Rusty Sly: The GOTN Finds of 2011

What a night at Valencia Wine Company for our January 2012 Grape of the Night.  One of the largest showings that we have had in a while.  Included in our gathering was none other than Gary Stewart of Four Brix Winery tantalizing us with some of his latest and greatest wines.  Those of you that have not sampled his creations I highly recommend you do, they are spectacular.

The theme for the evening was to bring a bottle of wine that influenced you during the 2011 GOTN year and new participants were asked to bring their favorite.  Then each were asked to explain their discovery, or love, for the wine they had brought.  Chairing this monthly event I’ve always wondered if people are truly discovering new wines as we venture through various varietals and regions of the world.  This GOTN meeting provided me the answer to this question and  I am proud to be a part of this group that takes wines as seriously as I do.  Yes, even I found a new region that produces a wine that I really like.  I hope as we continue through 2012 that we maintain the GOTN goal of discovering more wines and continue the adventure.

Normally, I list the wines that were shared but somehow my list was removed and yes, I drilled the family members.  I remembered many and asked everyone on FB GOTN to provide what they had brought.  So below is a summary of the wines and reasons they were brought.  I hope that you don’t want to vote me out of office because of this incident.

During the evening I listened to each member of the group talk about their wine they had discovered or if they were new to the group why it was their favorite.   Larry McClement , whom I find well versed in wines and a person that practices what I preach about trying new wines, said he had discovered white wines.  It was interesting to see that it wasn’t a given varietal but that even being red or white could be a discovery.   Last year we had two white wines (Semillion and Roussanne) and to my surprise the group has requested to try more this year.

Rich and Mindy discovered Rioja’s from Spain and brought a ‎2005 Monteciego Rioja Reserva.  Rioja’s are beautiful wines made with the Tempranillo grape varietal.  Tempranillo’s are smooth, delicious and very approachable by a wide range of palates.  Even for those that don’t care for old world wines generally will enjoy this wine.

Vic picked a single vineyard Turley Zinfandel from the Pesenti Winery because it brought back memories of his first trip through Paso Robles in the early 1980’s.  One of the places he stopped was Pesenti Winery. He said that he didn’t much like Paso wines back then, but he does now.

Don and Cheryl Delphanies  brought a 2009 Delas Freres Cotes-du-Rhone.  Cheryl stated that the reason for bringing this specific varietal was, “Aside from our discovery of old world wines (guided by the intrepid Rusty Sly), we are also going on a Rhone River cruise in April.” All I can say is that I am glad this door has opened and given way to an adventure through the Rhone.  These wines display some of the old world characteristics without requiring years of cellaring to enjoy.  I know I am looking forward to our meeting in May to hear all about it.

Chuck and Heidi brought a 2009 Catena Malbec which they have come to enjoy.  Great tasting smooth wine that is very inexpensive for what you are getting.   Catena was pretty much the founder of Malbecs in Argentina.  It is true that many Malbecs from this region, though inexpensive, continuously score above 90 points and this one is no exception.

Gary Stewart (Vintner and owner) of Four Brix Winery brought a real treat.  It was the last bottle of his 2008 Golden Hawk Petite Sirah.  The grapes are from the Sonoma Russian River area.  Such a beautiful wine and the last one at that.   All I can say is thank you Gary for sharing with the group, it was a great wine.

Eve Bushman  brought a 2009 Four Brix  “Rhondevous”.  The grapes for this wine were from Paso Robles.  The blend is made up of 41% Grenache, 36% Syrah, 14% Mourvedre and 9% Counoise in true Rhone style fashion.  This is another great blended wine from Four Brix.   Gary helped her by bringing this wine for her as she is extremely busy with her involvement in the community.  However, my guess is for Eve as well as the rest of us is that the “find” is Four Brix Winery itself.  Thanks both to Eve and Gary for sharing this.

Lucas and BJ brought a 2006 Mi Sueno Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa.  I have known Lucas for quite a while and I know his passion for Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  Since he is new to the group he explained his love for this varietal.  I hope they both continue to come to GOTN and come to love the other varietals as much as the Cabernets.

For myself, I found a region of France that I did not know about.
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  This was the Cahors region in Southwest France.  This is the primary region where the Malbec grape varietals are grown.  However, what is unique for the wines coming from this region is that they are blended with another grape varietal known as Tannat which I love.  So for me, this is a perfect match which is why I brought was a 2007 Chateau St. Didier-Parnac Cahors.

All-in-all I think that 2011 provided everyone with a broad range of knowledge about wines.   As always, I want to thank everyone for attending and especially Guy, Geno and Mike of Valencia Wine Company for their hospitality and services that they provide us with.  I look forward to seeing everyone through 2012 and let’s see if we can continue our adventure though the vineyards, wherever they may take us.

Rusty Sly