Saturday, May 31, 2014
Charles Krug Winery New Releases
The lovely folks at Charles Communications invited me once again to a live virtual tasting of wine, this time featuring four wines from Charles Krug Winery in Napa Valley. I'd recently participated in one featuring the Hourglass Vineyards wines and thought that the opportunity to taste more current release Napa Valley wines was too good to pass up. Also, I hadn't tasted Charles Krug wines since my days working in wine retail in San Diego.
The tasting format was similar to before, with me logging onto a website where a live stream was played for all of us bloggers. Peter Mondavi Jr. and winemaker Stacy Clark tasted along with us, answering questions and giving some great background on the history of both the winery and the Mondavi family's ownership. I highly recommend visiting the Charles Krug website for more detailed information.
Below are the four wines we all tasted:
2013 Charles Krug Limited Release Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($35 srp)
A very pretty opening with plenty of ripe tropical fruit, grass, and hints of jalapeno. Broad and expansie across the palate, showing sweet ripe tropical flavors mixed with spicy jalapeno, cut grass, and a leesy richness. The finish is all citrus, a mix of ruby grapefruit and lemon pith. I'm impressed, this is pretty serious sauvignon blanc but has a playful side too. I suggest pairing it with grilled scallops, pesto pizza, and fish tacos. 13.6% abv.
2011 Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot ($25 srp)
Opens with bright, spicy red fruit before a rich vein of chocolate and blackberries come into play. Further swirling brings out a persistent but welcome note of green pepper, which acts as a foil to the ripe fruit. Smooth and rich on the palate, this brings a light touch that does a good job expressing merlot's feminine side. Plenty of ripe, red fruit and notes of coconut showcase the smart picking decision and American oak while a fine-grained tannin helps build character. Very, very drinkable merlot that begs for red meat or something hot off the grill. 13.7% abv.
2011 Charles Krug Family Reserve ‘Generations’ ($50 srp)
All sorts of subtlety going on here for me. Lots of green pepper initially, but as you get past that there's beautiful cassis and blackberry mixed with oak and baking chocolate. A hint of herb and fennel comes along too, followed by anise. Firm, with plenty of acidity and tannin, this has all the hallmarks of classic Napa cabernet. Blackberry, cherry, and cassis for the fruit. Herbs and bell pepper on the nose, all bound together with firm tannin and plenty of acidity. This wine toes the line between the old school, low alcohol Napa Valley and the newer, riper style that we've seen since the 90's. Impressive. 13.9% abv.
2011 Charles Krug Family Reserve ‘Howell Mountain’ Cabernet Sauvignon ($75 srp)
On the nose, I believe this could be served to people with the explanation that it is the typical high-end Napa cab aroma profile. Cassis, oak, blackberry, cocoa. They rush out of the glass, followed by black pepper and dried herb. The first word I thought of upon tasting this was "serious". As in, I think this is still a baby and needs several more years to show itself fully. Still, there's a depth and concentration on the palate that left me smiling. 13.7% abv.
Overall the wines were more to my palate than the Hourglass Vineyards selections, though some bloggers did have trouble with the green pepper notes. I welcomed them though, as a foil to the ripeness. Each wine was very well made, showing both balance and accessibility. They just had a rightness to them, a delicious, fulfilling component that I thoroughly enjoyed. Though these wines carry hefty price tags, I believe you do get what you pay for.
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These wines were media samples.