Trying not to be selfish

Although I had planned where we wanted to stop, sometimes you just have to explore new things. I tend to think you run across great finds that way, as was the case here. As the title implies, I almost don’t want to share this find because it was SO good. The outside doesn’t look like much, and the website isn’t all that functional yet, but what was inside these wines makes up for any aesthetic shortcomings. The winery is new. Really new. It’s called Mounts Family Winery. While the vineyard has been growing grapes for over 50 years, they just opened this spring as a winery producing their own wines. We were leaving our one appointment of the day and it was early, my list was going to be done well before the day was even remotely over. I drove us by this winery with a plastic banner and a few lonely balloons and we decided to turn in.

The driveway is long. It runs you right up through the vineyards to this old barn. There was a woman in the driveway, but no one else, and no cars. I thought maybe we were at the wrong place, so I rolled down my window and asked the woman if she was having tastings. She seemed really excited and told us to come on in. It turned out we were her first tasters ever. Literally. She told us that she was officially opening the place for business on that Saturday but on a whim had stuck out a balloon to see if anyone would stop. Apparently Matt and I are easily lured by balloons.

The tasting room, if you can call it that, is actually down in the basement of that old barn, down around the back. The owner had to pull out glasses from brand new boxes for us to use and open each of the four bottles, comprising their entire current line-up. Matt could barely fit in the room and it was packed to the gills with barrels, which I eagerly looked at and was interested to find that they were all different. The owner informed me that her husband likes to try different barrels from many different manufacturers. Overall, the winery is at a current production of 500 cases and does not appear on the old map, so make sure you get a 2007 copy if you want to find them.

It was really a ton of fun to be someone’s first tasters ever. The owner was so excited to tell us about her wines and to let us taste them. And they were so good. Really really good, I was sad that I was the driver and had to spit them out.

2005 Syrah-$22, 15.2% alcohol by volume. On the nose, oak and cherries. In the mouth, an earthy flavor with deep red fruit, cherries and plums.

2005 Cabernet Franc-$28, 15.5% alcohol by volume, only 85 cases made. Spicy, tobacco and blackberry on the nose. Blackberry and bitter chocolate in the mouth.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon-$26, 14.8% alcohol by volume, only 50 cases made. Raspberry, chocolate and leather on the nose. Smooth in the mouth with raspberries and a leathery hint. We brought 2 bottles home.

2005 Petite Sirah-$28, 15.2% alcohol by volume, 180 cases made. Absolutely the star of the show in my opinion, though everything was just delicious. Blueberry pie, vanilla on the nose. Full of fresh, dark berries in the mouth, a little spicy with hints of cracked pepper. If you are a Petite Sirah fan, do yourself a favor and get a bottle of this. We took 2 bottles home.

Mounts was by far the best discovery of this trip. The wines were delicious, the owner was so friendly and so eager and it was a blast to be someone’s first tasters. It may look humble, but the wines are anything but. I look forward to the Zinfandel they anticipate releasing in future vintages.

Fried Chicken and Cabernet Sauvignon

One evening out at my in-laws, Matt decided he wanted his dad to make fried chicken so that he could actually learn how to do it himself, as his last few tries have been a bit of a disaster. With that in mind, my mother in-law picked up all the fixings for dinner and invited family friends over, whom we hadn’t seen since September and who hadn’t had the opportunity to see the in-law’s new house.

My mother in-law wanted to have wine with dinner and what she had in the cabinet were 2 bottles of 2001 Franciscan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the Oakville Estate. The wine was 13.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. I can see from their website that the 2003 runs $28 a bottle and I would venture to guess this one was somewhere in the same neighborhood, though I can’t seem to find it on the internet. I’d venture to guess some wine stores must have it though as I can pretty much guarantee it wasn’t around in the cabinet last time we visited!

On the nose the wine displayed black cherries, plums and raisins, a bit of spice and some oak. In the mouth it was smooth, with a little spice, with flavors of plums, leather and cherries. It is drinking well now and if you have it or buy it I would suggest consuming it fairly soon. Not a great match with dinner, but it would do well with a steak!

I like Wine. I like Contests.

Therefore, I really like Wine Contests.

In case you hadn’t already seen this one, I wanted to draw your attention to a new contest for free wine, this time being hosted by Russ, the Winehiker. Russ is offering wine prizes to the best reviews of his site, California Wine Hikes, written by other bloggers. The top six will win a prize and the best review will be the recipient of a full case of wine valued at $500.

The contest starts today and runs for 6 months, so you have plenty of time to explore Russ’ website and get to know what he does and how he does it before posting your review!

Russ promises more details today, but for now you can check out his current post on the contest.

Best of luck to everyone!