Updated: May 1, 2020
Defined as, “complete freedom to act as one wishes or thinks best,” Carte Blanche is a luxury boutique Napa winery that respects traditional French winemaking with an ode to terroir. The family’s involvement in viticulture traces back to the 1930s when Nicholas Allen’s great grandfather, Clarence Dillon, acquired the famed Château Haut-Brion in Bordeaux. Later on, in 1983 the family company, Domaine Clarence Dillon, purchased Château La Mission Haut-Brion. As you can see wine has always been an integral part of the family structure and has propelled Nicholas to strive for expression, balance, and precision in his wines produced in California. Each vineyard site in Napa and Sonoma have been hand-picked to produce and showcase wines reflecting a sense of place. Again, we see terroir as a driving force behind the label. There are 3 wines, in particular, I want to share with you today. These wines have impressed me to the core, and I truly believe they can provoke happiness and pleasure in a time when we all need it the most. 2013 Three Peaks from the Bennett Valley $30 The 90% of Syrah eludes notes of pronounced blackberry, stewed plums, cracked black pepper, fresh violets, bacon fat, and smoked cedar while 10% of Grenache adds wild raspberry and spice. The medium (+) acidity and high tannin structure will allow this wine to lay down for a bit or be paired perfectly with a steak or wild game. The finish is long and lingering, enough to keep you company between each sip. Only 150 cases produced. Get your hands on one ASAP!
2013 Sandstone Seven from the Alder Springs Vineyard $30 Mendocino is serving up some intensely aromatic wines and it’s no different here with this Rhône-style blend of Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussane. Rich notes of honeysuckle, white blossoms, ripe tangerine, peach, and candied melon gracefully dance their way to the palate providing weight and a luxurious waxy mouthfeel. Elevations here reach between 1700-2700 ft helping prolong those aromas while still achieving optimal ripeness. Sip this as an aperitif on your sun-drenched patio, or for dinner with some herb-crusted chicken thighs.
2106 Carte Blanche Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley $150 Cabernet Sauvignon is King in Napa Valley and this bottle is made for royalty. Hailing from the southwest corner of Oakville at the base of the Mayacama Mountains, the vines here are exposed to warm sunny afternoons with cool evenings. This particular microclimate allows the grapes a slow and steady ripening process while still retaining that mouth-watering acidity we all love. Expect to find a full body with notes of blackberry, cassis, cigar box, tobacco leaf, crushed gravel, and wild red currant. The tannins are firm yet integrated and the finish is long begging to be paired with a bone-in ribeye or juicy sirloin burger. Put this bottle in your cellar for a few years and experience the magic of evolution.