Go on the website for Crawford Family Wines and you will see photos of a family that look torn from a fashion catalog…surely they can’t be that good-looking and produce amazing wines. But, they are and they do. In fact, the quick snap I took of winemaker and family head, Mark Horvath, during our group wine tasting got more “likes” on Facebook than almost anything else I’ve posted. Yep, that good looking.
And the wines are just as gorgeous. The 2013 Rose of Pinot Noir and Grenache is absolutely refreshing and a sports a floral bouquet of fragrant rose and ripe strawberries and follows with the same on the palate. This well-made Rose may actually do well with some age and is a summer steal at $18.
All of the wines are excellent but the 2013 Chardonnay, Tin Shack, Rita’s Crown Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills, is one of the most memorable wines I have tasted recently. Fresh and Burgundian in style, the aroma of caramelized apples is unique and pronounced and becomes phenomenal on the palate where a bit of nutmeg and baking spices add to the lingering finish. I loved this wine and it was beautiful with the Prosciutto Wrapped Halibut but would have been spectacular with the creaminess of the Jumbo Shrimp we had paired with the Rose.
The 2012 Walk Slow, Santa Rita Hills, is half Babcock Vineyard and half Bentrock Vineyard and the combination creates layers of complexity and concentration form the 30 year old Babcock vines. Bentrock has a slatey minerality and together they create a sense of place and a rich Pinot that punches smoke and cherry and continues into and smooth, long finish. Yummy and stands up well to the gaminess of wild boar.
Finishing a tasting of Crawford Family Wines mean indulging on their first release of a Syrah-Grenache blend named 2nd Street Cuvee from the hippest new AVA, Ballard Canyon. Completely drawn from the Tierra Alta Vineyard, two steep hillside blocks produce this lush Cotes-du-Rhone style wine. Aromas of dark and dried fruit with violet undertones with spice on the palate and juice acid through the finish. The rare cut of Teres Major (shoulder) beef was a treat with this meat-friendly wine that also drinks nicely with hard cheeses of a little duck breast.
A glimpse at the menu prepared by wonder chef Laura Scallan at West Restaurant at Hotel Angeleno:
FIRST COURSE ~ Rose
GARLIC JUMBO SHRIMP
LEMON-PEPPER FETTUCINI, ARTICHOKE ALFREDO
SECOND COURSE ~ Chardonnay
PROSCUITTO WRAPPED HALIBUT
GRILLED EGGPLANT, TOMATO CAPER SAUCE
THIRD COURSE ~ Pinot Noir
BRAISED WILD BOAR
TRUFFLED POLENTA, CRISPY BRUSSEL SPROUTS
FOURTH COURSE~ Cuvee
GRILLED TERES MAJOR
WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO, SPRING PEA PUREE