What do the Grand Reserve Rewards, a World Mastercard wine credit card, and Switchback Ridge Wine have in common? Grand Reserve Rewards gives you points toward specific wine-oriented products and experiences. Switchback Ridge is one of the winery participates partnering with this credit card. This wine credit card caters to the wine enthusiast and fine wine collector.
Anyone who knows me is aware that it is hard for me to say no to a wine tasting, especially when it is a winery that is hard to obtain their wines. Therefore when asked to go to a small and I mean small socially distanced wine tasting for Switchback Ridge, I accepted.
Switchback Ridge History
The history of the Peterson’s and their affinity to Napa Valley relates to the history of the region. Eliza and Mads Peterson immigrated to the United States in the late 1800s. Driven west like so many people at the time, the Peterson’s purchased a 100 acres property between St Helena and Calistoga just off the Silverado Trail, in 1914. The property included a Zinfandel vineyard, but soon Prohibition reared its head, and Napa Valley became the source for Prunes. A plum orchard was planted to help the family survive during this era.
The property passed down to Eliza and Mads daughters, Vera, Carrie, and Mae. Later Vera’s son John took over, and he taught his kids to cherish the land.
In the 1990s, grapes were planted on the property. Today, 21 acres are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Sirah. Some of the Petite Sirah date back over 60 years. John’s daughter Kelly is now running the wine project. Kelly now shares her responsibilities with her daughter, Ashley. Now in their 4th and 5th generation, they carry on the family tradition that started over 100 years ago.
Switchback Ridge is named after the winding trails in the hills behind the vineyards. Their first vintage was in 1999. Today Bob Foley is the winemaker. Some people call him Mr. Merlot for his precision with this grape.
Liquid Assets Cellars
Our tasting took place at Liquid Assets Cellars, a wine storage facility in North Hollywood. As it turns out, Liquid Assets now has a unique line of glassware called Glassl that our wine was served in, and this stemware is also a partner with the wine credit card. The wine glasses are very light and enhance the taste of the wine, but it was the wine that took front and center.
On this occasion, we tasted the two vintages of the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. We also sampled a Petite Sirah.
Switchback Ridge Merlot
Our tasting started with a vertical of the 2015 and the 2016 Merlot. Typically the wines are aged in French oak for 16 months and after bottling hold the wine for about four years. I found aromas of dark fruit and tobacco in the 2015. This wine is a blend of 92% Merlot to 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and a big wine with flavors of pepper, chocolate, and mocha.
The 2016 blended 90% Merlot with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Being a year younger, I found this wine richer and rounder with dark fruit and pepper.
I preferred the 2015 because it seemed more integrated and more balanced. The additional year made a considerable difference.
Switchback Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
Again with the Cabernet Sauvignon, we did a vertical between 2015 and 2016. The 2015 displayed more black cherry flavors gave way to a very rounded and balanced wine. It had a lot of depth expressing dark fruit.
The 2016 exhibited similar flavors but seemed lighter and exhibited a more pepper on the finish.
Again my preferred Cabernet turned out to be the 2015.
Switchback Ridge Petite Sirah
Switchback Ridge calls this wine the closer. It is a yummy wine to end a tasting. The wine consists of 100% Petit Sirah with about 33% being from the old vine block. My first thoughts were a warm blueberry pie. The wine exudes flavors of various berries. Think of blackberry, blueberry, and boysenberry compote, and you have the ripe jammy fruit of this well-balanced wine. It was the perfect ending to our tasting.
The Wine Credit Card
Getting back to the Grand Reserve World Mastercard, the wine credit card offers 5X points at over 400 wineries, wine clubs, and other Grand Reserve Partners. One get 3X points at any wine merchant, and 2X points per dollar spent everywhere else. You can redeem your points for wine merchandise and experiences from glasses and decanters to classes and tasting journeys.
Here is a sampling of the wineries participating in the Grand Reserve program. The wineries are located all over the United States. This list represents wineries I have tasted and enjoyed over the years.
Ampelos – Sta. Rita Hills – California
Beckman – Santa Ynez – California
Carlton Cellars – Willamette Valley – Oregon
Chrysalis Vineyards – Middleburg – Virginia
Cliff Creek Cellars – Rogue Valley – Oregon
Concannon – Livermore – California
D’Art – Lodi – California
Dracaena Wines – Paso Robles – California
Enriquez Estate Winery – Sonoma – California
Four Brix Winery – Ventura – California
Foxen Vineyards – Santa Maria – California
Grgich Hills Estate – Rutherford – California
Hahn Family Wines – Santa Lucia Highlands – California
Halleck Vineyards – Sebastopol – California
Iris – Willamette Valley – Oregon
J Dusi Wines – Paso Robles – California
Landmark Vineyards – Healdsburg- California
Lava Cap Winery – El Dorado – California
Lenné – Willamette Valley – Oregon
Papapietro Perry – Healdsburg – California
Rodney Strong – Healdsburg – California
Steven Kent Wine – Livermore – California
Tercero Wines – Los Olivos – California
Troon Vineyards – Rogue Valley – Oregon
Youngberg Hill Winery – Willamette Valley – Oregon
For a more in-depth list, click here.
Please note that although I am writing about this wine credit card, at this time, I do not have one.
Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer received a hosted wine tasting. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.