21 August, 2020
Black Stallion Estate Wines…and Puzzles!Posted in : Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Red Wine, Tasting Rooms in Napa Valley - CA, White Wine, Wine on by : The Gourmez
Early on in the pandemic shutdown, I received two wines to review for this blog from Black Stallion Estate Winery (website), located in the Napa Valley. Like much of California wine country right now, Black Stallion is not that far from wildfires caused by lightning strikes last weekend, though they are not under threat as far as I know. Please remember California, and indeed, several western states also aflame, in your prayers.
Buying wine is a great way to support wine country after a disaster like these fires, but do know they may not be able to fill your order right away — calling the tasting room line at 707-227-3250 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org to check in first is likely a good idea. Obligatory disclaimer: By “received two wines to review for this blog,” I mean that the wines pictured here were free to me.
There was a fun gift included with my shipment from Black Stallion: a jigsaw puzzle! Right before it arrived, I’d just completed my first puzzle in a very long time, one made of flowers and friends that my husband had produced for my 40th birthday in May.
Pro-tip: Puzzles are an excellent way to spend your time when cooped up in the house. As we’re now in the midst of a heat wave, smoke, and the pandemic in the Bay Area, cooped up is my current state of existence so this was a welcome distraction. The puzzle from Black Stallion was double-sided, with an image from the entrance to the Black Stallion Winery on one side and a map of the wine regions and vineyards near Napa Valley on the other.
That puzzle was NOT EASY. There is so much sky in that image, let me tell you. But what better excuse could I have to dig into my two bottles of Black Stallion wine to keep me company while puzzling? The first one I tried was the Black Stallion 2017 Gaspar Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine’s suggested retail price is $75, and it’s 100% cabernet sauvignon grapes coming from a single vineyard in the Oak Knoll district of the Napa Valley.
Green bell pepper, black pepper, prune, and nectarine on the nose for me. On drinking, the same fruit flavors come to mind along with fruit leather with the seeds in it and a cool heat. There’s a bamboo woodsiness and the herbal balancing of sage leaf. As it airs, blueberry comes out with cocoa on the finish.
Drinking the next day, the alcohol heat had mellowed, and dark chocolate rose to prominence. The fruit notes darkened into black cherry and boysenberry, though the initial ones were still present in a rich blend.
For pairing, I’d try a garlic-rubbed prime rib or maybe venison with a berry sauce—the wine’s acidity would meld perfectly with such dishes. I can also picture it beside a warm brownie sundae or a hearty polenta. The key here is RICHNESS. This wine will work great with any dish where each forkful feels like a meal.
A few days later, I moved on to the lighter side of Black Stallion Estate, hoping the 2018 Black Stallion Napa Valley Chardonnay would aid me in my quest for puzzle completion. The chardonnay’s suggested price is $22. It’s sourced from five different American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the Napa Valley, so it’s a blend that demonstrates what multiple chardonnay grapes in the region can offer when they come together.
The wine holds a hint of rose gold. Peach notes are extra ripe in the nose. Buttery, creamy oak is present in its proper place; for me, that means it enhances, rather than distracts from, the fruit and acidity. That acidity is akin to a slice of key lime dipped in lemon sugar—mild but pleasing. There’s slight oyster salinity. Cinnamon livens up the glass, keeping it interesting through each sip.
This wine would be great with a cheesy pasta, vegetable side dish, or risotto. Perhaps a fried chicken salad! I can also see it offering a great complement to roasted fish, such as branzino.
By the end of that bottle, the puzzle was complete! Here’s a short video of my attempts to complete it.
Puzzling with Black Stallion Wines
An attempt to solve Black Stallion Estate Vineyard’s jigsaw puzzle!
Posted by Rebecca Gomez Farrell – The Gourmez on Thursday, August 20, 2020
But if you just want to see how it turned out, here it is.
Though my eyes may have gone cross-eyed staring at its bricks and stones, Black Stallion Estate does look like a lovely winery to visit! I look forward to doing so someday, when the fires cease and the pandemic allows. I hope you’re finding digging into great wines and great games as good of a distraction as I am during these times.
Tasted and played early August 2020.