It’s time for our first Grape Nuts Wow Wines tasting of 2012, and the generous folks from Fine Wine Trading Company will join us to show off some of their best selections. The tasting takes place on Monday, March 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the store. These quarterly tastings are just one of the incentives of becoming a Grape Nut, as we only accept members for these events. To learn more about what a Grape Nut is, click here.
We’ll sample nothing but delicious, small lot wines from a number of boutique California wineries. Even better, you’ll have the chance to purchase the wines at seriously discounted prices. All wines will be offered at 20% off by the bottle, and light palate cleansers will be served as well. Take a look at the awesome lineup!
1. 2009 Slingshot Sauvignon Blanc – This Napa Valley based winery was started by James Stewart with winemaking handled by Stephen Test, who formerly made wines for Merryvale. It is a great way to get our little party started – bright, fresh and packed with tangy citrus, this will get the taste buds “opened up”!
2. 2011 Tensley Camp 4 Vineyard Blanc – Robert Parker named Joey Tensley “one of Santa Barbara’s budding superstar winemakers”, and I would have to agree. This is the new vintage of his only white wine, a 180 case, white Rhone lookalike blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. It is dry, beautifully aromatic and reminiscent of a white Chateauneuf du Pape.
3. 2010 Frank Family Chardonnay – Who likes Rombauer?Rich Frank purchased his winery on the advice of his friend Koerner Rombauer in 1992 – it happens to be the site of the old Larkmead Winery. The estate Chardonnay is rich, buttery, fat and very easy to like………..if you like Rombauer!
4. 2010 Fiddlehead Pink Fiddle – Dry Rosé season is right around the corner and Fiddlehead makes one of California’s finest. 100% Pinot Noir from estate vineyards in California’s Santa Rita Hills, only 300 cases are produced and it is a lot of fun to drink. It is not anything like White Zin!!!!!
5. 2007 Lava Cap Grenache – This small family winery was founded in 1981 by Tom and Jeanne Jones in El Dorado County in California’s Sierra Foothills region. Super low yielding Grenache forms the basis for this 350 case production, soft, lush fruit bomb of a wine with ripe cherry, strawberry and spice notes.
6. 2008 W.H. Smith Pinot Noir – Bill and Joan Smith founded their winery in 1992, and early on, they were mentored by none other than Helen Turley, one of California’s top winemakers. They obviously listened to Helen, as their wines win awards and praise yearly. This is their “entry-level” Pinot made with fruit from four sites along the Sonoma Coast, and it is a lovely expression of the grape with notes of ripe black cherry, plum, rose petal and spice.
7. 2008 Fiddlehead Pinot Noir “728” – Kathy Joseph makes incredible Pinot Noirs from her vineyards scattered throughout California’s Santa Rita Hills AVA. In fact, one of her wines was featured in the movie Sideways, and yes, Miles loved it! You will too.
8. 2009 W.H. Smith Pinot Noir “Maritime” – This is the estate’s flagship wine and is the wine the Smiths consider their finest in each vintage. The 2009 is from a fantastic vintage and only about 800 cases were produced. It is a big Pinot with lots of ripe dark fruits, exotic spices and velvety texture. I can’t wait to try it with you!
9. 2009 Andrew Murray Esperance – Andrew Murray is in love with Rhone varietals, and he likes to make big, jammy, intense wines. This one is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre with tons of body and depth highlighted by notes of cherry liqueur, blueberry, pepper and spice notes. Can someone please bring a leg of lamb to pair with this one!?
10. 2009 Klinker Brick Zinfandel “Old Vine” – Steve and Lori Felten, fifth generation grape growers in the Lodi region, continue the tradition of cultivating “Old Vine” Zinfandel vineyards that their ancestors planted in the early 1900’s. This is no shy wine at 15.8% alcohol, but it holds that octane very nicely and offers up very easy to like notes of jammy strawberry and black cherry with vanilla, cedar and spice notes galore.
11. 2010 Tensley Syrah “Coulson Canyon” – This is one of Robert Parker’s favorite California Syrahs – one taste, and you’ll see why! It always scores in the 93 to 96 point range, and this is their newest release – try it and buy it before it gets reviewed and gets sold out!
12. 2008 Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon – We’ll finish up with a wine that took my breath away when tasted last Friday.Rich Frank produced a wonderful wine in the difficult 2008 vintage in Napa that was rewarded with a 92 point scored from Robert Parker. The distributor is almost out of this one, but they’ve moved into the 2009 vintage, which has been compared to 2007……….that means 2009 could easily be better!!!