By Bennet Bodenstein
There’s a new sheriff in town; no, make that a new winery. The name is Knotty Vines and their object is to offer the consumer the best possible wine quality at an affordable price; a task at which they have more than succeeded. By careful selecting of the grapes, the Knotty Vines vintners produce wines that are well above the quality that their price tag might indicate. I know that I may have gotten a bit excited about these wines but when I find a value I like to scream value.
Knotty Vines 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99). Before even tasting this wine I was impressed with the way it was presented. Honoring the ancient tradition, the wine is presented in the classical cabernet sauvignon style bottle with the sides of the bottle gently sloping from wide at the top and thinner at the bottom. I know that the bottle doesn’t indicate the quality of what is inside it but it is good to see that the Knotty Vines vintners are thoughtful enough to conform to tradition and that to me, is a plus. The next plus came when I sampled the wine; affordable or not, this wine showed me everything that a good cab should be like. The aroma was pure cab, blackberries, plum, cocoa, and oak. The flavor shows the traditional cassis and is backed up by cherry, raspberry and chocolate which carry on to the luscious finish. I believe that if you removed the label and served the wine to a wine aficionado, it could pass for a wine that should command a much higher price. Plain and simple, I liked it and I am sure you will too.
Knotty Vines 2018 Chardonnay ($14.99). This wine, for a modern affordable California, makes a very loud statement. Here again I am impressed by the quality of this wine. Let me start: The wine is a chardonnay that boldly presents its attributes and definitely not one of those wimpy chards we encounter all too often today and has enrolled many new members into the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) club. This wine proves that an affordable chardonnay can be made without losing everything that we seek in a chardonnay. This chardonnay is heavy with the aroma of apple, apricot. pineapple, along with notes of spice in the background. These fruit aromas carry over to the taste and then on to the finish where it ends in that special mouth feel that is the trademark of a better Chardonnay.
Knotty Vines 2018 Pinot Noir ($14.99). I saved this for last because it was the one that troubled me the most; the wine was very light in color. While Pinot Noir wines are normally a bit lighter in color than the other reds this one looked more like a dark rosé. It is not uncommon for pinot noir makers to add skins from a previous vintage or even the skins of other varieties to darken their wine. It appears that pinot noir wine lovers like their wines dark. The Knotty Vines 2018 Pinot Noir may not pass the color code but it is really and truly a pinot noir, and a very nice one at that. The wine opens with the traditional black cherry augmented by a very obvious aroma of pomegranate with vanilla and a suggestion of oak. The flavor reprises the aroma with the addition of plum, vanilla and just the right amount of oak. The finish is fresh and alive with summer dark berries and lasts for a very long time. This is a really interesting wine. I will be truthful, I approached this wine with the idea that it was some poor, weak imitation of a fine wine that I would not bother to write about because print space is too valuable to waste on junk. I must admit that I liked the wine and I was amazed that such quality would sell for such an affordable price. Forget the color, try this wine.
Bennet Bodenstein is a wine enthusiast and book author whose column appears in publications throughout the country.