Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: Choosing Wente Wines (or, Go Army!)

I often get asked how I choose the wines that I review, but there really is no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes I'll have read about a wine. Often, I'll try a new wine at a party, or a friend will recommend it. And sometimes I just wander around the wine aisles at stores until someone asks me if they can help or they have a security guard follow me closely. Fortunately, that doesn't happen often.

Then there are the wines that I try because I have some sort of connection to them. Such is the case with Wente Vineyards. You see, the Winey Son is a Cadet at West Point. Yes, I'm proud and happy. I'm also a bit lonely at times, since you don't get to visit West Point like you would other college campuses. (It's NOT a campus, by the way, it's a working military base.) Start with the fact that you must go through security to get onto the base. ID, car search and everything. There's that whole "we can all shoot guns" thing going on there. So, given the fact that it's not your typical college experience, it only makes sense that West Point Parents band together (we even dress alike and yell the same thing: "BEAT NAVY").  As you might imagine, the Parents Clubs are very active (and by active I mean really, really fun) and I have met some of the most wonderful friends through them. It helps to know there are other parents going through the same thing as you - because we all know that when our Cadets graduate, they're going to be deployed. (It also helps when you are faced with a duffel bag full of uniforms that you have no idea how to wash.)

So, (here comes the wine part), when I found out through the Parent Club coordinator at West Point, that the Vice President of Sales for the Central Division of Wente Family Estates (great title, isn't it) was also a WEST POINT MOM, well, that pretty much made it mandatory that I go out and review some of those wines!

Let's start with the 2009 Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (13.5%, Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, CA). The nose on this was dark spices, pepper and some cherry. It tasted of dark black cherries and spices, which gave it a very "bright" taste. There was also a bit of an oak flavor that made the wine feel very soft in my mouth. The finish was long and peppery and lively. Another reason to tell people that Cabernet Sauvignon is right at the top of my favorite varietal list!

Next I tasted the Morning Fog Chardonnay (2010, 13.5%, Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, CA). I must admit to being taken in by the name. Morning Fog just brings so many gorgeous images to mind, doesn't it? And having just made my first journey to San Francisco and the Bay area, it really took me back there to that wonderful vacation. The wine is a bright, clear gold color (West Point colors are black and gold, by the way). The bouquet was of nutmeg, green apples and pear, a little vanilla, a little oak - so much going on there and it smelled so good! The taste was of green apples and juicy pears, vanilla and a little cinnamon. There was also a hint of a lime peel tang in it. Not overwhelming, but it was there. The finish was lively and apple-y (yes, that is a word, I just made it up) and left me smacking my lips (not very ladylike, but hey, I am not one to let a good wine taste go to waste).

So thanks to West Point, I found a whole new vineyard with so many new wines to try. (So many wines, so little time, as the saying goes.) I can only close by saying this:
Go Army! Beat Navy! Cheers!

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