Hello Vino

I’ll see everyone in CA in 29 days! Everyone including the 11 scholarship winners we were able to fund through the Wine Blogger Conference Scholarship Fund thanks to generous donations from companies like Hello Vino!  Without their support, we would not have been able to get all these great wine blog authors to the WBC and we would have sorely missed having them participate in this wonderful opportunity.

Hello Vino is a wine and food pairing suggestion tool. You can text Hello Vino for suggestions and they also have a a free application for your iPod Touch or iPhone (for those of you lucky ducks who have those!).  Speaking of duck…I bet Hello Vino has a suggestion as to what I should pair with my duck breast dinner!  In fact it does! For a duck breast with fruit it suggests Viognier and then offers you several suggestions for actual bottles.  Head on over and check out the pairing tool today!

Many thanks to Hello Vino for their generous support of the WBC Scholarship Fund!

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Lots of Artisans

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Artisan Family of Wines

Recently, Jeff Miller of Artisan Family of Wines contacted me about sampling some of his wines.  Artisan Family is currently producing 3 labels, Sly Dog Cellars, Seven Artisans, and Red Cote. Jeff and his wife own a small vineyard in Napa and 40 acres in Suisun Valley.  Jeff is a recovering attorney (there seem to be a lot of those in the wine industry…so maybe it will work out for me someday too!) who does the wine-making for the company.  He also maintains a blog that you should check out…it’s interesting to me to a read no punches held look at how he does business.  With that said, I chose to first try the 2006 Seven Artisans Meritage.  The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume, and retails for $17.99.  The Meritage is a blend of mostly Merlot (technically this could be called a Merlot, it has 89.5% Merlot), Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Verdot. The fruit comes from Suisun Valley.

On the nose I found chocolate covered cherries, raisins, black currants, plums, raisinets, vanilla, and a bit of oak.  The chocolate candy definitely jumped out of the glass at me, and the Merlot definitely was the star here.  In the mouth, I found the fruit to be much redder and more tart than I expected based on the nose.  I got red raspberries, Luden’s cherry cough drops (anyone remember those? My mom used to give them to me when I had a sore throat and they tasted just like cherry candy!), cherries, an earthy quality, spice, and a hint of chocolate on the back palate.  I almost thought I got a bit of a meaty note as well.  Overall, this wine is structured with good acidity, and nice tannins.  It’s not a fruity soft in your face Merlot, so if that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere.  Pair this with a spiced pork loin in my opinion!