Variations on a Theme

Anam Cara 2010 Nicholas Estate Pinot Noir

Anam Cara 2010 Nicholas Estate Pinot Noir

I Just returned from a nice trip (well except for the travel part) to Washington DC, where I went to visit a dear old friend. And of course I couldn’t just takeover his life and his room for two days without bringing something to share. I picked a few bottles I’ve been wanting to try and we enjoyed them very much. Amusingly, I realized there was an unintentional theme going here.

The first was a 2008 Anam Cara Nicholas Estate Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir. Ruby-garnet in color, it had a beautiful nose of luscious cherry fruit, leather and toasty oak with white pepper, cherry pie and cedar on the palate. Vibrant, well-balanced and clean. A medium, fruit-filled finish. A classic Oregon Pinot and an example of why I love Pinot from this region so much. It is their flagship wine and includes fruit from all 5 blocks of the vineyard.  It received 90 pts from Parker, Tanzer, and Wine Enthusiast. Indeed. A great wine and great price for the quality and the region, at $35. Abv is 13.5% which for a Pinot Noir packs a good kick, as these are well-ripened on the high hills of the Chehalem.

Nicolas Granata 2003 Malbec

Nicolas Granata 2003 Malbec

Next up was a Nicolás Granata 2003 Malbec. See the theme yet? Fed by fresh water from the Andes this just-south-of-Mendoza beauty from Luján de Cuyo was ripe and rich. Hand-picked grapes fermented in steel and then aged in fine French barriques make a smooth and very balanced Malbec that exemplifies the region’s best.

The hot daytime temperatures and sunshine mean well-ripened grapes and the cooler evening temperatures at over 3,000ft up guarantee good hang time as well to preserve the acidity and keep the resulting wine balanced. Cocoa notes abound and compliment the black and red fruit and the elegance of the oak rounds it out.  I purchased this wine after tasting it at the “Wine into Water” benefit tasting I mentioned in my last blog. If I recall correctly it is named after the winemaker’s son and he only makes it every four years as a special edition. Wine Enthusiast gave it 86 points.  Average price was about $50 and abv was 14%.


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