Our good friend and RNDC/KY rep David came by with a grab bag of cool wines to try:
Alma Negra Sparkling Rosé of Malbec Mendoza 2006. Grade=Amazing. Stunning sparkler with creamy notes of strawberries, raspberries and toasted brioche. Lively effervescence makes for a provocative bubbly.
Leyda Classic Chardonnay Leyda Valley 2008. Grade=Outstanding. Very subtle creaminess integrates with vibrant stone fruit and tropical fruit characters, finishing with wet stones and balanced acidity.
Zaca Mesa Viognier Santa Ynez Valley 2008. Grade=Outstanding. I would liken this to what any Rhone Ranger in California would like their Viognier to be: fragrant, complex, and sultry from start-to-finish, with peaches, honeysuckle, honeyed apricots and even a splash of pineapple.
Leyda Classic Pinot Noir Leyda Valley 2009. Grade=Outstanding+. Very nice notes of cherry tart, cola nut, pomegranate and coffee, with splashes of cinnamon, cardamom and red raspberry. A nice value!
Christian Moueix Merlot Encore Bordeaux 2005. Grade=Outstanding. Wow! What a kick-ass little Merlot for $10! Medium-bodied with a lot of fleshy plum and cherry fruit, baking spices, and vanillin oak tones.
Zaca Mesa Z Cuvee Santa Ynez Valley 2006. Grade=Outstanding. Great example of how to make a Cotes-du-Rhone style red here in the states. Medium-bodied with smooth tannins, spicy red and blue fruit flavors, some white pepper, chocolate and spice box leading into a plush finish.
Alma Negra Malbec-Bonarda Mendoza 2006. Grade=Amazing. DAMN! This is a really sexy red for just under $20. Big, bold, dense aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry, black currant, mocha, espresso, tobacco, chocolate, vanilla bean, and baked earth. The tannins are seductively smooth, and the finish just rides on and on and on.