Monday, December 5, 2011

Winey Tasting Notes: 2010 Guenoc Pinot Grigio & Cabernet Sauvignon: Hoo-ah!!!

As a former theater major, I was intrigued when I heard that actress Lillie Langtry had founded the estate that this wine comes from. All the way back in 1888...staying  power, huh? But what really got me interested in this wine was the United States Military Academy at West Point. And yes, there is a story to this. (You knew that, didn't you?)

Each year, our West Point Parents Club (Northeast Ohio) hosts a wine tasting fund-raiser. To make things more interesting, we hold a wine naming contest as well. Members of the club submit wine names that have something to do with West Point. The winning entry gets their wine name turned into a label (by a very talented West Point graphic artist uncle) and that label is in turn pasted onto a bottle of wine chosen by the manager of the wine bar where we have our tasting. The wines are then bought by club members and many of them wind up under  the Christmas trees of various West Point friends and family. (Side note to both our Moms: if you are reading this, try and act surprised, OK?)

This year's winning name was Hoo-ah Harvest. Hoo what??? Hoo-ah, which is a West Point expression meaning "Hooray", "Yippee", "Wonderful" and some other expressions that do not belong on this blog. You get the picture, right? So why am I talking so much about the name of this year's wine? Because it was my entry!! I named a wine!! Hoo-ah for me!!

And wasn't I happy when I was informed by our club's president that as vice president, one of my jobs was to help her paste the wine labels on the wine chosen as this year's vintage: Guenoc Pinot Grigio (Langtry Estate & Vineyards, Lake County, CA, 13.5% alcohol on the has it at 12.5%) and Guenoc Cabernet Sauvignon (2010, 13.5% alcohol on the bottle - website lists it at 14.5%). To make sure we knew exactly what we were giving the club, we tasted these wines extensively as we pasted. (To this very day, I am surprised the labels were all attached straight and right side up.)

Let's start with the Pinot Grigio (we did at the wine tasting). Great tropical bouquet - mostly of pineapple and a teeny bit of pear. A beautiful pale gold color. The taste was of pineapple and had some great acidity that made it feel like a light wine, but really not a lightweight wine at all. I'd say it had a fairly medium body to it.  The finish was crisp, mellow pear (this wine is fermented in  stainless steel so no oakiness here). We sipped this wine with an antipasti platter and boy, did it do well with the cheeses and olives!!

Eventually we wound our way to the Cabernet Sauvignon. Lots of black cherry in the bouquet and on the palate. A little peppery kick at the finish that kept it from being too "fruity" - it had some nice body to it. In fact, we sipped this with a pasta bolognese and it help up nicely!

Both of these wines run around $10 a bottle...and when you combine that with their great taste, well, I'd give them each a big old Hoo-ah!
The design of the winning wine name in the 2011 Northeast Ohio
West Point Parents Club contest.
Design by Mike Blanc, winning name submitted by
The Winey Mom!
Go Army! Beat Navy! Cheers!

(If you live in the Northeast Ohio area, I highly recommend a trip to Creekside Restaurant and Bar, where we held our tasting. The Harpers really know their wines - huge wine list -  and the food is wonderful!!)

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