Wine Reviews

Wagner Family of Wine

I recently had the pleasure to taste six different wines from the Wagner Family of Wine. It’s rare in a tasting that I like all the wines, but in this case, I found them all to be quite pleasant, and a few very good.

This is truly a family affair out in the Napa Valley! Here is the information that I received from Jarvis Communications, who provided this kit to me for sampling purposes:

“Caymus, the iconic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon [is] headed by winemaker and patriarch Chuck Wagner; Mer Soleil and Silver, Chardonnay wines headed by 31-year-old son Charlie Wagner II; Belle Glos and Meiomi Pinot Noirs headed by 29-year-old son Joseph Wagner; and Conundrum, a proprietary white wine blend made by Jon Bolta.

Jenny Wagner, 23, is currently working under her father’s tutelage, and the youngest of the fifth-generation, Erin, plans to enter the family business as well someday.” Wow, go Erin!

The first 2 wines tasted were from the Mer Soleil brand. The name is derived from the region the grapes grow in: Mer from “the Pacific Ocean that brings cooling fog and breezes to the vineyards” and Soleil from “the abundant sunshine that ripens the grapes to golden maturity.”

2009 Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands

This light white wine had a citrus nose with some minerality throughout the mouth. Personally, I wish it had more acidic zip however those preferring a soft and light bodied wine will like this.

The alcohol level is 14.8% and it retails for $22.00.

2008 Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands

With vanilla and pineapple on the nose, this chardonnay had a deeper color and longer finish than the Silver Unoaked. The use of oak is apparent but not offensive and I usually have a strong dislike for oaked Chards. This wine is very food friendly as well.

The alcohol level is 14.5% and it retails for $32.00.

2009 Conundrum, California White Wine Blend

Almost like a blind tasting, this wine makes you guess what’s in it. With a bit of everything – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Muscat – this wine tends to be a crowd favorite. With sweet honey and floral accents on the nose, this very aromatic wine is a pleasing blend that would pair great with spicy foods.

The alcohol level is 13.5% and it retails for $22.00.

2009 Meiomi Pinot Noir, Sonoma/Monterey/Santa Barbera

This Pinot is cherry all the way – ripe cherries and vanilla on the nose, with tart cherries in the mouth. Good quality for the price although I wish the finish was a bit longer.

The alcohol level is 13.9% and it retails for $22.00.

2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley

Fragrant with cranberries on the nose, this Pinot hits you with cinnamon spice and a feeling of autumn. Described in the tasting notes as “Christmas on the palate” this interesting wine would be great in front of a log fire, watching the snow fall.

The alcohol level is 14.4% and it retails for $44.00.

2008 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

I would love to try this in a few years when the tannins have died down a bit. Better with food, this is one big, bold California Cab! Earth and cranberries on the nose and oak and pepper on the palate with coffee overtones.

The alcohol level is 15.2% (!!!) and it retails for $68.00.

Overall, a very solid family of wines. This was my first time drinking out of the little bottles from Tasting Room. I would love to do a side by side comparison between the cute tiny bottles and full size ones, to see how much the taste is altered. Has anyone tried this?

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