TOR Chardonnay Napa Valley, Reserve "Cuvée Susan" 2015

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Half Priced Wine! Gotta have ‘em!

That’s what happened in the case of this Wine-Sum-More edition. I had drunk many a Cabernet from Tor Kenward before but never had the opportunity to try one of their Chardonnays. Those are the two main grapes the winery has produced since Tor retired in 2001 and set out to produce some of the best wines from Napa Valley. A goal which many would concede he has attained.

Back to paragraph one. I couldn’t believe it when I saw a wine from this auspicious winery ON SALE! Since I love Chardonnays it was an easy decision to pick up some and save it for the right occasion. Well, the right occasion presented itself and Wiz-Bam-Boom (okay, I got that from the tech sheet on the wine), a decision was made to open this potentially wonderful wine. With at least one 96 Point review, I had nothing but the strongest desire to avail this wine and the right food in a prestigious marriage.

Now in my “Wine-Sum-More” posts I try to limit the food exposure and concentrate on the wine. But the Salmon with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and a Horseradish Lemon Cream Sauce went marvelous darlin’ (with all thanks to Tallulah Bankhead – Millennials don’t bother to look up, it’s WAY before your generation).

Citrus on the nose with a honeyed nuttiness that seamlessly became a lovely part of the palate. Combined with stoned fruit, a light floral note, and richness that transcended to a bright fresh creaminess on the long finish. Couldn’t find if wine goes through ML, but I think not, or at least very little. Beautiful wine. Starting with a base of Torchiana Vineyard for its richness and acidity the balance from the Hyde and Durell Vineyards, there were only 100 cases produced! AND I GOT SOME! Bragging rights you know.

Now you’re not likely to get the kind of deal I got and 2015 is probably long gone, but keep an eye out for 2016 or 2017. If you love Chardonnays as I do, even at regular price, IT’S WORTH IT!


Ken Forrester "The FMC" Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2014


Chenin Blanc; the grape conjures up thoughts of sweetness on one hand to the many drier versions available on the other. Planted in many regions throughout the world; Vouvray in the Loire Valley in France and more recently in most of the New World wine areas.

For this “Wine-Sum-More” post I’ll be looking at an area of the world where Chenin is planted to the tune of twice as much as in France and is this country’s largest grape varietal – South Africa! The winery, Ken Forrester Vineyards, most of their land in Stellenbosch, South Africa planted with Chenin Blanc and producing predominately 3 lines of Chenin; the Petite Series, Reserve and Icon Ranges, each range of wines showing a style unto itself. For this post, I’m looking at their Icon Series and more specifically The FMC 2014. Made from 100% Chenin Blanc, this is one of a few Chenins to see oak aging, 12 months in new French oak 400L barrels, giving this wine richness and substance. Due to their “repetitive harvesting” there is almost always a certain level of botrytis present as well.

This wine is much more than bright and lively; there is a core of dried stone fruit flavors along with honey, almond and splash of ginger notes. While good acidity, I think that the oak aging has mellowed that to a degree, making this an excellent food wine. The wine ends with a long satisfying finish.

Likely that you’ll see the 2016 or 2017 on shelves currently, don’t let that stop you, it’s a wine that shows consistent quality year after year.