Enobytes Top Wine Surprises for 2007

Enobytes Top Wine Surprises for 2007

We’ve released our top wine surprises for 2007. These wines may or may not still be available for purchase. If you laid some of these down for consumption later, you are a savvy enophile.

AMAICHA Torrontes 2005
AmaichaDesignation: N/A
Vineyard: N/A
Region: Mendoza
Value: $5.00
Score: 87
This wine blew our socks off and was as economical as it was good.

Big floral notes on the aroma mingled with honeysuckle, tropical flavors and spice assault the palate; sensual texture rewards all the way through the finish. Then the temperature rises during consumption and this wine evolves again and again. Complex and alluring, the culinary pairings are extensive with Roasted Turkey being a the first thing that springs to mind and nutty cheeses such as Comete, Mancheco and Iberico.

MARYHILL WINERY “Winemakers Blend” 2004
MaryhillDesignation: N/A
Vineyard: N/A
Region: Washington
Value: $15
Score: 94
Huge flavors in a package that pleases. One of the fullest flavored blends I’ve ever tasted.

Maryhill has been making some awesome products these days and this is certainly one of them. This HUGE flavored “Winemakers Blend” of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc had me screaming for more. Bordeaux style with oomph is a good way to describe this muscular wine with refined characteristics. The pronounced fruit is highlighted through and through riding on the exceptionally large and well balanced structure. Generous chocolate and subtle smoky tobacco flavors cascade across the palate with a silky texture and end with a deliciously long finish usually only showcased by wines costing four times as much. Maryhill Winery has set their sites on being a destination for wine, food and entertainment and with products this good the Columbia Gorge will be a well traveled road.


FESS PARKER Frontier Red Non-Vintage
Fess ParkerDesignation: Frontier Red Lot No. 71
Vineyard: N/A
Region: California – Central Coast
Value: $12
Score: 86
The biggest smoothest wine under $12; Killer juice from the Frontiersman Daniel Boone AKA Fess Parker.

The Fess Parker Frontier Red Lot 71 – Anniversary Edition is a big industrial strength non-vintage blend from folks who mostly make wines with finesse. I have consumed the Frontier Red from previous lots and do not remember the degree of heat and strength being quite so pronounced. If you’ve got a hankering for some big ol wine then grab a bottle. This wine will set you straight and cure what ails ya. Now, I will resist from cowboy western slang and try to characterize this concoction in a manner that might make more sense to present day wine drinkers. Smoked meats, spicy food and strong cheeses will all benefit from the palate cleansing power of this red blend. Any wine by the glass program would benefit from this wine’s screw-cap enclosure due to its staying power and ability to ward off oxidation. Good flavors and well structured, this wine reveals strength in winemaking and blending that many wineries have attempted but only Fess Parker has been able to pull off. I’ll tip my Coonskin cap to that. Enjoy!

Dona PaulaDesignation: Dona Paula Estate
Vineyard: N/A
Region: Argentina
Value: $16
Score: 89
Big provocative and spicy, a value at twice the price, offering the full spectrum of flavors Argentinean Malbec brings to the table in an elegant package.

Great flavors from this established vintner. Aromas that will make your mouth water, floral and fruit notes with spice. Big huge flavors continue that theme of flowery fruity spiciness. Large structured and age worthy, the 2005 Dona Paula Estate wine is a standout. The texture and flavor could compete with wines twice the price. That aside, this flavorful Malbec reaffirms my commitment to heralding this versatile varietal from Argentina. Large polished and respectful what more could you ask; a perfect match for fall comfort foods.

SEUFERT WINERY Pinot Noir 2006
SeufertDesignation: Momtazi (Maysara)
Vineyard: N/A
Region: Oregon
Value: $30
Score: 90
Biodynamic, dy-no-mite, and “Scooby snack” approved, this wine fills application’s you haven’t even thought of.

The 2006 Seufert Winery Pinot Noir Momtazi (Maysara) is a biodynamically farmed Pinot from the McMinnville AVA. It’s a powerhouse wine with an intense garnet color and ripe aromas of cherry and rose petal; flavors consist of raspberry and cherry with undertones of subtle spice. Medium-bodied with good balance; 175 cases produced.

PREVAIL “West Face” Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
PrevailDesignation: West Face
Vineyard: LookOut Mountain
Region: California – Sonoma
Value: $50
Score: 94
Serious wine for those who live for the best efforts produced. All aspects of this flavor profile fulfill, tantalize and reward; try not to drink it for at least 10 years.

The PreVail Mountain Estate Winery, Alexander Valley (Sonoma County, California) “West Face” 2003 is a wine that flows effortlessly through all sensory aspects. It has a wonderful deep garnet color with a complex ripe black currant, blackberry and raspberry bouquet that impersonates the scent of the sweetest ripe fruit found at any berry patch field during strong windy gusts on a late summer day. Beautifully constructed, this wine displays intense blackberry, dried cherry and licorice flavors that harmonize with earthy flavors of clove, cedar, black pepper and spice; a full-bodied wine with great balance and a superb, intoxicating midpalate. The tantalizing spicy and robust finish complemented with dusty tannins will have you screaming for more.

The Fairview “Charles Back” offers many great wines. The Blanc is a huge surprise – I enjoyed the Chenin Blanc white Rhone blend; the In Villages Red, which was superb and spicy; and the signature Goats do Roam continues to be a standout value. The charitable work of this wineries parent company is admirable.

FairviewDesignation: Goats do Roam In Villages
Vineyard: N/A
Region: South Africa
Value: $14
Score: 89
This blend from South Africa is a step up from their Rhone blend, and certainly impresses. The 2005 Fairview (Charles Back) Goats do Roam In Villages is 90% Shiraz with the balance being Pinotage and Mourvedre which makes a complete package that will have you as impressed with the wine as you will be by the wineries humanitarian effort in the fight against AIDS. Spicy forward fruit aromas give way to even spicier black pepper and those flavors carry to the palate delivering a smooth flavorful red blend that posses both power and finesse. The wine is full-bodied and will pair easily with almost all cuisines except the most delicate seafood or citrus desserts. An excellent value and probably age worthy beyond the 5 years the winemaker suggests.

FairviewDesignation: Goats Do Roam
Vineyard: N/A
Region: South Africa
Value: $11
Score: 88
Great flavors from this sensible and quality committed producer located in South Africa. This offering is the economy model they offer a Villages and a Rotie designations at reasonable prices. South Africa wines have a definition of fruit unique and desirable, no other continent produces these flavors.

Big flavors carry the 14% octane, and culinary wise, this works with big flavors, smoked flavors, spicy flavors and rich flavors – hard to go wrong with a cuisine style. Look for this wine to gain popularity due to its uniqueness and value.

FairviewDesignation: Goats Do Roam Western Cape
Vineyard: N/A
Region: South Africa
Value: $10
Score: 87
Are you bored with the white wines you have been drinking lately? Have the prices of a good bottle of white brought you down? Well happy days are here again with the Goats do Roam 2005. This wine was a welcoming treat and a pleasure to drink. The blend of Chenin Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Riesling, as well as smaller amounts of Viognier and Grenache Blanc are unusual. I have to admit I might have passed on this wine had the varietal blend been displayed on the label. I am lucky I just drank it without asking too many questions. We should probably do that more often. The results are a wine with wondrous bright peach and melon aromas, crisp, focused, well balanced and a sensual mouth-feel that drinks well on its own and pairs beautifully with a broad spectrum of cuisine.

FESS PARKER Syrah 2002
Fess ParkerDesignation: N/A
Vineyard: N/A
Region: California – Central Coast
Value: $19
Score: 79
One of my biggest surprises and disappointments, this, the first wine from this producer that did not wow me. I have consumed Fess Parker wines from their first release and always loved them all. The odds are all vintners will have an off year from time to time and in 2002 it was Fess Parker’s turn to have an off vintage.

This wine was a stand out in past vintages but the 2002 vintage does not measure up to previous Fess Parker Syrah vintages. Licorice and herb were the predominant features lacking the usual fruit forward style Fess is known for. With quality Syrah flooding into the market place, brisk sales require a unique product. The 2002 Fess Parker Syrah is not a unique product; probably the reason why its still available. Better luck next year.

Let us know what your top wine surprises are by leaving a comment.


About the Author:

Marc has held almost every position in the food & wine industry and is committed to Celebrating Hospitality with Pride. In addition to being the co-founder and editor-at-large for Enobytes, Marc is a wine blogger contributor to OregonLive.com (Wine Bytes) and writes the Wine Knowledge column in the print magazine About Face. The Contra Costa County Times, San Jose Mercury News, Tacoma Times Tribune and Washington Post have either interviewed or quoted Marc on his viniferous and culinary opinions. Marc has also appeared on Portland's "Vine Time" on News Radio 750 KXL and on California's Central Coast "From the Growing of the Grape to the Glass" on KUHL-AM 1410. He is also the author of A History of Pacific Northwest Cuisine: Mastodons to Molecular Gastronomy. While continuing to tenaciously search for what he may finally proclaim as his favorite wine Marc is relentless in his quest for the ultimate food and wine experience.

One Comment

  1. Cris January 7, 2008 at 12:11 AM - Reply

    Great list. I’ve had a few of the Fairview wines and I agree they are pretty good. I’ll have to try a few others you suggest.

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