Wine with a View: Markus Wine Co., Stinson Vineyards, and Illahe Vineyards

Hello Friends, 

I’m one of those people who likes to visit beaches during the offseason—particularly those in Delaware and Ocean City, Maryland. I go as often as I can; the solitude is unparalleled. You can say goodbye to traffic and crowds. Entertainment and events extend beyond summer, and some of my favorite restaurants (e.g., Hooked, The Shark on the Harbor, Liquid Assets, Our Harvest, etc.) are between Ocean City and Delaware.  There are also good deals to be had and awesome sunsets to be admired.

Wine with a View!

A wise old man once told me that the beach possesses healing powers, and I believe it—maybe doctors should prescribe going to the beach more. For me, the offseason is about relaxing, recharging, rejuvenating—and, of course, sipping. During the day, I usually check out a local brew or two at the source, or at one of the area’s many eateries. But in the evening, I always enjoy a delicious glass of wine. And I always bring wine to the beach. Below are three wines I thoroughly enjoyed during my last visit. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Markus Wine Co. 2015 ‘Zeitlos’ Syrah

Markus Wine Co. 2015 ‘Zeitlos’ Syrah (SRP $39): This is an absolutely appealing Syrah. Sourced from Lodi, California’s Borra Vineyards, there are additions of 12% Carignane, 8% Petite Sirah, and 4% Viognier. I’m fond of this wine for its vividness, framework, depth, and freshness. Inviting black- and blue-skinned fruit aromas join dark cherry, violets, and a mix of earth tones, black pepper, and baking spices in the mouth. It is full-bodied with fine yet firm tannins, balanced acidity, and a long finish. Swiss-born winemaker Markus Niggli is among a number of boutique producers crafting high-quality wines from Lodi-grown fruit that are turning heads across the country. All of Markus Wine Co. wines are beautifully packaged. The striking label art, by Karina Michaels, represents the sacrifice for quality—Zeitlos (ageless and memorable)—the commitment to excellence and attention to detail from ground to glass. Drink now or hold, but definitely put this wine-grower on your radar! Only 75 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. Other info: ABV 14.6%, native yeast fermentation, matured 23 months in French oak, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Stinson Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Franc

Stinson Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Franc (SRP $24): Stinson Vineyards is a family-owned and -operated winery situated in Virginia’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, specializing in small-batch, French-inspired wines. Their Cabernet Franc is sourced from a reliable local grower in Benevino Vineyards. Brilliant ruby in color, aromas of black cherry, red plum, and crushed violets merge with notes of cedar, tobacco, and fresh earth on the palate. In the mouth, this wine is medium-bodied with supple texture, well-integrated tannins, and good acid balance. If you enjoy a rocking bottle of Cabernet Franc, you owe it to yourself to get this wine on your table. Only 300 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Frederick County, Virginia. Other info: ABV 13%, 4% Petit Verdot added, matured 9 months in 20% new French oak barres, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Illahe Vineyards 2016 Estate Pinot Noir

Illahe Vineyards 2016 Estate Pinot Noir (SRP $23): Pronounced Ill-Uh-Hee, this Willamette Valley Pinot Noir offers considerable value for the money. Illahe is a LIVE-certified, Salmon Safe sustainable vineyard. In the wine cellar, a non-interventionist approach is taken. Practices include the use of native yeast, and no enzymes or additives. Some of the wines are made entirely by hand, with no electricity or modern mechanization. This delightful Pinot serves up scents reminiscent of dark cherries, purple stone fruit, forest floor, and faint notes of warm baking spice. These aromas extend to the palate, supported by juicy, food-friendly acidity and a pleasant freshness. Good on its own, it is also a wine you would be happy to have on the dinner table. Approximately 5,600 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon. Other info: ABV 14.5%, native yeast fermentation, barrel aged for 10 months (10% new), cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

"It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream." ~ Bern Williams

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