Saturday, August 6, 2011

Coterie Cellars Living Social Deal

My wife bought a living social deal to taste at Coterie Cellars, an urban winery in San Jose. I had never heard of the winery and was eager to try their wine.

The winery was in a clean industrial park area, just south of where 87 intersects 280, easy to find with GPS assistance.
Unit 110 - Coterie Cellars
The tasting event took place in the winery's warehouse like, all purpose room, which could comfortably fit 20 to 30 people. There were barrels, cases of wine, and wine making equipment all around. A nice plate of cheese and crackers were available to enjoy as Ken poured a taste of 5 wines.

There was a wide variety of participants, ranging from young to old, serious to not so serious wine enthusiasts. The wine maker, Kyle Loudon, worked the room, entertaining group by group with wine talk. He was very inviting and spoke passionately about his wine.

Ken served up 5 wines to taste
The wine was very good. Ken started us off with a chilled 2008 Rose made from Syrah. We both liked it, but the finish didn't work for me. Next Ken served us a 2009 Roussanne, a white wine served at room temperature. I don't recall ever having this varietal before. It was a dryer wine, but I didn't get a lot of taste out of it. We were then served two Pinots: 2008 Saralee's Vinyard from the Russian River Valley, and 2009 Tondre Grapefield from the Santa Lucia Highlands. We asked Ken what was up with the Tondre. He told us that the farmer had a field of carrots, a field of broccoli, and a field of grapes. After tasting the wine, I knew this was an incredible field of grapes. Sue could not get over the nose of the this Pinot; she smelled fertilized fields and soggy grass. I hoped I wasn't smelling that. I knew I was enjoying the taste. It really exploded in the mouth as it warmed up. Lastly we were served the 2008 Syrah, which was also very good.

The leaving part took a while. I kept waiting for the line to die down, but it never seemed to. Why is it that tasting rooms are usually very good at serving tastings, but rarely good at selling the wine? 15 couples in the room, mostly finishing up at the same time, and trying to purchase wine from one seller is not efficient. It wasn't quite that bad, but close. No complaints though, it "forced" us to take another try of the Tondre and the Syrah.

We spoke with Kyle as he assisted with the back up. He told us how the winery was owned by him and his wife. He told us how he and his wife, Ken, and the lady working the register did a range of jobs, depending on the day. He said, "We keep it in the family." I asked if they were all related. They laughed and said they were related by wine.

The spoils
We left the enjoyable tasting, eager to try the wine later.

Winery Details


When Sue saw the Tondre she thought we had seen it before. It turns out that this is one of the Pinots we purchased at A Taste of Monterey a couple of weeks earlier. I'll keep my eyes peeled for these wonderful grapes used elsewhere.

I contacted Tondre Wines. They said they sell 80% of their grapes to wineries.

Silver Mountain Vineyards also has a Tondre Pinot we found at the Los Gatos Whole Foods. I've got to get over there.