• SumoMe

 

At Steele Wines, they have a great variety of offerings. The grapes they use come from as far away as Washington state to as close as the vineyards right next door. Wherever the fruit comes from, Jed Steele, the owner and winemaker, knows just what to do with it since he has been making wine in California for over forty years. Here’s what our panel though about a selection of their current releases:

 

Grape(s): Merlot

Special Designation: Stymie

Region: Lake County

Year: 2008

Price: 40-45

Review:

Aromas of plums, currants, and chocolate covered cherries meld with notes of fennel seed and smoke on the nose. A sip reveals flavors of cherry, cassis, and plum with accents of white pepper, tobacco, and roast coffee. A nicely structured, nicely layered wine with bright, robust flavors, it’s a clear standout from all those wimpy Merlots.

Rating: 93

Character: dark fruit, rich mouthfeel, supple tannins


Grape(s): Zinfanel

Special Designation: Pacini Vineyard

Region: Mendocino County

Year: 2008

Price: 15-20

Review:

Aromatics of cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and bacon rise from a glass. Bright red berries flavors meld with notes of dark chocolate and white pepper on the palate. A fairly soft and fruit driven wine but it has a few nice highlights of spice. It’s for fans of more reserved rather than robust Zins.

Rating: 89

Character: red fruit, supple mouthfeel, light tannins


Grape(s): Chardonnay

Special Designation: Steele Cuvee

Region: California

Year: 2009

Price: 15-20

Review:

A bouquet of tropical fruit, apples, and pears that melds with lush notes of vanilla and sweet spice greets the senses. On the palate, flavors of pineapple, green apple, and a bit of lime are accented by suggestions of vanilla and all-spice. A rich chardonnay that still has real pleasing acidity, it offers very nice balance and surprising depth for its price range.

Rating: 90

Character: rich fruit, balanced acidity, supple mouthfeel

Grape(s): Sauvignon Blanc

Special Designation: Shooting Star

Region: Lake County

Year: 2010

Price: 10-15

Review:

A lovely nose of lime, gooseberry, honeydew, and fresh fig aromas greets the senses. Mellon, gooseberry, and grapefruit flavors meld with suggestions of candied banana and dried figs. A vibrant acidity gives the wine plenty of life but in no way overpowers the fruit. Those who enjoy crisp, mouth-filling Sauvignon Blancs will love this offering.

Rating: 89

Character: rich fruit, bright mouthfeel, lively acidity

Grape(s): Syrah

Special Designation:Writer’s Block

Region: Lake County

Year: 2008

Price: 10-15

Review:

A bouquet of cherry, blackberry, anise, coffee, and a bit of spice greets the senses. Bright cherry and raspberry flavors mingle with dusty minerals, black licorice, and a bit of pepper. A fairly lively red wine, with a chalky mouthfeel, it’s well-suited for pairing with food. Fans of rich Syrah with a robust structure will enjoy this wine.

Rating: 88

Character: red fruit, supple tannins, full mouthfeel

Grape(s): Pinot Noir

Special Designation: Bien Nacido Vineyard

Region: Santa Barbara County

Year: 2008

Price: 30-35

Review:

Aromatics of cherries, strawberries, dark chocolate, and smoky, woodsy suggestions rise up from a glass. Cherry and pomegranate flavors are accented by hints of smoky bacon and white pepper on the palate. Fairly smooth, with a friendly acidity, it has a nice balance of flavors. Fans of Pinots that aren’t so fruit-driven will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 89

Character: bright fruit, light tannins, balanced acidity