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Here’s the “Tell” on Patel!

I’m a Right Bank kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong. I love the power and elegance of a great Cabernet Sauvignon and the wines of the Left Bank. There’s some reason, however, that I’ve always had a soft spot for the Right Bank. Is it because I can enjoy them earlier? Perhaps! I love the soft tannins and big fruit of Merlot. Plus, I seem to love to root for the underdog! And the Right Bank and their New World versions do indeed seem to be, for the most part, the underdog!

This Right Bank Bordeaux blend from Patel Winery in Napa Valley is right up my alley.  The blend is 80% Merlot, 11% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.  The nose screams cherry, cherry cherry! Okay, it’s not just cherry! There’s some subtle oak, a touch of leather and some big time floral aromas as well. The velvety palate has black cherry and some other dark fruit, along with some spice and good acidity. This is a great food wine (I want to try this with some Swiss fondue!), but I also enjoyed a glass (or three!) sitting on my deck with a nice breeze, some great tunes, and my hubby and dogs!

Check out Patel Winery here:



Are You Waiting to Arise??? Meet Blackbird Vineyard’s Arise!

I’ve always been a Right Bank kind of girl. Now don’t get me wrong, I love wines from the Left Bank as well. How the heck could anyone not????  But for me there is just something about the smooth, easy to drink wines from Pomerol, St. Emilion, etc.

Blackbird Vineyards has a great example of a Right Bank Bordeaux blend from Napa. Made of mostly Merlot (which means blackbird in French patois), founder Michael Polenske named this particular blend Arise, taken from the Beatles’ song Blackbird. In fact, the label is fabulous! It features nine blackbirds (as the notes) sitting on a telephone wire (as the music staff) representing the beginning notes of the Beatles’ song. Check it out! It’s true!

Please excuse the sloppy wine stain dribbled down the label. That was a bad pouring job on my behalf and was not intended on the label. I’ve therefore included an example of the label from their website as well. I wanted to be sure to include my tarnished example too, however, because I absolutely love the feathers on the bottle above the label. I’m not sure what they represent, but I like to think that it’s a symbol of the flock of people it takes to make a great wine.  And this is a great wine!

The 2012 Blackbird Arise is a blend of 58% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The garnet colored wine has licorice, blueberry, blackberry and black cherry on the nose. The well-balanced palate has lush black cherry, blueberry, cocoa powder, tobacco and a long smooth finish.

It’s hard not to sing the Beatle’s song while drinking this lovely wine. “All your life … you were only waiting for this moment to be free”! It’s like a bottle of wine, isn’t it? Opening the bottle on a specific day determines the experience the wine will become. The wine is waiting for the moment to become free from the bottle and to arise. The 2012 Blackbird Arise is drinkable now, but it will truly “Arise” with some time in the bottle. I’m going to stock my cellar with a few more and try one again in a year or two, and then another a year later. I have a feeling that I’ll then be singing “All your life … you were only waiting for this moment to arise”!

If you’d like to learn more about Arise and Blackbird Vineyards other wines, check them out here:

Blackbird Vineyard 2009 Arise

To celebrate the 12th day of Christmas, and the NFL Playoffs, I opened a great Right Bank Bordeaux blend from California last night.  The 2009 Blackbird Vineyard’s “Arise” Proprietary Red Wine from Napa Valley is made of 53% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Aged in French oak for 21 months, this lovely wine offers blackberry, some fun cola and a little smokiness on the nose.  On the palate are plum, cassis, the cola, chocolate and lots of dark fruit.  The finish is fabulously long with some wonderful spicy oak.  This dry wine has nice sweet tannins, which makes it very drinkable now.  I do, however, plan to get a few more bottles to tuck safely into my cellar to enjoy three or four years from now.

Blackbird Vineyard’s winemaker is Aaron Pott, who began his winemaking career at Newton Vineyard in Napa.  He then went abroad where he was the winemaker for Chateau Troplong Mondot and Chateau Las Tour Figeac, both highly respected entities in St. Emilion.  He was recently named the 2012 Winemaker of the Year by Food & Wine Magazine.

Another fun fact is the winery’s name.  When Blackbird’s owner, Michael Polenske, was searching Napa for a nice house with a pool on a hill, he instead fell in love with a nice house with a pool surrounded by a vineyard.  This vineyard was already producing beautiful Merlot fruit being used in world-class wines.  Merlot means young or little blackbird in French patois!

With the help of his team, Polenske has turned his property into a successful winery with some terrific wines.  If you’re a fan of Right Bank Bordeaux, as I am, be sure to check out the wines of Blackbird Vineyard!



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