Four Brix Winery
We were ready for our final stop of the day.
Gary Stewart, one of the owners of Four Brix Winery in Ventura, had actually set up our itinerary for the day. We had originally planned on visiting four wineries that day, but the amount of quality time we spent at the first two caused us to have to make a choice in the late afternoon. It became a no-brainer – not only had Gary set up our day, but my editor Eve had already raved enough about the Four Brix wines that I knew I had to try them for myself. Besides, based on what I had already tasted that day of Ventura County wines, I knew I’d be back – soon!
“Brix” is a measure of sugar content, such as in grapes at harvest. Combining this term with the four areas the owners have focused on in their wine travels [France, Spain, Italy and California], the name Four Brix was born. [Gary and his wife Karen own Four Brix with two other couples: the Simonsgaards and the Noonans.]
We pulled into the industrial park that houses Four Brix and found their winery and tasting room nestled in the back. [Future trips to Ventura County will help us determine if the industrial park approach is the rule here, but it certainly seems to work out well.]
Four Brix was hosting a blending party that day, with guests blending and tasting [and blending and tasting] various varietals to see for themselves how final blends are derived. [Four Brix is “big” on blends, but will bottle a single varietal if it is warranted.] So Gary was pretty busy with that, but Karen Stewart had time to guide us through a tasting of their current offerings.
We tasted the following wines:
2008 Temptress (Tempranillo, Mourvedre and Grenache)
2009 Temptress (Tempranillo, Mourvedre, Grenache and Graciano), Central Coast
2009 Zeductive (Zinfandel, Petite Sirah) San Luis Obispo County
2009 Scosso (Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) Central Coast
2009 Rhondezvous (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise) Paso Robles
As mentioned above, Four Brix is focused on blends, and assigns colorful proprietary names based on the grapes going into the mix. All the wines were terrific, but the real standouts for me were the Zeductive and Rhondezvous (not surprising to anyone who knows me, I guess).
Then Karen had a treat for us. She rinsed our glasses and took us back to the barrel room to try the current vintage in barrel of their Viognier, as well as a barrel taste of Charbono, a hard-to-find varietal of which I am very fond. Then, when we finally did get a chance to talk to Gary, he mentioned one of the grapes they were using in their blending party was Mourvedre. Now, I am a big fan of Mourvedre, a Rhone varietal that is usually used as a blender, but can occasionally be found as a standalone bottling. So, I had to ask for a taste. Outstanding! Maybe a standalone bottling of this one Gary? [Or maybe just some for me?]
Well, that wrapped up our day in Ventura County. I was left with a true sense of wonder – I wonder why it took me so long to make it out there and I wonder how quickly I can get back? A big thank you to all three wineries we visited and an especially big thank you to the Stewarts for setting this up and hosting us on the day they were so busy with their blending party.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.