New Customers Save $20 off $100+* with code AUGUSTNEW
New Customers Save $20* with code AUGUSTNEW
*For new customers only. Order must be placed by 8/31/2017. The $20 discount is given for a single order of $100 or more excluding shipping and tax. Some exclusions may apply. Promotion code does not apply to certain Champagne brands, Riedel glassware, gift certificates, fine and rare wine and all bottles 3.0 liters or larger. Promotion does not apply to corporate orders. No other promotion codes, coupon codes or corporate discounts may be applied to order. Not valid on Bordeaux Futures.
Blackbird Vineyards Illustration Proprietary Red 2008
Illustration represents the core – the heart – of Blackbird Vineyards. Every element of Blackbird's multi-faceted wine portfolio draws inspiration from this singular, Pomerol-inspired Merlot. It is an undiluted illustration of the passion, time and concentration invested in creating elegant, multi-layered wines. Illustration challenges the notion that Cabernet Sauvignon is the only age-worthy red wine crafted in the Napa Valley.
Lush. smooth and complex, this Merlot-based blend seems capable of a little development in the cellar. It's pretty tannic, although the cherry fruit is sweet and bright. Try holding for a year or two, but if you pop the cork now, give the wine a few hours of decanting.
The 2008 Illustration, which tends to be mostly Merlot blended with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, possesses a dark ruby/purple color as well as big, sweet aromas of mocha, coffee bean, black cherries and spice box. Fleshy and medium to full-bodied, it has slightly more tannin and structure than the 2008 Arise. This is a project of up-and-coming wine consultants, Aaron Pott and Sara Gott. The goal is to produce Right Bank Bordeaux-styled wines from various blends. As I wrote last year in issue #186, I thought the 2006s and 2007s were strong offerings, and the four outstanding efforts in 2008 are better than the 2006s, but not quite as good as the 2007s because they are less opulent and exuberant. Nevertheless, they are rich, expressive wines made from fruit grown in the Oak Knoll region of the southern Napa Valley.
A superior source of Californian wine beloved by Burgundy fans...
A superior source of Californian wine beloved by Burgundy fans, Sta. Rita Hills is the coolest, western most sub-region of the larger Santa Ynez Valley appellation in Santa Barbara County. This relatively new AVA is unquestionably one to keep an eye on.
The climate of Sta. Rita Hills is a natural match for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Thanks to the crisp ocean breezes and well-drained, limestone-rich calcareous soil, grapes ripen just enough, retaining brisk acidity and demonstrating saline minerality and harmonious balance.
One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow...
One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.
In the Glass
Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.