Saturday, March 31, 2018

Reviews of two best values from Wente Vineyards: $$ Riva Ranch Chardonnay and $$$ Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon

By way of background:  We've sampled and enjoyed a number of Wente Vineyards wines in these pages in the past.   (You can check out our full review history here.)  Today, we will assess recent releases of chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.  Review samples were provided by the winery's agent, Charles Communications Associates.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Chardonnay.

Original tasting and review : This is Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, Monterey, California, 2016, finished at a whopping 14.5% alcohol and first sampled two years from vintage date, in March, 2018.  A full 90% of this wine is fermented in French and American oak barrels, of which 60% is new.  The resulting wine is further aged sur lie for eight months in barrel. 

Inspired by this wine: A spring picnic replete with family and cotton candy, adults talking animatedly at the tables.

In the glass: Clear with light golden hues.

On the nose: Poured at cool serving temperature and swirled vigorously, shows sweet stone fruit with light hints of tobacco smoke.  From the aroma, seems like this may be layered and bright.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact buttery and gently sweet, with sugars on the first attack, gliding into your cheeks with a cleansing wash of light citrus acids.  The finish holds with the brightness fading to a crisp gentle finish.

In summary: Overall, just touches four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, reflecting both its deep layers and crisp edges.   Awesome value. 


Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Wente Vineyards Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon.

Original tasting and review : This is Wente Vineyards Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore VAlley, California, 2015, finished at 14.5% alcohol and first sampled three years from vintage date, in March, 2018.  While fermented in stainless steel tanks, the wine was subsequently aged for 20 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. 

Inspired by this wine: My grandfather is teaching me how to manage the wood fire - he promises me a secret puff on the cigar if I handle it well.  

In the glass: Deep crimson and cranberry, moving to opaque from about a quarter inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows smoky tobacco, hints of chocolate and clean, wet earth.  From the aroma, seems like this may be fresh and taut.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact layered with big, deep, well-structured black fruit.  Tannins bring depth and presence to bold, ripe blackberry elements and some ripe black cherry.  The sip holds in your mouth, lifting very slightly into your cheeks with the pleasantly gritty sweet tannins.  Things fix there for an extraordinarily long time, eventually fading and beckoning your next sip.  Powerfully convincing, yet pleasingly soft and seductive too.

In summary: Overall, rates four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a rare plus for its well-integrated balance of depth, brightness and sensuousness.  Best value.

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