Family Winemakers: First Day Impressions

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Family Winemakers: First Day Impressions

Postby Phil_Carpenter » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:43 pm

San Diego's best wine tasting event is going on this weekend in Del Mar. Family Winemakers brings so many amazing labels and people into one room (albeit, a BIG room). It is probably my favorite weekend in San Diego.

I had the great privilege of pouring the Dragonette wines with rockstar winemaker, Brandon Sparks-Gillis. When things slowed down, he kicked me away from the table and forced me to taste. I didn't dilly-dally, so I have some quick impressions on the wines I tasted. I pretty much stuck to whites, with a couple pinots snuck in. There is a second day in San Diego this year. Plan on hitting mostly reds tomorrow.

Some Highlights:

2012 Dragonette Rose
75% grenache, 20% mourved, 5% syrah (Vogelzang, Coghlan vineyards). Freshly bottled, and already showing well. Great grapefruit zingy acid. Some mineral.

2011 Dragonette Vogelzang Sauv Blanc
One of the best sites for sauv blanc in Santa Barbara...hands down! This wine is a mind freak. 80% barrel aged (25% of that new French oak), 20% stainless. No malo. Some beautiful toasty notes with killer acid and citrus notes.

2011 Dragonette Sta. Rita Hills Pinot
Another example of Brandon's blending skills. Seven vineyards, Hilliard-Bruce, John Sebastiano, Zotovich, Fiddlestix, Pence, La Rinconada, and Radian. Great color, slightly below medium body weight, fruit purity with spice. Love this bottle.

2011 Dragonette Fiddlestix Pinot
Under the table special. The spice from this vineyard kills me. Such a nice earthy/loam as well. Love what Brandon does with this Fruit.

2011 Hilliard Bruce Rose
Wow...pretty red fruit...strawberries. Super crisp...bright acid.

2010 Hilliard Bruce Chardonnay
I see what they are doing here...this is one that can compete with all of the NorCal big boys. Some of the caramel corn notes but with really nice acid and weight. Ripe lemon...powerhouse.

2010 Kessler-Haak Chardonnay
This vineyard combines such amazing acid, mineral, weight. Pear, citrus, with a gravel undertone. If you haven't tried this wine, please do. Dan and Ellen are producing stunning fruit and wine.

2011 Kessler-Haak Riesling
This has some really tasting stone fruit notes. Honeysuckle and stones. This is soo refreshing.

2009 Silver Wines Chardonnay
12.9% alc beauty. Savory notes of spice and mineral. Some nice citrus under there too. I've been meaning to try these wines for a while. Will definitely be coming back for reds.

2009 Silver Wines Grenache Blanc
This one is in my wheel house. Sucker for white Rhones. Touch of vio in this. Wildflowers, orange, lemon, lime citrus intertwine. Love this weight. Color (solid yellow) was rockin' too.

That is pretty much it for day one. I'll hopefully post some more tomorrow.

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Re: Family Winemakers: First Day Impressions

Postby Steve Anderson » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:27 pm


Great to see you on Saturday. I enjoyed the event, but between escorting four friends who were first timers, and being the semi-designated driver, I had to cut back my tasting to about a third of what I would normally do. Still, tasted some great wines and not surprisingly, a very similar lineup to yours.

Have to agree that the Dragonette wines rocked the room. Our friends were floored by the Rose and Sauvignon Blanc, as was I. Also enjoyed the Fiddlestix, always one of my favorite SB Pinot vineyards. Still have one bottle left of the 08 that has been calling my name.

This was the third time I've tasted the '10 Hilliard Bruce Chardonnay in the past month and it is truly a stunner. Great texture/mouthfeel and love the citrus and minerality. Great Chard.

Also agree that the Silver Chard and Grenache Blanc were excellent, particularly the Chard. Had a few of the Reds at Celebration of Harvest back in October and they are worth checking out. I was tempted to try them again, but had to pass this time because of driving duty.

Great event as always, and did not seem as crowded this year, perhaps because of the expansion to two days.


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