Saturday, April 25, 2009

Meandering with Meander Wines

Amy Aiken, winemaker and owner of Meander Wines, was in town this past week and we did our best to keep track of her wanderings about town, capping it off with a special pouring appearance at California Wine Merchants Thursday evening. Amy is a vivacious and inspired Winemaker and she brought some lively fun to our Thursday night tasting to be sure!

Earlier in the week Amy’s NY distributor, The Barterhouse, hosted a lunch at Eleven Madison for “power women in wine” (yep, that’s me people!). Amy presented her new 2008 Meander Wines Conspire Sauvignon Blanc at the lunch, as well as all three vintages of her enchanting Meander Wines Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Sauvignon Blanc has yet to be bottled and the lunching ladies were all honored to be some of the first to taste it. It’s a very pretty and unique Sauvignon Blanc. Conspire has more body than most Sauvignon Blanc and an almost creamy texture from sitting on the lees (basically the deposits of residual yeast and other sediment that develops during the wine making process.) The grassy aromas are intense and flavors are tropical, including pineapple, kiwi, and coconut. The wine paired delightfully with the Cape Cod Bay Crab Cake with Celery, Treviso and Anchovies that was served alongside. Amy also recommends pairing the wine with mussels prepared with Asian-influenced flavors.

You’ll have to wait until June to pair it with anything, however, as that is when it arrives in NY -- and at California Wine Merchants! The wine will sell for a little less than $30. If you are interested in knowing when it inbounds, send us an e-mail at and we will put you on the “interest list” as production is limited.

The lunch progressed to the 2003 vintage of Meander Cabernet Sauvignon, the very vintage Winemonkey and I tasted with Amy years ago when we discovered Meander Wines in Napa. The juicy, fruity wine was drinking exceptionally well, especially after a bite of Grilled Tenderloin with Oregon Morels – yes, that’s good stuff! The 2004 Cab was probably my favorite; it has an alluring personality and a beautifully silky texture along with the sweet fruit. All of the Meander Cabs start out with a great pop of fruit, which is Amy’s intent. The 2005, the most recent vintage and the wine we have in stock at the store, was equally fabulous but different, with layers of mocha and mineral underlining the fruit. 2005 was a great vintage for Napa Cab and this wine will only get better with air and a little age.

With our ridiculously decadent dessert of Chocolate Tart with Caramel and Maldon Sea Salt, we were treated to the 2005 Meander Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard. The other Cabs are made from fruit from the Morisoli vineyard in Rutherford and the Lewelling Vineyard in St. Helena, whereas this limited wine is strictly from Rutherford fruit. There were only 40 cases produced and it’s pretty much all gone so I was super lucky to get a glass. The wine is very well structured, with great intensity of flavor and a velvety texture sometimes known as “Rutherford dust.” Overall, great food and wine and a satisfying experience!

You won’t find Meander wines at many retail stores and, in fact, before Winemonkey and I introduced Amy to The Barterhouse, you could not find the wines anywhere in New York. The Conspire label was created so that Amy can take advantage of any great fruit that might come her way. This year it was Sauvignon Blanc. Next year who knows…maybe Conspire Pinot Noir? We’ll just have to wait and see.


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