I had seen the Napa Farm Market when I first arrived at the San Francisco airport on Friday. Because I returned to the airport early for my departure back to Las Vegas, I wanted to see what they have. Unsurprisingly, there were a lot of organic ready-to-go meals and snacks, natural foods, a pizza show room, and Tyler Florence food stand. But more importantly – at least for me – was the Vino Volo wine store next door. They had a lot of wines that I don’t normally see, and for those I did, they were about $5 to $10 more than the average retail price that I would normally pay. Since it is located inside of an airport, that’s expected. That said, the selection was surprisingly varied and much better than you would expect in such a location. To tell the truth, I did not expect any wine in an airport!
There were several flights and individual wines available on the menu at the tasting bar, so I selected the Noirs of the World flight. Following are my quick observations of the wines that were served.
This is an optically dense, fruit forward Pinot Noir that you would expect from the Russian River Valley. It’s a very California Pinot – rich, lush, with a more creamy than silky mouthfeel. On the nose it has black cherry, smoke, cherry cola, and just a touch of vanilla. On the palate, the tannins are very light, and it has a medium finish with a little bit of stone on the back palate.
Admittedly, I am not too familiar with this varietal. A bit darker in color than the other wines, it has a very assertive nose of ripe cherry, a touch of baking spices, and dried strawberries. There are cloves, nutmeg, and a bit of meatiness to the nose. On the palate, it has unexpected acidity and a medium long finish. Except for the meaty character, the palate reflects the nose. This appears to be the American version of Beaujolais Cru. The tannins are assertive but not overpowering – this is no Cabernet or Nebbiolo – but it’s nice to have a summery red wine with good, food friendly tannins and acidity. I really like this wine.
I revisited this wine after tasting the New Zealand Pinot Noir, and it has more of an assertive ripe cherry on the nose than it did before. It has evolved nicely in the glass, and once again it confirms the fact that I like this wine!
Darker in hue than expected, yet nicely semi-translucent. This 2012 vintage already has a noticeable age ring. This is fragrant, and really smells like Pinot Noir (which the Court of Master Sommeliers does not consider a proper description. Dammit). It has rich cherry vanilla, baking spices, a soupçon of cedar, but basically shows every type of cherry, mostly ripe Bing cherry. Beautiful, food-friendly acidity, drying tannins, but they are very grounded and not overly assertive. I would have this particular Pinot with just about anything fatty, such as duck, salmon, or any dark meat poultry. This is probably one of the best New Zealand Pinot Noirs I’ve had. I really like this wine.
So once the tasting was over, I did not purchase one of these delightful wines, but I bought a Rosé of course! Actually, Rosado! A beautifully fragrant blend of Grenache, Tempranillo, and Viura from Spain, it was irresistible. And, yes, I paid more than probably should have. The whole airport thing, you see. But, as you can probably guess, after a weekend with the grandkids where I did not drink much, I looked forward to having this at home with my feet up and the TV going.
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