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Wines of the Week ~ Best of the Best

West Cape Howe wine company delivered four wines to my office. I thought to myself, this is going to be an interesting week. I’ll be opening one bottle a day, and by Friday I’ll be able to post my findings.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men went astray in this office.

I gave it a good beginning, then got crazy busy. So, I’m listing the best of the best as of late…

What I’ve written below is mainly from their back labels. I’ve enjoyed the geography and history lessons. Great labels, and no sense me reinventing the wheels with this one. I’m going to give you what is written by them, and then I’ve indented our own tasting notes, as we opened each one. I’m listing them in the order for which they’ve been tasted. By this Friday, you have the full Monty, with my own thoughts indented.

First of all… West Cape Howe is named after the magnificent landmark on the South Coast of Western Australia. The rugged coastline is home to some stunning beaches and great rock climbing sites; “Book Ends” being one of the treacherous cliff faces named by local climbers.

These West Cape Howe wines are all line-priced at $18.00

2009 West Cape Howe Viognier

This highly aromatic and exotic variety, from a few select vineyards in southern Western Australia, shows complex aromas of apricots, violets, citrus fruit, and gingerbread. The palate is rich and full, with a refreshing acidity and good length. This wine will be excellent with spicy foods. It is 13.5% alcohol… perfectly stored in my NewAir AW-210ED. (I’m still enjoying getting used to having this wine refrigerator great resource!)

I really enjoyed the fresh crispness of this wine. Brilliant color, totally aromatic, this Viognier was enjoyable from start to finish… And, as far as I’m concerned, it finished much too quickly.

This could easily become a great house white for me. I’m a huge Viognier fan, but I’m finding it more and more difficult all the time to find one that I instantly connect with. I’m finding winemakers who feel like they have to get jiggy with it, instead of allowing the beautiful flavors and aromas to just naturally do what they do best… Fill the glass with floral design. I highly recommend the 2009 West Cape Howe Viognier. I loved it.

2008 West Cape Howe, Great Southern, Book Ends, Cabernet Sauvignon

Sourced from select parcels of fruit from their most mature vineyards, most well over 20 years of age. This Cab is dark purple in color and has rich, black fruit aromas. Very juicy blackcurrant fruit flavors on the palate. The wine had 18 months of French oak aging, which added beautifully to the structure, without dominating it. With its 14% alcohol, it delivers a lot of fruit, but – surprisingly for me – this wine did really well with my double-cheese pizza. It was really delicious.

2008 West Cape Howe, Western Australia, Shiraz (14% alcohol)

It’s believed that the first explores to their coastline were the Dutch seafarers, about 1627, in their “Fluyt’ class vessel “Gulden Zeepaard” (Golden Seahorse). As their charts were traced with such accuracy, it’s thought that they sailed within sight of West Cape Howe, one of Southern Australia’s most southerly points. It’s from this region that they’ve selected the premium grapes to make their truly expressive wines that match the West Australian lifestyle. According to winemaker Gavin Berry, this wine has been crafted in the traditional style and matured in French oak. Rich fruit and aromatic spicy characteristics are complemented by a long, balanced, and savory palate… Suggested foods: wood fired pizza, game or poultry would be perfect.

2007 West Cape Howe, Great Southern, Two Steps, Shiraz Viognier

Alcohol 14%. Shiraz (95%) and Viognier (5%) is a wine skillfully blended of Shiraz (spicy red), with the aromatics of Viognier. This traditional technique – according to winemaker Gavin Berry – enhances the color, bouquet, and palate structure of their cool climate Shiraz. Gavin suggests that this wine can be cellared for up to five years. It is 14% alcohol.

Shifting Gears

2009 Oberon Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

What a wonderful wake-up call on my palate. Okay, I did the nose and noted about three of five paws on my Meow Factor Chart. Not too much, not too little, just really bright, well balanced Sauvignon Blanc that made me want to drink it, versus just tasting it. I love the lemony, tart fruit that’s got just a touch of grapefruit and lots of star fruit images come into my head. Love it! Alcohol: 13.5% (No wonder, said she under her breath.) $14.99 (What a bargain.)

2009 Mounts Family Winery, Pink Grenache, Dry Creek Valley, Estate Grown

Shortly after I had opened the bottle, it just came to me… “How I survived the Three Days of Summer.” the days were so hot I could have fried an egg on my back patio, but I didn’t. Instead, I sipped this Grenache Rosé. Lots of pink fruit… Strawberries, watermelon, and yellow cherries. It was luscious and most welcoming.

The Alcohol on this one is 13.7 percent. Dry Creek Valley can get pretty hot, so I can see where brix began to come on, but it was stopped in plenty of time to not have this be a hot, cool wine. Oxymoron? I think not… Not for this one. It was cool as cool could be, refreshing as a tropical, night wind in San Juan Puerto Rico during January.

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