The Seven Artisans 2009 Montepulciano was grown in the upper Suisun Valley by winemaker Jeff Miller who takes a straightforward, no fuss, no muss approach to clean, solid winemaking. Jeff believes that his Montepulciano does best without any oak treatment. This wine started with aromas of strawberry, toast and spice (licorice) notes and vague leather hints. A mix of cherry and strawberry predominated in the mouth. Supple, smooth tannins, some heat, lighter body, and more restrained acids made up the structure of this wine. The finish seemed dominated by heat and clear fruit was a bit hard to find. On the second day, fleshy strawberry and licorice were joined by a hint of raspberry and floral notes. In the mouth, fleshy strawberry took on a slightly sweet note. The wine also became creamier and richer and the tannins were fine and supple. The wine maintained a good balance. The finish was fairly persistent, with bright ripe strawberry and a bit of heat. The wine was a pleasant companion to the mushroom pizza, with which it did not compete. It also went well with the blackened salmon. (ABV not available, 2 bottles tasted, 400 cases made)
Tasted at a recent show of North American wines, this red blend stood out of the bottled crowd. Deep, opaque purple color shows off a nose of violets and dark chocolate and toast. Chewy and dense at first, it yields languorous blackberry and pepper flavors upheld by soft tannins and a nice sugar balance. A very nice yin and yang of velvet and strength. A great wine with winter dishes, especially a cassoulet. But it’s not just for winter, either. Pricey, but a keeper.
The King Andrews Muscat Blanc is, well, muscat. Nothing problematic about it, but nothing particularly attention-grabbing about it, either. If you like the sweet version, however, be forewarned that this is made in a somewhat drier style. The winery describes it as citric with hints of grapefruit and recommends pairing it with thin-sliced pan-grilled turkey breasts.
This was rich with dark blue and black fruit and a floral hint. Smooth, suede-like tannins were paired with a slight sweetness, a hint of astringency and appropriate acidity.