Mankas Hills Vineyards, “Amelie”, Suisun Valley 2004 ($14.90)
Mankas Hills is a family winery with a passion for Cabernet Sauvignon and, interesting enough, for blogging. They are among a few wineries that have taken the plunge into the blogisphere as another way to connect with customers. I received this sample after responding to their post a few weeks back and applaud their initiative as being the first California winery to take a page from the Stormhoek playbook. If you haven’t heard of the Suisun Valley AVA, you are not alone, as I had never heard of it either. According to Appellation America, the AVA has a long history of growing wine grapes and being just north of the Napa Valley, it is not a stretch to expect some pretty interesting Cabernet-based blends coming from the appellation.
Amelie is one of those blends being 75% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot grown elsewhere. The wine is garnet-purple in color with aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, eucalyptus and vanilla. In the mouth it is nice and rich with nicely concentrated blackberry and blackcurrant fruit finishing with sweet tannins a very slightly bitter note which didn’t bother me very much. This is a very good wine and a nice value at less than $15 a bottle. 13.9% ABV. Finished with natural cork. Score: 8/10
I hope more wineries follow Mankas Hills’ lead and send bloggers samples of their wines for review. It will certainly extend the conversation about their wines far outside the traditional wine media and encourage positive word of mouth. So if you see Amelie in the supermarket or wine store, give it a try.