I think I have earned a bad rap… My students and event attendees will tell you that I am highly-critical of California wine. I liken my relationship to California wine to the relationship I have with my son, described by a single phrase: high expectations… Call it tough love, but I think that producers in California can do more to produce wines with character at far-more reasonable prices than their European counterparts, but often our domestic winemakers fall short of the mark. There are exceptions – Steven Rogstad at Cuvaison for one – a European-trained winemaker of tremendous talent that produces some really tasty wine. Michael Pozzan – with roots stretching back to Italy’s Piedmont region is another talented winemaker. And we have Sean Minor. According to their website, Minor Family wines are about producing better quality wines that won’t break the bank. After having tasted all of the wines produced by the team, I have to say that they have accomplished their mission. In October of last year, I tasted the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir offerings – quite classy renditions that had many distinguishing characteristics and, like the web site promised – didn’t break the bank. Recently I enjoyed their Napa Valley offering that I would call a Meritage, except Sean Minor is not a member of the Meritage Club, nor is the wine really composed of the correct varietals. The composition of the wine is 30% Merlot, 23% Petit Verdot, 17% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah,and  4% Malbec, which combine to produce a quaffable, yet structured blend – I think the word I used was “yummy!” At $19.99 average retail, the wine is an pretty good value…

My tasting note:

Ripe, fruity nose with cherry, blackberry and violet hints. Full-bodied with moderate acidity and firm, dry tannin – good balance. Structured with a dark fruit core and tar, tobacco and jammy notes. Smooth. Moderate length with a layered, evolving finish. Drinking well now and should hold for another 3 – 5 years in bottle. A pleasant value…

Cheers!

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