Tasting 153 – March 31, 2014 – Red Blends from East US – Capri Restaurant




Contents of this post

  1. Presenters and Participants
  2. Wine List
  3. Menu
  4. Wines Details
  5. Regional Notes
  6. Ratings by Participants

1. Presenters and Participants

Presenters: Jairo Sánchez and Alfonso Sánchez

Type of Testing:  Blind

Jairo Sanchez

Jairo Sanchez

Alfonso Sanchez

Alfonso Sanchez


Marcello Averburg,   Rolando Castaneda, Alfonso Caycedo, Juan Luis Colaiacovo,  Ruth Connoly, Alvaro Lopez,  Ítalo Mirkow,  Alfonso Sanchez, Jairo Sanchez,  Raúl Sanguinetti, Ginger Smart, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke.

Birthdays of  March:  Raúl Sanguinetti

2. Wine List

The wines for this tasting belong to the type “Meritage”. The term stands for USA red or white blends.  In 1988 group of Napa Valley vintners decided to create the Meritage Association to respond to the increasing demand for Bordeax-type wines in the US market and to fill the need to have a brand name for high-quality American blends .  Americans were more used to consume varietals than blends.  Now this is no longer the case.  The existing regulations required that  red wines contain at least 75% of a specific grape to be labeled as that varietal but there was no label for the blends. “Meritage”, — a combination of merit and heritage is meant to fill that vacuum.  It’s a blend made from grapes that come from Bordeaux and there are some well-known varieties : Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Carmenere and Semillon. And, some no so well known varieties: St. Macaire, Gros Verdot (red) and Muscadelle du Bordolais(white). The producer can make a red Meritage or a white one.  The blend rule is that it must include at least two of these varieties and no single variety should make up more than 90% of the blend.   The wines selected for this tasting are all from Virginia and Maryland to facilitate a comparison of wines of the same region.  New York, New Jersey  and North Carolina States also produce good blends but perhaps overall Virginia and Maryland have the best quality.

  1. Jefferson Meritage, 2010
  2. Glen Manor Hodder Hill, 2010
  3. Rolling Hills Black Ankle,  2011

 3. Menu

  1. Beef Ravioli au Gratin with salsa aurora
  2. Risotto de Fungi
  3. Green Salad
  4. Pan-seared Filet with Vegetable Sides
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information and Tasting notes on the Wines

Jefferson Meritage, 2010 – Montichello Wineries, Virginia

Jefferson Meritage 2010Producer Tasting Notes.  Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate the 2010 Meritage, leading with aromas of black cherry, anise, and vanilla, while plum, spice, and orange peel cover the palate.  Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon provide rich color and hearty tannins, softened by the liberal use of new French oak barrels and a two and half-year maturation process.

Vineyard. Monticello is one of Virginia’s more-premium wine regions. Vineyards cover the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and in the rolling farmland at the base of the slopes. Monticello’s climate is defined by its warm summers and the wind protection offered by the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian range.  Producers grow the majority of the fruit on sites selected by Thomas Jefferson in 1774 offering excellent air and water drainage as well as protection from the prevailing weather patterns.    However, cold winters present a threat – as they do elsewhere in Virginia – with fatal vine-freeze affecting local vineyards. To lessen the risks posed by spring frosts, and to make the most of the sunny, south-easterly exposure offered by the mountain slopes, many vignerons have selected sites at altitudes of 800ft (245m) and above. There is a wide array of soils in the area, ranging from silty loams to heavier clay-based soils. While the vineyards of Monticello are planted mostly to the more popular and prestigious European vinifera varieties, there are still plantings of French-American hybrids and native American vines such as Norton, albeit in increasingly smaller quantities.

The Wine.  The wine is a blend of 41 percent Cabernet Franc, 41 percent Merlot and 18 percent Petit Verdot.   This wine won the Montichello cup in 2011.  Twenty-five members of the Jeffersonian Wine Grape Growers Society participate in the Monticello Wine Trail appellation. The Monticello Cup competition, open only to members of the appellation, received more than 60 entries from 20 wineries.  Alcohol 14.5%

Price: TBA

Glen Manor Hodder Hill Meritage – 2010 

Glenn Manor 2010Producer Notes.  Aromas: Black licorice, black cherry, currant, violet, dried fig, cinnamon and orange peel.  Palate: Fresh, bright and youthful, rich, refined and complex, a long exit after subtle, silky tannins.  Food Pairings: Roasted duck, grilled juicy lamb burger, seared well-marbled rib eye, creamy mushroom risotto and warm roast beets with greens.

The Winery.  Located on the west slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, between 1,000 and 1,300 feet above sea level. This planting consists of 8.3 acres of 2 to 14-year-old vines growing in deep, steep and well drained rocky soils.  Glen Manor Vineyards was awarded 2012 Virginia Governor’s Cup.  2010 was an extraordinary winegrowing year in Virginia. High heat and extremely dry conditions prevailed throughout the growing season. Add in an early bud break and no season ending tropical storms, that resulted a long growing season which in turn allowed grapes time to attain ultimate and full ripeness. Very light leaf pulling was performed this vintage to slow down berry development and to protect the clusters from the blistering summer heat.

The Wine.  This wine is a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot. The grapes were hand picked and chilled over night.  A double sorting, (pre and post destemming) was performed and the berries were destemmed without crushing. The whole berries filled small one ton fermenters and were cold soaked for 4 days. Moved into the fermentation room, the bins were warmed to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and inoculated with yeast. Fermentation temperatures reached the low 80s and lasted from 7 to 10 days, with 2 cap punch downs performed each day. After about 2 weeks of maceration, the wine was pressed off, allowed to settle overnight and the transferred into barrels the next morning. The barrels were inoculated with a malolactic culture and this fermentation lasted from 30 to 60 days. Once ML fermentation was complete the wine was racked out of the fermentation room back into our cellar and allowed to rest. During the summer of 2011, the final blends were made and the wine was transferred from primarily new French oak barrels to older, neutral barrels for further aging. Unfined and unfiltered, it was bottled in August 2012.  Alcohol 14%.

Price: $ TBA

Black Ankle Rolling Hills – 2011

Black Ankle Crumblig Rock 2010The Winery.  This is a young winery founded between 2003 and 2004 in Monunt Airy , Maryland.  The first harvest was in 2006 and since then the winery has grown in reputation as one of the top in this region.  To read the full remarkable story of this winery and see some pictures just click HERE.

The Wine:  Rolling Hills  2011 is a blend of 76% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The blend and the number of  varieties in the blend may vary depending on the year. The 2011 was aged for 18 months in 100% French oak barrels.  the grapes are grown in rolling hills facing west and south to maximize sun exposure and proper ripeness.  The soils are decomposing slate laced with quartz veins hence some good minerality.  Alcohol is 13.1%.

Price: TBA

 5. Regional Notes – Wine Regions in USA

The United States is the world’s fourth-biggest wine-producing nation (behind France, Italy and Spain) and produces roughly 18.5 million hectoliters each year – about 15 percent more than the next largest producer, Argentina, Not just a key producer, the nation is also a leading consumer of wine, making it an important export market for many other wine-producing nations.

Wine regions

There are nearly 3,000 commercial vineyards in the United States, and at least one winery in each of the 50 states. Following are the main country’s wine producing regions:

Ratings By Participants of  the Club in this Tasting

Resumen:      El primer vino tinto fue calificado como Muy Bueno con un average de 87 puntos; el segundo como Bueno  con una Media de 83 puntos; el tercero y ultimo vino, como Muy Bueno con un  average de 86 puntos.

Vinos degustados:

  1. 2010 Jefferson Meritage (Virginia)

Calificacion Media: 87    Desviacion Estandar: 3.2      Calificacion Expertos: N.D. (Seleccionado entre los mejores de la Copa del Gobernador en Marzo 2014)

Impresion General: Merlot y Cabernet Franc, son dominantes en este Meritage 2010. Con sabor de Cherry  anis y vainilla, un poco de ciruelas, especies y naranja. El  Petit Verdot y el Cabernet Sauvignon le dan un buen color y una acidez agradable.

2. 2011 Rolling Hill Black Ankle (Maryland)

Calificacion Media: 83     Desviacion Estandar: 6.4

Impresion General: Es de una vineria joven (2003-2006) en  Monunt Airy, Maryland. Su primera cosecha fue en el  2006 y tuvo una excelente reputacion como un buen vino entre los mejores de esta region.

3. 2010 Glen Manor Hodder Hill (Virginia)

Calificacion Media: 86       Desviacion Estandar: 6.9    Calificacion Expertos: N.D. (Gano Copa del Gobernador en 2012)



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