Wine Review: 2008 Nebbiolo by Ca’Nova

Tonight’s occasion: 2008 Nebbiolo by Ca’Nova, Ghemme, Piedmont, Italy.

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I am obsessed with Nebbiolo especially from Italy. They are hard to come by in this part of the world and fetch a premium. So while browsing wine.com for this month’s Explore & Taste selection, I decided to try a Nebbiolo off the beaten path.

Big warm aromatic nose permeates the space as soon as you pop the cork. This wine is still swing for the fences after 12 years. Upon closer inspection, nose is full of black berry, subtle sweet cherry notes, marshmallows and tart plum with faint slate rock undertone.

Body has a moderately acidic attack. Slightly chalky, minerality carries through. Tannins are slow to wake up, finally making their presence known towards the back. When they do, they conspire with the chalk to completely rob the palate and lips of all moisture and render dry. Body and finish feel to be one cohesive unit culminating in parched lips with a tingling of spice as you attempt to pry your parched lips apart.

This wine isn’t messing around. I think it is just now becoming approachable. For a 12 year old vintage it is appropriately aged for a Nebbiolo. It will likely drink like this for the next decade. It presents a very compelling value at around $36.

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Ca’Nova wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Wine Review: 2016 Cab Sauv by Canvasback

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon by Canvasback, Red Mountain [AVA], Yakima Valley [AVA], Columbia Valley [AVA], Washington State.

Dark rich color. Long dark legs. Crisp, clean nose with lots of berry and plum. This is a Cabernet Sauvignon. Lots of good fruit up front along with a healthy dose of restraint. A hint of oak in the back.

Body has very good crisp, clean structure and balance. Not as fruit forward as the nose would suggest. The oak while still restrained, is a touch more pronounced. Expression of the terroir is muted and more mineral if anything. I think this may be the reason for its crisp, clean posture.

It has a great mouth feel. It’s so easy for a Cab to get out of hand and overbearing. This one is extremely well behaved and tamed. I suspect the climate in the region may have something to do with it. Firm tannins lead to a smooth finish dominated by their ever tightening grip. A hint of tobacco, smokey oak and moderate enduring dry spice wrap up the experience.

Most wines have a certain aristic flare to them. This wine feels like it was made with a healthy dose of OCD. It feels like there was great attention to detail and a strict adherence to core principles. This is my first time tasting wine from this little know region. I am very impressed by the quality of the wine and craftsmanship.

Nicely done Canvasback!

Reader Notes

Opened it 10 minutes ago and poured it into the glass. It has a dark ruby red color with viscosity. Its shy on the nose initially but I get some spicy fresh aromas of dark currants, plums, dried herbs. It has mild acidity and good fruit with some roundness on the palate but it has peppery notes on the palate. It has mild to moderate tannins but a smooth very long finish.

My wife has an incredible palate. She is going to taste it soon. Its definitely drinkable without food but I can see it as food friendly. I’ll let you know when I have it with food.

The tannins are not intense. It’s a very well balanced wine. Definitely approachable young compared to Napa cabs. Wifey felt it also has a taint of tobacco leaf and I agree. I think that comes once it’s open longer.

~ Dr Cruz-Romero

 

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Canvasback wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Wine Review: 2017 Pinot Noir by Dawn’s Dream

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Pinot Noir (Bel Sogno) by Dawn’s Dream Winery. Total production of 250 cases.

The nose is very restrained. Off the bat, you pick up a gentle sweet cherry and marshmallow which feels more like an interaction between berry and vanilla from the oak. I pick up another aroma far in the back I initially thought was floral but it does have a herbal quality. You have to strain to pick it out. It’s obvious this wine will not reveal itself easily. As it opens up, the nose develops a subtle creamy undertone.

Body is even more elusive. A very subtle tartness greets the palate. However just as you expect a hit of acidity, a noticeable chalky texture takes over and dominates the rest of the experience. Remember these are all whispers. I’ve never actually felt (not just tasted) this type of chalky minerality in a wine. An interesting expression of the terroir through the grape, unhindered by the winemaker. A testament to their skill and craft. None of the fruit is carried forward. Towards the back gentle but very present tannins bring good structure as they guide you to a fairly dry finish capped by a hint of spice that doesn’t linger very long.

This wine should not be paired with anything. You will miss the whole affair with a tainted palate. It is different in it’s own way yet very familiar in its elusive expression. I’ve seen this before from this region. Bel Sogno is a very mature Pinot, made more in the traditional style with a little Coastal California flare. It is showing really well right now and should be perfect over the next several years. I wonder what it’s progression over time will be like. It is an elegant, graceful, wine that prompts reflection.

As I follow this bottle through the evening, I keep thinking I should start a vertical in my cellar to better follow its evolution. I can think of only one other wine in my cellar that this reminds me of.

Nicely done!

Tech Sheet

2017 Bel Sogno Pinot Noir

Vineyard: Pelio Vineyards, Monterey County
Clones: 828, 667 & 115
Harvest Date: September 13th 2017
Harvest Brix: 23.3
pH: 3.43
Titratable Acidity: 6.6
Fermentation: Stainless Steel Open-Top with manual Punch-Down
Oak: 12 months 100% new French Oak
Filtration: cross-flow
Production: 250 cases

 

Wine Review: 2011 Syrah by Skinner

Tonight’s occasion: 2011 Syrah (El Dorado) by Skinner Vineyards.

Deep rich color. Crisp nose greets you with lots of plum, a little cherry, subtle oak, and slight mineral. The heat and spice in this wine is more pronounced in the nose and diminishes through the rest of the experience. In the body, a subtle acidic attack is quickly overwhelmed by big buttery tannins giving it a noticeably chewy mouth feel. The finish takes an interesting turn with an abundance of wood as oak and vanilla turn into cedar with a hint of licorice.

One of the things that I like about this winemaker, is the wines are appropriately aged before release. They are not rushed to the glass. This way you can expect a quality, mature wine whenever you visit the winery. This vintage is almost 10yrs old. It is showing really well right now. I think this is what it was meant to be. It has just entered its peak and should be perfect any time over the next 4-5 years before its more nuanced characteristics start to fade. It is a great example of what is possible in this region. If you are looking to explore the most current frontier of California wine country, this is where I recommend you start. Well done Skinner!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Skinner wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Wine Review: 2017 Pinot Noir by Artesa

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Pinot Noir (Los Carneros, Limited Release) by Artesa.

Restrained, delicate, subtle are its hallmarks. The nose greets you with that all too familiar Carneros dirt. It’s very subtle but unmistakable. If you’ve had quite a few wines from this region, then you know what I’m talking about… LOL. I love it! There’s an even fainter hint of manure. It’s a very pleasant leather overall. The terroir is very nicely expressed through the vine and into this wine. Aside from that there are subtle sweet berry, cherry and floral notes.

Body is crisp. Clean. Balanced. This is a Pinot in the traditional sense. Light buttery tannins create a very easy laid back mouth feel. A hint of oak and cherry pull through into the body. A seamless transition to an otherwise dry, smooth finish, followed moments later by gentle spice.

This is a very clean, well made Pinot Noir. A textbook Carneros Pinot Noir. If you’re looking for a good starting/reference point, you can’t go wrong with Artesa. Treat yourself to the view from the estate at the top of the ridge. Take some time to go over their mouth watering assortment of representative wines. Well done Artesa!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now get most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Artesa Pinot delivered to your doorstep.

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WineSnob is now Wine.com Ambassador!

Wine.com

I am pleased to announce that WineSnob.blog has been selected to be an Ambassador for Wine.com . This is especially exciting for me because I have been searching for a way to share my passion for exploring unique wines off the beaten path. Up until now I have been unable to make any of the wines I review and taste accessible to my audience. This new development allows me to curate monthly selections and provide my readers with a means to order the wine and have them delivered to their doorstep.

You can now join me in this journey and be as much a part of it as you would like. I would like to invite you to participate. Let’s explore something new every month. Let’s find those hidden gems. Let’s discover regions we never heard of. Let’s build a treasure trove of amazing wines and value to share with all WineSnobs around the world.

Please visit the Explore and Taste page in the menu above for more details on the current and next month’s selections. I hope you can join me soon!

Reserve: 2008 Merlot by ParaVi Vineyards

Tonight’s occasion: 2008 Merlot by ParaVi Vineyards, Camino, Sierra Foothills, California.

Very warm tight nose. The heat is immediately obvious. It needs to be decanted for an extended period. Swirling vigorously unlocks bursts of sweet cherry, vanilla, subtle mineral terroir and faint licorice. You would almost miss that signature Merlot berry which is very restrained and buried beneath all the layers.

Body is moderately acidic. It is surprisingly dry, especially given its nose. Only subtle Merlot berry carries through from the nose accompanied by an equal dose of oak vanilla. Both work well to tame the otherwise massive tannin and spice which quickly dominate the body, unveil solid structure and balance. Black currant makes very brief appearance just before a finish characterized by a dry, firm tannic grip. Heat and spice is unmistakable and very much present throughout the entire experience.

Nothing about this wine says it is 12 years old. This is why I stay mostly off the beaten path. I don’t think there are any bottles of this wine left as the Winery closed many years ago. This well built wine from the humble Merlot grape has always been a shining example of the hidden talent you can find in this region if you look hard enough.

Every one of my last few bottles will be a bittersweet affair 🍷😔🙏🏽