Breaking from standard format a bit on this one but just had TOO MANY good wines the past few days not to create a permanent record. Here are 5 that stood out.
Visited Tablas Creek in Paso Robles and got to taste a few of their single-variety bottlings. Everybody is familiar with the Cotes, Patellin, and Esprit blends, but to get the single components, the best bet is to belong or visit. The 2013 Syrah is a powerful little wine, massive raspberry and sharp tannins. I snagged a few of them and this wine will show up on the blog SOON. Watch for it. Just a STUNNING little wine. www.tablascreek.com
One of my favorite Champagnes (I’m not a huge Champagne fan–MUCH preferring California Sparklers–but that is merely a personal preference) and SUCH a bargain. I call it ‘Baby Cristal’ and at 1/3 the price there never is an argument and I consider it a better wine. MOST if not ALL of the big blingy Champers bottlings are over-rated–but they sure look good in selfies! Big fresh-baked bread nose. Crisp and bright like a Cali, with zesty fruit and *just enough* of that toasty Champagne nuance to remind you it IS from the motherland. www.louis-roederer.com
Another fizz enjoyed was the 2015 BROC Sparkling Chenin Blanc. This is on the list at the fabulous The Spoon Trade resty in Grover Beach (www.thespoontrade.com) and we blew a bottle of it while waiting for a table. Big citrus zest, of COURSE tons of vibrant, heady yeast, apple cider and lovely. This little urban winery in Oakland? Berkley?–I forget–continues to crank out the edgy IPOB-ish wonders. Love just about EVERYTHING from BROC. www.broc-cellars.myshopify.com
The 2006 CONN CREEK Anthology was showing some age and at 10 years old and spotty provenance, this wine is probably drinking at about prime. Thick dark impenetrable garnet with considerable sediment. Viscous. Massive Colgate mint and eucalyptus on the nose and palate run to sweet oak and delicate hibiscus tea and strawberry before everything comes crashing down on you in a Niagra-Falls of powerful crushed cherry and still-lively tannin. Lovely stuff from an oft-overlooked Napa Valley old-timer. www.conncreek.com
A recent cellar-orphan find, the 1983 SUTTER HOME El Dorado Dessert Zinfandel (18.0 9.4) was more of a conversation-piece on a cellar shelf than it was intended to be a viable wine, but decided to check it out. Clear thin orange, like Amontillado or Marsala. Brilliant coffee-ground stewwed fruit–I would NOT call it pruney AT ALL–everything polished out amazingly well, no petrol, not cloying. All-in-all somewhat of a shock it was SO GOOD. www.sutterhome.com