Perlis Picks: The Henry Wine Group Taste The World 2012

In 1985, Warner Henry founded what would eventually become The Henry Wine Group, recognizing that the wine industry’s distribution needs differed from the world of spirits.
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As a leading wholesaler, importer and distributor, The Henry Wine Group has an incredibly diverse portfolio of wines, which it periodically showcases to the trade and media at its Taste The World events. Recently, we had the pleasure of attending this event at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

With over 200 wineries represented, we barely tasted “a drop in the bucket” of the wines being offered, but of the ones we did taste, these were our favorites. Please note that the [K] designation doesn’t mean the wines are Kosher, but rather they are recommended by my wife Karen.

Ancient Peaks
[K] Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Renegade 2010 (Syrah, Malbec and Petit Verdot)
Oyster Ridge 2009 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Malbec)
This winery’s vineyard is in the southern region of Paso Robles wine country. The Oyster Ridge blend has typically been my favorite from winemaker Mike Sinor, but the Renegade gave it a run for its money that day.

Andrew Murray Vineyards
[K] RGB 2011 (Blend of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc)
Syrah Tella Bella Vineyard 2009
[K] This is e11even “Unplugged” 2010 (Blend of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay)
Andrew Murray had an early influence on my interest in the Rhone varietals during a long-ago visit to Santa Ynez, and he definitely hasn’t lost his touch.

Clear Creek Distillery
Grappa Nebbiolo
For those of you who haven’t liked grappa, I recommend this. To me, grappa still needs to show off the underlying fruit, and this does an excellent job.

Dashe Cellars
Zinfandel Florence Vineyard Dry Creek 2009
The Monkey and the Fish strike again with their excellent well-made Zins that showcase the fruit without being over the top.

Jorge Odonez Selections
Allende Tinto 2006 [Tempranillo]
Alta Moncayo 2010 [Garnacha]
[K] Avanthia Godello 2010
[K] Avanthia Rosado 2011
[K] La Cana Albarino 2011
[K] Protocolo Blanco 2011
[K] Paso A Paso Verdejo 2011
We loved tasting the offerings from this iconic importer of Spanish wines.

Mountain View Vintners
Amador County Clockspring Vineyard Zinfandel 2010
Classic Amador Zinfandel from a great vineyard.

San Francisco Wine Exchange
[K] Andeluna Chardonnay 2011
Andeluna Malbec, Altitud 2010
[K] Finca La Anita Tonada, Torrontes Chardonnay 2011
Vistalba Corte A 2008
[K] Mills Reef Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve 2011
[K] Woollaston Sauvignon Blanc 2011
[K] Ventisquero, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserva 2011
[K] Ventisquero, Carmenere, Reserva 2010
Ventisquero, Carmenere, Grey 2009
[K] Milbrandt, Pinot Gris, Tradition 2010
[K] Milbrandt, Chardonnay, Traditions 2011
[K] Milbrandt, Viognier, Estates 2011
Millbrandt, Sentinel 2009 [Bordeaux blend]
We got a great education on wines from Spain, Chile, Argentina and New Zealand. We spent a lot of time at this table and it was hard to limit our favorites. An added bonus was the presence of Milbrandt Vineyards from Washington State, which is also represented by SFWE.

Saucelitio Canyon
Zinfandel Estate 2010, Reserve, Arroyo Grande Valley
[K] Sauvignon Blanc 2011
I’ve long known Saucelito Canyon for their well-made Zinfandels, and they haven’t lost their touch.

As I said, we barely made a dent, even though we were at the tasting for a few hours. I’m really looking forward to their next event.

Of course, a visit to Beverly Hills wouldn’t be complete without a celebrity sighting…

Eve, playing celebrity, by Michael Perlis

Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at or