After I tasted wines from the California High Desert AVA with Wine of the Month Club’s president Paul Kalemkiarian via YouTube, I got an email a few weeks later from another winery in the high desert, High Desert Cellars Chavez Vineyards. They wanted me to taste their award winning wines (see “From the Winery” below) and write up some tasting notes for you, our Dear Wine Friends.
Not one to turn down a bottle, err, I mean an opportunity to try a new bottle of wine, I readily agreed to the tasting. (If you want to try them they have a tasting room open to the public Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6 p.m.: 3045 90th Street West, Rosamond, CA, 93560, 661-256-6203.)
2010 Tempranillo, 13.9% alcohol
Stewed mushroom, green bell peppers cooking in fajita seasonings, black pepper, leather, blackberry; lovely dark peppery fruit, juicy blackberry, black pepper again, good tannins. Pair with grilled steak or any meat-based dish in my humble opinion. Drink now.
2010 Zinfandel, 13.9% alcohol
Floral rose petals, plum, dark chocolate, leaves, wet earth and leather; red fruit, tannic, black pepper, smoke, bark. I could steadily sip this wine alone – and I did – or enjoy with food. Drink now or up to 5 years of down time. I liked the alcohol content and didn’t get any of the heat accompanied with high alcohol percentages. With that said, for a Zinfandel, it was fairly easy drinking with only a mild amount of pepper and spice.
2010 California Syrah, 15.6% alcohol
The color of seedless blackberry jam; dark fruit, plum, plump raisins, tobacco, milk chocolate, leather, mint; dried black fruits, juicy yet palate-drying on the finish, smoke, and firm tannins. Very pleasant, may be strong without food for some but not for me. Drink now or up to 5 to 7 years of down time. (Note from my Contributing Editor Michael Perlis: High Desert Cellars’ Syrah is from the same vineyard that was used for Golden Star’s.)
From the Winery
Three of our wines have won medals from the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition! Our 2010 Syrah won GOLD. Our 2010 Merlot won SILVER. And our Zinfandel won BRONZE. We are thrilled to receive this honor!
The 2014 SFCWC had a record number of 5,825 entries from over 1,500 wineries from 25 states in America – the largest competition of wines in America. The Public Tasting Event will be held at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on Saturday, February 15, beginning at 1:30PM, and we are making plans to attend and pour our wonderful wines.
Efren Chavez is the proud owner of High Desert Cellars – Chavez Vineyards and he has been in the grape growing business since 1978, starting in Sonoma County in the Russian River Appellation, Alexander Valley. In 1999 Efren started Chavez Vineyards on 20 acres located in east Palmdale, in the Antelope Valley of the California High Desert. Producing wine from grapes of uncompromised quality, including red varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Malbec, Barbera, Alicante Bouchet, and white varietals of Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier, Muscato, as well as rose wines of Merlot and Syrah. The first bottles of wine under the Chavez Cellars label were bottled in 2009.
Efren’s ambition of opening a tasting room for his wines became reality in June 2011 – High Desert Cellars Winery and Tasting Room held its grand opening. The beautiful tasting room offers fines wines for tasting, as well as beer, soda, water, snacks and unique gifts. Our wines can also be enjoyed in the outdoor garden area, along with a picnic lunch if desired.