Home Styles Red Wines Live Blogging at the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference Round Two

It’s the second day of the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference and the second round of live blogging. Yesterday, it was all white and rose’ wines in the tasting and today it’s all red wines. Let’s go.

The first wine is a 2006 Lovingston Pinotage, a wine from South Africa. The nose of this wine is a blueberry & chocolate thing, not terribly unlike a zinfandel. On the palate it’s a bit lighter than most zinfandel would typically be. It’s a little bit rustic and a little bit fruity. The mouthfeel is nice, as is the acidity. I’ll be honest, I’m not typically a fan of pinotage, but this is a decent wine. It retails for $24.  **Correction: While pinotage hails from South Africa, this wine is from Virginia!**

The next wine is an Italian wine, a 2004 Sagrantino from Tabarrini. It’s a deep dark wine in color, and the aromas are deep and dark too. It’s loaded with chocolate and dark berry aromas on the nose. The tannins are dense on this wine. I’d like to have this in the cellar a few more years before tasting, but it’s good. It’s a BIG wine and sells for about $55. Tasty stuff, if your into big, tannic, acidic wines.

The next one is a 2007 Cab Franc from the Williamsburg Winery. It’s blended with 15% merlot and 5% petit verdot. At first it strikes me as a bit angular. It has some nice herbal notes, but they don’t seem integrated at first. It may just be my nose at the moment. It tastes good, a bit of plum and cherry. The finish has a nice mineral characteristic.

The fourth wine is a pinot noir from King Estate. This is one of the most aromatic pinot noirs I’ve tasted recently. It’s the 2008 vintage and comes from Eugene, Oregon. The acidity is nice on the palate, and it’s a lighter wine. While it is a very nice pinot noir, it’s also $60… so, it’s a bit steep for most of our readers.

Next up is a 2007 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Cornerstone Cellars. We’ve reviewed some of the value line from this producer before, named Stepping Stone. This cabernet has a bright, exciting nose that just sings… and harmoniously. The mouthfeel is absolutely velvety and beautiful. The flavors are beautiful too. It has a touch of a bitter tea characteristic on the finish, but I’m not complaining about it. It’s an outstanding wine… but another pricey one at $75.

Now we’re moving on to a TetraPak boxed wine called CalNaturale. It’s a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, California. It’s also an organic wine. I feel bad for this producer to be right behind the Cornerstone Cellars, as that was an exceptional cabernet. This one is a disjointed on the nose, with a cooked berry aroma. And that cooked berry flavor comes through on the palate too. The acidity is a bit harsh. It’s drinkable, but not exceptional.

Moving from a box, we’re not tasting wine from a bag or a “pouch” as they call it. It’s the Climber Cabernet Sauvignon, non-vintage. It’s a cool package, but the wine isn’t grabbing me. It’s really tight on the nose, I’m not getting much at all from it other than a little bit of cherry. It tastes a bit better though. It’s definitely a drinkable wine, but again, not exceptional.


Going back to bottled wine, this is the 2008 Centine by Banfi. It’s a Tuscan blend, based on sangiovese. It’s in the $10-12 price range, so we’re back in our neighborhood. The nose on the wine doesn’t scream “sangiovese” to me, but it’s still pleasant. The palate has nice bright acidity and some tasty fruit. It’s not bad at all for a bargain-priced Italian red.


2008 WillaKenzie Pinot Noir is the next wine. It’s a really vibrant wine on the nose with bright red berry aromas. The palate is also really vibrant, with outstanding acidity and plenty of fruit. This is a tasty, tasty wine. We’re moving so quickly that I don’t have time to dwell on it. It retails for $41 and come from Oregon.

Now I’m tasting my firs Virginia wine of this tasting. It’s a wine called Engagement from Mountfair and it’s the 2009 vintage. It’s a red blend of Merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. It sells for $25. The nose is really interesting on this wine, with plenty of vanilla and spicy red berries. The oak seems a little out of balance on the palate to me (too heavy), but it’s still a nice wine. It has a nice mouthfeel.

Here’s another Virginian wine called CasaNoVa from Tarara Winery, and it’s also a blend. The nose has a nice blend of red berry and herbal aromas. This wine has a nice, silky feel in the mouth with rich berry flavors. It’s a very tasty wine and retails for $50.

The final for me in this tasting is the 2006 Octagon from Barboursville Winery and it’s a Bordeaux style blend. This is one of my favorite wines I’ve tasted in Virginia and I’d have to say, one of the best all-around producers in the area, based on what I’ve tasted while here. It’s a very elegant wine with a beautiful, harmonious nose. The palate is silky and delicious. With very good depth and structure. The owners of this winery also own a number of vineyards in Italy. It’s a superb wine! Ciao ciao.


2 replies to this post
  1. Hi, I hope you don’t mind a small correction…

    I know it was hard to always hear full details of the wines an you thought Engagement was the first Virginia wine of the day, but in fact the very first wine you mention “2006 Lovingston Pinotage, a wine from South Africa,” is grown and made in Virginia, the vineyard and winery is very near where you were at Charlottesville. There are three Virginia wineries growing and making Pinotage.

  2. Hi Peter, Thanks for the correction. I’ve noted in the copy above.

    You’re right, it is hard to hear at these events. And it’s hard to do your fact checking when you’re typing & tasting as fast as you can.

    Now that I know it’s from Virginia, I know why I liked it so much 😉

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