Occasionally (more than occasionally) I find a Napa wine that I know nothing about. Never heard of it, never seen the label, never even seen it on a menu anywhere. Yet on occasion these come highly recommended by a friend, a sommelier at a restaurant, or they even just jump out at me from a store shelf or a menu somewhere.
Such was the case with this Newton. Saw it on a menu and thought, "what the heck." It turns out that I'm not the only one who hasn't heard of this vineyard. A quick poll of some of my winemaker friends turned up some shrugged shoulders, but a couple of them pointed me in the right direction. A couple of google searches later, I know that Newton is up on Spring Mountain in Napa, and as far as I can tell seems to both produce wines under the Newton label as well as sell grapes to a select few winemakers. Their most visible wine is their "Le Puzzle" Cabernet, but they seem to have a solid planting of Merlot as well as Chardonnay.
In the case of this wine, the "cuvee" part of it comes from a blend of half Sonoma grapes and half Napa grapes -- it's unclear which vineyards they've gotten them from.
The cuvee is a honey mead color in the glass, and wafts up scents of pinapple, gardenia, and freshly cracked walnuts. The body supports sweet nectarine, jasmine, and toasted oak flavors with a slight acidity. The finish is awkward and it hangs in the front of the palate and in your nose a bit, rather than tapering to a mellow warmth like it should. I think it has probably a touch more acid than it needs and is a little over oaked, but despite its flaws is a nice picnic or BBQ Chardonnay.
I think because of its acidity and the sweetness brought on by a little too much oak, I'd pair this with something spicy, like spicy lemon crab cakes.
Overall Score: 7.5
How much?: $15
This wine is for sale at various Internet merchants.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
Vinography Images: Unglamorous Work A Lesson in the Loss of Denis Malbec I'll Drink to That: Kimberly Prokoshyn of Rebelle Restaurant Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 6/19/16 Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 12, 2016 Warm Up: Richebourg I'll Drink to That: Jean-Nicolas Méo of Méo-Camuzet Vinography Images: It's Nice to be King It's Time for American Wineries to Grow Up I'll Drink to That: Joy Kull of La Villana Winery
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune