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Friday, July 22, 2011

Lieb Family Cellars

Two weeks ago I visited Lieb Family Cellars - aside from the wines, I can’t help but comment on how fun and friendly the staff are at that tasting room!

I started with the Bridge Lane Bubbly NV, a sparkling blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and produced in the Methode Champenoise.  The wine is somewhat golden in color, with characteristics of hints of citrus and white blossoms, and more emphasis on green apple, nut, earth, and freshly baked bread.  I loved the creamy texture and the very small bubbles, and the long finish, and overall I really enjoyed this sparkling wine.
Next was the 2008 Reserve Pinot Blanc, a very “pure” wine fermented in stainless steel.  The wine is straw colored and shows notes of lemon, green apple, orchard fruits, flowers, and stone, with bright acidity, and leaves the palate feeling clean.  This is a particularly upbeat and food friendly wine and I think it would pair very nicely with local seafood.
We then moved on to the 2009 Bridge Lane Chardonnay, a stainless steel fermented Chardonnay with characteristics that reminded me a bit of Sauvignon Blanc, with its very pale straw color, and notes of white citrus, melon, apple, blossoms, and herbal characteristics.  The wine was especially clean and seems quite food friendly.
Next was the 2007 Reserve Chardonnay, fermented in both tank and French oak barrel, and this was probably my favorite of the whites at the tasting.  A slightly golden straw color, the wine has characteristics of sweeter citrus, orchard fruits, baked apple, somewhat sweet blossoms, nut, and just a touch of honey as the final layer before finishing.  The texture is so smooth and elegant and I loved this wine.  I would probably choose it for a mirror pairing with heavier fish dishes or perhaps cheeses.

I then tried the 2009 Bridge Lane Rose, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Blanc.  The Rose is a bit salmon colored, and it is quite dry, with characteristics of melon, strawberry, and perhaps a bit of citrus and blossom - it is so light and crisp and I enjoyed it very much; it is a wine perfect for summer weather.
The next Rose was the 2010 Summer Rose, which I absolutely loved.  The wine is a salmon pink blend of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, with characteristics of mostly melon and strawberry and laced with tropical fruit and blossom.  The wine’s bright acidity makes it especially food friendly, and the finish is quite long.
We then moved on to the reds, and first was the 2008 Bridge Lane Cabernet Franc, which has a dark ruby red color and a red rim, and characteristics of bright fruit and berry, a bit of spice and herb, and relatively high acidity with a long finish.  This wine seems that it would be food friendly.
Next was the 2007 Reserve Cabernet Franc, a darker red with with notes of dark fruit, berry, cherry, herbs, and spices, and perhaps a hint of black olive.  The texture was a bit softer than I anticipated, with a long finish of warm spice and dark fruit.
I generally prefer Merlot over Cabernet Franc and in fact I did prefer Lieb’s Merlots over the Cabernet Francs, but this may be due to personal preference.  The first Merlot was the 2009 Bridge Lane, a medium to deep red color already showing a bit of a water rim, with characteristics of slightly raisined fruits both red and dark, and a hint of cranberry and spice, good acidity, and a very nice finish.  This seems like a pleasant wine to enjoy in the cooler months.
Next was the 2005 Reserve Merlot which I really liked.  The wine is dark in color with a slightly brick colored rim indicating a bit of age.  The characteristics included dark fruit and berry, plum, stewed and raisined fruits, gentle spice, and lovely wood notes.  The wine is beautifully balanced and I would enjoy sipping this wine in the winter months with its warmth and spicy characteristics, and the finish did not disappoint.
The last two wines were both Bordeaux style blends.  First was the 2008 Right Coast Red, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.  This wine is dark and youthful with notes of blackberry, cherry, plum, baking spices, and a hint of bitterness.  It is very smooth and clean and appears to be quite food friendly.
However, my favorite of all the reds I tasted was the final wine - the 2005 Meritage, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc.  The wine is dark with a slightly brickish rim indicating a bit of age, and shows characteristics of dark fruit, spice, chocolate, and pepper, and a bit of wild fruit presumably due to the presence of the Syrah.  Its warmth and smooth yet substantial texture make this an excellent wine for pairing with steak or for enjoying in the cooler months.

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