By Duane Pemberton
Luna Vineyards is a staple Napa area winery that has built itself a strong reputation for releasing wines that are true to varietal character and sticks with only a few different grapes – perhaps it’s most well known for its sangiovese. Luna has developed a loyal fan base of wine drinkers not only in California but throughout the rest of America as well.
I had the chance to check out three of their latest releases and here’s where I’m at with them now:
2007 Pinot Grigio – W.E.P. Rating: 90%
- Blend; 95% Pinot Grigio and 5% Chardonnay
- Vineyards: Estate, Cameros and Big Ranch Vineyards
- Cooperage: 25% of the Pinot Grigio goes into neutral barrels and the rest into Stainless
- Fermentation: 30% went through malolactic
- Price: $18
Nose: Nice hints of orange peel, key-lime, ivory soap, bananna and kiwi.
Taste: I get some nice notes of cantelope melon and marhmellows – with the tropical fruit picking up greatly across the mid palate section. The finish – for me – brings out some fruity-pebble cereal flavors which is quite good and has good acidity to go with it.
2007 Sangiovese – W.E.P. 85%
- Vineyard: Game Farm Vineyard
- Blend: Sangiovese 90%, Cabernet Sauvignon 7% and Petite Sirah 3%
- Cooperage: Aged 12 months on 25% new French Oak from Billon, Bossuet and Treuil.
- Bottled: December 2008
- Fermentation: Native yeast over a 3 week timeframe
- Brix at Harvest: 25.7
- Price: $20
Nose: Green peppercorns, charred bell peppers, beets, shoe polish, black pepper and white pepper notes.
Taste: Peppered cherries, leather straps, red clay, eucalyptus, plums, allspice, old bay. A very spicey front-end which leads way to the layers of what I’m going go refer to as a spicey fruit cake. Not a bad finish but is a tad on the hot side. The bottle claims 14.1% but it feels closer to 14.7%.
2006 Merlot – W.E.P. Rating – 60%
- Vineyards: Stagecoach, Howell Mountain and Carneros
- Blend: 100% Merlot
- Cooperage: 50% in new French Oak
- Brix at harvest: 26.2
- Fermentation: Naturally for 19 days without yeast or acids. Then macerated on skins for 25 days.
- Price: $40
Nose: Blackberry bubble-gum laced with white pepper, black cherries, allspice and cola.
Taste: Piles of blackberry tarts coupled with peppercorns, chocolate, black plums, charcoal, and spice. This wine gets very hot on the mid-palate and unfortunatley doesn’t do much in the way of cooling off at all on the finish. Frankly, there are many other merlots for this price and cheaper that I’d recommend.
There are purely my subjective opinions and I’d highly encourage you to get out and try them yourselves to see what you think.
Winery website: www.lunavineyards.com