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)|
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)|
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.
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)|
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 below....one 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!!!!