Previously, Eve’s Wine 101 ran my article about a|k|a An American Bistro in Pasadena and my interview with owner Robert Simon. One of the items covered in that article was the upcoming Santa Barbara County Vintners wine tasting event and dinner on August 29th. The wine tasting event was to be held at a|k|a Bistro and two dinners were to be held directly afterwards, one at a|k|a Bistro and the other at Bistro 45, also owned by Robert.
Knowing that we had a long evening ahead of us, and a long drive back from Pasadena to the Santa Clarita Valley, I felt it made sense for us to plan to spend the night in Pasadena. Fortunately, the Sheraton Pasadena is very close to a|k|a Bistro. Although the 2/3 of a mile was a little beyond walking distance [especially in the summer heat], the hotel has a complimentary shuttle which fit our needs perfectly. [I also noted that the hotel is right next door to the Pasadena Convention Center – in fact they share parking facilities – so we will definitely check into staying there again when the next Family Winemakers event rolls into town.]
The shuttle delivered us to the restaurant right on time and we were ready to begin.
The first person we bumped into was Eve Wine 101’s very own Eve Bushman, who had already texted me “Are you here?” just as we exited the shuttle. Eve promptly introduced us to Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association Executive Director Jim Fiolek. Then we got our wine glasses and programs, and the event was ON!
As I usually do at the beginning of a tasting, I took the program and, barely glancing at it, shoved it in my back pocket. My plan was to look at it later to fill in the blanks on the wines that were poured and to remind me of the exact wines I particularly liked.
The next two and a half hours were pretty crazy. It got crowded quickly, and it was darn hot, with some of the wineries pouring inside the restaurant and some pouring out on a|k|a’s patio. The restaurant provided appetizers, fruit and cheese, and I finally got my fill of their delicious Portobello Fries. In spite of the heat, the event seemed to go off without a hitch, and I tasted some great wines.
Now anyone who reads my columns [yeah, both of you] knows that I drink a lot of Paso Robles wines. So, it was nice to get an opportunity to taste some wines from another [and closer] wine region.
After the tasting, I pulled out the program to highlight the wines I had especially enjoyed. Much to my chagrin, I realized the program did not list the individual wines, only the winery names. Yesterday, Eve already provided the list of wineries pouring at the event, so I won’t bother repeating that list here.
So, I emailed Fran Clow, Executive Administrator of the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association, asking her if she could get me information on the wines being poured. Apparently, she contacted the wineries involved, and several responded, as follows [with my favorites in bold] [Thank you very much Fran!]:
Kenneth Volk Vineyards –
2008 Zinfandel, Enz Vineyard
2008 Mourvedre, Enz Vineyard
2006 Tempranillo, John Smith Vineyard
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmody McKnight Vineyard
2009 Negrette, Caleri Vineyard
2007 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Cuvee
2008 Chardonnay, Santa Maria Cuvee
2010 Chardonnay, “Jaybird”, Santa Maria Valley
2010 Verdelho, Pomar Junction Vineyard
2009 The Outlier (dryish Gewurz)
2009 Grenache Blanc
2009 Grenache/Mourvedre Rose
2008 Camp 4 Mourvedre
2008 Cuvee Christie (75% Grenache / 12.5% Syrah / 12.5% Mourvedre)
2007 Larner Vineyard Syrah
2007 Watch Hill Vyd Grenache
2007 Petite Sirah
2008 Cuvee Loco (all Larner fruit; 1/2 syrah and 1/2 grenache
Hitching Post Wines
2010 Dry Rose
2009 Cork Dancer [Pinot Noir]
2008 Hometown [Pinot Noir]
2008 Highliner [Pinot Noir]
2007 Syrah Big Circle
2007 Gen Red
2007 Z Cuvee
2007 Mesa Reserve Syrah
2009 Bedrock Chardonnay, Stainless Steel
2009 Estate Chardonnay, 30% new French oak
2008 Mesa Pinot Noir, Single Clone, Single Block
2005 La Seduzione “Lagrein”
2010 Ashley’s Chardonnay
2008 Ashley’s Pinot Noir
2009 SBC Viognier
2008 The Big Easy (red rhone blend)
[Note – I like the Fess Parker wines but did not taste their wines this time. I recently had the 2008 Big Easy and found it to be excellent.]
Thank you to all of the above for emailing the information and covering my butt.
I also really enjoyed the wines poured by: Dragonette Cellars and Jaffurs Wine Cellars
I’d like to give a special shout-out to Tercero Wines. Not only have winemaker/owner Larry Schaffer’s wines steadily improved over the years [my favorite wines of this tasting] but he graciously passed on to me a 2/3 full bottle of his Mourvedre to enjoy with the dinner after the tasting.
My next article will cover the dinner at a|k|a Bistro. [Fortunately, I kept the menu!]
Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.