The Taste of St. Croix is and always has been unique, mega-well attended, and now, to boot, one of the top-10 best wine and food ‘events’ on the planet. And this year did not disappoint. Loaded with fabulous foods, over-the-top wines, and an endless parade of well dressed locals, celebrity and local chefs, and producers of top-notch wines, it is truly an event with the stamp “What’s not to like?”
I caught up with winemaker Paul Hoffman, this being his sixth visit for the ‘Taste.’ He was beyond friendly and willing to chat me up on all things wine. Paul represents Hoffman Family Cellars with four different brands (another–not here at this event–comes out next month, called 401k, a Chardonnay), all of which speak of an individual concept. Poured this evening:
- Curveball Spinning Red- ,a just-right blend of mostly Old Vine Zinfandel, some Petite Sirah, and a tad of Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine shows firm tannins, black and red fruit, and juicy acidity. A brilliant blend, with bursting dark fruit, especially bing cherry. Luxurious, well-structured, with a long and lingering finish showing tobacco and coffee. A happy surprise, finding a Napa red wine for under $20.! (The name ‘Curveball’ was generated from the concept ‘When life throws you a curveball, just hit it!’)
- Curveball Spinning White- another dynamite blend, this one of mostly Sauvignon Blanc, aloing with some Gewurtztraminer, a blend that surpisingly enough works beautifully together. The Sauvignon Blanc brings the wine crisp, bright citrus, the Gewurtztramier, the prominent spice. Aged in stainless steel, this one is great with spicy foods.
- Atmoshere- 100% Syrah? Again, what’s not to like? Aged entirely in French oak, this wine has bright acidity, is well structured, with smooth tannins. Cherry cola and rose petals are noted, the finish is long and smooth.
- Headbanger- showing Paul’s love–the ‘blend’–of rock ‘n’ roll and wine making, this one’s a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, and a touch of Zinfandel. The wine is big, bold, and in-your-face. Deep, purplish-red in the glass, it is intense, though well-balanced and clean. Expect blueberry, cedar, and allspice on the nose, with layers of cranberry, dark cherry, wild raspberry, and black pepper. The finish is long, clean, and lingering, a wine with plenty of character; the fruit shows through, giving it a not-overbearing yet big, bold character.
Author: Leslie Cramer, Wine Examiner