I wouldn’t necessarily have thought a wine could have a soul –well at least not in the religious sense any way. But I do think if one thinks more on a philosophical basis, I may just have found six wines with soul to share with you.
Let me put it this way, for me a soulful wine is a complex blend of aroma, flavor and texture that is pretty much seamless from first sight, to second swirl, to final sip. I shouldn’t need to make up silly definitions like “wet violets on a warm stone” or “horse leather baked in the Mohave Desert” to describe my experience. Nope, the wine’s lovely nuances and subtleties should roll off my tongue reminding me of familiar terroir and cherished tastes.
Good wines are a delight, and that’s what we each hope for as we sit down at our monthly Wine Council meetings. Just six to eight lovers of wine looking for an evening of “pleasurable and memorable.” Great wines imprint on our memory, a tattoo for the senses in some respects. It’s the best we can hope for, and it happened for me as follows.
The Women’s Wine Council met on a warm April afternoon on an enchanted patio to review six wines. Attending were seven Council members (Coletta Boone, Ginger Giordano, Linda Kissam Carmen Micheli, Laura Plant, Corie Maue, Roger Paige ) and Teri Love, owner of Gioia Wines. As each wine was presented, Teri explained how the wine was crafted from vision to bottle. Intermingled with the story of the wine was her tale of love, loss, survival and hope. Teri tells her story so well on her Website www.GioiaWine.com that I won’t go into it in this article. But I will say this…you would be cheating yourself if you did not take the time to taste these wines, explore her Website, and immerse yourself in her story.
Enjoy these six soulful examples of exceptional food and wine pairings.
Menu Theme: Vegetarian
Winery: Gioia Wine
1. 2009 Bacia Bianca ~ 77% Chardonnay 20% Muscat Alexander 3% Pinot Gris, $28,: Wine: A feisty but sumptuous blend full of spring flowers on the nose, slight tastes of crisp green apples, sweet juicy pears & honeysuckle. Paired with Ginger’s Spicy Asian Spring Rolls. Perfect for a soulful summer day.
2. 2011 Chardonnay, $30: Classic tastes of rich pineapple and yellow apple with sexy lemon notes, this is a Chardonnay lover’s dream wine. Smooth & soulful on the front end, it finished off dry with a hint of citrus. Loved the haunting taste of pure coconut & vanilla cream. Paired with Coletta’s kale salad with fruit and nuts, this was the group’s second favorite white wine.
3. 2011 Pinot Noir, $40. A true classic Pinot beauty perfectly balanced with bright red fruits and soulful earthly notes of spice & minerals. Juicy red cherry, raspberry and wild strawberry are nimbly followed up by an easy-going nutty spice, and a hint of damp forest floor. Corie paired this with a baguette with goat cheese and roasted grapes. This was the group’s overall third choice.
4. 2009 DAX Ryder Red ~ 86% Sangiovese 14% Petit Sirah, $30, Roger: DAX has a rich berry taste that knocked my socks off and was my number one favorite. The color, a bright, deep garnet hinted at the flavors to come of fresh strawberries, raspberries, black pepper and boysenberry jam. The spicy mouth feel was dusted with a lingering flavor of vanilla. This was a treat for the soul as well as the palate. Roger brought a vegetarian pizza topped with creamy garlic sauce, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, mixed onions, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and an herb & cheese blend to pair with this sassy wine. We’re glad he did.
5. 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $42: The fruit for this succulent Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Jaeger Vineyards in the Oak Knoll District of the Napa Valley. Our expectations were high for this Cab and we were not disappointed. This wine exuded a soulful mix of deep, rich cherry & cassis flavors with a slight hint of green bell pepper. Paired with Carmen’s rich decadent Vege Fudge, this combination was a huge group hit.
6. 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles, $45: The grapes were harvested in September 2006 from Halter Ranch Vineyards. Using 40% new French oak barrels and 60% seasoned barrels, the wine aged in barrels for 22 months. This wine had time to age into soulful perfection with its lusty cherry and chocolate notes. Even served to us a bit on the chilly side, it was still voted the group’s number one favorite. I can only imagine what it would have tasted like served a bit warmer and with a sizzling steak to complement it.