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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Wine Review: Dane Cellars Valeria 2016

Bart Hansen is the founder and winemaker of Dane Cellars and just from the brief conversation I had with him over the phone two years ago I could tell he's just one hell of a guy. Funny, open, honest, and kind, with a big heart full of passion and love. Bart started off in the industry during harvest; trucking grapes from the vineyard down a hill, five tons at a time. In 1986 he started winemaking for Kenwood, and then hopped over to Benziger in 1998. But he left Benziger to become a stay at home dad to his son Dane. And when he felt like he needed to get back in the game, he founded Dane Cellars in 2007.

You can read all the reviews I've written on Bart's wine under the Dane Cellars label for the blog, but this time I'm reviewing his 2016 Valeria, 2016 Chenin Blanc, 2016 Zinfandel, and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. (PS: I still have a bottle of his 2012 Justi Creek Cabernet Sauvignon that I'm waiting to open on a special occasion and can't wait to see how it evolved)

The 2016 Valeria is a Rhone Ranger blend of 55% Grenache, 38% Syrah, and 7% Mourvédre from Sonoma Valley. It was fermented in open top tanks, punched down by hand, and aged in French oak barrels for 18 months, and it has a 15.5% ABV. I wonder if the name Valeria has anything to do with Game of Thrones???

The color of the wine is ruby red with violet highlights. Speaking of violet, you get plenty of violet on the nose! But there's also strawberry sauce, orange rind, dark chocolate, beach sand, and of course that high ethanol presence that you expect out of Grenache. On the palate it's on the lighter side of medium bodied with a fluent mouthfeel, grainy but soft tannin, and an acidity that hides behind the effects of that high ethanol. There's flavors of cold brewed coffee, black cherries, strawberry sauce, graphite, and a little dirt. It finishes super silky smooth with just a little bit of grainy tannin standing up in protest.

Oh my goodness. Bart has truly made something special here. Valeria is elegant and smooth but it still has grit and heartiness. This is seriously a California tribute to Rhone done at peak performance. If you've got two Jackons in your wallet right now then you now know how to spend it.


Price: $40
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge
 for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

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