Summer feels like it’s beginning to slip into fall. The days are getting noticeably shorter and mornings are damp and cool. The smells remind me of walking to school in the mornings during my grammar school years. And after a summer of sipping mostly white and pink wines I’m beginning to think of sipping a few more red wines. Any one of the four wines in this tasting, all of which we received as tasting samples, would do nicely.
2019 Bodegas Bianchi Oasis Sur Cabernet Sauvignon, San Rafael, Mendoza — medium ruby in the glass with generous fruit aromas of ripe blueberries, raspberries and blackberries along with dusty earth. Flavors of blackberries, dusty earth, dried herbs and leather are supported by drying tannins in a medium body. The finish is medium in length. 14.5% abv. SRP $15.99
2019 Bodegas Bianchi Oasis Sur Malbec, San Rafael, Mendoza — dark ruby in the glass with aromas of smoke, blueberries and raspberries. Dark fruit flavors predominate with blueberries and blackberries along with crushed flower stems. Tannins are smooth in a medium body with a medium length finish. 14.2% abv. SRP $15.99
Both wines are sourced from the San Rafael region, which lies about 125 miles south of the city of Mendoza in Argentina. Valentin Bianchi established the winery here in 1928 after immigrating to Argentina from Italy in 1910. Bodegas Bianchi remains family owned and managed.
2014 Eponymous Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley — dark ruby in the glass with a bit of garnet at the rim. Aromas lead with cedar and dried dill followed by blackberries, plums, raspberries and dried herbs. Tannins are grippy in a moderated body with a long finish. 14.4% abv. SRP $59.99.
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced mainly (75%) from Mt. Veeder and bench lands below Atlas Peak.
Eponymous was established by Napa winemaker Robert (Bob) Pepi in 2000 after having established Robert Pepi Winery with his father in 1980 and then selling their winery in 1994. In the intervening years Pepi furthered his winemaking reputation as a consulting winemaker in Chile, Argentina (including Bodegas Valentin), Napa and elsewhere in the US.
Eponymous wines are available for tasting at Heron House Yountville.
2017 Two Angels Petite Sirah, Red Hills, Lake County — dense ruby-violet in the glass with generous aromas of orange peel and ripe blueberries. Ripe blueberry flavors and orange peel echo in the flavor profile along with substantial gauzy tannins. The body is medium with a fairly long finish. 14.4% abv. SRP $26.99
This 100% Petite Sirah, also made by Robert Pepi, benefited from some time in the glass to show its best. Two Angels is owned by the Kreps family, who also own Quintessential Wines an importer, distributor and marketer headquartered in Napa.
Red Hills AVA lies in the northern Mayacamas Mountains just across Clear Lake from the High Valley AVA along the lake’s southwest shore. Red Hills is characterized by high elevation volcanic hillsides rich in black obsidian, quartz crystals and volcanic gravel content. And the soil is red.
Thanks to Quintessential Wines for sending this selection of delicious red wines our way.