Sunday, August 27, 2017

Paul Hates Sonoma Coast

Paul has never had a Sonoma Coast wine he liked. We decided to put it to the test.

It was a hot summer day when we met to taste Sonoma Coast Pinots. The wines were definitely warmer than the ideal tasting temperature, but the heat didn't stop us from enjoying the company, food, and wine.

We started with some lovely Sonoma Coast Chards: 2015 Littorai Sonoma Coast, 2015 Flowers Sonoma Coast, and a 2015 Failla, Fort Ross-Seaview, Estate. We picked up the Littorai on our last adventure in Sonoma to party at Kosta Browne. The others I grabbed at K&L. The Littorai was my favorite, but they were all very nice.


F - 2013 Jayson, Sonoma Coast came in first place with an average of 3.59. It cost $56. Bob brought this. It was the most highly rated wine he could find from a NY Times tasting.

D - 2014 Macphail, Sonoma Coast came in second place with an average of 3.54. It cost $35. Ted and Shannon brought this. They first had this wine at Cin cin, discovered the winery, and joined.

G - 2013 Kosta Browne, Sonoma Coast came in third place with an average of 3.52. It cost $64. Sue and I brought this. We enjoyed our first Kosta Browne years ago at a wonderful dinner in the swan room of Aureole. We couldn't see the wine angels, which is why we came, but the food and wine were excellent. Since then I've been buying 3 to 4 bottles a year; it's expensive and there isn't much in our allocation. This tasting seemed like a great chance to share some with friends.

H - 2011 Fort Ross, Reserve, Fort Ross Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma Coast came in fourth place with an average of 3.30. It cost $70. Carlos brought this. It was one of two bottles recommended, the other being Flowers. He thinks he would have won had he brought the flowers.

A - 2015 Peay, Sonoma Coast came in fifth place with an average of 3.16. It cost $45. Paul and Jennifer brought this. It was recommended by the Dreagers wine guy. It is a small lot vintage and scored 93 points.

B - 2015 Mario Perelli-Minetti, Sonoma Coast came in sixth place with an average of 2.95. Mac and Rebecca brought this. It cost $30 or so. The man at the store picked it.

E - 2009 Cobb, Coastlands Vineyard, Sonoma Coast came in seventh place with an average of 2.64. It cost $65. Jose and Lili brought this. Jose googled the best years for Pinots. 2009 came up as a great year, so he looked for a highly rated 2009 Sonoma coast wine. This one had a 94 wine spectator rating.

C - 2014 Gary Farrell, Russian River Selection, Russian River Valley came in last place with an average of 2.61. It cost $44. Michel brought this. He wanted to bring something that he already had before and knew he and others enjoyed. It was disqualified from the tasting, since it didn't say Sonoma Coast on the label.

We continued sharing Sonoma Coast Pinots well into the night while enjoying the feast Sue made for us.

I think it's safe to say we convinced Paul about the great wines of Sonoma Coast.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Best Santa Cruz Mountains Value Pinots (Under $30) - Round 5

On my birthday we were joined by our friends for the fifth and final tasting of Santa Cruz Mountains Pinots under $30.

It rained days before and there was a chance of rain on the 25th so we decided to have it inside. In the end it turned out to be a beautiful, cool spring day.

Unfortunately, outside was cold and a mess from the storms. We would have to make inside work. Sue planned well. She had rented smaller chairs to fit everyone in. It was tight, but would have to work.

Since it was my birthday, I thought it a perfect time to open some of the larger bottles in my cellar. I opened and chilled a magnum of 2014 Rhys, Bearwallow, Chardonnay to start. It was like unwrapping my first birthday present of the day. A beautiful bottle in a beautiful package.

I was worried I had frozen and possibly destroyed it when I noticed a large chain of wine sediment, but judging from its taste my worries were for naught. I don't usually see a lot of sediment in whites, but perhaps that's because I don't normally age them. We definitely opened it before its prime. We're still holding the first white we bought from Rhys, waiting for their vintage chart to indicate they recommend drinking it. The Bearwallow hasn't even showed up on their vintage chart yet, but Sue and I thought it was ready to drink a year or so back when we tried and fell in love with it. Maybe we'll wait to full maturity on our other bottle.

I got out the wine charms and chose the purple koala. Silly, but fun.

I followed this up with another one of my favorites: A Patz & Hall, Hyde, Chardonnay. Mmmm.

Sue lovingly presented all my favorites starters: Bacon wrapped potatoes, pork dumplings, and meats and cheeses. One of the best parts of your birthday is getting to pick all your favorites. It's good to be the birthday boy!

We had a great time tasting and enjoying each other's company. Lots of love and not a lot of politics.

After the tasting, I opened more big bottles: A magnum of 2012 Patz & Hall, Pisoni Pinot, a magnum of 2012 Windy Oaks, Proprietor's Reserve Pinot, and a double magnum of 2011 Silvertip, Estate Pinot. There wasn't a shortage of good wine.


A - 2013 Bargetto, Pommard Clone, Santa Cruz Mountains came in first place with an average of 3.38.

C - 2013 Windy Oaks, Tera Narro, Santa Cruz Mountains came in second place with an average of 3.30.

D - 2011 Ser, Santa Cruz Mountains came in third place with an average of 3.13.

B - 2012 Byington, Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains came in fourth place with an average of 3.00.

E - 2012 Russian Ridge, Santa Cruz Mountains was unfortunately corked. If we do another tasting of all the winners, I may try and throw in a bottle of this.