When at Black Hills in 2012, I opted for the vertical Nota Bene tasting of the 2007 – 2010 Meritage blends.
These wines and the winery have quite a history. Originally owned by two couples, one couple left after a few years (Senka and Paul Tennant, now of Terravista Vineyards) and the other ended up having to sell out to actor and wine enthusiast Jason Priestly and some of his friends to make ends meet.
Their brand new tasting room has a special feel, and they’ve opted to be a little different insofar as the tastings are $20 for a horizontal flight and $40 for a vertical of their cult following Nota Bene. Very smart – this will ensure they run a complete miss on the folks who are out in limousines looking for free tastings.
Walk in and you’re instantly greeted by a tasting room professional who offers you some of the signature Alibi white blend to start the tasting. At this point you’re invited to choose between the $20 and $40 tastings.
Tastings are done seated and there is just the right amount of attention from a WSET or ISG trained attendant. You also have the option of being in or outside – and on a 35c day, it’s nice to have that option! I t’s a lovely tasting room replete with pool and seating around said oasis with full views of the surrounding valley and hills. How bad is that?
I tasted the 2007 – 2010 Nota Benes and enjoyed the 2007 followed closely by the 2010 best (which I purchased). The 2007 was the most outstanding (Cab Sav 46%, Merlot 39%, Cab Franc 15%), came from the hottest year of the bunch and had a garnet core with a ruby rim. Balanced aromas with black fruit, field berry, dark ripe cherry, mocha and ripe raspberry, prunes and raisins. It was the highest in alcohol too at 14.6% abv.
The 2010 was 14% abv and the Merlot in this blend only 32%. The remainder was Cab Sav 57% and Cab Franc 16%. It had a ruby core moving to a thick purple rim, blackberry, cassis with medium acidity and distinct cola. There was also anise or licorice on this wine. This is the one I purchased and can’t wait to enjoy.
We were surprised to realize we actually knew our tasting room WSET Diploma certified attendant – six degrees of separation working here – she knew a former colleague well.
A great finish in Oliver to a busy day of tasting.