Wine Shoppe at Hawks Landing Napa Valley wine tasting

The Wine Shoppe

On June 10, 2010, I attended a Napa Valley wine tasting hosted by Tracie Hogan, owner of The Wine Shoppe at Hawks Landing and Redmond Ridge. The Wine Shoppes host wine tastings at both of their locations: Thursdays (Hawks Landing), Fridays (Redmond Ridge) and Saturdays (both locations). In a future blog entry, I will tell you more about The Wine Shoppes’ offerings.

Today’s tasting featured two wines from Pahlmeyer Wines and one from Signorello Vineyards. Before I tell you about these wines, I would like to note that all the wines I tasted had at least 1 hour to breathe.

Pahlmeyer Wines

Right now, I would like  familiarize yourself with Pahlmeyer Wines. Here is an excerpt about Pahlmeyer from their website:

1972…a year for new thought and tradition-reversing headlines, world-wide: the Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional. Nixon opened relations with Communist China by sitting down for a chat with Mao Zedong. George McGovern, presidential hopeful, upset time-honored conservative notions by abandoning shirt and tie in favor of a white turtleneck.

That same year, while finishing law school, Jayson Pahlmeyer was at the starting gate of his grapes-to-wine quest. He and John Caldwell, a good friend and fellow wine explorer, had developed a penchant and a deep admiration for the Bordeaux style of grape growing and winemaking. Their shared wine palate and nose led them on investigative trips to the famous French vineyards where they acquired cuttings from the five classic Bordeaux varietals. Back in California with their Bordeaux cuttings, they began their grand experiment. For the complete story, click here

While I’m not familiar with Pahlmeyer wines or the Napa Valley region in general (except for the many stories I’ve heard), this was an excellent way to start. I tried two really great wines from Pahlmeyer that will cause you to change your misconceptions about red (merlot) or white (chardonnay) wine.

2007 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Chardonnay – $70

This wine features complex layers of ripe white peach, toasty vanillins, citrus, lemon curd and graham cracker crust. It is full-bodied with rich viscosity and perfectly balanced with lively acidity. The long finish leaves a juicy impression.” — Erin Green, Winemaker

Wow! If you’re one of those people who always says, “I don’t like chardonnay!”, this is one that will make you change your mind. This wine has a lot of depth and character. The nose on this wine is very pleasant and draws you in. When it hits your palate, the fruit just remains on your tongue and makes you beg for more. If you’re looking for very versatile wine that can stand-alone or for your next dinner party, this is the one!

2006 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Merlot – $90

“This is a concentrated wine with extractive notes of dusty cocoa, black cherry and generous spice accented with cassis. It is
perfectly balanced and the flavors are seamlessly integrated. The tannins are big, dark and supple and the finish goes on and on.”
— Erin Green, Winemaker

I tried this wine before and after it was decanted and found that it was a bit better after it was decanted. This wine has a great nose and doesn’t have that bite you find in most Merlot wines. Throughout this wine, I could definitely taste the black cherry as it lingered on my palate.  Overall, this is a great wine and tastes better with age! I would be very interested to see how this wine does in a few years. Maybe a few bottles will end up in my cellar 😉

Signorello Estate

Before I tell you about the final wine of the evening, here is an excerpt on Signorello Vineyards from their website:

Ray Signorello Jr. began his journey as winemaker and vineyard owner in the Napa Valley during the mid 1980’s. Ray, born in San Francisco, California, moved to Vancouver, Canada where the Signorello family continues to maintain a home. Ray divides his time between Napa, San Francisco, Vancouver and business related travel. Ray’s father, Ray Sr., initiated the vineyard project during the mid 1970’s by purchasing the 100-acre estate located on the Silverado Trail in the beautiful Napa Valley. Ray Sr. worked side by side with Ray Jr., establishing the winery’s reputation for excellence until his passing in the fall of 1998. For the complete story, click here

2006 Signorello Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) – $50

Our signature wine is a deep, dark red color and opens to raspberry, anise, chocolate and vanilla. The lush, full-bodied palette continues with flavor of red berry, cedar, leather and hints of tobacco. This wine’s incredible balance and long finish is accentuated by its integrated tannins and round, lush flavors. Enjoy with chocolate, cheese, Filet Mignon, NY Strip steak, Flat Iron steak or venison. Drinkability: Now to 2022.

This wine has very deep color and a nice nose where I picked up hints of vanilla. I also found it had a nice spice/smokiness to it. Maybe it’s the tobacco, but since I’m not real familiar with it (non-smoker), I can’t be for sure. As the tasting notes suggest, I would pair this up with your favorite steak or other forms of beef. Maybe a london broil would be great for this or some beef ribs! Another great wine that can stand-alone and or be paired with your favorite meal. If you do decide to purchase this wine, would suggest decanting this wine first and then putting it back into the bottle just in case you pick up sediment from the wine. Just something I observed at the tasting that I thought I’d pass along to you all.

For myself personally, this was a great introduction to Napa Valley wines and I look forward to learning more about the region!


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