Wine Tasting Report: The Good Stuff


Wine Tasting Report: “TheGood Stuff”

First off, that is a terrible name for a tasting. What was I thinking? I was hurried and simply wanted to convey that we would be drinking some…good stuff. However, that does not do this line-up justice. This tasting was a wonderful selection of domestic wines; one white and five red. We started off with 2010 Le Pich Sauvignon Blanc, a second label from Purlieu Winery in the Coombsville AVA of Napa Valley. This is such a fine Sauvignon Blanc. An adult wine, to be sure. I served it at cellar temp [55 or so] and it was a perfect opener. We moved into a Pinot Noir phase with 2010 Suacci-Carciere Pinot Noir, a small, family-owned winery in the Russian River Valley AVA. This wine is made by Ryan Zepaltas [Zepaltas, Siduri] and I chose it because it is [in my mind] the epitome of RRV Pinot Noir: Clean, fresh and bursting with fruit and spice. Our second Pinot Noir is made of grapes from the gem of Santa Barbara County, the now-famous Bien Nacido Vineyard. But this is no ordinary Pinot. The 2004 Whitcraft Winery Bien Nacido Q Block is unfined and unfiltered. It has 16% alcohol! I used the Coravin to decant about half the bottle. I had to save some of this for later. I took a sip of this and the lights went fuzzy. Hot? Nope. Clean? Forget it. This was a heavy, dirt-in-the-bottle, heavenly, true expression of Pinot Noir. Yummy, indeed! Time to lighten things up with a little Merlot. Wait, Merlot?! The bane of Miles’ existence? Oh yes, dear friends, Merlot. Do not, I repeat, do not believe the hype. The 2009 Leonetti Cellars Walla Walla Valley Merlot is a thing of beauty. The Cellars of Leonetti are also impressive, as seen in this photo from GB.Leonetti Cellar
Next we return to California with an iconic brand, Silver Oak. The 2005 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley was drinking beautifully on this day. Rich, full of Cassis and pine-box on the nose. What a well-made wine. We finished the tasting with a personal bottle. The 2005 Madrigal Petite Sirah was given to me by Chris Madrigal, the owner. He signed it “Thanks for my first Black Sabbath wine tasting” So you can imagine what that was like. This wine is so dense is refracts light. Purple teeth and smiles seem to go hand in hand with this monster of a wine. Blueberry on the nose and so soft going down. DSC02629
Mmm. I thought I might never open this particular bottle, but the Coravin allowed me to share it without pulling the cork. Nice. Oh, hold on a minute. We have a BONUS WINE! Thank you Terrence, who brought out this beautiful 1964 Calon-Segur from his personal cellar. Calon-Segur has a long and rich history. It is a classified Third-growth and the most popular Bordeaux on Valentine’s Day, due to its heart-shaped label. This one still had something to give.


Perfect label, nice ullage, and NO FRUIT TO SPEAK OF. Whew! It’s not often you get to drink a 50-year-old bottle of anything.


What did we like about tonight?
Tonight people came together to drink wine, talk, laugh and learn. We drank wines that people were and were not familiar with. Conversations were started, interrupted and restarted. The price was very fair, the wine was very good. I think people will remember this event. Perhaps it is when they see a now-familiar label or hear a phrase or name they picked up tonight. In my eyes however, it all goes back to the wines. To look around and see people enjoying while they learn. That is what keeps me coming back. Join me next time for wine tasting.
Some extra pics:


The lineup:
2012 Le Pich Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
2010 Suacci Carciere Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
2004 Whitcraft Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido Block Q
2009 Leonetti Merlot, Walla Walla Valley
2005 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley
2005 Madrigal Petite Sirah, Napa Valley
1964 Calon-Segur, Bordeaux