Each time I go back home to Massachusetts, my mom and I visit a small wine barn in our little New England town. The wine store is always stalked as if they know I'm coming. The first time I walked in, a bottle of Samantha's Chardonnay (which is wicked good!) was on display in the front of the store... I'm telling you, this place is made for me.
While I was home a few weeks ago, I was browsing the wines and I found one called The Bean. It first caught my eye when I spotted two little coffee beans printed on the label.
After a month or so of waiting to try my wine, I finally popped the cork on my birthday in late October.
This wine is fermented in French oak barrels that first roasted coffee beans to add to the flavor of the wine. HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!
The wine is made from Pinotage grapes, South Africa's signature verity. It's a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut verities. In this wine, the Pinot Noir flavors came through very strongly and the wine was extremely expressive of cherries, which disappointed me a bit because I was expecting a more smokey, coffee flavor. The coffee notes, however, were still present, just more muted than I would have hoped.
I'm not a big fan of Pinot Noir; it's too fruity. I prefer drier wines with a big bite. Regardless of personal preference, I think if this same technique was used with Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, the coffee and mocha notes would have been been more pronounced because they would have had a more similar base to bounce off of. Instead, the coffee notes were in competition with the dominant cherry flavors. Similarly, The Bean is only fermented for three months, leaving a smooth and silky finish rather than building the tannins and further absorbing the hints the coffee and mocha from the barrel.
Though I would make some changes to please my palate, I was more than fine sipping this wine on my birthday. In fact, there was not one drop of wine or a single coffee ground left in the bottle.