I know, I know. If I keep tasting and writing about the fantastic values from Sean Minor, some of you will start to think I'm on the take. Well, I'm no Tim Donaghy, but I do know a good value when I taste it. And for $10-15, these are as good as it gets from California.
The retail store I work for, Off The Vine recently re-opened its doors in a new location. And to kick off the new chapter in our history, we invited members of our wine of the month club to Sunlight Day Spa to taste through the Sean Minor line-up. In order from lightest to heaviest, we poured:
2009 Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County - Amazing notes of pineapple and tropical fruits on the nose. The palate is clean and crisp with no hint of the neutral oak barrels it was partially fermented in. Nice acidity. Finishes with a note of sweet herb. A style that I prefer to the aggressively herbaceous/bell pepper Sauvignon Blancs that I closely associate with New Zealand. $11
2009 Sean Minor Chardonnay, Central Coast - A complete 180° from the Sauvignon Blanc, the Chardonnay features aromas and flavors of red apple, pear, brioche, vanilla and toast. Impossibly thick and luscious for an $11 Chardonnay. Fans of in-your-face California Chardonnay should try this with lobster, crab or brie.
2009 Sean Minor Pinot Noir - Ah, yes, the mack-daddy of them all. The best value I've ever had in domestic Pinot Noir. Not sure what else needs to be said about this wine, but it's packed with strawberry jam and vanilla bean with subtle earth and spice notes. A stunning wine for $15.
2008 Sean Minor Merlot, Napa Valley - Plummy with hints of cocoa and spice, the American oak really stands out on the nose. Palate follows the nose with plum and cocoa flavors. Finishes a touch green and acidic. $15
2008 Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley - 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance being made up of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Although aged in American and French oak (like the Merlot), I don't get any of the dill/Bourbon aromas from the American oak this time. Thick and rich with black cherry, licorice, black olive and vanilla. A slight alcoholic kick and moderate tannins suggest near-term consumption or holding for 2-3 years. Another outstanding wine for $15.
2009 Bodegas Olivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell, Jumilla - Inky-purple color and full-blown nose of spice, charcoal and hickory wood is lightened up a bit with a hint of floral/violets. Quite peppery in the mouth with powerful tannins and acidity. Much more full-bodied and peppery than I remember the 2008 being. A ridiculous $13.