Thanks again to our Friends of the Vine at Balzac for passing along this pair of bottles from Tudal Family Winery in St. Helena in Napa. They’ve recently started Cerruti Cellars for their “second label wines” in, of all places, Oakland (across from the very cool-sounding. soon-to-be-opened Jack London Market). Cerruti makes a couple of red blends, a zinfandel, a rosé, and a sauvignon blanc. Tiffany sent along the first and last of that list.
The first one I had a chance at was the Cerruti Cellars 2010 Napa Valley “Honker Blanc” Sauvignon Blanc. This white’s moniker comes from a flock of Canada Geese that use their vineyard as a stopping point on their annual migration. Their way station is apparently just behind the Tudal crush pad. (I sincerely hope that they clean the crush pad not long after the geese move along…) The bottle is adorned with a picture of these geese and a “subliminal message.”
The Honker is quite a full bodied sauvignon blanc, bordering on overly thick. The nose is pretty – floral with a little bit of citrus and spice. The flavors I found were largely green apple and lime with a wee undertone of residual sugar. It passes into the distance slowly with lime and honey flavors that turn slightly bitter at the end. If you’re a fan of slightly heavier sauvignons, this a decent choice at $15.
The other bottle was the Cerruti Cellars 2009 “Tractor Shed Red” Red Blend. The Tudal Family winery uses a ’47 Massey Harris tractor as one of its prominent symbols, and this piece of equipment is predictably emblazoned on this red. It’s an interesting blend of Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and Merlot. (Again, glad to see more California winemakers doing Sangiovese!) At first sniff, the zinfandel through strongly with nicely balanced plum and wood flavors. It’s lighter bodied than I expected, and I could really taste the Sangiovese. There’s even a nice hint of the Italian “chalk” mouthfeel that makes it such a nice pairing with red sauces. There’s also a Chianti-ish cherry base for the flavor, along with plums from the merlot and pepper from the zin. The finish is dry with more of that chalkiness and a little lingering fruit. If you’re a fan of Italian wines, I’d certainly give this one a run alongside any meal with which you might pour a decent Chianti or Barbera. (I put it next to pasta in a sausage & mushroom marinara. When I looked up the price, I was taken a bit aback. For your red sauce pleasures, this is a steal at $11.