Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Black Ankle Vineyards Slate 3

Wine blends are very intriguing. I have spent a lot of time learning about different varietals, especially ones that people don't usually see.  However, while I work to get an understanding of different grapes, there are people out there who are blending different varietals together.  The learning process almost has to start over again.

Yet, I am willing to continue learning, especially when it comes to the blends such as Black Ankle Vineyard's Slate 3.  This is the third iteration of this blend.  I have previously reviewed the original Slate.  I have tasted the Slate 2, and, there is a bottle in our wine cage.  (That means a wine review may be in the offing.)  But, my beautiful Angel pulled out a Slate 3 from that cage and opened it recently.  So, the wine reviews of the Slate iterations are going to be out of order.  

The Slate 3 is a blend of Bordeaux grapes - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petite Verdot.  This blend already marks a departure from the original Slate, which had a substantial amount of Syrah and a little Malbec blended into it.  The breakdown for the Slate 3 is 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot and 9% Petit Verdot.  The grapes come from vines that grow on decomposing slate laced with veins of quartzite, with the slopes facing predominantly to the west and the south.  The wine was aged 18 to 30 months in French oak barrels, with 31% of those barrels being new.   It was bottled in April 2017 and 725 cases were produced. 

The wine pours a crimson red with burgundy tones, suggesting a robust red wine.  The winemakers describe the wine with aromatic elements of dried plums, blackberries and currants, with additional taste elements of orange peel and cracked pepper.  

The fruit elements are clearly present in the aroma of the wine.  In addition to blackberries and currants, I thought I sensed some raspberries.  The body of the wine is firm, with a soft middle gently introducing the fruit elements of the wine, while the edges are a little tighter, with some tannins.  The edges also give those pepper notes and even, appropriately enough, some mineral or slate tones.  There is a dry finish that one would expect from a bold red.  

Overall, the Slate 3 is very good and probably will be even better with age.  That is why we still have a couple additional bottles still sitting in the wine cage.  The wine sells for $45 a bottle. 


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