2020 Torrontés (Alta Mesa) by Lewis Grace

Tonight’s occasion: 2020 Torrontés (Alta Mesa) by Lewis Grace, Placerville, California.

Pretty aromatic nose out of the bottle with vibrant notes citrus, honeysuckle, white cranberries and white plums. Has a slight viscosity to it. There is distant hint of minerality, so faint you’d likely miss it.

Body is dry, soft with a plush, silky, slightly weighted and luxurious mouth feel. Faint viscosity carries through from attack to finish. Expression is thin, light and wispy. Citrus carries through in the form of an unmistakable Mayer Lemon. Dry stone fruits linger in the background. There is a very faint tannic structure to the body it could almost be missed. Transition to finish is seamless ending in a light dry tannic grip and gentle warm spice heat. As it opens up and the palate adapts, the subtle minerality has a subtle palate wetting effect.

Well WineSnobs. I found another Gem Off The Beaten Path. This is a treat of a wine. A white wine at that. It is different, unique by all accounts. An unconventional expression. A very interesting varietal I have never had before. This wine is certainly worth exploring by all palates.

Very nicely done Lewis Grace!

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 🍷😔🙏🏽

Reserve: 2017 Pinot Noir by Bumgarner

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Pinot Noir (El Dorado) by Bumgarner.

Bright ruby color. Upon opening there’s a noticeable burst of sweet licorice on the nose. Sweet cherry joins in the ensemble. A hint of oak and at least one other floral aroma I cannot pinpoint at the moment. Body is moderately acidic, dry, tart plum, slightly tannic, showing good structure and balance. Once it’s opened up, the transition turns creamy. A slight mineral leather makes an appearance right before transitioning to a subtly floral finish. A gentle, spicy tannic grip caps the whole experience. This is a clean, well executed Pinot Noir.

While very approachable right now, it is nowhere near it’s fullest expression. I would give this Pinot at least another 5-10 years. I have been following this winemaker’s work for the better part of the past two decades. I have never seen him make a Pinot before. As a matter of fact I have never seen a Pinot Noir from the El Dorado region. I couldn’t think of a better craftsman to undertake this task. His style is more traditional old world wines that lend themselves to graceful aging. Pick up a few bottles and forget about them. Thank me later. I’m looking forward to more amazing Pinot Noir Brian!🍷😁👌🏽

2008 Merlot by ParaVi (Primus)

Tonight’s occasion we are checking in on this 2008 Merlot by ParaVi (formerly Primus) from the Sierra Foothills. This was one of my all-time favorite winemakers until they closed several years ago. Their top end flagship was a Merlot, very unusual and a testament to the winemakers skill and craft. This Merlot has lots of character, mild, subdued fruit, good oak, nice pepper and a finish with boat loads of tannin. My cellar is full of hidden gems like this that I’ve collected over the years, never to be seen again. Every sip bittersweet. Thanks to Coravin I’m able to save these gems and open them when they are peaking.