As I announced previously, Lionheart’s winemaker Leon Glover brought out 5 wines for us to try, all pre-release until his Mane Event Summer Release party later that Saturday at Crushpad. I got there a little before the start of the event and said hello to Leon and Artisan proprietor Lena and caught up with them for a bit before tasting some of the wines there that night. I hadn’t tasted most of the wines since the barrel tasting, and I was excited to try them now from the bottle. I was so busy getting caught up that I forgot to try any of the wines before we got busy! Once that mistake was rectified, I was free to mingle and check out our crowd, with had great diversity in age, style and wine knowledge. Also making the event were Marshall & Brittany, founders of WineQ.com. After raving about Lionheart for so long, I was glad that they could finally check out the wines for themselves.
All of the wines were showing incredibly well, with the 2006 Santa Barbara Syrah easily taking the award for the wine of the night. I didn’t talk to a single person in the crowd that night that didn’t flat-out love that wine. That particular wine in fact, was the one that first introduced me to Lionheart at the Wine 2.0 Spring Fling last April, so it came as no surprise to me that it was received so well. That the SB Syrah is actually one of the first wines that Leon ever made, is an intimidating side note to the evening! The 2006 Roaring Red was a close second as a favorite for me that night with it’s plush nose of blueberry cobbler from the Syrah and cherry and velvety mouthfeel from the Cab Sauv. Jenny’s appetizer selections were fantastic and very tasty alongside the wines.
Leon also brought a Vinturi with which to pour the reds and it was an interesting exercise to taste the SB Syrah twice, once without the Vinturi and once through it. I found the aromas to be much more open as if decanted as expected, but the mouthfeel was also much silkier than without the gadget. Cool stuff! While I don’t think every wine might benefit from the device (again, much like decanting) it really can make some young wines shine.
The night was so busy that it ended later than expected, which can only be taken as a good sign. After bidding farewell to Leon and Lena, Beth and I headed back to the homestead.
It wasn’t goodbye for long, however. While I did have to work all morning at the day job, I was able to very briefly swing by the Mane Event on Saturday and try the 2007 Pinot. Wow. Phenomenal stuff, even as it is still a work in progress. Just a tremendous nose of cranberry, cherries and roses then a racy palate that fills your mouth with that wonderful red fruit and a very long and dynamic finish. I can’t wait to try this wine in a few months!
Wines poured in order, by Leon at Artisan:
Lionheart Wines Russian River Valley Saraleeâ€™s Vineyard The Angelâ€™s Share 2007
Wine tasted pre-bottling at Mane Event:
Lionheart Wines Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2007