This might be the best Friday Winedown we’ve had this year, and it’s definitely the best wine tasting scheduled in Asheville for this Friday, April 19. Why you ask? Because we’ve got something for everyone – a couple whites, a couple of delicious and affordable reds and a few “whipped cream on top” reds as well. We’ll start with a dry, beautifully aromatic white from Sicily and follow that up with another Italian island white wine before we move into a monstrous Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. After that, we’ll hit two extreme value reds from Spellbound (made by Rob Mondavi Jr.) before we test out the new vintages of Scout’s Honor and Shatter, the two biggies in the tasting. Take our advice and don’t miss this one. $5/person…..Free for Grape Nuts
Prices range from $15 to $38
1. 2011 Donnafugata Anthilia (Sicily, Italy)
Catarrato takes center stage in the 2011 Anthilia, a crisp, refreshing wine laced with citrus, crushed rocks and floral notes. A bright, intensely mineral wine, the 2011 is best enjoyed over the next year or two.
2. 2011 Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino (Sardinia, Italy)
Argiolas is a large family estate, but they are one of the finest wine producers on the island of Sardinia. Their Vermentino is custom made for fresh seafood and offers up lovely notes of lemon, peach, crushed rock and flowers.
3. 2010 Pali Wine Company Pinot Noir “Bluffs” (Russian River Valley, CA)
Founders Tim Perr and Scott Knight founded this winery in just 2005 and their sold purpose is to produce small lots of high quality Pinot Noir. For those of you that loved the Bonnacorsi Pinot Noir we used to stock, this will be right up your alley. It is a big, generous Pinot boasting aromas and flavors of ripe black cherry and black raspberry, spice, smoke and a seamless texture.
4. 2010 Spellbound Cabernet Sauvignon (Various Regions, CA)
The Mondavi spirit lives on through Spellbound, as the wines are crafted by Rob Mondavi Jr. Their Cabernet is one of the best values of its type we’ve tasted this year, sporting a fragrant nose of cedar, spicebox, cassis and black cherry and a seamless palate of supple dark fruit, vanilla and spice.
5. 2010 Spellbound Petite Sirah (Various Regions, CA)
This is Spellbound’s specialty and for under $15, you will be hard pressed to find a better Petite Sirah than this one. Dark, spicy, rich and penetrating, it shows a range of dark fruit, spice and floral notes with a relatively round and soft mouthfeel. Perfect for all of your cook outs this spring and summer.
6. 2011 Shatter Grenache (Roussillon, France)
This is what you get when you put Dave Phinney (winemaker at Orin Swift) and Joel Gott together down in the hinterlands of southern France. From the small town of Maury, in France’s Roussillon region, this is all 60 year old, hillside fruit planted in black slate, rocky soils. The wine is aged for 10 months in 30% new French oak and it is a big red monster of a Grenache. Very impressive to say the least. We’ll open just one bottle of this one, due to low case production and availability.
7. 2011 Venge Scout’s Honor Red Blend (Napa Valley, CA)
Kirk Venge has produced a miraculous wine out of the difficult 2011 vintage in Napa. We got to taste it last week and we think it might be even better than the 2010! A blend of 66% Zinfandel, 13% Petite Sirah, 11% Charbono and 6% Syrah, it pours a dark, opaque color and offers up scents and flavors of jammy-dark fruit, spice and toasty oak. We will open just one bottle of this one, like the Shatter, some come early or forever hold your peace.