I often host wine tasting events showcasing one varietal, comparing 3 or 4 different bottles ending in a declaration of the best bottle of the night. I also enjoy hosting tasting events that showcase one winemaker and their suite of wines. What I’ve learned in these tastings is how the winemaker’s imprint flows thru each bottle, how his or her personality is expressed through the wines.
I recently sat down with four of my favorite wine tasting partners to taste and discuss Winemaker Joe Shirley and his Napa Cellars suite of wines. These wines were made in classic Napa Valley style with lush ripe fruits, rich and balanced. Blended from carefully selected fruit from renowned vineyards by the guiding hand of Joe Shirley; to produce stellar varietal examples.
2010 Chardonnay Napa Valley Mellow yellow in color, with lemon citrus aromas led us to oak and clove flavors. The addition of pear and watermelon flavors gave it a softer finish. This is a Winter Chardonnay, and would pair very nicely with a spicy shrimp dish. 100% Chardonnay | Alcohol 14.4% | Retails for $22*
2009 Merlot Napa Valley The deep red colors and aromas of black cherry and plum were met with oak and vanilla flavors. A tight tannic finish with reminders of the luscious fruit make you go back for another sip. 100% Merlot | Alcohol 14.4% | Retails for $22*
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Deep purple in color with very fruity and barn floor aromas. The flavors of black cherry, cedar, sawdust and clove, lead way to a smooth creamy finish of toasted oak. A classic NY Strip or Rib Eye steak pairing is in order here. 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot | Alcohol 13.9% | Retails for $22*
2009 Zinfandel Napa Valley A very deep purple color with aromas of peat; flavors of oak and spice lead to a dry toasty finish. The addition of the Petite Sirah does not go unnoticed, yet does not overpower. 88% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah | Alcohol 14.7% | Retails for $26*
After our tasting we enjoyed these wines with a dinner of Butterflied Grilled Lamb, scalloped potatoes and grilled asparagus. With enough wine to go around everyone settled in on their favorite, with the Chardonnay to be the first empty bottle of the evening. These sophisticated wines offer quality and value, with the consistency of the winemaker’s balanced touch flowing thru each bottle.