Tweeter button
Facebook button
Digg button

Home » The Regions » Currently Reading:

The Regions – Way Back In {July}

September 28, 2011 The Regions 1 Comment

So things change in a few month’s time.

We moved… again, into a different beach place much like the old beach place one (small first floor of a two-story house with a yard). Our friends vacated it when they moved to China for a year to check that out. It was a killer deal, so we packed up and came a few miles north.

We also managed to drink through a decent share of wines from Carneros, a couple from Petaluma Gap, and a few odd-balls mixed in to keep it interesting.

I am not sold on Carneros. Maybe it was a few poor choices on my part, I do not know, but I was not blown away by the wines. My friend Jennifer Thomson would be upset by this, but I assure you Jennifer, I trust there are amazing wines in Carneros (I have had a few) and I promise, I will find more (I will also visit and learn more about real producers).

I have to say, drinking through areas region by region has proved to be more challenging than I imagined and more than once I’ve wanted to stop. I lack the discipline to really commit to drinking wine from only one region each month and at times wines are not as available or affordable as one might think. It was easy to taste through Santa Barbara and Paso because we could visit some wineries in person, we had a good personal stock of these wines at home, and we knew what to look for in those areas. The wines of Monterey are stocked a plenty at local stores and relatively cheap considering a generally high quality. Santa Cruz wines are very hard to track down in these parts (hence our delay) and we found Petaluma and Carneros equally challenging (not always for options, but price).
The Petaluma part of the equation was particularly hard to find, which is a shame. Still, we liked what we had and we love the demonstrated potential of both of these regions.
We are including a few wines that we received as samples, which doesn’t happen too often, but none-the-less, we do get them.
I also feel the need to make a few clarifications of past wines we received as samples, which have only been a few.
In some cases, the wines we tasted were done on site and we did not pay for them or they were gifts from winemaker friends (actual gifts, not submissions). These will not be specified, however, their lack of impact on my pocketbook had no reflection on how we weighed them against the others. The vast majority of our winning wines from these past months were paid for by us, the old fashioned way, robbing 7-Elevens.
In March we featured Ortman and Ancient Peaks. Both solid finds that were sent to us as samples. The Ortman Sangiovese was a winner in March (and it deserved it). However, we were also excited to discover Ancient Peaks, including a Zinfandel and Cabernet.
July included samples from Stickybeak, a multi vineyard sourced project producing a number of reds and whites for around twenty bucks each. They offer moderate value and solidly made wine for their price point and I like the source locations, but they were not stand-out wines in any particular way.
So now that I cleared that out of the way.

The Wines…

2008 Native9 Pinot Noir, Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley 14.5% – highly recommended

2007 Autonom Law of Proportions Syrah, 15.5% 960 bottles

2007 Cabot Klamath Cuvee, red table wine, Humbolt County, 125 Cases 13.8% – highly recommended

2007 Cabot Syrah, Humbolt County, 150 cases 14.4%

2009 Stickybeak Syrah, 57% Monterey County, 25% Napa County

2010 Stickybeak Semillion Sauvignon Blanc, (Semillon: Knights Valley Ranch; Sauvignon Blanc: Mirabelle site, Russian River), Semillon 72%; Sauvignon Blanc 28%, 14.3%

2009 Stickbeak Pinot Noir, (Wohler Road – Russian River; Stage Gulch – Petaluma Gap, Sonoma Coast), 14.3%

2009 Stickbeak Chardonnay, Russian River, 14.5% 

2009 Pfendler Chardonnay, Estate (Petaluma Gap), – highly recommended

2008 Pfendler Pinot Noir, Estate – highly recommended

2008 Trinitas Pinot Noir, Carneros, 14.9%

2009 Artesa Chardonnay, Carneros, 14.3%

2009 Saintsbury Garnet Pinot Noir, Carneros, 13.5%

2007 Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir, Carneros

2009 Saxum, Broken Stones, 60% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre, 12% Petite Sirah, 8% Grenache, 15.6% – highly recommended

2009 Saxum Padrewski Vineyard, 39% Zinfandel, 38% Syrah, 13% Petite Sirah, 10% Mourvedre, 15.9% – highly recommended

2008 Sans Liege “The Prophetess,” 66% Syrah, 34% Mourvedre, 15.7%

And the winners are…
-W H I T E-

If you read my write up on Pfendler, it should be of no surprise that we are big fans of the wine and maybe more importantly, the potential they have to be amongst the best in California. The 2009 Chardonnay had what I was looking for in a crisp white, without the huge oak I found in other Carneros wines. These Pfendler wines are beautiful expressions of Chardonnay and I think they will only get better.

-R E D-

If I was strictly going on region (Petaluma and Carneros), I would have to again go with Pfendler, this time for their Pinot Noir. If I was going on sheer carnal enjoyment, I would say it  was Justin Smith’s Broken Stones. But Saxum is an easy choice right? Besides, it would probably upset people if I kept going back to the Central Coast again and again. Lets just say Justin has had a good year, so we are going to give someone else a shot. While we do focus on a region each month, sometimes our favorites from the month come from outside the box. I always think in terms of, “if I could pick out one wine from the list above to drink again, what would it be?” This time, it would be the 2007 Cabot Vineyards Syrah. I have been working on a story for Cabot for a long, long, long time. Maybe this is to make up for that, but really, this is a great and elegant wine.  For Cabot the focus remains on the farming and in producing wines of finesse and character. Worth seeking out for sure.

In August, we continued to taste through Sonoma.


Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Jason says:

    Mmmm… these look great. I want to try each one.

Comment on this Article:


Bonny Doon: Day of the Doon IX {Photo Essay}

September 22, 2011

Bonny Doon: Day of the Doon IX {Photo Essay}

We have grown rather accustomed to long trips for short stays, so much so that a 500 mile weekend is not such a big deal anymore. There are a lot of events we are invited to and we can only attend a few of them. But when Randall Graham asks you to attend, you attend. […]

Secret Project {the reveal}

August 17, 2011

Secret Project {the reveal}

A few weeks ago I posted the “Secret Project” with some shots of  a friend’s new winery taking shape. At the time, the space was still in a raw state, holes in the ground, bare walls, cut concrete. In terms of photographing a new winery, one might say there was not much to see, no […]