|Oregon's Willamette Valley view from Penner Ash|
Is there anything better for those of us who love wine than a really, really great glass of juice?
I do taste a lot of wine at price points up to $100, I'd guess. I buy some wine in the $40-$60 range and just a few a bit higher. I opened two great wines this weekend that just lights the inner fire to share these great labels and names with those who read my wine writing.
Both wines originated in iconic U.S. wine regions - Napa Cab and Oregon Pinot Noir - and they rocked!
|Sattui sits at the north end of Napa on Highway 29|
I tasted through several of their wines during a March 2012 visit. The wines were consistently good. I remember liking a Zinfandel quite a bit before we got to the Cabs. The higher end Cabernet was excellent. I narrowed it down to a couple and purchased a bottle of the Mt. Veeder Cab for $48 which is now listed on their website for $53.
The wine is rich and supple with uber smooth tannins, hints of all sorts of dark fruit like cherry and currants. It is a bit softer than many Napa Cabs which is part of its attraction.
The eponymous Mount Veeder peak is 2700ft (825m) high, and marks the boundary between Napa and Sonoma counties. The appellation's highest vineyards lie on a south-west-facing slope just below the summit, and stretch up to 2630ft (800m).
Located five miles (8km) north-west of Sonoma town and half that distance again from Napa town, Mount Veeder lies equidistant from the two valleys which are arguably the most important in the United States.
|This young lady appeared as we finished tasting!|
They also have a little fun. Plenty of tasting rooms are very welcoming. But many of the upper end wineries certainly can come off as a bit snobbish. The people here depend on tasting room sales and they know. Staffers make the tasting room experience fun.
V. Sattui 2007 Mt. Veeder Napa Cab, $53, Highly Recommended
Penner Ash 2009 Dussin Vineyard Pinot Noir - I love Pinot Noir and have grown very, very fond of Oregon Pinot. I opened this with a good friend who really appreciates Pinot and we were both just blown away.
This is a small production wine with usual production around 500 cases. The 2010 is the only Dussin Vineyard on the Penner Ash website and it's listed for $60. My memory fails me but I felt like I paid closer to $70 for this bottle. It was worth every hard-earned nickel.
|Penner Ash tasting room action.|
The 2008 Oregon vintage was hailed as one of best in years. I tasted the 2009 early after release and was generally unimpressed. But when I tasted the '09s a summer ago was really taken by the bold fruit and silky qualities.
Frankly, I have several favorite Willamette Valley producers and this bottle added Penner Ash to the list. There are lower entry points for price and they are worth a try. This particular wine is a great example of how you can buy awesome Pinot Noir without paying Burgundy prices.
Penner Ash 2009 Dussin Vineyard Pinot Noir, $60, Very Highly Recommended.
All photos in this post by my friend Drew Casey, who is now a tasting room associate at Chateau St. Jean in California's Sonoma County.
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