There are a number of winemakers of well known, widely distributed wines that craft specialty production side projects. Under these alternate labels, winemakers have more flexibility to experiment ~ sometimes mixing different varietals than what you may typically find. They can be fun, and quite enjoyable discoveries! Some of our favorites are Days Off (Andrew Murray), Conundrum (Caymus), and Small Block Series (Hess).
We recently discovered another special production wine while dining at Lahaina Grill in Maui, HI (highly recommend!). One of the Sommelier’s picks was Aia Red Wine by Miner Family. With the mark-ups they have at restaurants these days, we typically don’t order wines we’ve never tried before. (Yes, we are spoiled by the freedom of corkage fees in California). We haven’t tasted a Miner Family wine we haven’t liked…so, we threw caution to the wind and gave it a go ~
The 2007 Aia Red is a blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, and 15% Malbec. Individually, the grapes are some of my favorites. I was excited to see how they would taste blended as one. The wine is very rich in color, and we both noted the pleasant floral aromas. It was light and very smooth on the palate, with taste of plum fruits, and a little jammy on the finish. The balance in flavors and well-integrated tannins made it a great pairing with my mouth watering braised short ribs, and Jeff’s equally impressive veal chop.
The fruit for this wine is sourced from a low-yielding vineyard in Napa Valley. It is aged 20 months, 50% New French Oak. They produced 2,730 cases ~ keep your eye out for it on restaurant wine lists, online, and in specialty wine stores. It retails at about $27.