A group of 20 people, mostly Napa Valley winemakers, spent two hours Thursday afternoon tasting through 18 Napa Valley red wines from the 2008 vintage.
At the end of three flights, their consensus was that some of the meritage blends stood out from the rest, being made with care, rather than just thrown together with whatever was left. Those top wines were described as being round, fruity, full-bodied with an appealing structure. Others were judged as too heavy on the oak and too high in alcohol.
The top three standouts were Hendry Red, a mix of five Bordeaux varieties from the Hendry Vineyard, $38; B Cellars, Blend 25, a mix of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, $55; and Trinchero Napa Valley Meritage, a Bordeaux-style red, made by winemaker Mario Monticelli, that is sourced from several different vineyards. It retails for $50.
The monthly St. Helena Star/Napa Valley Vintners wine tasting was held, as usual, in the Rudd Center at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone in St. Helena.
More details on the tasting will be published Nov. 3 in the print edition of the St. Helena Star and online at sthelenastar.com.