2017 Benchmark Tuscan Blend by Umbriaso, San Francisco, California

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 Benchmark Tuscan Blend (Sonoma) by Umbriaso, San Francisco, California

Deep dark (but clear) burgundy color. Out of the bottle this wine is recognizable with great sense of place – Sonoma. Subtle earth notes of damp woody forest floor and cherry cola. Not as pronounced as in more terroir driven varietals from this region such as Pinot Noir but unmistakable. I love this kind of fidelity. Crisp slightly ripe dark plum skins of the Syrah and a sweet citrus from the Sangiovese play second fiddle. Swirling unlocks hints of red vines licorice. A nice crisp, clean, beautiful aromatic nose.

Body is balanced from front to back. Fairly dry with great fruit characteristics. A slightly weighted mouth feel greets the palate immediately. Restrained plum and mild citrus acidity part immediately. One precipitating into thin crisp unobtrusive tannic structure, the other transitioning to light bright berries. The later quickly dissipates leaving behind a subtle cola as the tannic structure grows in intensity. This marks the transition to a finish dominated by a dry, fine grit tannic grip and the faintest hint of spice. Not a single trace of the body remains. Just my lips parched shut.

This wine shows great execution. Clean, crisp, delineated with a great sense of place. You don’t have to look very far to find a hidden gem. Mr Hayes has been pouring his art on Treasure Island for a while now. There’s a little Winemakers’ Co-operative out there I highly recommend you visit. It’s called Treasure Island Wines. On any given day you can find an Artisan quietly pouring wines crafted with an obsessive attention to detail. This my friends, is what wine really is about.

2018 Il Corvo (Columbia Valley) by Novelty Hill-Januik

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Il Corvo (Columbia Valley) by Novelty Hill-Januik, Woodinville, WA.

Super Tuscan Blend: 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Sangiovese, 4% Merlot

Dark intense slightly opaque color. Long legs. Out of the bottle, a weighted nose with notes of slightly ripe plums, dark cherries, subtle dusty woody leather and hints of cola. Swirling vigorously intensifies all notes, bringing out more cherry cola.

Body is somewhat light, crisp, for a wine this big. It shows good balance from attack to finish. Slightly restrained plums and blackberry greet the palate, introducing a measured structure with dusty, fine grained tannins. Bold spice makes its entrance shortly after and remains, warming the palate from start to finish. A clean crisp oak complements and enhances the fruit essence, conspiring with dark cherries to create a subtle cherry cola. As it opens up, slightly mineral, loamy sedimentary underpinnings reveal themselves as the palate clears in transition to finish. Dusty tannins render the palate parched shut while wisps of crisp oak dance in the background.

My only regret is not bringing back an extra bottle. This is a very well built terroir driven wine with a broad appeal. Still very young, I can see this wine aging beautifully over the next decade. Laying a couple of these down would be a good idea. Novelty Hill-Januik has made a great wine here. Expertly crafted. It was a challenge picking one one during my visit earlier this year, as every wine in their lineup far exceeded any expectations.

Nice work folks!

WineSnob TV:
You can watch more about my visit to this winery while tasting in Woodinville here:
Off The Beaten Path – Woodinville, Seattle, Washington

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