Funny how lately I feel as if I am some sort of besotted minister of the grape, spreading the gospel of the vine to the masses, each and every time new faces cross the threshold of this big-ass store. I mean no offense to any actual pastor, preacher, minister or other cleric – I am merely jesting when I get slightly evangelical with any Dionysian concerns. I merely love geeking out with new (and regular) customers.
Case in point, a couple fledgling winos dropped in towards the end of a store tasting the other night, and, eager to taste through the lineup, admitted freely they knew nothing of wine.
Sponges, I mused. Ready to soak up some nerdy wine speak!
I tried to squeeze in the basics, knowing that at any moment I risked reducing their young minds into meat porringers of pink tapioca – like the time I tried to teach a 45-minute class in college on Allen Ginsberg and the impact “Howl” and the subsequent Beat Generation had on the dynamics of poetry and literature had upon the future of American literature… – you see where I am going with this.
I have the propensity for overdoing it, despite the fact that I seem more often than not, introverted, unless speaking about subjects about which I am exorbitantly geeked-out.
I’m very fortunate I have a job where I can let my geek flag fly, and get paid for it. Not bad really. I am sure if I wasn’t doing this, I would be trying to figure out how to sell music in this digital age. Needless to say, I think I am on the right path.
Meanwhile, the newest Tramonte rep, Lynn Merritt, dropped in with winemaker Craig Becker to run through his Priest Ranch, Highflyer and Somerston wines.
Priest Ranch Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2012. Grade=Very Good. Very pretty lemon and lime notes, hints of melon, straw and wet stone, this subtle, elegant white wine is the perfect antithesis to the overblown “New Zealand” style inundating the market right now.
Priest Ranch Grenache Blanc Napa Valley 2012. Grade=CORKED!
Highflyer Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2010. Grade=Outstanding. Luxurious, rich version of Pinot Noir, with lush tannins, supple red cherry and raspberry notes, hints of baking spice, pepper and cocoa.
Highflyer Centerline California 2009. Grade=Outstanding. This dynamite red blend gives you that jammy “Orin Swift” style without the price tag, and without sacrifice substance. There is significant acidity amidst the panoramic notes of black fruits, chocolate, truffle, pepper and oak spices.
Priest Ranch Petite Sirah Napa Valley 2010. Grade=Outstanding+. Bold, dark fruit conjures up chocolate cake with blackberry compote, there is smoky oak, espresso, and roasted vanilla beans giving up a bounty of dense, concentrated richness throughout its presence on the palate.
Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2011. Grade=Outstanding. Seemingly lean on the front, this full-bodied Cab encroaches with a false start of acidity before heading deep into multilayered black-fruited territory. Black pepper, cigar box, leather, sage and black currants abound.
Somerston Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2010. Grade=Amazing. More than just one-upping the Priest Ranch, this drives home just how good this Estate can be with its unctuous, decadent display of blackberry, black currant, dark plum, tobacco, mocha, espresso and black pepper notes. Phenomenal!