Another #Under25Challenge Winner

Last Saturday afternoon I found myself in the middle of New Jersey at some sort of mad fun house[1] for a birthday party with a gaggle of seven year olds. It was exhausting[2]. I’ve never been in a place with so much stimulation. Ever. When the madness was over, I got in my car and cranked the Beethoven, because while I love me some Disney music, three hours of The Bare Necessities and Kidz Bop, had me on edge. Since I found myself in a new and unknown world, I broke out Yelp to find me a nice little wine shop so I could pick out my #Under25Challenge selection. The reviews for Merit Fine Wines looked good, so I made my way over.

File Feb 20, 9 54 36 AMI walked in[3] and was greeted by what could only have been the owner. I went into my spiel. “I do this thing on Twitter[4]…I need you to recommend your best wine for $25 or under…” After looking at my quizzically for a second, he smiled and said, “Well ok, I think I can help.” He took me all around the store offering me different varietals. Did I want an Italian, a sparkling? Maybe a Cabernet, or a Burgundy? He had options. His only concern was what bottle to choose. The store was quaint, with rows and rows of riddling racks[5] holding quite a diverse selection of wine. I went with the Cabernet[6] over the Burgundy at the suggestion of my new wine friend. I also loved the label[7].

This week’s Twitter chat was a blast. Even more engagement than last month, and several participants ended up loving their new wine[8]. I didn’t get a chance to talk about my wine again because it was so fast paced, so I figured I’d get it out in a blog. If you missed out, put it on your calendar for next month, March 16 at 8 PM EST. Happy wine hunting!


To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:              WineEsquire
Date:               February 16, 2016
Wine:              2012 Fortnight Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

File Feb 20, 9 55 01 AMGiven that we don’t have much time before we pass out and die from our day of healthy eating[9], the wine did not have much time for breathing. Straight out of the bottle, it was one of the deepest, darkly purple wines I’ve ever seen. The air bubbles were profound, even without an aerator. And they were gorgeously purple. On the nose I got a hint of sharpie and some fruit I couldn’t quite place. The first sip revealed a slight sour twist on the finish. A bit dry, almost chalky, but not in a way that’s unpleasant. A touch of raspberries and a leathery richness gave it a great mouth feel.

It was a great complement to the meal, though it could easily drink on its own too. If I was into buying bottles over again, I’d give this one another go. I bought it in New Jersey for $24.99, not the cheapest, but not overpriced either. Seems to be the going rate for the bottle even online. Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Wine Dossier
The website for Fortnight Winery is sparse; some great photos but not much information on the wine, the winemaker or anything really. I did a bit of digging and found that this wine is part of the Farm Collective, a portfolio of small Napa wineries run by a group of farmers that come together to make wine. Their motto is in Ex Agris Vita – In Agriculture Comes Life. Bertus Van Zyl, a South African native who, by the age of 15 knew he wanted to be a winemaker,[10] is the head winemaker for the collective.

File Feb 20, 10 03 31 AMThe 2012 vintage was a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Malbec and 9% Merlot[11] coming from four different Napa vineyards. Harvested between September 27 and October 31, 2012,[12] it was finally bottled on August 28, 2014 after spending twenty months in a mix of French, American and new oak barrels.

I liked this piece from the website:

A Fortnight is a unit of time equal to 14 days (2 weeks). And while every harvest season is the culmination of a full 12 months of rigorous preparation and strenuous effort to produce the best wines possible, there is a specific and almost magical moment during that period when we must decide our jumping off point and pick that very first cluster. From that point forward the journey has begun in transforming beautifully ripened fruit into exceptionally crafted wine.

It’s quite fascinating to think how much work goes into each bottle of wine that we so casually drink. Taking a second to step back and consider the number of people involved in the process is really necessary to appreciate how lucky we are to have infinite wines at our fingertips.

And on that deep note, I leave you to your wine!

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] The website touts there’s over “100,000 square feet of fun!” More like 100,000 square feet of insanity. And germs. #handsanitizer
[2] Fun, but exhausting.
[3] After parallel parking like a boss. #citylife
[4] He clearly doesn’t do Twitter.
IMG_7704[5] You may recall that Madame Clicquot invented these racks back in the day. See Celebrating In Style, Wine Dossier.
[6] Surprise, surprise.
[7] And yes, it is ok to choose your wine based on the label, or at least have it be a contributing factor in the final decision. #PrettyThings
[8] Alas, it didn’t work so well for all, but hey, you win some, you lose some. Life’s all about adventures.
[9] The past week, Husband and I have been eating healthy. Green juice in the morning, yogurt at lunch, mint and lemon water throughout the day. By time we get home we’re STARVING. Our wine pairing feast that evening was broccoli cheddar soup followed by Cajun salmon with garlic spinach and spaghetti squash hash browns. Delicious, but most importantly, quick.
[10] Smart kid.
[11] Remember that legally, a wine needs only 75% of a single varietal in order to label it as that grape. Most bottles that are listed as single varietal wines are actually blends.
[12] It seems that vintners consistently harvest on Halloween; I knew it was my favorite holiday for a reason.

File Feb 20, 9 58 21 AMAnd if you haven’t voted yet, head over to Facebook and vote for WineEsquire in the Milessima Wine Blog Awards. Winning means I’d get to head across the pond for a wine adventure in Bordeaux. Read more here. Or just go vote. Cheers!


2 thoughts on “Another #Under25Challenge Winner

  1. You were right in my neighborhood (extended) I”m only about 30 min. from Montclair! Of course, I was technically in Paso when you were in Montclair, so I don’t know if that’s a legal statement or not. LOL. If in the area again, let us know!

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