(Part III added) SBCVA Celebration of Harvest - Oct 8, 2011

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(Part III added) SBCVA Celebration of Harvest - Oct 8, 2011

Postby Steve Anderson » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:41 pm

Misplaced my notes (such as they were), so it has taken a while to get them back together. Decided to post in several parts rather than waiting a few more days to put the whole thing togther. This was a great event and we will gladly attend again! Hope to add some pics along the way as well.

We were excited to head to our first wine event in Santa Barbara County, the 2011 SBC Vintner's Association Celebration of Harvest. As we were customarily running late, we decided to head straight to the event rather than make a dash to the hotel to try to catch the event shuttle. We pulled off the 101 at the Los Olivos exit and made a quick left on Zaca Station Road heading toward Rancho Sisquoc Winery. Zaca Station Road is a scenic, quiet stretch changing names several times before intersecting with Foxen Canyon Road, and passing by the likes of Foxen, Fess Parker, Margerum and Andrew Murray wineries. We pulled in to Rancho Sisquoc and traversed the single lane road to the event. Parking was the first adventure, as we were motioned to a large pasture that apparently had only recently been cleared of its normal inhabitants, as evidenced by the aroma (and visual) of fresh cow patties. Note to Self: Next time consider taking the SUV, as the Honda Fit was not built for cross country travel through rutted fields.

We arrived right on time and had just a short wait to enter the event. We weren’t sure if this was going to be outdoors, indoors or under tents. Outdoors it was, on a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Note #2 to Self: remember to pack sun screen and a hat. The latter was quickly remedied with a stop at the SBCVA merchandise booth.

I initially thought this would be a great time to taste a broad swath of SB County wines, and planned to try to minimize the old favorites, as hard as that would be, and focus on wines I hadn’t tried as well as some of the more unusual SB varietals such as Friuli and Lagrein. I even attempted the proper Romo method of tasting, hitting the whites first and then coming back to the reds. All that went out the window after the first booth. It quickly became clear that if I was going to enjoy this event I was going to have to go with the flow and not try to speed taste.

In the end, I only hit about 14 of over 100 wineries, and tasted only about 36 of at least 300-400 wines

Margerum: This was the first booth we visited and I only tasted the two whites, intending to come back for the reds. We tried both the 2010 Sybarite Sauv Blanc and the 2010 Klickitat Pinot Gris.
Sybarite: The first thing that struck me was how clear the wine was. Almost colorless. Wonderful expressions of peach, mango and honeydew. Some minerality and just a nice, pure Sauv Blanc. Ended up buying a bottle at the Margerum store in SB. Excellent QPR at around $21. Happy Canyon fruit, fairly large production at just over 3,400 cases.
Image
Margerum Sybarite - Invisible Wine

Klickitat: Purchased grapes from Washington. The Pinot Gris was not as clear as the Sybarite, but still only the palest yellow. I’m guessing there was not much skin contact on either wine. The Klickitat was also very impressive on the nose and palate, this time with a bit more of an apple and pear profile, with a touch of spiciness. This was Misuk’s favorite white of the day and we bought two bottles at the Margerum tasting room on the way out of town. Read the back label after we got home, which indicated the “super cold fermentation” preserved both the fruit and the CO2 in the wine. We didn’t notice any spritz at the event, presumably because the bottle had been open, but opened a bottle when we got home and there were plenty of super-fine bubbles. We still enjoyed this a lot. Another good QPR and probably a good match for shellfish or just for quaffing on a warm day. Also $21 and about 1300 cases produced. Interesting that I could not find an ABV on either label.

The next stop was Sanguis. Good to see Jamie and Mattias manning the booth when many other booths seemed to be staffed with hired help. Got a chance to try three of the current releases, 2009 Ode to Sunshine Chard and Las Mujeres & Endangered Species reds. The Ode to Sunshine Chard (Bien Nacido) was big and rich, with a lot going on in the mouth. Some tropical fruit and citrus. Enjoyed. The 2007 Las Mujeres is predominantly Grenache (68%) with Syrah (26%) and the remainder Rousanne and Viognier. An elegant wine, with red fruit, spice, earth and maybe a bit of tobacco and licorice. The 2008 Endangered Species Syrah (with a bit of Rousanne and Vio) had a bit more floral nose, red/black fruits and some meat. These are wines that probably need to be explored over 2-3 days rather than a one ounce pour. Have some 04/05’s coming that were purchased on the secondary market and anxious to see how these wines fare with a bit of bottle age.
Image
Sanguis - Jamie and Mattias

Palmina: I really enjoyed a recent Malvasia and was hoping to try a number of their wines. Sadly (for me), they only had two wines pouring, the 2010 Tocai Friuliano and 2009 Barbera. The Tocai was a nice fit on a warm day, with floral and peach on the nose, and peach/apricot/citrus flavors on the palate. Another nice QPR and good summer quaffer. The 2009 SB County Barbera was a pleasant surprise. Nice body with blackberry, cherry and soft tannins. Not sure how long the bottle had been open (probably not too long), but this seemed ready to go.

Point Concepcion: Peter Cargasacchi was pouring three wines. The 2009 Chardonnay (Caponera?) from Sierra Madre was excellent. I love the Paul Lato Sierra Madre Chard and this was an excellent wine at less than half the price of the PL. Apple, honey, lemon and tropical fruits. Very nice. Need to try one and spend a bit more time with it. The 2009 Pinot Grigio was an interesting orange/salmon wine, resulting from three days on the skins. Nice summer quaffer with peach and some cherry. Trying to remember more about the 2009 Pinot Noir, but recall red fruit, tea and some spice. Very nice IIRC.
Image
The Carg - Giving me that "You again?" look

Jaffurs: Was looking forward to trying these further. Joaquin and Hunter were pouring and happened to mention their evening jobs at Bouchon, which we had a reservation for the following day. Tasted the Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Grenache and Syrah.

Part II:
(Jaffurs continued)
2009 Grenache Blanc: Thompson vineyard fruit. Nice and clean, with citrus/lime, pear, tropical fruits, some spice and mineral. Very nice.
2010 Viognier: I love Viognier and this was a nice example. About 70% Bien Nacido and 30% Refugio Ranch according to Joaquin. Wonderful nose of citrus and florals, with peach, apricot and lime on the palate. Misuk and I agreed that this was probably in the top 2-3 whites for the day. Great bargain at about $23.
2008 Grenache: Thompson and Stolpman fruit. Medium red, with a bit of floral on the nose. Raspberry, black cherry and maybe some cola. Nice finish.
2008 Syrah: Tierra Alta, Larner, Verna’s, Thompson and Rusack fruit, along with a bit of Petite Sirah. Blackberry, plum, nice acidity and great mouthfeel. Really enjoyed this one. Thought I had a lock on the Magnum at the Silent Auction, but apparently got sniped at the last moment!

ImageJoaquin and Hunter Pouring for Jaffurs

Tercero: Larry was pretty busy and I’ve had an opportunity to taste most of his recent reds on several occasions this year, so just stopped by briefly to say hello and congratulate him on making Tercero his “day job”. Also hoped to get a quick taste of his new Viognier, but alas it was not part of the lineup for the event. I did get pours of the 2010 Outlier Gewurztraminer and 2010 Rosé.
2010 Outlier: The 2009 version was one of my favorite summer whites of the past year and the 2010 was just as good. Wonderfully fragrant nose, with abundant tropical fruit and a bit of spice. A bargain at about $20.
2010 Rosé of Mourvedre: Love Mourvedre Rosé. Enjoyed the 2009, but think this one is even better. Cool strawberry, watermelon and citrus on a hot day! Refreshing and deelish. Speaking of bargains, Larry’s web site shows this at $15.
Larry also poured us a taste of unfermented Grenache Blanc juice (see photo). Nice!
ImageLarry Shaffer - Tercero ImageTercero Grenache Blanc Juice

Dragonette: Good to see John pouring. Always a favorite, I’ve also had the opportunity to taste Dragonette at several events in the past year. Still, all three wines poured were new to me which was nice.
2010 Happy Canyon Sauv Blanc: Loved all three variants of 2009 Sauv Blanc and the 2010 Happy Canyon is another winner. These guys are making great Sauv Blanc! Pear, peach, melon, flowers. From nose to finish, a gorgeous SB.
2009 Grenache: Thompson and Watch Hill fruit with some Syrah and Mourvedre. Red fruits of strawberry/raspberry with a bit of earth and leather. Drinking pretty well now but will probably get better with some time in bottle.
2009 Seven: 96% Syrah from multiple vineyards. Need to spend more time with this, as a one ounce tasting pour doesn’t do it justice. Red and dark fruits, with some meat and olive. Nice structure and one to watch. Hope to try this again soon.
ImageJohn Dragonette ImageMisuk with John and Auction Win - 08 Dragonette Syrah Magnum!

Arthur Earl: While standing in line (for Blair Fox I think), glanced over and saw bottles of Malvasia and Lagrein. Loved the Palmina Malvasia a few weeks back and know that it is a fairly rare grape (only a couple of acres total) in SB County, so wanted to give it a shot. The 2010 SB County Malvasia Bianca was a more subdued version than Palmina’s. Not as flamboyant on the nose or palate. Still, a nice wine in its own right. The 2007 Lagrein from French Camp Vineyard in Paso was harder to read. Nice nose of red fruits and plum, but the tannins were pretty harsh and hard to get past. My first Lagrein, so not sure if that was indicative.

Andrew Murray: This winery has been around a long time, but still new to me as I had not tasted any AM wines prior to this event. Steady lines all afternoon, but found a spot at the table later in the day.
2010 RGB: A blend of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. 50% each, but the Roussanne seems to have the upper hand. A waxy fruit character with peach, banana, melon. Not crisp like a Sauv Blanc, but the type of wine I would like to sip and contemplate over several nights. Interesting.
2008 Esperance: 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre. Blend of SB (Syrah) and Paso. Very dark, with dark fruit and licorice, with some earth and spice. Nice finish.
2009(?) Terra Bella Syrah I wrote down 2009, but this may have been the 2008 which is the current release. Blueberry, blackberry and pepper, with some vanilla/oak. Very nice finish. Excellent Syrah!

Part III:
Demetria: Biodynamically farmed off Foxen Canyon road. Owner John Zahoudanis was pouring.
2009 Papou: Marsanne/Grenache Blanc/Roussanne/Viognier. Nice floral nose, with apple, apricot and some orange notes. Very enjoyable.
2009 Chardonnay: Citrus, apple and a bit of pear. Decent.
2008 Pantheon: Leftovers/Kitchen sink blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre with small percentage of rhone whites. Black fruit, herbs, pepper. Nice nose, medium finish. Approachable – meant to be a daily drinker at around $15.
2009 Pinot Noir: Santa Maria Valley. I recall enjoying this, but apparently didn’t write anything down!
Image
John Zahoudanis at Demetria

Blair Fox:
2010 Vermentino: Pleasant surprise of the day for me. Peach and melon, crisp, bright acidity, extremely refreshing on a warm day. Excellent.
2008 Viognier: Nose of white flowers, with peach. Good, but enjoyed the Jaffurs much more.
2006 Paradise Road Syrah: Warm climate. Two years in barrel and another in bottle before release. Hard to believe this is a 2006. Tasted much younger. Blueberry, olive, meat. Enjoyable but still needs more time I think.
Image
Blair Fox

Brander: Hoped to find the Sauv Blanc Au Natural, but no such luck. I did find the only Bdx varietals that I came across at my limited stops, so had to give them a try.
2009 Cabernet: Definitely a cab nose. Cherry and vanilla. Very approachable, but does not stand out.
2009 Merlot: Nice nose of earth, leather and dark fruit. More on the palate, along with dark cherry and plum. Had a bit of fine spritz, which was the only detractor. Presume this would blow off with air.
Image
Pouring at Brander

Refugio Ranch: Nice people, interesting wines.
2009 Tiradora: Sauv Blanc Floral nose, pear, apple and tropical fruits. Nice, but perhaps a notch below the Dragonette and Margerum SB’s.
2009 Ineseno: 55% Rousanne/45% Viognier. Flowers, pear, melon, tea and oak. A bit of oil/petrol from the Roussanne.
2008 Barbareno: 63% Syrah/37% Petite Sirah:[/b] Black fruits, plum, pepper, spice and chocolate. Really enjoyed this one. Excellent!
Image
at Refugio Ranch booth

Summary: This was a great event and we will definitely return. Haven’t mentioned the food yet, but it was totally awesome. Many restaurants participating and providing fabulous samples. The grounds of Rancho Sisquoc were lovely and it was fairly easy to get around. Crowd was large and some lines/waits were long, but I can’t complain. Super event!
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Re: (Part III added) SBCVA Celebration of Harvest - Oct 8, 2

Postby Phil_Carpenter » Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:09 pm

Steve, AMAZING notes!! Thank you for taking the time to post them all. Sounds like the event was great.

The Margerum whites are very tasty...and an absolute steal! I think you can get them between $15-20 at 3rd Corner.

Bought a bottle of the Sanguis, "Ode to Sunshine" and "Endangered Species" on my last trip. I'm going to hide these wines in the back of my locker and try to forget about them.

Peter's Point Concepcion stuff is great...and priced even better. 3rd has the chard $16!! Did you have the Cargasacchi pinot? I had the 08 recently...really starting to enter a nice window.

Jaffurs...what can I say...I think the vio is the best in SB. Those reds sound great...

Larry's Outlier sounds good right now. Perfect for that day. Another QPR star!! I don't think there is a better varietal for rose than mourved! I said it!!

Dragonette...best SB in the valley. The new Happy Canyon is smokin'. I REALLY liked the Seven on my last visit. Very intriguing...the blending alone makes it intriguing.

Andrew Murray makes some great stuff...I really liked that RGB when we had it. Those scores are well deserved.

Demetria...have you been to the winery yet?! Try those wines with their backdrop...

Blair does some great work with that Paradise Road fruit...

Been wanting to try the Refugio stuff for a while now...

Keep up the good work my friend!
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Re: (Part III added) SBCVA Celebration of Harvest - Oct 8, 2

Postby Romo » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:39 pm

great notes, steve.

have you had the other Jaffurs viognier vintages? i heart the 08 & 09. have not had the 10.
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Re: (Part III added) SBCVA Celebration of Harvest - Oct 8, 2

Postby Steve Anderson » Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:29 pm

Romo -
Had not had the Jaffurs Viognier prior to last weekend. Had the '10 at the Harvest event as noted, then ordered a glass of the '09 for Misuk at dinner at Bouchon on Sunday night. Just had a taste from her glass, but it was excellent!

Cheers,

Steve
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