I was privileged to tag along with a friend of mine who is a wine rep (and an awesome girl BTW) and got to have a tasting field day. So here we go. The notes will brief and succinct. (I’ll try).
The first was a Jack Hammer Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands, 2010. It brings lots of crisp, bright tropical fruit with vanilla notes, and a good malolactic acid profile; a well balanced wine. Aged in stainless steel, usually for me, means it doesn’t have those rich flavor producing oak flavors, which I really like, but I loved this wine. Yes, I said it.
Next we Jack Hammer 2010 Pinot Noir, Olsen Ranch also Santa Lucia Highlands. This has a wonderful berry richness, nice balance with tannins and minerality. Fun label and great drinking wine.
Damian Georis of the Georis legacy is creating some really outstanding wines in the European style. Elegant and classic, these wines still bear the wine footprint of California yet have the substantial character associated with traditional refined tastes. The 2011 L’ Arsouille Chenin Blanc is a great example here. Creamy, delicious, fruity and satisfying; it’s a fantastic representation of the chenin blanc grape. It opens with unbelievably fragrant flavors of apples, peaches, and nectarines, Meyer lemon blossoms and cantaloupe. The mouth offers nuances of white mushroom, sea salt, jasmine and coriander. It is crisp, off-dry with an harmonious acidity. I found it rich, and the fruit from the mature Ventana Vineyards really shines. Gorgeous wine.
Another delicious Pinot Noir is the Gisele 2010, from Monterey grown grapes. It is everything you’d expect from a fruit redolent Pinot. Rich, full berry and spice flavors are well balanced as are the tannins formulating the purely delightful aspects of this lovely wine.
Tobin James wines have really fun labels with a great sense of humor, but there is nothing funny about the wine. It is well crafted like the Red Blend, called “tongue-in-cheek” Chateau Le Cacheflo. Cute. A mix of Barbera, Sangiovese and Syrah grapes makes for a powerful yet smooth taste with plenty of mouth feel in a really affordable wine. Nice. Their Ballistic Zinfandel is kind of their signature wine and what put this winery on the map. It is “ballsy” – in your face, with big, powerful fruit, like dark cherries and plums and a delicious long lasting flavor on the palate.
Finally we tried the Charles De Fere Moscato which was absolutely fabulous. A blast of honeydew and melon flavors, wildflowers, a spring like delight, sweet and bubbly, perfect for dessert or aperitif. This is just pure fun. Yum.