Food & Drink

February 20, 2014

New World California Wines Made Old World Style

Last week I attend two wine luncheons and was introduced to wines I had never had before. Each were enjoyable in their own right both completely different styles of wine yet ironically both are new world wines made in old world style. So for those of you seeking Burgundian and Bordeaux styles from your California wine I recommend you trying Hilliard Bruce and Chimney Rock Wines. For more classic California style, elegant and refined J Vineyards & Winery, the newly released Misterra is an all around win. The wines priced in this higher-end splurge category begin at $45 and can be purchased via the respective websites.

  • Valentine splurge wines Valentine splurge wines
  • Valentine splurge wines Valentine splurge wines
  • Valentine splurge wines Valentine splurge wines

Hilliard Bruce wines are made Burgundian style. Earthy, minerally, and vegetative is what you’ll find on the palate of these wines with beautiful noses of cocoa, roses, and sweet earth.

Hilliard Bruce Sky Pinot Noir, combines the intensity of fruit found in Sun Pinot Noir, with a higher acid profile due to earlier picks. Flavor profile, rich, full-bodied and intense. $55

Hilliard Bruce Sun Pinot Noir, is produced every year offering a bright, fruit-driven expression of the Hilliard Bruce vineyard. Flavor profile, dark spicy fruit with a silky mouth feel. A broad extended finish. $55

Hilliard Bruce Earth Pinot Noir, is produced from the earliest picked fruit from the estate, making it the winery’s most supple and terroir-driven Pinot Noir. Flavor profile, rich spices, dark fruit and minerals showing off elegant, soft tannins. $45


Chimney Rock Winery is located in the Stags Leap District and produces some fine Cabernet Sauvignons exemplified in this AVA. ElizabethVianna, winemaker for Chimney Rock seems to have a natural affinity for Bordeaux wine; she makes new world wine in this 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. 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.  The more delicate Cabernet vintages, ’06, ’07, and ’09 can be enjoyed with or without food. Pricing begins at $50


J Winery’s Misterra is shrouded in a cloak of mystery; an intriguing blend of Pinot Noir, Pinotage and Pinot Meunier.  If you could take the words pleasure-seeking, beguiling, and sensual, and put the sensory applications of sight, smell and taste to them, Misterra would be the physical definition of the words. Sight: The stunning jewel tone of the wine will spark your interest; on the nose Misterra has layer upon layer of berry, floral, violet, roses and dried fruit. The combination of the sight and smell comes alive on the palate. The wine is velvety smooth, elegant, pretty, and aromatic. Melissa Stackhouse, winemaker for J Vineyards & Winery has created a wine that comes full circle; it looks and smells like it tastes. $50

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