Blackbird Vineyards represents an artistic and approach to winemaking that appeals to the conservative wine drinker as well as the young demographic. Located in Napa Valley, Blackbird has a very hands on style, literally handpicking all their fruit for bottling. Their passion for winemaking translates into a superior product and in my opinion Blackbird is the best newest winery with incredible potential and longevity. With the help of winemaker Sarah Gott and winegrower Aaron Pott, owner Micheal Polenske farms a 10 acre estate vineyard to produce several wines under the Blackbird label called “Illustration,” “Paramour,” “Contrarian,” and “Arise,” (all varying blends except the Arise which is 100% Merlot). As well as a rosé called “Arriviste.”
The first wine I tasted was the rose “Arriviste”. First of all, was so impressed that they would even attempt to make a rose. As far as I’m concerned roses are underappreciated in this country and it makes me smile to know that Blackbird produces rose. This 2008 rose is a very approachable blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc exhibits youthful red fruit aromas. Strawberry, blood orange, and pistachio are highlighted on the nose, while cherries and citrus are present on the dry palate. Framed by balanced acidity and a soft mineral edge, the vibrant fruit flavors carry on to the creamy strawberry finish. It was very crisp and is great when paired with seafood of a salad.
The 2006 “Arise” is a Bordeaux style blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. This wine has a nose of tobacco, black cherry, and wet wood. On the palette it is exceedingly juicy and bright, with amazing acidity and fantastic black cherry and black plum flavors. Light tannins, a hint of tobacco and whisps of vanilla and cola twist and turn through a lovely finish. This wine is velvet and silk on the tongue and its lushness and softness will have you drinking until the bottle is empty.
I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of these wines and I count the days until I can taste the others. I recommend that if you see any of these wines that you buy as many as possible. Blackbird Vineyards will continue to grow and evolve but the wines will always maintain their enormous integrity.
Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.
Death in the Afternoon