Niner Wine Estates is the visionary initiative of Richard Niner, who has successfully blended exceptional people, proper tools, and innovative ideas to create a world class winery in the heart of Paso Robles along Highway 46 West. While growing up on a rural farm in West Virginia, Richard Niner’s path took him through Princeton and Harvard into 30 years of successfully investing in small businesses. In 1996 he purchased Bootjack Ranch vineyards, 224 of vines in eastern part of Paso Robles that became the foundation of Niner Wine Estates that was founded in 2001. Two years later he purchased the picturesque 139 acre Heart Hill Vineyard along Highway 46 West. Heart Hill gets its name from the natural oak-tree filled depression on the hillside that is in the perfect shape of a heart.
Niner began to build its winning team with distinguished winegrowers Jim Smoot and Jerry Grant. In 2004 he hired Amanda Cramer as their winemaker. The work began on the most modern state-of-the-art gravity flow winery behind Heart Hill in Paso Robles that opened in 2009. At the same times vineyard acreage grew at both Bootjack Ranch and Heart Hill as additional varietals were planted. In 2010 the elegant stone barn design Hospitality Center opened along Highway 46 West in the Heart Hill Vineyard property. The inaugural vintage for Niner Wine Estates was released in January 2006.
Niner has since grown to a 10,000 case production winery focusing on Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
During a recent tasting at UNWINED in San Jose, Niner Wine Estates with Director of Sales, Tucker Spear, shared several of their latest releases with grapes from the Bootjack Ranch.
The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is their first white wine release. It delivers aromas of Meyer lemons, mandarin oranges and fresh herbs. It has a very nice full body texture with flavors of tropical fruit, tangerine, fennel and even a bit of basil and mint. The acidity is what you expect for a fine Sauvignon Blanc. The price is only $17.
The Niner 2008 Merlot has everything you would expect from a fine Merlot with a nice mixture of the fruitiness of a California Merlot and the complexity of Bordeaux. You will enjoy the aromas of raspberry, cherry and floral qualities. On the palate these same fruity flavors shine through along with spices of lavender, thyme, allspice and cedar along with a cocoa and cherry flavor that carries through to the finish. This is an excellent quality Merlot that would pair well with a variety of dishes including Marsala chicken. The price is $24.
Niner makes an excellent Sangiovese from Bootjack Ranch. The 2007 Sangiovese is a rich deep quality Sangiovese with boysenberry and cherry aromas and flavors. Near the finish you will detect the tobacco and pepper qualities and a bit of semisweet chocolate. The price is $24.
The Niner 2006 Syrah is what you expect from Paso Robles warn climate Syrah with some old world characteristics of good acidity and complexity and the new world characteristics of bramble, blackberries, black and white pepper. The oak delivers a nice bacony, smoke and leather qualities. The price is only $20.
The Niner Cabernet Franc has always been a favorite of this reviewer. The 2007 Cabernet Franc was no exception from it dark crimson color to its rich velvety texture, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and bramble characteristics on the nose and palate. This is an excellent Cabernet Franc that you will enjoy for years. The price is $28.
A very interesting wine is the 2007 Twisted Spur red wine which is a blend of 59% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, 12% Syrah and 2% Petite Sirah. Paso Robles is famous for this Rhone/Bordeaux blend that is impossible to produce in the old world. It is fruit forward blend, rich in cherry, blueberry, raspberry, and jam along with spices of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and a touch of tobacco. Overall it has a nice oven baked pie characteristic. The price is only $28.
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Niner Wine Estates