This year’s Family Winemakers event, held at the Pasadena Convention Center, had about 70 wineries presenting their finest bottlings to an appreciative crowd of trade, media and consumer attendees. Yes, I said 70. Obviously, I couldn’t taste everything, but I think I made a pretty good dent. Here are some of my favorites…
Ascension Cellars – specializing in Rhone and Bordeaux varietals, this was one of several wineries at the event representing Paso Robles. Enjoyed the Rose, the Soul Shaker Cab/Syrah blend as well as the dessert Primitivo.
Bokisch Vineyards – a Lodi winery focused on Spanish varietals, I was excited to see they also produced a Zinfandel from the Kirschenmann Vineyard. This vineyard is owned by Tegan Passalacqua of Turley Wine Cellars. Turley, of course, makes a zin from this vineyard as do a few other wineries. This version was about as pure an expression of the vineyard as I’ve had.
Brecon Estate – I’ve been wanting to try this Paso Robles winery since they were named winery of the year in Doug Wilder’s Purely Domestic Wine Report. Both the Forty-Two red Rhone blend and the Petite Sirah were excellent.
Cass Winery – what can be said about this Paso Robles winery that hasn’t been said? Great white and red Rhones with Ted Plemons providing the entertainment.
DRNK – the name of this Russian River Valley winery is made up of the initials of family members. The “K” is for winemaker Ryan Kunde – yes, that Kunde family so you know the winemaking pedigree is there. Great Pinot Noir and Malbec.
Frog’s Tooth – this winery serves as a great reminder that well-priced high quality wines can be found when you expand your wine search into the Sierra Foothills. Especially liked the Sauvignon Blanc and the Petite Sirah.
Pech Merle – based in Geyserville, this tiny winery is producing some really good juice. I really liked their Zinfandel.
Petrified Forest Vineyards – Ken and Susan Piters are making excellent Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from their vineyard in Sonoma County’s Knight’s Valley.
Pride Mountain Vineyards – speaking of Cabernet, just a big “wow” for the one from this winery that overlaps the north end of Napa and Sonoma counties.
Sobon Estate / Shenandoah Vineyards – consistently one of my favorite Amador County wineries, the reserve Zin was my pick at this table.
Sol Rouge Vineyard & Winery – pouring a wide range of mostly Rhone inspired wines, there was a lot to enjoy at this table. Favorites for me were the Cinsaut and the Cabernet Franc.
Treasure Island Wines / Kohler & Frohling Wines – I had planned on visiting this table anyway and I was especially intrigued when I got an email reminding me of an article that hit The Daily Beast early in 2017. Kohler & Frohling was originally founded in the 1850s in Los Angeles and has now been recreated by the great-great grandson of the founder Charles Kohler. The wines are made by the same winemaker as San Francisco’s Treasure Island Wines, Jim Mirowski. I really enjoyed the Rose wines at this table, my favorite being the K&F Rose of Pinot Noir, which struck me as a pretty serious version of a Rose.
Eve’s article already listed all the wineries that poured at this event, so I won’t bother listing them again. But, I highly recommend you watch our site for more events in the future, both from Family Winemakers and other great organizations.
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.