Icon Tax Time!

April 18, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Uncle Sam TaxThe kind folks at Icon Estates have been worried about all of us out here in US wine-drinker land.  They realized back in March that tax time is hard on all of us wine grunts, particularly this year when everyone is still reeling from watching their life savings (and future wine purchasing potential) shrivel by -40% and see a world filled with recession and job loss.  They realized that everyone’s day or night (or both!) can be brightened by wine, however and put together a great list of wines to have while stumbling through filling out your requisite tax forms: Tax Time Wines! Susan and co. at Icon kindly shot out some wine samples for various bloggers to try including the prolific 1WineDude (Twitter, Twitter2), Luscious Lush Thea (Twitter, Twitter2) and yours truly (Twitter), among others.

Icon EstatesThe half case of wine included a number of single wines from many of their 13 prestigious labels, including Robert Mondavi Winery, Estancia Estates and Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards.  Among other labels that Icon owns are a personal favs in Mount Veeder Winery, the premiere icewine producer Inniskillin and the long time quality producer from Sonoma Valley, SimiIcon Estates has been an enjoyable conglomerate subunit to watch over the last few years, as they appear to stick true to their philosophy of purposefully and only seeking out wineries that have a well-established record of great quality and QPR.  Despite being owned by one of the largest conglomerates in the world, they have allowed those wineries to retain much of their original talent, yet provide them with more and better resources to continually improve their art.

Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006All of that said, it’s important that we just focus on the wine!  One of the hits of the 6-pack for me was the ’06 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cab.  I’ve always found this to be wonderfully under priced and this new vintage still doesn’t disappoint.  I brought this wine over to a reformed Passover Seder that my friend cooked for friends and family and it was quite a hit as well.  While young, it is medium-full bodied with good earthy black fruit on the nose and palate.  This should be even better in 2-4 years. At $28 dollars, this is already a steal for a refined and elegantly balanced Napa Cab, yet you can usually find it for even cheaper, making the QPR a bit embarrassing!

Wild Horse Central Coast Pinot Noir 2007Another good value-driven quaffer is the ’05 Paso Creek Paso Robles Cab.  I recently wrote about another good value wine in the ’06 Paso Creek Zin and this varietal doesn’t disappoint, either.  This is also young but has some nice toasty, plush red fruit on the nose and palate and features a ton of Bing cherry in the finish after a couple hours of decanting.  There tends to be a lot of wine needed at a Seder and so I also had brought along the ’07 Wild Horse Central Coast Pinot to have as one of our 4 glasses, alongside the Mondavi.  While tight, this shows great promise and significant value for the quality, with dusty cranberry and cherry and some great acid and a silky mouthfeel on the palate.  Wait a year on this one, unless you decant it ahead of time.  While I didn’t appreciate the lower than expected acidity in the Estancia Riesling and the Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva, I did like the interesting fruit combos that each wine featured.

Jackson-Triggs Niagra Peninsula Proprietor's Reserve Vidal Icewine VQA 2007 Lastly, if you’re running late on those tax forms like I am with this post, you can celebrate with a rather rare wine in the ’07 Jackson-Triggs Niagra Peninsula Proprietor’s Reserve Vidal Icewine. Icewine is exactly that…the grapes are harvested while frozen and very late in the year and at a very high brix or sugar content, typically well-known to be produced in Canada or Germany.  The fruit is typically picked at night and during the late Fall or early Winter, so that it is still frozen when pressed, releasing a tiny amount of highly concentrated juice that is then fermented into a deliciously sweet dessert wine.  It is an unusual and yummified after dinner or late night treat!

Feel free to check out the full reviews of all of the wines mentioned here through their links below.  If you’d like to list these wines in your own WineLog, all of them are tagged with “Icon2009Tax“.  Please leave a comment if you too, have tried these wines and enjoy!

Wild Horse Central Coast Pinot Noir 2007

Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale 2005

Paso Creek Paso Robles Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Estancia Monterey County Riesling 2008

Jackson-Triggs Niagra Peninsula Proprietor’s Reserve Vidal Icewine VQA 2007

Ward Kadel - @drXeNo is the founder of Vinopanion wine blog, the West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for WineLog.net and Le Wine Buff for Bordeaux.com (CIVB). He will try any and all wines and tends to write about the parts of his life that include wine...like virtually all of it! He and his wife grew up in Napa and Sonoma and they still live in the Napa Valley. View Ward's WineLog and check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter and Like Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at WineLog.net". Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.

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