Posted by: runningwinegirl | August 25, 2010

Friday Night Happy Hour at Chateau O’Brien – New 07 Cellar Collection

Life continues to keep me busy and I’m working hard to get back to posting at least three days a week. Needless to say after a long week, I couldn’t think of a better way to unwind then at Chateau O’Brien for happy hour. I’d received an email announcing the release of the 07 Cellar Collection and I’d admit, I’ve been waiting for these wines for a long time. It would take something like this to get me to tackle I-66 on a Friday evening but it was well worth sitting in traffic for these wines.

I was thrilled when I walked into Chateau O’Brien to run into a crew of friends who were there to relax and taste the wines too. It was great to see Debbie and all the wines lined up with glasses next to them. I couldn’t wait to get started. Upon the arrival of another group, the bar filled up and we got the tasting underway.

To start, Debbie poured us the new 08 Northpoint white, which consists of 12% Viognier, 8% Petit Manseng and 80% Pinot Grigio.  This is different from the 07 and I like it so much better. I didn’t take notes as it was a super small pour and I was far more focused on getting to the reds. Needless to say I liked it and will be going back to taste it again.

The reds began with the 07 Cabernet Franc and I could tell from the deep ruby color this was going to be different. I loved how full and smooth this wine was on my palate. There is a slight spice at the start but the black cherry and this wonderful intensity take over on the finish.  All around the bar you could see people nodding their heads in agreement that this was delicious. Next up was the 2007 North Point Cellar red, a blend of all five of the Bordeaux grapes. This wine is 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 25% Petit Verdot, 20% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc. This is a full but jammy wine with a touch of pepper followed by black cherry and plum allowing for a long, smooth finish. I have delicious written four times next to this one. It’s so smooth and had me craving prime rib. The 07 Vintner’s Reserve was next and I’d had the pleasure of tasting this earlier in the year. This wine is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Tannat and 12% Petit Verdot. Need I say more? I got raspberries on the nose and on the palate it was super smooth, full with lots of dark fruit and a delicious velvety finish. I love, love, love it! Big red wine lovers, you want to come taste this wine before it sells out!

The tasting finished with the 2007 Reserve Tannat and I’ve wanted to try this since Jason, the winemaker, filled me in the difference between this vintage and the 06. This Tannat is jammy and super smooth. The structure is there but the 06 is a bit earthier. It is intense with blackberry and other dark fruit and a delicious finish that lingers. I’m laying a bottle down next to the 06 I have. I can’t wait to see how this wine ages. The 2007 Late Harvest Tannat was the biggest surprise. The 06 was the first Chateau O’Brien released and it was a little too sweet for me. This is nothing like the 06. It wasn’t as much of a port style and not as sweet. I really enjoyed sipping it and could see this as the perfect after dinner drink. You only need a little of this wine as it is 18% alcohol. Overall my favorites of the night in order are the Vintner’s Reserve, Northpoint Red Cellar, Tannat, Cab Franc and Late Harvest Tannat.  The night ended with a glass of the Vintner’s Reserve, some wonderful live music and great conversation.

Chateau O’Brien continues to impress me with delicious, big reds. The cellar collection is made from estate grapes that come from the premium area on the northern base of the hill at the winery. I highly recommend getting to this winery soon to try these wines. You can taste them all for only $10 and it’s worth it. People weren’t just buying one or two bottles but mix cases of the different wines if not a case of each. This is a special winery and you will always receive the best service and learn something when you come here. I always make new friends and there’s nothing like enjoying the views from the deck with some delicious cheeses, bread and of course wine.

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