Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gnarly Wines from Gnarled Vine

I am sure I have mentioned before that I am not real scientific when it comes to choosing a bottle of wine. Since my thing seems to be bargain wines, price is usually the first thing I look at. The second thing I look at, and I know some people out there will laugh at me, is the label. If I see a pretty or unusual or artistic label, I’ll choose it. And that’s how I came to choose the wines for today’s post. Well, that wasn’t the ONLY way. The price was great. All 3 varieties cost $7.99 each. But after the price, the label is what caught my eye. I am sure some wouldn’t consider it artistic but I did. The artistic drawing of a, well, gnarled vine, caught my eye. I thought it was well done and different. So, I chose 3 varieties and off I went to try them out.

Gnarled Vine wine is produced and bottled my Oak Ridge Winery in Lodi, CA. Lodi is located between the Sierra Nevada foothills and the San Francisco Bay. The climate is ideal for growing several varieties of grapes and Oak Ridge, as well as most of the other area wineries, is dedicated to being sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The name Gnarled Vine comes from , obviously, the gnarled vines that are found in Oak Ridge’s vineyard. Many of the vines, specifically Zinfandel, have been growing in there for 120 years. The look of these old vines inspired the name of the wine.

The first variety I sampled was the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. It had rich berry aromas which carried over to the taste. The berries were accompanied by a hint of vanilla, a touch of chocolate and a bit of oak. The wine was medium bodied with light tannins and a smooth finish. My husband and I enjoyed it with grilled skirt steak which was a wonderful pairing. Other recommended pairings were barbecue and wild game. The price certainly couldn’t be beat so we added it to our growing list of keepers.

The second variety I sampled was the 2009 Pinot Grigio. This was also the first variety that I had picked as I was looking for something a little different from my usual Sauvignon Blanc. Right away I detected the aroma of tropical fruit. It had a light acidity and a touch of citrus. I drank it alone at first but then paired with some simple sautéed chicken and a Caesar salad. It went very well with the chicken. Other recommended pairings were light seafood dishes and mild cheeses. I think it would be an excellent wine to serve with a cheese plate.

The last variety I sampled was the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, my favorite variety. It had the aroma of citrus which was also the dominant flavor I detected along with pineapple and peach. It was light bodied and crisp with a clean finish. I sampled it by itself but the recommendation of pairing it with salad and light appetizers seemed right on. It struck me as a summer wine that would be best enjoyed in hot weather with light foods.

Overall, I found all 3 of these wines delightful and would definitely get them again. Gnarled Vine also produced a Zinfandel, Merlot, Chardonnay, and a White Zinfandel. I think we will be trying the other varieties soon and I hope you do too.