Cuvaison S Block Chardonnay

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Toastyoakvanillahazlenutfig.  That’s how I was describing my new favorite Chard to hubby.  You see he was working late and I was stressing about my lack of inspiration for my next blog post.  Recalling recent memories of our wine country vacation led me to the Man Room where all of our wines are stored. In there is The Rack (which is for wines I’m encouraged to pull from) and then, there is The Chiller.  This is usually off-limits to me (which is a good thing) unless Hubby is home and can supervise, but that’s another story for another post. So, as I am pilfering The Rack, I notice the S Block Chardonnay saying “Hellooooo….”.  Honestly, I couldn’t remember what this tasted like but obviously I enjoyed it enough to bring it home.  The first sip had me sitting up in my chair asking “Have we had met before? and, How could I have forgotten??”.

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Let me take you back a few months and share how I found Cuvaison [koo∙veh∙ZOHN] .  A friend of mine talked about an amazing trip he took to wine country where Cuvaison was the highlight so I knew I had to squeeze it in. The Carneros tasting room is in South Napa Valley which boasts concrete floors, floor to ceiling windows and a minimalistic, modern decor.  There is a beautiful outdoor patio area overlooking the vineyard from which to sip their lovely libations.  I was so enamoured with this spot I even became a Facebook fan sight unseen.  Well, that’s not where we ended up.  With about an hour and a half to kill, we headed south from the lovely Chateau de Vie  where we were staying (Hello Phillip and Peter!) and saw a road sign for Cuvaison.  I instructed my driver (fellow wine lover and Hubby) to turn, turn, turn!!  I was a bit perplexed however; where were the vineyards and were was that beautiful glass enclosed tasting room??  It turns out they have 2 tasting rooms and we were at the Calistoga tasting room in North Napa.

We purchased a bottle of 2007 Two Estates Red and a 2009 S Block Chardonnay. The Two Estates is a blend of 57% Cab from the Brandlin Vineyard and 44% Cuvaison Estate Merlot.  Hubby loved this one and even though I prefer reds, this was not a favorite. The fruit didn’t dance on my tongue the way I expected and the tannins were a bit harsh.  As suggested, this should be ready to  drink from 2012-2022.  I will revisit this one and look forward to the full-bodied elegance that is promised.  Now, the S Block Chardonnay – Ohhh Yeahhh!  This is golden in color with floral and honeysuckle on the nose followed by hazelnut, fig and toasty oak on the palette.  It finishes with stone fruit (white peach) and a silky, smooth mouthfeel.  Beautiful!  This chard undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation with no fining or filtration.

Cuvaison employs a slew of green initiatives  such as cork recycling and using solar energy generated from panels at the Carneros winery.  This is BIG in my book; remember, support what you believe in with where you spend your dollars!

Now, I just want to say, I love me some S Block, but our visit to the Calistoga tasting room was less than.  The attitude of the host was arrogant and he made some inappropriate remarks related to Hubby’s favorite baseball team.  Next time we will visit the Caneros tasting room as I have heard nothing but good things.  I am holding out hope for a beautiful experience on the patio with a glass of the  lovely S Block Chardonnay, having a fabulous time.

I don’t have any of my own pictures of Cuvaison so I will leave you with a view of the vineyards at Chateau de Vie, the B & B where we stayed ……

Vineyard at Chateau de Vie

Until next, time cheers to you!

Meiomi – My Oh My!

Love At First Taste
My first experience with Meiomi Pinot Noir  came in a round about way.  I was at a tasting for Caymus Cabernet and the Mer Soleil Chardonnay’s (the unoaked chardonnay called “Silver” and the oaked Chardonnay-Mer Soleil) and absolutely loved both of them.  A few weeks later I had an opportunity to try a Pinot Noir from the same family called Belle Glos “Meiomi” and it is now one of my favorite Pinot’s!

I have to admit I came to enjoy Pee-no’s (as I call them) quite begrudgingly.  Yes, I saw the movie Sideways – twice – even visited the Santa Barbara area looking for my own Pinot revelation….But it eluded me.  I just didn’t understand what all of the hype was about.  Pinot Noir the new Merlot?  Was that like 50 being the new 40?  I wasn’t convinced.  Then I discovered that terroir and the ability to coax beauty out of a finicky grape can yield some pretty amazing juice in the glass.

A Bit Of History
Meiomi (pronounced May-OH-mee) means “coast” in the language of the native California Wappo and Yuki tribes.  Grapes are sourced from Meiomi’s coastal vineyards in Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties.  Young winemaker, Joseph Wagner, has learned his craft from some of the best.  He is a fifth generation winemaker; his father being Chuck Wagner.  Yes, Caymus, Chuck Wagner.  So it stands to reason he knows a thing or two about crafting  beautiful wine.  And the fact that he has been working in the family business since age 16 gives him a leg up.  His wine label, Belle Glos, is named after his Grandmother, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner, who at 95 is still very much a part of Joe’s life.

Cheryl’s View
I tend to like medium to heavy bodied Pinot’s with earth, spice and pronounced fruit that can stand up to food and still impart the nuances of the wine.  Well, Meiomi delivers on all accounts!  On the palette, I get dark cherry with some spice and a bit of earth, finishing with silky tannins.  Food enhanced all of these flavors so I knew we had a good pick to go with Melissa’s Ono and Black Bean Salad.  Ono is a mild white fish similar to Mahi Mahi and the Black Bean Salad was full of flavor with peppers, red onion and Italian parsley, so this wine was the perfect accompaniment.  Interestingly enough, both Melissa and Charlie (the wine steward at my favorite Fry’s Signature store) recommended the Meiomi to pair with the meal.

We finished the evening with Ethel M Chocolates.  The dark chocolate truffle and the milk chocolate caramel were given a resounding “Yes” from around the table for pairing with the wine.  Another successful night of  “Field Research” completed!

Meiomi is found at high-end grocery stores, big box wine stores and yes, even Costco!  The price ranges from $18 to $25 a bottle, so while you’re at it buy 6 – you get a better discount!

I’d love to hear about your favorite wine experiences, so please share.

Until next time, Cheers to you!