Before moving to California, I had never attended a wine walk. Here in the Bay Area, several towns invite wineries to pour their wine in the downtown shops in an effort to bring customers in as well as give the wineries an opportunity to introduce their wines to hundreds of people. Tank House Winery was pouring their wine at the Los Gatos Wine Walk, and their Zinfandel was part of the lineup. The winery is located in Gilroy, but the fruit in the Zinfandel is from Lodi. Clove and nutmeg on the nose, juicy raspberry on the midpalate. The finish is spicy with lingering blueberry and raspberry notes. This is a lighter style of zin, juicy and spicy rather than jammy and sweet.
I was lucky again to have the opportunity to select the wines for John Harrison’s photo open house. John is a very talented photographer, and his photos capture the beauty of Yosemite… I usually tell people Yosemite is more beautiful in person when showing my own photos, but John’s photos actually make you feel like you are there! See for yourself on his website - http://www.jharrisonphoto.com/
Many of John’s clients are wine fans, and like to be able to find the wines they have tried at the open house so I chose wines that are all available at Bevmo. The favorite of the bunch was the 2010 Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir. This pinot is a blend of coastal fruit from Monterey, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara. Juicy cherries and baking spices are some of the nice characteristics in this pinot, and at $20 it is an excellent value.
The 2009 Terra d’Oro Zinfandel from Amador County was another favorite. The fruit in this zinfandel is ripe and round, not very jammy but big on the berries. The raspberry notes in this wine helped it to pair amazingly with dark chocolate (Truffle Gateau Double Decadent Dark Chocolate – www.trufflegateau.com).
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a great summer white wine. My favorite region is Marlborough and the Sauv Blanc from that area has exploded in popularity. The 2011′s I poured (Nobilo and Starborough) both have the signature Marlborough characteristics – fresh cut grass and citrus on the nose with a slightly sweet mouthfeel and grapefruit on the finish.
Surprisingly, very few people asked for chardonnay. The biggest reason I noted was that chardonnay is too oaky and buttery. I personally prefer a chardonnay that has touched some oak but not so much new oak that you can no longer taste the fruit. Schug makes an excellent Carneros Chardonnay, it does touch oak barrels but you can still taste apple and pear. The oak just helps to add the vanilla and spicy notes. This is not a buttery style of chardonnay, and I recommend it to anyone who isn’t a fan of the “butter bombs”.
All of the wines that were poured were under $20, and highly recommended for BBQ season!
Adastra Winery is located in beautiful Carneros, right near Napa. The tasting room is in a 150 year old barn, surrounded by vineyards and gardens. It is easy to miss it because the sign isn’t huge, and you can’t even see the winery from the road. A must visit if you’d like to avoid the crowds and soak up some gorgeous scenery!
Adastra makes great Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot. I was pleasantly surprised to see a bottle under $20 on their list – a blend for only $15! The Ed’s Red is 55% Dolcetto, 33% Zinfandel, and 12% Syrah. On first whiff – dark fruit, licorice and black pepper. Huge, hearty, fleshy midpalate and layers of spices on the finish. The finish is a bit bitter and jammy at the same time. Ahh, Dolcetto AND Zinfandel, makes sense! The bottle says to pair it with mammoth (or vegetarian equivalent). None of my local supermarkets carried mammoth unfortunately, but we did try it with grilled chicken kebobs and the pairing was quite tasty.