By: Bennet Bodenstein
This is the time of the year when wineries release their finished wines. The white wines, which usually require less time to age, it will be the 2016-2017 vintage. The reds require a bit more aging, usually in oak barrels, and take a bit longer before they are ready to be sent to the marketplace. What results is the topsy-turvy world of the wine retailer. The white wines which have an active life of approximately five years start at higher prices which will go down as the get older while the red wines do just the opposite, increasing in price and depth as they get older. The age rule is not iron clad but rather a suggestion because nobody ever really knows what is in the bottle until it is opened.
With that in mind, the latest release from Line 39 ( http://www.line39wines.com/), a winery that produces some excellent wines at even better prices. Their trick is simple, source grapes from vineyards in the wine grape growing region that are known for growing quality grapes but are not in the high dollar zone and make the best possible wines from them, which they definitely do.
Line 39 2015 Pinot Noir,($14.99). I start with the Pinot Noir because it is one of my favorite varieties and the variety that I am most critical of. Pinot Noir wines, to use a well worn term, are bold and beautiful and if they are not, I can be mean, cruel and curmudgeonly. No problem here, this wine, is remarkable and more than fills the definition of what a Pinot Noir should be. The wine accents cherries and rose petals in the aroma and cherries, oak and vanilla in the flavor. It is a bright and open wine with a soft fruit flavor and an interesting aftertaste. While this wine is not a rival to the great Burgundies of France, it most certainly is a fine example of a well made and affordable California Pinot Noir.
Line 39 2016 Excursion Red Blend ($14.99). Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah, Zinfandel and Merlot, grape varieties rarely see in the same blend, have been masterfully combine to produce a really interesting wine that wine explodes with the aromas of blackberries, raspberries, plum chocolate and oak. The flavor leans toward the plum backed up by a noticeable hint of chocolate that then continue on to a luscious and long finish. While this may not be your usual red wine choice it is an “excursion” into the modern and exciting world of 21st century wines.
Line 39 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($11.99). There is no fooling with this wine; it is as classical a Sauvignon Blanc if there ever was one. The wine is crisp, dry, and acidic with the lemony citrus and herbaceous (grass like) flavor that has made Sauvignon Blanc the popular wine to serve with sea foods of all types and in the past was the only wine that was recommended to accompany Asiatic dishes under the product name of Wan Fu. While this variety is often overlooked by white wine enthusiasts, Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc could rectify that situation.
Line 39 California 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon ($11.99). The Line 39 Cab is a true child of California stressing fruit flavors over the usually austere and stiff character often associated with the variety. The color is a deep and dark garnet introducing the aromas of blackberry and ripe plum followed by hints of vanilla. These carry over to the flavor where they mingle with a raspberry element and the very discernible flavor of chocolate and oak. This wine has a wonderful softness about it and reflects many of the flavor and aromas found only in well-aged wines. Rather than being saved to be served only with the heaviest of meat dishes, this wines open and friendly spectrum allows it to be friendly with a much broader selection of meat dishes and is the perfect accompaniment to anything off of the barbeque grill.