I arrived at 6:30 and the Benjamins were catching their breaths. Seemed an early crowd was ready to taste some very nice wines. The advantage for me is I could spend some time savoring the wines instead of snapping tons of photos. A trade-off I guess.

I met Danielle who was celebrating her birthday. This was a nice way to add to the special day. I asked her after each wine what she thought. Each wine was good but she kept saying “I still think the first wine was the best.” It was a very nice wine. The Ken Forrester Petit Chenin is finally back Dick explained to me. The Forrester line was unavailable for a while and that’s good for wine lovers especially ones looking for great wines at my price point, which is just under $10.

I finally bugged her one last time and she really like the last wine, the Handcraft Petite Sirah, which she added was her favorite red of the night.  

I have to admit that I purchased a bottle as well as the Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage. I thought both of these wines would be nice sippers at the end of the day.  I think I need to amend that. The Petit Pinotage, which is a fairly new grape (only about 100 years old) would be excellent with a meal as well. Nice dark flavors that would go with BBQ or some spicy meals. (I shared it with Mrs. Dan the next night and she agreed).

The Handcraft Petite Sirah is very different. This is as close as you can come to being a dessert wine without being called a dessert wine. Nice and jammy. I think on a hot summer day this would be a nice red to drink. The pairing suggestion provided by the Benjamins say Steaks, burgers, lamb and such. We haven’t opened this one yet so we might save it for the next time we grill out back.  And the best part. Both wines were $9.99 and with the rebate you get with the tasting I think I scored.

Before I sign off I  have to mention the Kunde Sauvignon Blanc. This is a very nice California Sauv Blanc. If you aren’t into the earthy grassy Sauv Blancs from New Zealand then I think you would enjoy this one. And the Chateau Ste Michelle  Chardonnay is a nice change of pace from the typical California Chardonnay (that’s because it’s from Washington State).

If you haven’t signed up for Wine World’s Rhone Valley Seminar Friday night you better hurry. Looks like a good one.

Where: Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, SC

When: Thursday, April 18, 2013, 5 to 8pm
Cost: $5 fee—$3 rebate with  your purchase of  one bottle of featured wine

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Here are the wines presented (click to see more):

  1. Ken Forrester Petit Chenin 2012
  2. Kunde Magnolia Lane Sauvignon Blanc 2011
  3. Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay 2011
  4. Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage 2012
  5. Veramonte Carmenere Reserva 2010
  6. Handcraft Artisan Collection Petite Sirah 2010

Here are the detailed wine notes:
Ken Forrester Petit Chenin 2012
Bright, fresh fruit is the keynote of this Chenin Blanc. Flavors suggest pear, quince and crisp green apple with notes of honeysuckle, grapefruit and lime.  Minerality and herbal hints give interest and depth. A long-time Wine World favorite, now available to us again. Perfect for springtime! Aperitif. Salads, seafood and chicken dishes.
From: Western Cape, South Africa
Winery: Ken Forrester
Year: 2012

Kunde Magnolia Lane Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Fresh and vibrant, this classic California Sauvignon Blanc displays aromas of mango and guava and herbal notes.  Flavors of tangy white peach and grapefruit lead to a crisp finish. Five times, winner of the Pacific Coast Oyster Wine competition. (Yes, there really is a lane of marvelous Magnolia trees at the Kunde Estate.)  Aperitif. Seafood, salads. Sushi. Gazpacho. Pasta with spring vegetables and goat cheese.
From: Sonoma, California
Winery: Kunde
Year: 2011

Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay 2011
“My goal with the Columbia Valley Chardonnay is to make it a pleasurable, food-friendly wine. This is a fresh, soft style of Chardonnay with bright apple and citrus fruit character with subtle spice and oak nuances. We blend Chardonnay grapes from vineyards all over Washington’s Columbia Valley to make this a complex, interesting wine. The sur lie aging gives it appealing softness.”  — Bob Bertheau, Head Winemaker.  Pleasing aperitif.  Delicious match for crab, salmon, scallops, chicken in a creamy tarragon sauce.  Camembert cheese.
From: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Winery: Chateau Ste Michelle
Year: 2011

Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage 2012
This fun wine shows many of the classic Pinotage characteristics, though Pinotage is made in several different styles. This is among the lighter, less earthy versions. Aromas of mulberry, plum, black currant and cherry, with slight hints of smoky bacon. Juicy with a soft fruity finish. Serve it slightly cooled. Pinotage was created in Stellenbosch in 1925 from a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (“Hermitage”).  Certainly a great match for grilled meats (South African “Braai” ). This Pinotage is a good match for sausages, pepperoni pizza, venison sausage, Szechuan tea-smoked duck. Pulled Pork. Ratatouille. Eggplant curry. Gruyere cheese.
From: Stellenbosch, South Africa
Winery: Ken Forrester
Year: 2012

Veramonte Carmenere Reserva 2010
Aromas of red berries and blackberries with slight toasty and subtle spice notes. Flavors of rich, ripe fruit — black currants (cassis) and blackberries – with earthy and spicy notes. 8 months in oak, half French & half American. Lingering finish. This deep intense red shows that a “lost grape of Bordeaux” is doing very, very well in Chile. Goes well with grilled meats & burgers. An especially good match with the flavors of
herbs, olives, mushrooms and green peppers.  Mushroom ragout. Braised lamb shanks.  Maplewood Smoked Cheddar.
From: Colchagua Valley,  Chile
Winery: Veramonte
Year: 2010

Handcraft Artisan Collection Petite Sirah 2010
This bold, jammy, big red shows aromas & flavors reminiscent of blueberry, plum, boysenberry and black cherry with spice notes.  Hints of chocolate and vanilla in the long finish. It’s 82% Petite Sirah with dashes of several other grapes. (Delicato Family Vineyards.)  Terrific match for steaks and burgers, for lamb and game. Great with ribs or chili.  Medium hot curry dishes. Excellent with bold vegetable dishes.  Moussaka, eggplant casserole. Robust cheeses. Aged Gouda. Manchego.
From: California
Winery: Handcraft Artisan Collection (Delicato)
Year: 2010


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