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Houston enjoys a Taste of Napa Valley

     The Napa Valley Vintners Association was in Houston this week. Almost 70 wineries were represented with about 200 wines at Minute Maid Park yesterday afternoon. Locals in the media and wine trade flocked to the event to taste the latest offerings from Napa Valley. Although I did my best, I was unable to make it through the entire line-up. I am just going to comment on some of my favorites although there were many more noteworthy wines.
     My top pick amongst the Sauvignon Blancs was 2009 Conspire from Rutherford. It was a beautifully balanced wine with honeysuckle floral aromas with hints of minerality and citrus notes. It had flavors of pineapple and kiwi, bright acidity and a creamy tropical finish. Other Sauv Blanc favorites were from John Anthony Vineyards, Peju and Heitz Wine Cellars. St Supery's Virtu, a white Bordeaux-styled blend, had both cantaloupe and peach aromas and flavors with a refreshing acidity and was absolutely fantastic as well. Both the 2008 Monticello and Pahlmeyer Chardonnays were very good but the 2008 Signorello Vielles Vignes Chardonnay had multiple layers of flavors and was so well-balanced that I felt it was the most outstanding. 
     There was an overwhelming number of Napa Valley reds to try and so many deserve mention but I will keep it as short as possible. My Pinot Noir top picks were 2008 Trinitas Cellars and the 2008 40th Anniversary from ZD Wines. The Blackbird Vineyards entire line is noteworthy but the 2007 Illustration, a Merlot dominated blend, deserves special mention with its intense aromas of plum, black cherry, smoke and mint with flavors of ripe plums, berries, dark chocolate and licorice with smooth tannins and a long succulent finish. Left bank Bordeaux-styled favorites included 2005 St Supery Elu, the 2005 Sodaro Estate Blend and 2007 Facets of Gemstone. Cabernet top choices were 2006 Gemstone "Ten", 2005 Schweiger Vineyards Spring Mountain2004 Peju HB and the 2005 Meander. Both the Zinfandel and the interesting "Porque no" blend by Tres Sabores were also very enjoyable.
     Schramsberg Vineyards was offering tastes of four styles of sparkling wine: 2006 Blanc de Noirs, 2006 Brut Rose, 2007 Blanc de Blanc and 2001 J Schram Signature. Each of these was an exceptional example of each style all made in the traditional method; crisply acidic and food friendly.
     As I stated, this is the short list from a long list of truly outstanding wines. After my taste of Napa, I just find myself wanting more, so get ready to drink up, Houston, some great wines are coming our way.

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