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   August 27, 2018
 CRU9 Winery Builds Women of Strength
I've been away from the virtual pen and paper for so long I can't even remember. Maybe a few years. Running an IT business, WineMatch and having a family, dogs and horses can be a bit overwhelming. But something near and dear to my heart brought me back, namely CRU9 Winery. Faythe Stone-Brocka, residing just outside of Waterloo, Iowa, knows how to give back. The winery name has a cool double entendre. Cru, the wine term meaning from a quality growth from a reputable grape growing region, and crew, meaning a number of folks with a common job or goal. Faythe is the 9th child born, thus CRU9.

At some point I need to speak to the wine so here we go. I found the labeling and bottle weight setting a high bar and in tasting inside the bottle, I was not disappointed. What's inside is as solid as the bottle itself. The quality is top notch and the whimsical names made me believe there's a free spirit behind all of this. But here's the amazing thing. All the wines are solid - like Faythe. My favorite had to be the 2014 9th Power Reserve Napa. So much complexity and layers and years of aging will only add to this, yet it drinks amazingly well today. Take note that Malbec is the primary varietal in this powerhouse of a wine. Next up was the 2015 Stop Talking Cabernet Sauvignon, which presented great fruit and perfectly balanced tannins and acidity. The 2015 See You In Your Dreams RRV Pinot Noir was extremely aromatic and held onto its classic - yet delicate - Pinot Noir bouquet. And the 2016 As Ever ... RRV Chardonnay was nice in that the oak imparted vanilla notes and other flavors, yet the oak influence was subtle enough to allow the fruit to shine.

Coincidentally, my oldest son Jonathan lives in Iowa not far from Faythe, where he holds my grandson Dean hostage - lol! But one thing I always worried about and still do to this day is whether the women get the same opportunity as men. Same pay is still a ways away with the exception of some trailblazers. Is their physical beauty, or a lack thereof, a blessing or a curse? CRU9 makes zero differentiation in working to create strong women! Remember and take note, as the youngest leader of a major Army was a woman. At the age of 18, Joan of Arc led the French Army in battle in the siege of Orleans, handily defeating the Anglo-Burgundian faction. You see, Charles VII had the confidence in her and gave her a horse and armor and that was all it took. It was a statement of confidence.

There are two places that Faythe has determined to be worthy of her resources and support which give deserving women new confidence. Ruby's Place in Hayward, California, assists women that are victims of domestic violence and human trafficking and have been around since 1972. And then there's the House of Hope in Waterloo, Iowa, providing homeless women with and without children a place to create or recreate a solid foundation on which to build.
2016 Petrified Forest Vineyards - Sauvignon Blanc
2013 Petrified Forest Vineyards - Merlot
2013 Petrified Forest Vineyards - Cabernet Sauvignon
2016 Inspiration Vineyards - Zinfandel
2016 Inspiration Vineyards - Pinot Noir
2015 Inspiration Vineyards - Chardonnay
2016 Hook & Ladder Winery - Chardonnay
2016 Hook & Ladder Winery - Pinot Noir
2016 Pech Merle Winery - Reserve Zinfandel Lot9 North Coast
2016 Inspiration Vineyards - Syrah
In the end it's really simple - You gotta have Faythe - and all she brings to the table.

2012 Barr Estate Winery
Leaf Angel
Scents of blueberry jam, vanilla plus a hint of chocolate are complemented by a supple, round palate and fine emery tannins.
2016 Montagne Russe Winery
Silver & Gold Chardonnay
The 2016 Silver and Gold Chardonnay is another delicate offering off Black Knight Vineyards. 2016 was an especially cool year on this vineyard with this cha...

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