Stags Leap District in Napa Valley California is the celebrated home to some of the most elegant and dynamic Cabernet Sauvignons grown on American soil. Prominent fruit, velvet, silky and well-structured tannins are the characteristic trademarks of the Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chimney Rock Winery is located in the Stags Leap District and produces some fine Cabernet Sauvignons exemplified in this AVA (American Viticultural Area). I was invited to attend a wine luncheon in Fort Lauderdale where Elizabeth Vianna, winemaker for Chimney Rock would be in attendance taking a select group of wine enthusiasts on a tasting and informational tour of the winery and its wines. Vianna has the whole package tied up nicely; she’s the talent behind the winemaking at Chimney Rock, a passionate ambassador of her brand, and an overall wine devotee.
The luncheon was held at The Capital Grille Fort Lauderdale and as you can imagine the pairing of food and wine was pretty spot on as ribeye sandwiches and filet mignons were cooked to order perfectly, complimenting each of the five Cabernets we tasted, which included a vertical tasting of ’05, ’06, and ’07. The exciting and informational part of doing a vertical tasting is to experience the differences in a wine from year to year. Vianna seems to have a natural affinity for Bordeaux wine; she makes new world wine in old world style that apparently comes second nature to her. Taste any of her wines, red or white and the Bordeaux benchmark she holds herself to is apparent.
What you appreciate and and why is ever evolving in the world of wine, and much to my [very own] surprise I found I enjoyed the bolder wines presented versus the round, softer wines. The particular Cabernet Sauvignon vintages I enjoyed were the 2005 and 2010. They were exacting, austere, tannic, and full of character. These two vintages “played with their fruit” but were not “fruit playful” as you would typically expect from California wines. Both paired wonderfully with the steaks, the au gratin potatoes and the flourless chocolate torte. Where as the the more delicate Cabernet vintages, ’06, ’07, and ’09 were more food friendly with the steak tartare.
As with any wine tasting, if you’re open to it, you will always discover something new and exciting, and quite possibly find a new favorite. For those of you looking for a new white, Chimney Rock’s Elevage Blanc just might fit the bill. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, very Graves in style. Graves, [France] is subregion in Bordeaux known for its gravelly soil. Elevage Blanc is very well made and balanced, bright and citrus-y yet round and lush. Vianna has crafted quite an intriguing proprietary blend with the Elevage Blanc. It is worth noting that both the Elevage Blanc and the Sauvignon Blanc are characteristically Bordeaux styles. Vianna carries her avid passion for Bordeaux style wines throughout the Chimney Rock portfolio.
Chimney Rock wines can be purchased online at chimneyrock.com
Click here to view more photos from the Chimney Rock luncheon
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