Sunday, June 17, 2018

Okanagan Trip Part V, Cassini Cellars, and the first steps towards introducing a new character to our little story......

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is something I can't explain about Cassini's tasting room. Walking through the door feels a bit like walking into a church of wine.

The staff here is always universally excellent, and this time we walked in to find Owner/Winemaker Adrian Cassini behind the counter. He recognized me as we had talked and tasted wine together at the Vancouver International Wine Festival in February, and did we ever take good care of us and give us an excellent experience. More on that later. Now, to the wines!

Cassini Cellars 2014 Chardonnay Reserve ($40)

Beautiful aromas of hazelnut, stone fruit, red apple and white flowers. Big and bold and moderately buttery, with nutty flavors that are just right. A hint of vanilla and baking spice show up at the end. Very nice.

Cassini Cellars 2014 Quattro White Blend ($20)
Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Riesling

Stone fruit, tropical fruit and nutty aromas in this aromatic blend. Red apple, Meyer lemon zest, pear and a touch of spice on the palate. Fresh, lovely finish. A steal at this price; my only complaint is that I only bought one and drank it already.

Cassini Cellars 2015 Mamma Mia ($20)
100% Pinot Gris

Intense floral aromas, joining tropical fruit and lemon notes on the nose. Pear, pineapple and stone fruit dominate the palate. Slightly off-dry with a beautiful lingering finish. Another tremendous value for the money.

Cassini Cellars 2014 Quattro ($29)

Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot

Red raspberry, black pepper, vanilla and lavender on the nose. Full-bodied with silky smooth tannins, flavors include blackberry, raspberry, dark chocolate and vanilla. Lovely finish. 

Cassini Cellars 2014 Cabernet Franc ($40)
Lovely single vineyard wine features 5% Merlot.

Black cherry, black currant, blackberry, vanilla and cedar notes on the nose. Blackberry, cocoa and blueberry flavors frame the smooth, silky tannins. Delicious and with some careful cellaring, should improve to even greater heights. Pair this with a big, juicy steak or even pasta with bolognese sauce.

Cassini Cellars 2014 Nobilus ($40)
100% Merlot

Aromas of blackberry, black cherry, vanilla, cedar and tobacco. Intense and pretty at the same time. Bright, juicy acidity and silky smooth tannins. Blackberry, raspberry, dark chocolate, baking spice on the palate. Finishes beautifully. This is only going to get better if you have the cellar, and the patience. 

At about this point in our tasting, we get talking to Adrian about blending, and how the winemaker's decide on the percentages, etc etc. So....he shows us.

Pours a big glass of Merlot. Pours a big glass of Cabernet Franc. Pours them both into another glass, about 50/50. Then he pours us huge glasses of the result....then does it all over again at slightly different percentages. And again, and again. Fascinating.

By this point, however, the amount of wine we were consuming was starting to get to everyone (not me, so much, as I was spitting as much as I could to try to maintain the integrity of my reviews!), and it was at this point that we realized we may be adding a new character to our little drama. More on that more wine to taste!

Cassini Cellars 2014 Maximus ($40)
56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec

Black licorice, blackberry, blueberry jam, tobacco, cocoa and vanilla on the nose. Complex and elegant, flavors of blackberry, blueberry, cigar box, vanilla and dark chocolate. Finishes very long. Begging for a beautiful Filet Mignon to accompany it.

That was it for our lovely tasting at Cassini. Always a must-do every time we are in the area. Next up: a private tasting at Tinhorn Creek, and the first appearance of our new character: Boozy the Clown!!!!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Okanagan Trip, Part IV, our second visit to CC Jentsch!

Once again I must apologize for the ridiculously infrequent blog posts; anyone who has done home renos will understand. It seems to take up every "free" second of my time, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. We have guys coming on Monday to change our flooring and once that is done, we can pretty much put "Phase A" of the renos to rest. "Phase B" can wait a little while, we need some time to relax and enjoy the renos before doing anything else. And I need time to catch up on about a million blog posts that are taking up space in my head!

Anyway, back to the Okanagan trip from April (and we are just one week away from our next trip up to this area for the annual Nota Bene Release Party), our second visit to CC Jentsch Cellars. Here we go!

CC Jentsch Cellars 2016 The Quest ($17.90)
74% Chardonnay, 20% Viognier, and 6% Gewurztraminer.

The Gewurztraminer really shines on the nose, bringing white flowers and lychee, with a small amount of pear and peach lurking behind. Bright, vibrant acidity accompanied by flavors of grapefruit, pear, stone fruit and lime zest.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2015 Viognier ($22.90)
Brilliant nose of elderflower, melon, honeysuckle and kiwi. The palate shines with almost creamy citrus flavors, joined by stone fruit. Lovely finish. This borders on brilliance.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2016 Cabernet Merlot ($15.90)

Arresting aromas of ripe red strawberries, raspberries, bell pepper and vanilla. Smooth but young and will improve, and for the price this should be your everyday patio sipping red. Lots of red fruit on the palate with hints of vanilla, blackberry and spice. Nice.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2014 The Chase ($19.90)
Cabernet Franc 34%, Merlot 34%, Cabernet Sauvignon 28%, Malbec 2%, Petit Verdot 2%

Another one that really over-delivers for the money. Red raspberry, blackberry, cherry, chocolate and black currant on the nose. Flavors of plum and raspberry dominate, with just a hint of vanilla and spice on the finish. Lovely.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2015 Syrah ($31.90)
Intense notes of toffee, black pepper, clove and dark, dark chocolate on the nose. The black pepper finds your palate in perfect balance. Red cherry and blackberry flavors join the palate party. Velvety tannins and a very long finish. Absolutely delicious.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2015 Small Lots Merlot ($35.90)

Aromas of mocha, red cherry, vanilla and milk chocolate. Smooth tannins and well balanced, flavors include red raspberry, vanilla and coffee. Another winner.

Another lovely experience here, well trained and enthusiastic staff and the wines are universally well made. A must do for any trip through the area.

Next up: Another visit to one of our favorites, Cassini Cellars!!