It’s amazing what can happen in the social networking arena. Take, for example, a recent tasting I went to hosted by the Penisula Wine Enthusiasts. As an avid MeetUp member, I know that these organized social gatherings can be a great way to meet new people who are like minded. This group goes a step farther, and partners with Uncorked Ventures, to provide the wine enthusiasts with a great array of unusual wines for sipping and for purchase.
Uncorked Ventures‘ seed was planted when Matt Kraiuse and Mark Aselstine were on a family vacation to South America in 2009. Sharing a passion for good wine and good wine, they decided to grow their avocation in to a business focused on delivering high quality, hard-to-find wines at a fair price to customers who can’t readily access such wines. Given the selections we tasted at the last MeetUp, I’d say they are accomplished this goal nicely.
First, we tasted three selections from South Africa. Not knowing very much about South Africa myself, I was excited to taste these wines and started with 2009 Groenland Sauvignon Blanc had the grassy nose of a New Zealand Sav Blanc, but the palate has soft tropical notes with a touch of green pepper and citrus fruit. If you are a Savvy drinker, BUY this wine; the excellent QPR and interesting flavors will be great for the summer. Next, we moved on to the Slnghook Pinotage. Since I’m not a Pinotage fan, I’m going to skip right to the 2006 Groeland Antoinette Marie Classic, a Bordeaux blend. I enjoyed this wine and tasted dark red fruit with chocolate and coffee, in a smooth and velvety wine. It wasn’t the most complex wine, but it was a nice easy drinking red.
On the other side of the table the little known Americans stood waiting for me. First, a Rhone white from Stolpman in the Santa Ynez Valley, 2007 La Coppa Blanc. This is a somewhat atypical blend of 60% Roussanne with 40% of Viognier co-fermented with the Roussanne, which gives this wine a beautiful aromatic profile. The classic honeysuckle and apricot flavors of the Viognier are combined to give a creamy long finish, with peaches, nectarines, and preserved lemons. this is MUST BUY and with only 260 cases produced, I have a bottle waiting for me if the weather ever warms up.
Another of my favorites, the 2007 Kaena Hale Rhone red, a blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah. It’s no surprise that I loved this wine given my recent addiction to Rhones, but at $18 this can be your house wine. Again, as a very small production wine of only 120 cases, I would RUN OUT AND BUY SOME before it’s gone. In 2007, there was very little water in the vineyards, resulting in low yields and intense fruit flavors of blackberries, cherries, and plums over a chocolate bar.
Finally, we had the 2007 Emerson Brown Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. This is the personal label of Keith Emereson, winemaker at Vineyard 29, and Brian Brown, winemaker at Round Pound. I’m picky about my Napa Cab these days, but this was a nice example that was not overly extracted or bombastic, and there were some beautiful notes of blue and black fruit, bittersweet cocoa, and black current. The finish had a hint of river rocks, which was refreshing and smooth. This is a splurge at $50, although that is very reasonable for a small production Cab these days. BUY this for a special dinner, or hold it in your cellar as it will age nicely for quite some time.
If you’re in the Bay Area, I encourage you to check out the Peninsula Wine Meetup to taste some of these great wines. If you can’t make it out here, check out Uncorked Ventures Explorer Wine Club, and get some of these cool things sent to your door! As someone who gets a lot fo exposure to wines, it’s refreshing and exciting to taste wines that I don’t know, or have not tasted before. I look forward to the next event, where we can try some other new and unusual wines! Thanks guys and keep up the good work.