This time wine-expectant palates would sample over 100 wines from 40 wineries – and grow a knowledge of our varied California terroir – courtesy Ian Blackburn of WineLA.com in yet another “STARS” event. As you should’ve guessed, it was Stars of California, once again at The Peninsula Beverly Hills.
And, as some of these participants (listed below) were familiar to me from other tasting events in the last six months, which I have written about, this tasting I only tasted new vintages from those same sources, and a few wineries I was unfamiliar with. My likes and brief tasting notes are below under “Pour List” in italics. (And for my pals with a short attention span, of course I created a slideshow of the event.
The Pour List at Press Time:
Redline Cabernet Blend, Sonoma County 2012
Chardonnay, Bacigalupi Vineyard, Russian River Valley 2014
Cabernet Franc, Bavarian Lion Vineyard, Knights Valley 2014
Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer Georges the III, Napa Valley 2012
Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2013
‘Clone 667’ Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2013
Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 2014
Chardonnay, El Jabali Vineyard 2014
Always a pleasure to taste with winemaker Richard Sanford. His Pinot Noirs are continually well done, and along with Clos Pepe, really set the bar nice and high for Pinot in Sta. Rita Hills. This time I enjoyed the 2013 Pinot Noir and a 2014 Pinot Gris.
ANCIENT PEAKS WINERY
Sauvignon Blanc, Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles 2014
Cabernet Sauvignon, Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles 2014
Merlot, Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles 2013
Renegade, Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles 2013
Oyster Ridge, Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles 2013
Loved the lemon and white peach in this Sauv Blanc, the Oyster Ridge Cab blend, the Renegade Syrah and the big, dry yet balanced 2013 Zin they also poured.
Rose of Grenache 2015 – Watch Hill Vineyard, Los Alamos
“Dissident” GSM, Stolpman and Watch Hill Vineyards, Santa Barbara 2014
“Faction” Syrah, Stolpman Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley, Ballard Canyon 2014
“Haven” Grenache, Stolpman Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley, Ballard Canyon 2014
Every darn wine in this line-up made me smile. The Grenache was one I noted as an easy drinker, which translates to Drink Now.
Zinfandel, Madrone Spring Vineyard, Rockpile 2013
Zinfandel, Montecillo Vineyard, Sonoma Valley 2014
This is Ian’s wine, I have it every time, don’t miss it when you see it.
Pinot Noir, Pisoni Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands 2013
Pinot Noir, Rosella’s Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands 2013
Pinot Noir, Gary’s Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands 2013
Rose of Pinot Noir SLH 2014
If you are ever in Carmel Valley, visit this winery.
Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford 2014
Pinot Noir, Catie’s Corner Vineyard 2014
Jovana Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2013
Cabernet Sauvignon, Amaryllis Spring Mountain District 2012
CA’ DEL GREVINO
Element Pinot Noir, Santa Maria 2012
Element Chardonnay, Santa Maria 2012
Pinot Noir, Santa Maria 2013
Riesling, Santa Maria 2013
Grenache Blanc 2015
Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2013
Pinot Noir, Gloria Vineyard 2013
Pinot Noir, Keefer Ranch 2013
“Sesquipedalian” Cabernet Sauvignon, Cole Bailey Vineyards, Redwood Valley , Mendocino 2007
“Otters Road Trip Red, Cole Bailey Vineyards, Redwood Valley, Mendocino County NV
Sauvignon Blanc, Coquelicot Estate Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley 2015
Riesling, , Santa Ynez Valley 2015
‘Estate Mon Amour’ Bordeaux Blend, Santa Ynez Valley 2011
‘Estate Sixer’ (94% Syrah, 6% Viognier), Santa Ynez Valley 2012
New vintages for me to try, that I thoroughly enjoyed, included the Mon Amour and Sixer. And they are all organic wines if that’s your preference.
“L’Inox” Sauvignon Blanc, Lucas & Lewellen and Star Lane Vineyards, Happy Canyon 2015
“Les Jumeaux” Pinot Noir, Theresa Noell and John Sebastiano Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills 2014
‘Karmen Isabella’ Pinot Noir, Russian River, Sonoma 2013
‘Kyndalls Reserve’ Chardonnay, Russian River, Sonoma 2013
‘Kylie’s Cuvee’ Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River, Sonoma 2015
FATHERS & DAUGHTERS CELLARS
Pinot Noir (Ella’s Reserve), Ferrington 2012
Pinot Noir (Ella’s Reserve), Ferrington 2013
Sauvignon Blanc, Ferrington 2014
Chardonnay, Ferrington 2014
Chenin Blanc, Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard 2014
Chardonnay, Bien Nacido Block UU 2014
Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley 2014
Pinot Noir, John Sebastiano Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills 2013
Always a favorite.
Genception of Giants California Super Syrah 2011
Laminar Flow Pinot Noir 2013
Conoscenti Syrah 2011
Conoscenti Pinot Noir 2013
Conoscenti Rose’ 2013
This was a fun discovery, especially chatting with devoted CA winemaker that lives in AZ, Joel Clapick. My favorites were the Giants’ blend and the Rose.
Tesserae, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Viognier, Casey Flat Ranch, Capay Valley 2015
Chardonnay, Bell Vineyard, Yountville, Napa County 2013
Syrah, Remembrance Vineyard, Lake County 2012
GROTH VINEYARDS & WINERY
Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2014
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley 2012
Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley 2012
Hillview Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2014
‘SLH’ Chardonnay, St. Lucia Highlands 2014
‘SLH’ Pinot Noir, St. Lucia Highlands 2014
Pinot Noir, Lucienne Lone Oak Vineyard 2013
Pinot Noir, Lucienne Smith Vineyard 2013
Had the SLH (new label designation for Santa Lucia Highlands, much like Ballard Canyon’s new embossed bottle – both designed to help separate AVAs from the pack) Pinot Noir in my American Wine Cert class (yes I passed) and became an instant fan. This time I tried the Lucienne label and rejoiced in loving both that were shared. I found the Lone Oak slightly more delicate than the more traditional Smith vineyard.
HAWK AND HORSE
Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Hills, Lake County 2011
‘Block Three’ (95% Cab & 5% Petit Verdot), Red Hills, Lake County 2011
‘Latigo’ Cabernet Sauvignon fortified Port style Dessert Wine, Red Hills, Lake County 2011
I was introduced to Hawk and Horse when they sent me a “diamond” along with wines to sample. The marketing (diamond) caught my attention, as did the wines I was sent for review. I was happy to try the 2011 Cab and the Block Three red blend. These wines, both 2011 vintages, were just released. Love a wine that has spent a little more time in barrel and oak to suit the winemaker’s desired results.
Chardonnay, Santa Barbara 2014
Pinot Grigio, California 2013
Cabernet, Paso Robles 2012
Petite Sirah, Paso Robles 2012
Originally tasting Hoyt in a now defunct wine tasting room in Malibu, I was happy to see them at Ian’s event. Loved the Cab, Petite Sirah and a 2011 Tempranillo – all draped in medals.
‘Optimus Estate’ Red Blend, Paso Robles 2013
Côte à Côte, Paso Robles 2013
Estate Cuvée, Paso Robles 2013
Always a treat when winemaker Stephan Asseo and/or L’Aventure comes out to any event. None of his wines ever disappoint my Rhône-driven palate. And this time, the Estate Cuvee made me pause; a smoky wine with rapturous balance. As I noticed every other taster at his table fail to pour out, I was so jealous to have to be working.
Read Part 2 here next week! I will begin with the rest of this list and finish with what we tasted from the Paso Robles Cab Collective.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.