Finally, let's go with Darkhorse Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. California! Let's just go on the assumption that the good folk in California know a thing or two about making Cab. And if you like good Cab, and I do, this is a bottle of wine you should try. Inexpensive, approachable and very expressive of what you want in California Cab. Dark fruit...think blackberry, blueberries and plum. A nice hint of spice and leather with a sort of earthiness that speaks of the soil at it's roots. This wine is starting to show up on a few wine lists by the bottle or glass. Look for it and give it a shot. I bet you become a convert.
So there you go. As requested, reviews and tasting notes. Enjoy the moment. Next time I might be back to musings on events in my life. Seriously, this is about me! Right? And a thank you to the fine folk at Bo's Wine Depot for turning me on to a couple of the wines reviewed here. Love the recommendations.