Sure… You could purchase a vineyard. Work the land year after year. Plant row after row of grapes, and nurture them to maturity through every weather pattern imaginable. Break your back through painstaking labor and eventually produce the bottle of wine you had in your dreams 30 years back when you first started… Only to learn that you need to “lay off the juice”, due to fact that you are not 85 years old and have a failing liver.
Or you could be one of the three guys who founded BNA Wine Group who decided to just buy the best grapes they could get their hands on, blend them and make some amazing bottles of wine. Ok… It’s not quite that simple. These guys have “paid their dues” and worked every aspect of the industry over the years. John Hooper is a fourth generation wine and spirits distributor, Tony Leonardini is a second generation winemaker and Gary Carr is an industry veteran.
What they are doing is searching for the best vineyards to source grapes from, find the best ways to turn the juice into wine and offer it for a low and fair price. We had the chance to try three of their wines. All of which have made it to our “Must Try Wines of 2013” list.
The Rule 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Why “The Rule”? Is it made by a tattooed rap artist turn wine maker? No. It’s called “The Rule” because they follow three simple rules for making this bottle. Grapes picked at the right sugar range, fermented at an exact temperature for a set time and rested for a several months in oak barrels. What you end up with is a dark Cabernet that is loaded with black cherry, raspberries, burnt oak and a slight hint of vanilla. A great wine to drink on its own or to pair with grilled foods and rich meats. Retails for about $23. 91 Points.
Bandwagon 2011 Pinot Noir
This is a blend of Pinot noir grapes from California’s Arroyo Seco and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. It may also be the inspiration in our ancestors minds who pushed their way to the west coast despite family members dying of scurvy and oxen drowning along the Oregon trail (that wasn’t just in the video game you know!). It is a very tasty wine with notes of raspberry, wild herbs, lavender, rose petal and vanilla. It retails for around $18. 91 Points
Butternut 2011 Chardonnay
Its name is a very accurate description of the wine. This is a well balanced chardonnay with very prominent notes of butter and toasted nuts. This is what a good Chardonnay should taste like. It balances the flavors of peach, hazelnut, candied apple butterscotch, oak and has a creamy and buttery texture. It is reminiscent of another one of my favorite whites – Conundrum. It’s well worth the $18 this retails for. 93 Points.