THE GRAND TASTINGS
Of course, the HdR event wasn’t all “work” [I use this term very loosely] at the seminars that I wrote about in last week’s article.
Friday afternoon was the Opening Tasting and the Closing Tasting was held Saturday afternoon. The participants were the same at both, with the opening tasting focusing on older vintages and the closing tasting representing current releases. Wineries could only pour wines that were primarily made up of the 22 Rhône varieties. This was not only a great opportunity to taste an incredible number of fine wines, but to also interact with lots of winemakers.
I did not take notes on individual bottles and did not get a chance to taste at nearly every table – check out this list of participants and you’ll see why I didn’t make it to everyone. I also focused primarily on California producers as these would be wineries I’d be most apt to follow up with for in-depth reporting in the future.
Of those I tasted, these wineries poured my favorites…
Alta Colina, Paso Robles, CA
Anglim, Paso Robles, CA
Barton Family Wines, Paso Robles, CA
Bedrock Wine Co, Sonoma, CA
Caliza Winery, Paso Robles, CA
Carlisle Winery and Vineyards, Windsor, CA
Clos Solene, Paso Robles, CA
Delmas, Walla Walla, WA
Denner Winery, Paso Robles, CA
Donelan Family Wines, Santa Rosa, CA
Jeff Cohn Cellars, Sonoma, CA
Keplinger Winers, Napa, CA
Larner Vineyard and Winery, Los Olivos, CA
Law Estate Wines, Paso Robles, CA
Ledge Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA
Levo, Paso Robles, CA
Onx Wines, Paso Robles, CA
Paix Sur Terre, Paso Robles, CA
Saxum Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA
TOP, Paso Robles, CA
Turtle Rock Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA
Not on the list on the website, the wines of Santa Barbara’s Kunin Wines were also being poured. Seth Kunin passed away last year; I never met Seth and by all accounts my life is poorer as a result. Seth’s wines were being poured by his wife and his brother and they were delicious.
Wine tastes great on its own, but ultimately it really shines as part of a meal – oft times for me as the star of the meal, but part of it nonetheless.
Lunch on Friday was devoted to Rose, with bottles of Rose everywhere being provided by HdR participants, along with food prepared by Chef Nick Nolan of Society Cuisine.
The Live Auction Lunch on Saturday featured dishes prepared by Martin Testa of Testa Catering along with lots of wine provided by the HdR participating wineries. The auction generated funds for the HdR organization to continue to provide these kind of events and to help Northern California Wildfire Relief…
In addition, the passing of two wine luminaries was addressed, Seth Kunin of Kunin Wines and Robert Haas of Tablas Creek, as well as the Person of the Year being announced – Jed Dunnuck of jebdunnuck.com.
The Farewell Dinner Saturday evening provided a wonderful time to reflect on the weekend that had passed so quickly. The four course meal was prepared by Chef Spencer Johnston of Danior Kitchen, featuring Southwestern inspired fare capped off with a delicious selection of meats [beef, chicken, chorizo and lamb] followed by dulche de leche cake along with strawberries and cajata. Not to mention the cooked grasshoppers which were a big hit at our table. And of course, the wines…it looked like all the bottles that had been opened at the tasting were sitting somewhere, along with plenty of full ones.
I can’t say enough about this event – hopefully you’ve gotten this far in my writing about it. From the organizers to the participating wineries to the attendees, from the seminars to the meals to the tastings, whether one bought a weekend pass or went a la carte, I can’t think of a more well run event or one with higher quality wines across the board. As we headed off into the night, I thought that I couldn’t believe it was over and that two years couldn’t pass soon enough. Kudos to all involved.
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.