Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring wine favorites - Blue Plate Chenin Blanc & Hirsch Pinot Noir

What a great winter we've had so far!! (Those who know my sarcasm know what I mean).  The constant 60 degree days and not much rain- not going to complain about that!  With tasting so much wine in the past few weeks and always trying to improve the wine list, I am going to focus on two outstanding wines that make you appreciate the varietals that California can grow.  These wines are both traditional but something serious and fun at the same time.  They make you think with a smile because you drink them and wonder why you haven't enjoyed them sooner.

These two wines are, to me, a break from the norm.  The Blue Plate, which is a blend of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay is something different yet serious.  I think of Chenin Blanc as one of those varietals that is a 'wine-geek's' intrigue (along with Riesling and Nebbiolo).  Founded by 3 friends in Napa, they went against the grain and focused on Chenin as opposed to steadfast Sauvingnon Blanc or the more common Chardonnay.  Bright fruit on this wine and enough acid from the sauvignon blanc and weight from the chard.  This wine received best in show (great movie for those in the know...) in the 2011 SF Chronicle Wine Competition.  Not to be missed, this is a wine to drink this spring and into summer at Carpe.  Pair this with the Carpe Diem Salad with Chicken.  Check out their website www.blueplatewines .com

While Cabernet is clearly king in Napa, Pinot Noir is like the seductive queen with layers upon layers of alluring juicy complexity.  The Hirsch Vineyards 'San Andreas Fault' is a pinot that has those seductive qualitites and brings a euphoria to you.  It is direct and complex - and that's what I love about this pinot.  David Hirsch founded Hirsch Vineyards in 1978, when he was selling fruit to some the top pinot makers such as William-Seylem and Flowers.  This, to me, is one of those types of wines, where if you are not a fan of pinot, drink this and it'll change your opinion about how good California pinot noir's are.  For more information, check out their website: