Nuits d’Enfer Merlot 2007 “Nights of Hell”
I must admit that part of the attraction of trying this wine is the name of it. When a wine is called “Nights of Hell,” then it’s either going to set you on fire and give you a torturous night’s sleep, or it’s going to fill you with devilish passion and test your terpsichorean abilities to the max.
I am happy to report that neither was the case after taking a sip. I wanted to dance around only because the wine was so delightful.
The “Nights of Hell” Merlot – $21, Santa Clara Valley – is blended with Charbono and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a lovely rich dense color and is loaded with dark plum, cranberry and rhubarb – the latter giving it a slightly tart and crisp edge, but not at all detracting from the satisfying mouthfeel.
Charbono is a grape variety from the Savoie region of France. It’s also grown extensively in Argentina – where it’s known as Bonarda – and now, thanks to California’s varying climates, it’s grown in this state, too. Wine made from Charbono tends to be bold and powerful with a full-bodied palate. There’s nothing wimpy about Charbono.
My husband and I were invited to a dinner party by some friends who live locally, and all the guests were requested to take “a nice bottle of wine.” Since our hosts are very familiar with most of the wineries in the Santa Cruz area, I decided to take something from a winery in Gilroy, but which belongs to the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. Sarah’s is on Hecker Pass, so it’s just a stone’s throw from Santa Cruz – and certainly well worth a visit.
Duck was served as a main course, and, I’m happy to say, all the guests enjoyed a pairing of the Merlot and gave it the thumbs up. The “Nights of Hell” turned into an evening of heaven.
Sarah’s Vineyard, 4005 Hecker Pass Highway, Gilroy. (408)847-1947. Sarahsvineyard.com. Tasting room open daily from noon to 5 p.m.
Wine Events: Big Basin Vineyards’ Spring Harvest Celebration
I’m giving you a heads up to get Big Basin’s spring release celebration on your calendar. This wine, food and music event is extremely popular, so it is requested that tickets be purchased in advance. Big Basin Vineyards in spring is just beautiful – and then there are all those awesome wines to taste as well! The event is on April 21 & 22 from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 (which includes a 22-ounce crystal Big Basin wine glass) and can be purchased online or at Big Basin’s tasting room in Saratoga.
Info: Big Basin Vineyards, 830 Memory Lane, Boulder Creek, 621-8028; or the tasting room in Saratoga at 14598 Big Basin Way, (408) 564-7346. Bigbasinvineyards.com.