Category Archives: California
Another Lake County, California wine producer I’ve tried out is Langtry Estate & Vineyards. This estate winery has a large estate (over 23,000 acres) that spans from Lake County to the Napa Valley. The winery at Langtry has been producing wine since 1981, and has a wide selection of wines. Langtry has two different labels that they produce; Langtry and Guenoc. Most of the Guenoc wines are made with estate grown Guenoc Valley grapes. Recently, I tried their 2009 Guenoc Petit Sirah. This was a full-bodied wine with a deep purple color. With aromas of toasty oak and ripe black fruit, it had a nice smooth finish with a hint of spicy blackberry. Overall I thought this was a nice wine and for $15 it was definitely a great deal.
I also tried the Guenoc 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. At $12, this was nicely balanced and had a nose of citrus and tropical fruit, and a finish that reminded me of fresh grapefruit. It was quite a refreshing glass of wine, and paired nicely with seared sea scallops. Both of these wines are very good and definitely worth checking out. I’ve been impressed with wines from Lake County, CA thus far, and I’m looking forward to trying more.
Writer’s Block Petite Sirah
Recently Petite Sirah has been one of my favorite wines. Wines made from Petit Sirah typically are full bodied and peppery with deep color. One of the latest I’ve tried is Writer’s Block. This wine is produced by Steele Wines based in Kelseyville, CA. The winery is located in Lake County CA, which is in Northern California and is north of Napa Valley. Lake County is part of the North Coast AVA, but within Lake County are three smaller AVA’s; Clear Lake, Guenoc Valley, and Benmore Valley. A large portion of Lake County is taken up by Clear Lake, the largest natural lake in California. The most planted grape varietals in Lake County are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. But also others such as Petite Sirah are also planted. Steele wines has five different labels that includes a nice lineup of wines, ranging from well known varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot, to varietals like Aligote, Counoise, and Roussane.
The Writer’s Block Petite Sirah I tried was a 2009, and I found it to be quite good. Presenting itself in a deep purple color, it had a nose of spicy ripe black fruit along with a hint of toasty oak. The wine was full-bodied with a good balance of acid and tannins, which was followed by a short but smooth finish with hints of spicy plum and raspberry. I really enjoyed this wine, and has been one of the better Petite Sirahs I’ve recently tried. I can see this being paired with a variety of foods, including grilled meats or a spicy pasta dish. So if you are looking for a big full-bodied red, I would say Writer’s Block Petite Sirah may just be what you’re looking for.
Beringer Founders’ Estate Merlot
Beringer is a California winery located in the Napa Valley and has been around since 1876. This winery has been producing great wines over the years, and they have wide range of wines in their inventory that will fit just about every type of consumer, from beginning wine drinkers to the high end wine enthusiasts. Tom Stevenson, author of Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, gave them a nice write up in the encyclopedia and especially liked their Merlot, in particular the Founders’ Estate Merlot. He considered the 2000 vintage to be quite good, and said that if all vintages were to be just as good, this wine could be considered to be one of the best California Merlots. I have found Mr. Stevenson to be a great source when looking for the right wines, so I thought I would take his advice and give this one a try. I was very impressed with this merlot, and definitely is one of the best California Merlots that I have recently tasted. I tried out the 2009 version, and the wine had a nice medium purple color to it, with hints of vanilla and blackberry on the nose. The first sip has nice smooth tannins, with spicy ripe blackberry and vanilla, and a silky smooth finish. I found that the wine had a nice touch of oak that wasn’t overpowering, and the alcohol at 13.9% was just right. This wine is typically under $10 retail, which is a pretty good deal. Compared to the BV Merlot I tried recently, this wine seemed a little more full bodied and flavorful, and had a nice lingering finish to it. So if you are in the mood for a good California Merlot, don’t hesitate to give Beringer Founders’ Estate a try.