This month we are making our Wine Club trip to Napa Valley, California. We are excited to share these new wines from Hamilton Creek with you and hope you enjoy them as much as we do.  Cheers!

Cabernet Franc 2017

Supple, with flavors of dark berry, spice and herbal flavors. The lavish palate’s tannic backbone is distinct and leads into a well-structured, long finish.

Food Pairings

  • Grilled Rib-eye steak or Pork Roast
  • Turkey with cranberry sauce
  • Cheese Ravioli

Chardonnay 2016

Enticing aromas of vanilla and honeyed peaches are layered with spiced apple and toasted crème brulee with a slight minerality. Those scents are echoed as flavors on the creamy, rich smooth palate. The long, smooth finish is marked by mouthwatering acidity.

Food Pairings

  • Crab cakes
  • Linguini with clams
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Triple cream brie

Merlot 2016

This wine has beautiful dark ruby color that coats the glass. It is fruit-forward with rich concentrated flavors of black cherry and plum with hints of barrel spice. The palate is well structured and leads into a persistent silky finish that lingers.

Food Pairings

  • Rack of lamb
  • Veal Roast
  • Filet Mignon with red peppercorn sauce
  • Aged goat cheese

Cabernet Franc is one of the major black grape varieties worldwide. It is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but can also be vinified alone, or with only a small touch of blending as with this month’s main red selection. It is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, making a bright pale red wine that contributes finesse and lends a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on the growing region and style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, bell pepper, cassis, and violets. Records of Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux go back to the end of the 18th century, although it was planted in Loire long before that time. DNA analysis indicates that Cabernet Franc is one of two parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carménère.  In the 1980s, heightened interest in Cabernet Franc lead to an increase in plantings that helped push the total acreage of Cabernet Franc in California to 3,400 acres (1,400 ha), most of which is in Napa and Sonoma counties.

Chardonnay is the “Queen of White Grapes”. The variety is California’s most widely planted wine grape, with 93,452 acres reported in 2017, of which nearly 7000 of those acres being in the Napa Valley. Genetic studies have identified Chardonnay as a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Historical references note California plantings of Chardonnay dating back to the late 1800s, but production remained limited because of the grape’s low yields.  The term “California Chardonnay” denotes a certain style of Chardonnay; malolactic fermentation and oak use give this wine distinct and popular buttery and creamy flavors. In more recent years, producers have been pulling back on the oak and malo to allow the terroir and fruit to shine through. Today, Napa Valley Chardonnay runs the gamut in style; the fun is in tasting through the options from different wineries to find your favorite.

Where there’s great Cabernet, there’s great Merlot, if you’re a Cabernet fanatic, Napa Valley’s Merlot offers incredible density that’s on par with other Cabernet wines. With such ideal conditions for growing grapes, it’s no surprise that some of the greatest wines in the world come out of the Napa Valley, including Merlot. In the region, more than 7000 acres are devoted solely to the growing of Merlot grapes. With so many acres dedicated to growing grapes for Napa Valley Merlot, it’s no surprise that Napa Valley produces a variety of fine Merlot varietals and blends. In the United States, in order for a wine to be designated a varietal, it must contain at least 75% of the grape whose name the wine bears. The remaining 25% can come from a variety of blending wines like Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, all of which are grown in the Napa Valley wine region.

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