At the moment, taking time out of my day to visit a winery can be somewhat difficult. My attention is focused 100% on finding a job so other things get put on the back burner. The long and the short of it is that I need the job so that I might partake in more wine and allow this blog to flourish. As fate would have it, my two paths converged. I found a job opening at Caroline Cellars Winery and just had to apply. Unlike 90% of the jobs I apply for, Caroline Cellars required me to appear in person to apply. I graciously complied and begun my trek to this unfamiliar winery.
Although my GPS had no record of the address, it was easy enough to find the old fashion way. The Winery is comprised of one large wooden building that is very cabin-esque. The cabin theme is carried forth to the interior of the shop and gives the place an auspicious feel.
I was greeted by the solo sales clerk with a smile and proceeded to hand in my resume with no intention of tasting the wine. Unfortunately the manager couldn't meet with me at that time so I made for the door. I was literally backing out of the parking lot when I had a second thought. I pulled back into my spot and went back in. I needed to try this wine.
After 20+ minutes of chatting I had sampled 4 wines that I'd like to share with you. Below are the winery's tasting notes and below them I will provide my revisions.
Tropical notes of banana, coconut and lime dominate the nose of this wine, but there are also distinct roasted nutty notes – chestnut and cashew, balanced by baking spices – nutmeg and clove, especially. On the palate this wine is smooth, full and rich, with tropical banana and coconut, but also butterscotch – which at times is reminiscent of bananas foster!
This is our very first single variety Pinot Noir! A complex and evolving nose has dominant wild berry, but also earthy mushroom and herbaceous notes – aka “forest floor”. On the palate, this wine is soft yet structured with wild berry and clove, but also mushroom and some floral notes. Pair with mushroom-based dishes, or earthy game meats like ostrich or rabbit.
This medium bodied red is made from 100% Zweigelt grown on our family estate. Strong notes of sandal wood, smoky white pepper and roasted chestnuts appear on the nose, balanced by red plum and black currant. On the palate, this wine is smooth and easy to drink with blackberry, blueberry and sour cherry notes with slight white pepper. Pair with a peppery beef dish or salmon.
A medium bodied dry red wine with loads of fruit on the nose and palate, including blackberry, plum and black currant notes. On the nose, hints of cedar, leather and dark chocolate also shine through. This wine has firm tannins and is very food-friendly, which makes it a fantastic every day wine
Now, I know my palate is not what it could be but I tend to be able to pick out the most prominent scents and flavours of a wine. With these 4 I had a hard time pairing the notes with what I was tasting. The Chardonnay wasn't as tropical as I was expecting but it did have a lovely vanilla smell that I picked up the instant it was poured. I would say the body was medium at best and the flavour was good but not rich. I was also told that it had undergone partial MLF (Malolactic Fermentation: the process that gives Chardonnay's that wonderful buttery smoothness), but apparently not enough. Regardless, out of the 4 I tried, this was the one I purchased. In retrospect, I should have tried a riesling or bought something different. The reason being, my girlfriend is allergic to banana and she finds the smell repulsive. I did not pick up on the banana when I tasted the wine but her more adept nose and palate might. Sorry Elizabeth!
As for the reds, when I saw Pinot I had to give it a try. I commend Caroline Cellars for trying but I can't praise this Pinot the way I'd like too. The nose was quite earthy and got me excited for taste but unfortunately I was misled. What I tasted was much more sour than expected and at best can be describe as cherry tobacco.
The Zweigelt was another interesting sample; being that it was the first time that I had experienced the Austrian hybrid. I tried it on a whim and was disappointed. I have nothing to compare it to, so I won't say that it was bad. It just wasn't my cup of tea so to speak. Finally we get to the Cab. Sauv.
After the Pinot failed me, this was the wine I thought I would be leaving with, but once again, I was wrong. When I see the word chocolate in a note I want to find it in the glass and I just couldn't here. As in the Pinot, I found the Cab. Sauv. a little sour and not as tannic as I would like.
After rereading the notes and recalling the flavours I believe I was having an off day. I would still suggest visiting Caroline Cellars to anyone who enjoys wine and maybe even to those who don't, as they have a wide variety of fruit wines. I am curious to see if given some time that I'll get a different result and what my girlfriend thinks of Caroline Cellars wine. In the mean time I would like to put the blame for the skewed tastes on the glassware. I am a huge fan and believer in proper glassware when drinking wine and I think with a bigger glass I would have enjoyed these wines much more. I look forward to popping open the Chardonnay and digging for those tropical smells and flavours.