Since I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I also have to make sure that the wine is perfect as well. Just in time, Cuvee Cellars (545 Spring Road http://www.cuveecellars.com/) steps in with a pair of holiday wine tastings to save the day. I was thinking that I should go with a Riesling for the white wine and a Pinot Noir for the red. However, to confirm, I asked John and Craig (the owners), separately, which wines I should get for Thanksgiving. In an incredible display of on-the-same-page-itude, not only did they both come up with the same varietal recommendations (Sauvignon Blank or Riesling and Pinot Noir), but they even came up with the same producers (Frogs Leap Sauvignon Blanc, Willow Crest Riesling, and Angeline or Meomi Pinot Noir). I realized that we already had a whole bunch of white wine, including the Frogs Leap and Willow Crest, so we went with the Meomi Pinot and an Audelssa Cabernet Sauvignon (even over my protestations against Cabernet for Thanksgiving).
Here is the rundown of the rest of the tasting
Starting from right to left:
Willow Crest Reisling - Nicely balanced, sweet Riesling, but not one of those cloyingly sweet Rieslings that are gross. It has a nice balance of acidity with a faint scent of petroleum jelly. This is going to be delicious for Thanksgiving
Hinman Pinot Noir - This one is on the menu by the glass. Has a bit of an earthy smell, nice and fruit forward, though I think it may have been lacking some of the secondary flavors. I like this one, and it would also be a nice choice for Thanksgiving.
Killer Syrah - I went through about a 4 month stretch (like January - May) where all I drank was Syrah, so I'm still a little bit soured on it, though I am coming back around. That being said, this one was very nice, perhaps because it wasn't as peppery and big as a lot of Syrahs. It also wasn't as full of glycerin as many Australian shirazes. Even though it isn't as big as many syrahs, I still think that it would wash out the flavor of the turkey.
Earth Series Merlot - I really did not like this one. I felt as if it had too much alcohol in it (I'm not sure what the content was, but it smelled like grain alcohol). It didn't go down terribly easy, which is usually the hallmark of merlot.
Going from left to right this time:
Grgich Hills Fume Blanc - Last time I was in Napa, I visited this winery and had this wine, so I knew it was good. This is a great winery to visit, so I'd definitely recommend it. The wine is super mellow with nice notes of citrus fruit like lemon or maybe grapefruit. It is probably too mellow for Thanksgiving, but it would be excellent with seafood.
Luna Vineyards Freakout White Wine - This is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and a grape called Tocai Friulano. Although Cuvee Cellars sold many bottles of this, I was not a fan. I thought it was too acidic and not all that well balanced. People seem to like it though, so maybe give it a try for yourself.
St. Clement Chardonnay - I enjoyed this one. It had a a nice creamy texture and a popcorn-y aroma. It also had notes of pineapple and other tropical fruit. Too buttery for Thanksgiving, but delicious on its own.
St. Clement Merlot - As much as I liked the Chardonnay for its buttery-ness, I did not like the merlot for that same reason. It seemed to overwhelm the fruit flavor and it didn't seem to have that much going on with it. Maybe some notes of chocolate, smoke, and cherry.
From right to left this time:
Bitch Bubbly - This is a pink sparkling wine that is much too sweet for me. It does have some interesting floral notes and has some flavors of red fruit. However, like I said, it is way too sweet. Not for me.
A to Z Pinot Noir - I love pinots, but this one seemed a little plain to me. Funny story with this though. One night after track season ended, we ended up drinking somewhere between 5-17 bottles of this stuff at the track party. It brings back some fun memories. It is not bad by any stretch, but it is not nearly as good as some of the other pinots at Cuvee Cellars.
Gine Gine Priorat - I'm pretty sure this is the only Spanish wine in Cuvee Cellars. It had some nice aromas of black fruit like blackberries or dark cherry, but it was very acidic and had too much of an alcohol smell to it. I have a feeling if this was left to age for a while longer, it could turn out well, but it was not ready to go just yet.
Obsidian Ridge Cabernet - This was another one that was flying off the shelves. I first had this one in a side by side comparison with a very fruity pinot noir, and had I not known what each one was, I would have guessed them incorrectly. This cabernet is very restrained, but in a good way. It was nice to drink now, but I bet this one would age really well and probably open up a bit more.
Here are a few additional pictures from the night. I think they are going to have a tasting shortly before Xmas, so you should stop by if you get a chance.
Here are all the guys (left to right) Craig, Peter, John, and Joey