Thursday, June 25, 2015

Winey Tasting Notes: Downton Abbey's Countess of Grantham Collection

As I write this review, and was sipping on the wines, The Winey Daughter is and was spending the summer studying in England. Yes, England, the land of The Royals, tea and scones, British rock and (reverent pause here) Downton Abbey.

I am a serious Downton addict. In fact, when The Winey Daughter was accepted into the program in merry olde England, my first thought was, "How close will she be to Highclere Castle?" Which, for those of you who are woefully ignorant, is the Hampshire estate where Downton is filmed. (Trivia tidbit for you all: the very funny series Jeeves and Wooster, staring High Laurie and Stephen Fry, was also filmed there. Yes, I own that entire series on blue ray. Thanks for asking.) Back on track here....I suppose a really responsible Winey Mom would have thought, "Is this a solid study abroad program?" Or, "Do the credits transfer?" Or, "How much?" But no, my thoughts flew straight to Downton and how I could come up with enough money for her to buy it for me. The Abbey, I mean, Castle. Whatever. To answer some of those questions: close enough, great program, credits count toward her major and enough.

Not that I begrudge my child any sort of travel..in fact, The Winey Hubby and I love to travel and have instilled that love in both of our kiddies. I just can't help but be a little bit jealous.

There is a cure for my envy though, and as you might have guessed, it comes in a wine bottle. Right before the start of season five of Downton Abbey this past January, Downton Abbey wines released two new offerings. Instead of the classic Bordeaux wines (which of course I reviewed...click here to head there), these two new wines pay homage to the Countess of Grantham, who, in the show, is an American heiress. The wines hail from one of my favorite wine regions, Lodi, California. And there's a picture of Downton Abbey on the label. Oh joy.

The Lady of Grantham Chardonnay (2013, 13.8%, Lodi, CA) starts off with a nose of nutmeg, cinnamon and pear. The flavors in it are sweet pear, vanilla cream and cinnamon and they're all wrapped up in a touch of toasty oak. The wine is light but full of flavor and it has a creamy silk mouthfeel that reminds me of one of the Countess' gorgeous gowns. Sleek and silky and classic and just gorgeous. Kind of like Cora herself. The more I sipped on this wine, the more I really liked it. Don't let the marketing via Downton on this one keep you from trying it. It's simply that good. I am going to get more. (The Winey Daughter has six weeks in England, after all.)

The Lady of Grantham Cabernet Sauvignon (2012, 13.8%, Lodi, CA) starts out with a nose of pepper, cherry syrup and some fresh cut wood. You'll taste flavors of pepper, mocha and green herbs. There's definitely an oak tinge on the finish. This is a wine that you will want to let breathe first - I solved that problem with  my trusty aerator. I'd call this a very stately, layered wine with extremely good taste. Kind of like the Abbey itself....big and bold and stately and dignified. I can just see Carson pouring this as we sit down to dinner in the formal dining room.

If the Chardonnay is cultured and elegant like Lady Cora, the Cabernet Sauvignon totally represents the house that she lives in: majestic and dignified.

You can find both of these wines at Downton Abbey Wines' website, but if you live in Ohio, like I do, you will have to order them through Wine.com. I have given up trying to comprehend the shipping laws of my state, so I'll stop right there. I'm just glad I could get my Winey little hands on these two offerings. They were very, very good...especially the Chardonnay.

I suppose I would be remiss if I did not address the other big issue with Downton Abbey these days, and that's the (very, very sad) fact that cast and crew have started shooting Season 6. THE LAST SEASON.Seriously, Mr. Fellowes, what were you thinking when you decided that? Or were you?  I mean, how am I supposed to get through a Cleveland January without a new Downton Abbey to look forward to?

I intend to weather the storm with dignity, though. And a few bottles of Downton Abbey wine. And a blue ray of the series.  I have recently convinced The Winey Hubby that Downton is worth watching...all of it...from Season 1 to the just finished Season 5. So I am getting my fix this summer and will be primed and poured when Season 6 starts..and ends. Sob.


But hey, stiff upper lip and all that...and cheers!

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