As the weeks drag on, it’s getting harder and harder to remember what it was like to go out and not feel like you need to avoid every person around you. It’s odd to think about giving strangers a kiss on the cheek as we usually do upon greeting them in Miami. I haven’t hugged my mother in about two months, nor have I seen some friends who were weekly regulars at happy hours or wine lunches. It’s a bizarre, isolated life we are living right now, and with each day passing by in quarantine, I’m beginning to wonder if our “after” life will look anything like our lives before.
In the meantime, we continue to drink wine. Thank you to Florida Wine Academy for keeping up with their twice-weekly tastings on Wednesday and Friday. We are really enjoying them.
If it seems like the wine tasting notes are coming slower now, it’s because they are. We aren’t drinking quite as much, and sometimes it takes us two days to finish a bottle (gasp!).
Here are a few we have been drinking lately.
Marlborough, New Zealand
As I was drinking this wine the other night, I was trying to remember the last time that I had a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and I just couldn’t. This bottle jolted me back into remembering why I also order a glass when it’s warm outside and I’m dining al fresco. I really enjoy drinking New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and I’m going to make a point to have more of it at home.
The Villa Maria SB is full of green grass and tropical fruit aromas, blended nicely into a tart passion fruit and citrus blend on the palate. It’s so refreshing with that stinging acidity that makes these wines so crisp and perfect for tropical sipping. We quite enjoyed this bottle with our Arctic Char (hardly a tropical fish) and Brussels Sprouts dinner.
Anderson Valley, California
Any time that I can talk about my friends at Bee Hunter Wine, I will. I love their wines, and there isn’t a bad bottle on their list. This Late Harvest Riesling was excellent the day we opened it, which was over a month ago, and it was perfect when we finished it. I was extremely impressed with how well the wine kept in our fridge for all that time. Beautiful honied texture with the right amount of citrus fruit and a touch of that signature petrol on the finish–which is long and complex.
I love late harvest wines as a nightcap or dessert. No need for super-rich sweet foods after dinner, just a glass of Bee Hunter Late Harvest Riesling will satisfy any sweet tooth craving without all the fat and extra calories.
This bottle was such a delight. I really enjoyed it. Another wonderful choice from the Elden Selections website. It started out as the wine I chose to taste along with my WSET 2 class on Pinot Noir and Burgundy, and it seems like it was actually a much better bottle than the class was tasting. A Premier Cru wine, so more complexity than your average Bourgogne level, and with ripe cherries, raspberries, red fruit medley flavors. After class, I finished the bottle with pork tenderloin and potatoes, and it was such a wonderful pairing. Just the right amount of spice to complement each other, and the soft meat and the acidity of the wine matched perfectly.
Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
The other night in my online WSET class, we also studied Zinfandel, and this was the bottle I chose to taste along with the class. Bold, jammy fruits like cooked strawberry dominated the nose and palate. The Federalist is a dry wine with medium acidity, high alcohol, and a full body. On the palate, some herbaceous flavors make an appearance and the wine has a medium-plus finish. Overall, a decent wine, but one that needs an accompaniment. Heavy, jammy flavors and a full-body mean this is not a wimpy wine.
Do I have to say how much I love Bee Hunter Wine again? Their Oppenlander Pinot has won several competitions that I’ve judged here in South Florida. This one is showing a bit of its age, which gives it an elegant complexity. Ripe red fruit still shows through with a touch a spice, but nothing is overwhelming. Overall, it’s an authentic wine made by authentic people in northern California. The 2015 is not available on the website, but you may be able to find it at Happy Wine here in Miami. I love Bee Hunter Pinots, and I’m glad we were able to enjoy this one the other night.
Coombsville AVA, Napa Valley, California
This is a beautiful Napa Cab that is silky and refined. The bottle says 30 months of aging in French barrels before bottling. Though there is noticeable oak, everything was very well integrated. Dark fruits like blackberries blended with the oak for a well-balanced wine. Smooth tannins and a full body lead to a long and lingering finish.
Sonoma Coast, California
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a Chardonnay drinker. That’s not to say that I haven’t had my fair share of Chardonnays throughout my life. When it comes to this grape, I do find that I appreciate a range of styles of wine from the crisp minerality of Chablis to heavy buttery California Chards. For me, if Chardonnay is not made well, it’s flabby and uninspiring, and this happens all too often with economical bottles. However, when it is a great wine, it can be exciting to discover.
Sea Slopes Chardonnay is one of those that I know is consistently good. Fort Ross Winery makes a luscious and delicious Chardonnay with the right amount of fruit and creamy buttery texture. We opened this bottle last night and we enjoyed it with some toasted bagel crisps that were lightly salted and buttered, and it was actually a wonderful pairing. The wine is smooth and creamy with a long finish that invites you to take another sip. For a non-Chardonnay drinker, I think I would definitely come back to this bottle again!