Sunday, March 12, 2017

Storypoint Vineyards California Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Storypoint Vineyards California Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

For a day outing, taking my folks out for dinner, we traveled to Cedar Lake, Indiana to dine at the Lighthouse Restaurant overlooking the lake. We were hoping to take a nice bottle of wine but Indiana's repressive liquor laws prohibit BYOB. We were pleased to fine suitable wine selections by the bottle and WBTG (by the glass) from their limited but carefully selected wine list. 

This was our first visit to the Lighthouse and it exceeded our expectations in every way. The venue, food, service, atmosphere and overall hospitality were fabulous. I was expecting a small dark cottage from the 40's or 50's. Instead, Lighthouse is bright, vibrant, trendy, quaint and modern, all at the same time. The bar and the hostess' desk are both constructed from the hull of old classic double plank boats. There are dining rooms that are intimate and others bright and airy with large windows offering wonderful panoramic views of the lake. The menu was expansive, the food very good, and the service was extraordinary. 

Keith and Linda has filets of beef, mom had bbq ribs and I had the macadamia crusted Canadian Walleye. All our entrees and sides were very good - carefully prepared, served hot, with appropriate portions. The Walleye was a large portion, heavily encrusted with toasted macadamia nut, served with a tasty beau blanc sauce.  

For wine selections we ordered by the glass Kendall Jackson Sonoma County Chardonnay and Storypoint Vineyards California Cabernet Sauvignon. Both were ideal accompaniments to the food and were fairly priced with appropriate pours. 

Storypoint Vineyards California Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

I have never heard of this label and was skeptical since it is a 'California' selection, meaning the fruit is sourced from a variety of locations across the state, as opposed to being from one appellation or even region. Often such wines are bulk wines, from fruit sourced from growers who sell grapes or even bulk wine as a commodity. Or, such wines are a melange, comprised of fruit from a disparate sources resulting in non-descript wines lacking character or style since they lack any sense of terroir or sense of place. 

What a pleasant surprise, while this wine is comprised of grapes from vineyards in the Red Hills AVA of Lake County, the Paso Robles AVA in San Luis Obispo County and the Lodi AVA in San Joaquin County, it is an Estate wine, meaning the grapes are all from producer owned vineyards. The producer's notes cite the integration of flavors from each region. They succeeded as the result is a wine that is well crafted, very flavorful, nicely balanced, even bordering on being polished. 

Dark garnet colored, bold, rich, full-bodied, aromatic, complex bright, nicely integrated dark berry fruits accented with tones of mocha chocolate, spice, hints of nutmeg and vanilla, ending with savory moderate tannins.

Perhaps explaining its harmonious complexity, different sources attribute this to be a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot, Malbec, Petit Sirah and Cabernet Franc.

RM 90 points.

The winemaker is Sonoma County native Aaron Piotter who has been crafting wines for more than two decades. As their website attests, "Storypoint is a new project in which Aaron releases any restraints of traditional AVA’s, allowing him to express one singular vision: to make interesting wines regardless of their boundaries." 

'A graduate of the University of California at Davis Viticulture & Enology program, Aaron has made wine from all over California, including ZD and Ferrari Carano. Using this knowledge, he plots out a course each vintage to create the layered, complex wines of Storypoint."

Well done, indeed! He has done a remarkable job in this enjoyable, sophisticated but easy drinking wine that offers very great QPR - (quality-price ratio). 

Part of this value is that a 'non-appellation specific' wine avoids or lacks all the cache or snobbery of any particular area, hence not commanding a higher price-point for such wines. Over time, as the brand becomes more established and better known, with consistency and continued high achievement, prices of Storypoint wines may well escalate. Grab them while you can, if you can find them!

More of Lighthouse Restaurant, Cedar Lake, IN ....