Sunday, July 6, 2008

Trinitas Cellars

In celebration of my 42nd birthday my buddy took me out for a day of wine tasting and lunch at one of our favorite restaurants in the Napa Valley - the Rutherford Grill.

Our first stop was at Trinitas Cellars.

The word "Trinitas" is a term coined by Tertullian, (155 – 222 AD) a church leader, prolific author and notable early Christian apologist. He was the first great writer of Latin Christianity, thus sometimes known as the “Father of the Latin Church.” He was a notable lawyer in Rome during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and introduced the term Latin term Trinitas, to the Christian vocabulary as well as the later adopted formula in the Nicene Creed “three Persons, one Substance” in the Latin as “tres Personae, una Substantia” from the Koine Greek “treis Hypostases, Homoousios” and also the terms Vetus Testamentum (“Old Testament") and Novum Testamentum (“New Testament").

The tasting room is located in a wine cave behind The Meritage Resort & Spa, just walk through the hotel lobby, past the swimming pool and there you’ll see the hillside vineyards and the wine case tucked in below.

Trinitas Cellars has an impressive line up of wines. Though they normally give you 4 tastings for $10, our host was generous enough to allow us to try 6.

The first was a 2007 white Meritage - “Psalms” (58% Sémillon and 42% Sauvignon Blanc). A refreshing taste of green apple and tropical fruit for a hot summer day. At $22 a bottle, its a fair price. I think I can imagine King David plucking his harp with this one, “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound.” (Psalms 4:7)
The second wine I tried was the 2004 Old Vine Cuvée which is predominately a blend of Zinfandel (29%), Mataro (26%) and Carginane (22%) and Petite Sirah (16%) blended and a little Alicante Bouschet (4%) and Black Malvoisie (3%). I noted blackberries, blueberries with hints of vanilla on the nose. At only $18 I really liked this one, so I bought a bottle!
The next in the line up was probably their best wine overall - the 2004 Old Vine Petite Sirah. It is a concentrated dark Black/purple color wine with which tastes of blackberries, blueberries and boysenberries. It has big ripe tannins (think barbecued ribs with a spiced rub!) and is well balanced with a lasting mouth feel. It is easy to see why this is their award winning wine!At $22 a bottle it is a fair price
My next taste came from some of Contra Costa’s (Oakley) oldest vines, a rarely found Mataro (a.k.a. “Mourvedre”). I had never heard of the term “Mataro” before and most of the Mourvedre I had tried in the past came from Australia. This was where the day’s wine adventure took an exciting turn. This is a deep full bodied wine with a mouth full of raspberry, blackberry and plum fruit with a little black pepper, chocolate and spices. It sells for $25 and my buddy bought me a bottle for my birthday - “Thanks bro!”

The next wine was one I didn’t ask for but our server said this was her favorite and so she didn’t want us to go without tasting it. The 2003 Zinfandel (Bigalow Vineyard) from Contra Costa exemplified all the characteristics that I love in a zinfandel - jammy raspberry and blackberry flavors, a little pepper with coffee and chocolate nuances. But, at $28 a bottle the price is getting a little steep. I know of many Amador County and Lodi zins that I like just as well and for $10 less.

Our final tasting for the day is a unique dessert wine one that cannot be missed. If you visit the winery, don’t leave without trying this one! The 2004 Revelation Late Harvest Cuvée is a one-of-a-kind that is to die for! I tasted fresh berries and dried fruit (mostly figs and raisins). This would make a great accompaniment to a plain cheese cake! At $28 a bottle the price isn’t oo bad. A little of this sweet baby will go a long way!