Blend '41 was named to pay homage to the year, 1941, when Valley of the Moon winery was established. This wine displays dark fruit and cassis aromas, with a structured mid-palate, and well-defined tannins, reminiscent of a comforting cherry pie. Born from the components used to enhance our signature wines, Zinfandel plays the leading role in this bottling. Sangiovese adds structured tannins and Merlot delivers red fruit. Malbec and Barbera build upon the brightness in the mid-palate.
This wine is perfect for spicy barbecue dishes, lighter fare or a homemade pizza. It’s a most personable friend who gets along with others.
At Valley of the Moon Winery on the historic Madrone vineyards, thoughtful stewardship intersects with small-lot winemaking in the unparalleled setting of the heart of Sonoma Valley. Valley of the Moon is the oldest operating winery in Glen Ellen, producing complex wines from vines more than 100 years old. Quality begins in the vineyard, with a viticulture tradition as rich and deep as the soil where are grapes are grown. Valley of the Moon… We are Sonoma County.
“As we celebrate the renaissance of Valley of the Moon Winery, our mission is clear: To at last honor the rich history of our Sonoma Valley winery, its true sense of place and sustained sense of purpose with wines of exceptional quality and of genuine provenance.” - Tony Stewart, Proprietor
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IA, KS, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY
Tuesday, December 17: Eight days until Christmas. As I was watching my case of the Moonspell Cabernet Sauvignon ride the chocolate bus around my neighborhood, I got a little surprise from UPS: a Next Day Saver package, to be delivered the following afternoon. Perfect timing, I thought, as I packed the van for my family’s trip up north for the Holidays. It didn’t come Wednesday. It didn’t come Thursday. By Friday I was feeling pretty nervous with a 5 am departure looming. A quick email to Ariana relieved my anxiety: the bottle hadn’t left the warehouse yet, and she’d ship it to Minnesota instead.
I received the Valley of the Moon Blend ‘41 at my in-laws house on December 23 and let the bottle settle for a day, opening it during our family Christmas feast. Ham, Turkey and Prime Rib were on the menu along with olives, corn souffle and mashed potatoes, providing a mélange of flavors to pair with the wine.
The bottle had a nice long, high quality natural cork with 3mm of very dark staining. On pop-and-pour it is a medium garnet color with a garnet edge, showing a little bit of age. It coats the glass thickly with very slowly developing legs. It has a complex nose with subtle cherry-berry notes, some bright fruit like cranberry, and no perceptible oak. It is light on the palate, very bright but not necessarily fruity. It has the essence of raspberry, like the tannin, aroma and acidity of the actual fruit rather than a raspberry-flavored drink. There are appreciable drying tannins with pronounced grip, medium finish lingering about 5 seconds. Demands food!
My wife, who prefers fruit forward wines and medium bodied Rhone blends, had faint praise for this bottle. She called it a ‘normal red table wine. Too acidic with turkey, not something I would typically buy.’ She noticed some spiciness and found it to be a little on the dry side. My sister in law, who likes expensive whisky and cheap red wines, called it ‘a good leisure glass, something I’d drink around a bonfire.’ The wine had enough body to stand up to the richness of the prime rib, which tamed the rough tannins. Brussels sprouts brought out an earthy note that wasn’t there with the wine by itself. Surprisingly, it went nicely with horseradish, which masked the tannin and brought out delicate red fruit. It was a bit rough for turkey breast, which overwhelmed the mild meat. I’m not great at identifying varietals and this blend doesn’t provide me many clues. It’s not heavy like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah and not fruity like Petit Sirah, Grenache or Zinfandel. I left the bottle, half empty, on the counter overnight.
I tasted this wine several times over the next few days and every time came away with the same impression: something is missing. It’s a like a four-year-old child, for whom his father has great expectations, being made to labor away in the classroom instead of tearing through the house with youthful exuberance. It tastes like it was made to grow up too fast and instead faded away. The chewy tannins and dense texture make it a great accompaniment to a range of hearty fare (especially Italian food, subconsciously guided by the winery’s designation of this bottling as their ‘Super Tuscan’) but it is hard to drink on its own or recommend. Thanks to WCC and Valley of the Moon for giving me the opportunity to taste this bottle, to Ariana for rerouting the package on a dime, and to UPS for delivering far later than the 8:45 pm - 12:45 pm window. Salut!
@KitMarlot Kudos on a beautifully written review. I especially loved your simile: “It’s a like a four-year-old child, for whom his father has great expectations, being made to labor away in the classroom instead of tearing through the house with youthful exuberance.” Sounds like an identity crisis! Experiences such as this made Ebeneezer into a real Scrooge! Thank you for a thoughtful and honest analysis!
@tercerowines I didn’t notice the specs (trying to be guided by my impressions and not numbers) so I just noticed the relatively low TA and relatively high RS. This was a strange wine. My wife described it as ‘acidic’, but she uses that word in place of ‘harsh’. I thought it tasted overextracted and low in acid, which these numbers bear out.
@KitMarlot Thanks for the clarification. Just an fyi - there is no way that the pH will be that high. The TA may be that low, but I’ve never seen a pH higher than about 4.1 or 4.2. It just won’t be that high. Cheers
@kaolis@KitMarlot@klezman@rjquillin Indeed - Happy New Year, all! But that tech sheet is still wrong. And did anyone notice that RS? Not a huge amount but enough to cover up any bitterness that’s for sure . . .
I received my bottle for labratting right before Christmas. it’s been insane in my house - so I planned on using this bottle as an excuse for some ‘self care’ time in between holiday festivities.
I first tried a glass by itself, and while I didn’t hate it, I didn’t like it either. There’s a ‘chunkiness’ to this wine that I feel NEEDS some sort of hearty food with it. I found it more peppery and less fruity, although the fruit was present.
I desperately hoped that we had some leftover lamb from a dinner I made a few nights before - but alas, my husband had already eaten the last of it for…breakfast? I guess time really doesn’t matter in that space between Christmas and New Years…
I let the bottle hang out on the counter until dinner, and paired it with a medium rare steak, brussel sprouts, and mashed garlic cauliflower. It made a WORLD of difference to this wine, but there was still something that was very overpowering or even “not quite there” that I feel was missing. I felt it worked nicely with the red meat for a few seconds, but that pairing was quickly overpowered by the wine. The veggies didn’t fair much better.
My husband - who is not into fancypants wines (and tasting them) didn’t care for this wine AT ALL. “That’s…wine” is all I could really get out of him as he swallowed his glass in one gulp and moved on to water.
This would not work with light or delicate flavors. This is a hearty “it’s snowing and we’ve lit a fire and we’re eating venison” wine - and even then, I’m not sure it would work for everyone. This is most definitely not an everyday table wine either, at least not in my house.
I would be willing to try this wine again with much more gamey meats, because I’m willing to bet that’s where it would shine.
This is my first order since the change to UPS for shipping. Unlike FedEx, they will only hold the shipment at their main facility located in Eagan,MN which is 45 minutes from my house. FedEx would hold at multiple places 5 minutes from my house. I called UPS and they said Eagan was my only option. Has anyone else in MN had this issue?