Tasting Notes: Ancient Peaks Renegade

Whew -- it's been a busy couple of weeks. Can I get an amen?! I've been traveling a lot for work recently, but luckily my parents came into town this past weekend. It was great to see them, and naturally, our weekend was filled with delicious food and great wine. On Saturday night, we hit up one of our favorites, Good Food on Montford. If you're a Charlotte local and have never been there, you need to go. NOW. Their wine menu is different and unique, but the waiter recommended this bottle to accompany our small plates for the evening. So how did it fare?

The Facts

  • Producer: Ancient Peaks Winery
  • Region: Paso Robles, CA
  • Vintage: 2013
  • Variety: 93% Syrah, 4% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot
  • Where I purchased: Restaurant. I haven't found any big name stores that carry it yet, but it may be worth a look at your local wine shop. You can also order it online directly from the winery here.
  • Price: $24.00 on the winery's website
Ancient Peaks Renegade Blend
  • Eyes: The waiter mentioned we'd love the color, and he wasn't wrong. It was a deep purple color which you can kind of see in the picture above. This isn't surprising given the grape breakdown, but I knew this wine was going to be full-bodied and bold after seeing that color.
     
  • Nose: This wine smelled like a fruit bomb, but with a hint of oak. I picked up on some of the vanilla, but it was really the smell of dark and black fruit... think blackberry, black plum, etc. The aromas were delicious, and I couldn't wait to try it!
     
  • Mouth: This wine was tasty... those dark fruit aromas came through and there was spice as well, as promised by the waiter. What more could I ask for? Those are my two favorite things! It was very bold in flavor, but the notes of vanilla helped smooth it out. 
     
  • Thoughts: Overall, it's a great choice for those of you that like bold wine. Bold isn't always good, especially as we go into the hot summer, but when a full-bodied and spicy wine is needed, this is definitely a great choice. I also think it's a good value at $24 a bottle... that price range typically lends to bigger flavors than the lower priced wines but it isn't so expensive that you could only have it once in a blue moon. I'll be checking out our local wine shops to see if I can locate this puppy in Charlotte. I also think this that this blend shows I need to try more Syrah!

Rating:

Tasting Notes: Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

This past weekend, Kevin and I made a trip to Edenton, North Carolina (close to the Outer Banks) for the wedding of Kevin's good friend. Edenton is a very picturesque and quaint town, but for about an hour or so before Edenton, there isn't much around. We were going to be in the middle of nowhere at dinnertime, so we did some TripAdvisor searches to see what was around at various stages in our trip. We came across this cute restaurant in Tarboro, North Carolina, called On the Square that had a great wine selection and yummy sounding dinner menu, so we decided to stop there. The owners of the restaurant have impressive resumes and are Advanced Sommeliers themselves, so it was a great hidden gem to come across! The sommelier on staff recommended this wine with our meals, so we went with it.

The Facts

  • Producer: Soter Vineyards
  • Region: Oregon; Majority in Willamette Valley
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Variety: Pinot Noir
  • Where I purchased: Restaurant
  • Price: $20 retail
  • Eyes: The color of this wine was more toward a "masculine" Pinot Noir with deeper purple colors and a darker red than others. I was surprised by the deepness of the color and was relieved since I don't always enjoy Willamette Pinot Noirs.
     
  • Nose: The sommelier had described this wine as being fruit forward and having more cherry aspects than the earthiness that can come with Oregon Pinot. I found that to be true on the nose with definite aromas of cherry. There were also notes of blackberry and raspberry, which I love!
     
  • Mouth: The aromas that came through on the nose definitely showed up when I tried the wine. I picked up on the "cherry cola" flavor the sommelier mentioned and also picked up on the dark berries I caught in the aroma. I didn't get much earthiness, which was a relief since that's my preference. The wine was acidic, but not overly so.
     
  • Thoughts: This wine was a pretty good pick, but I would not say the sommelier hit it out of the park with what I described to her. I used words like "bold", "spice", and "bite" and she didn't really hit those notes. The wine lacked that spiciness or tannic aspect, but overall was fruity and a good pairing with the chicken. I liked the story behind the wine... The grapes are sourced from certified sustainable vineyards and are bottled in a certified  sustainable winery. Also, for every sale, $1 is donated to the Oregon Environmental Council which safeguards the health of those in Oregon by working for clean air, clean water, and healthy food. Overall, would I get it again? Probably not in a restaurant, but I wouldn't rule it out totally. Is it a good price point? Absolutely, $25 in a restaurant with retail at $20 is awesome. If you like Pinot Noirs with a little heft to them, but not too much, I think this is a great choice for you! 

Rating:

Note: I'd likely give this 2.5 bunches if I wanted to get technical. I wasn't wowed but it's definitely not a full on two bunches either. It was just a little too Oregon-y for my taste.