Here are some examples of wines that you can celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival with in both spirit and flavor. A lot of wine snobs overlook the 2008 Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot - which is good since there will be more for the rest of us. This is a well-made wine, aged for 14 months in French and American oak. Only $20.
Pinot Noirs are famous for sporting flavors of strawberry and cherry. The 2008 Argyle Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley of Oregon definitely tilts towards the cherry end of the spectrum where other notes, such as raspberry and cinnamon, jump in to keep it company. Touches of wild strawberry glide in on the medium-bodied finish. $24
Last week, I disclosed my penchant for Grenache wines and the love affair continues this week with the 2007 Kilikanoon "Prodigal" Grenache from the Claire Valley of South Australia. It spends about 20 months in second and third year oak barrels, so there is not a lot of wood to get in the way of the ripe cherry flavors on the front of the tongue. Cedar, tobacco and red licorice notes jump in on the smooth textured and full-bodied finish. $25
Another stunning example from the land down under comes from a producer who is known more for their high-end wines. The 2008 Torbreck Juvenile from the Barossa Valley, is a red wine blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Shiraz, and 20% Mataro. Fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, this big wine favors more of a black cherry component on a nice, medium-bodied frame. The charming finish brings in complimentary notes of cherry jam and baking spices. $25.