Les Deux Chats, aka local Santa Claritans Chris and Patty Connolly, recently delivered four bottles of their Paso Robles and Lodi wines for me to review: a 2010 Viognier, a barrel sample of their 2010 Zinfandel and both the 2010 and 2009 Roussanne.
I wanted to taste them together for comparison, not over a series of four nights, so to help me with the task I invited friends Marcy and Megan Gonzales – owners of the Poached Pair boutique bakeshop, Laura Garcia – HideaWine.com blind tasting sleeves, and Susie Majesky – wine-themed artist and the first reader that contacted me when I wrote for the newspaper.
Good buds, aka, good taste buds and good buddies.
I gave them the tasting sheets the Connolly’s had provided, with one caveat, if they were to read the notes they could not tell me any of them – I’m far too subjective and prefer to find my own descriptors.
Onto the task at hand, I asked the ladies to consider my note taking to be a “collective”, so-to-speak, of all of our thoughts:
2010 Viognier, Ripken Vineyard, Lodi
117 cases produced
Appearance and Color – The palest dry hay, aka “Eve’s hair” was mentioned by Susie, clear and mirror-like.
Aroma – Pear, pineapple, green apple, white peaches, Wisconsin grass, floral.
Taste – Fuller mouthfeel than expected – heavy compared to what we thought the light color indicated, mild acidity at the front tip of the tongue, unsalted butter, mild sweetness, stony, Laura thought their might be some honey or honeysuckle.
Finish – Medium length.
Conclusion – Group wanted it served ice cold, a wine for picnicking, and it proved to be the second favorite of the day.
2010 Roussanne, Ripken Vineyard, Lodi
95 cases produced
Appearance and Color – Slightly more golden than the Viognier.
Aroma – Earth, flinty, wet stone, pumpernickel and parmesan cheese.
Taste – Creamy cheese, slightly acidic, cantaloupe, green grass, green apple, white peach, another great picnic wine and Susie found some key lime at the end of the palate.
Finish – Short to medium length.
Conclusion – We all agreed with this thought of Marcy’s, “Something to wander around at a cocktail party with this in your hand – and just be happy.” This wine was the favorite.
2009 Roussanne, Ripken Vineyard, Lodi
190 cases produced
Appearance and Color – Pale gold ending with a slightly more golden edge.
Aroma – Toasty, buttery, steely, I think Megan said it would smell like lemon custard if it was heated. (She should know, don’t get me started with their lemon-filled cupcakes…)
Taste – Green melon, both cream and acid detected on the back palate, an oily – but not in any way unpleasant – mouthfeel.
Finish – Very long.
Conclusion – Laura felt it was “an austere wine.”
All of the above wines are available through the Les Deux Chats wine club:
2010 Zinfandel, Benito Dusi Vineyard, Paso Robles
Around 150 cases to be bottle and then released in January.
Appearance and Color – Unfiltered, dark raspberry center to a ruby edge.
Aroma – Wow, I think it was Megan that called it “mulling spices”, which gave way to specifics such as cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, licorice, stewed plums, spice rack, dark red fruits as well as leather and tobacco. (I had also decanted the wine for at least an hour.)
Taste – Pungent red to black cherries, dry, sugared plums, white pepper.
Finish – Short and tannic.
Conclusion – Laura said it for us all, “Can’t wait to try this at the release, it should all come together nicely”. As our two ounce pours had turned into full glasses, with very few wines being poured out, I’d have to say it was a collective decision! I know that this is the one I lingered over.
Individual bottles as well as a “pre-bottling” sale on the Zinfandel is available at
You can also try all of these wines for yourself at the upcoming Sunset in the Vineyard locally and the Garagiste Fest in Paso Robles.
From the winemaker: We are having a 30% off pre-bottling sale at $22.40 per bottle. Order the Zin now to receive the discount and it will ship in January.
Our 2009 Zinfandel from Benito won a gold medal at the Central Coast Wine Competition and has sold out. Locally, I know Vino 100 has 3 bottles left @ $45 each. Akasha, a restaurant in Culver City has some too. We are proud to say it was very popular and sold out.
(Full disclosure from Eve: Wine was not purchased but sent solely for the purpose of review.)