Lots of new faces at this year’s annual holiday tasting, though most of the wine representatives serving pour after pour had been present before. Lovers of wine, in general, populated the 12th Annual Holiday Wine Tasting hosted by Guy Lelarge at Valencia Wine Company.
The wine store had converted its tall tabletops into wine pouring stations. Guests meandered through nearly a dozen of these, tasting Champagnes, Prosecco, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, white and red blends, Pinot Noir, Barolo, Syrah, Tempranillo, Bordeaux, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon – from sources close by like Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles and Napa, to parts further out like France, Italy, Portugal, Chile and Spain.
The wine representatives offered a wealth of knowledge for every wine they poured: stories about the winemakers, top scores and pricing. We found ourselves checking off over a dozen wines we wanted to take home, and take advantage of the 20% case discount offered to guests of the tasting. Some of my favorites, that I can recall after the haze of a great tasting has worn off, are in italics below.
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The Wine List at Press Time
POL ROGER BRUT NV
LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT PREMIER
LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT ROSE 2009
LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT 2008
(We started by tasting the champagnes poured at the Southern Wine and Spirits table by wine rep Raquel Dominguez. Starting here not only got us into a festive mood, I checked off nearly every one to buy later. My uppermost favorite was the Rose. I’m not a fan of sweet Rose wines – like our domestic White Zinfandel can be – but I do like the delicate aromas and flavors in a French Rose, and even better if bubbles are included!)
REGNARD CHABLIS GRAND REGNARD 2013 (This wine, which the wine rep said the family had been making since the 1700s, was in a bottle shape that was reminiscent of the era. The taste was most unique – especially when tasted side-by-side with another French Chardonnay. The Regnard a wine made from Chardonnay grapes in Chablis, France. We could really tell the difference in the “terroir” between where these two wines were made. Made me want to try Chablis against a Chardonnay again.)
SCHLUMBERGER RIESLING SAERING 2010
LATOUR MONTAGNY LA GRANDE ROCHE 1er Cru 2013
BRASSFIELD PINOT GRIS HIGH SERENITY 2013
MER SOLEIL CHARDONNAY RESERVE, SANTA BARBARA 2012 (Well done.)
CARPE DIEM CHARDONNAY 2013
GARY FARRELL CHARDONNAY RESERVE 2012
CH DE PEZ 11 ST ESTEPHE
HENRY FESSY FLEURIE CHT LABOURON Cru Beaujolais 2011
FAIVELEY MERCUREY CLOS MYGLANDS 2011
JL COLOMBO CORNAS TERRE BRULEES 2012 (I’d been to a wine tasting and seminar with winemaker Jean Luc Colombo. I loved his wines and his brash personality. This 100% Syrah did not fail to disappoint either.)
MARQ MURRIETA RIOJA RSV 2010 (Another tasty choice.)
DELAS ST JOSEPH TOURNON 2013
ETUDE PINOT NOIR 2013
FLOWERS PINOT NOIR 2013 (A perfect Pinot Noir, fans of the grape variety would love this one.)
CARPE DIEM PINOT NOIR 2012
ROCHE BAROLO 2011 (What made this wine remarkable is that it was the first “drink now” Barolo I have ever had. Wine rep Robert Pozzi said that was why he selected it. Very balanced and good – to go!)
HANNA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 (Out of Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, this Cab was lovely.)
THORN MERLOT 2012 (Don’t like Merlot? Do you like Cab? Give the sister wine to Cab a try – it was delightful.)
Wines that were added in at the event that I recall liking also included the Triple C blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere, Santa Rita Maipo Valley, Chile; Niner Winery 2010 Twister Spur, Syrah Grenache blend from Paso Robles; 2013 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon; 2012 Periquita Reserva (a lovely red wine from Portugal); Robert Hall Meritage Bordeaux blend, Paso Robles; Franciscan Estate, Napa Valley, 2012 Magnificat Meritage red Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc; 2013 Ferdinand Tempranillo, Napa, California; 2009 Enantio (the grape is Enantio) Valdadige Terradeiforti, red wine from Italy.
Eve’s Wine 101 Event Picks: Wine LA has continuous classes and events including Learn about Coravin 11/29, LA Scotch Club also has great events, Pinot Days 11/21, Wine & Cheese Tasting at Four Brix Winery in Ventura 11/22 and LA Rail’s Vino Train travels to Santa Barbara.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com