Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tasting Notes: Grand Cruz Tasting, Sunday 30th

You really have to hand it to professional tasters. It's not easy tasting 50+ wines and making meaningful notes on each one. I am not a professional taster, so these impressions are minimal at best.

Ahlgren Vineyards
2004 Santa Cruz Mountains: Lots of bright fruit, good acidity. $35
2007 Veranda Vineyard (Barrel Sample): Slightly sweeter, less acidity.

Alfaro Family Vineyards
Tasted on Saturday.
2007 Alfaro Family Estate Rose: A light, dry summer sipper with flavours of strawberries. $15
2006 Alfaro Family A: Good value - rich and easy drinking. $25
2006 Martin Alfaro Deer Park: Good flavours of cherry and strawberry. $33
2006 Martin Alfaro Schultze Family: Best of the line-up. $36
2005 Alfaro Family Lindsay Paige: Tight. Tannic. Needs time. $40

Bargetto Winery
2006 Santa Cruz Mountains:
2006 Deverey Vineyard:
Both were decent, well made wines but they didn't particularly stand out from the crowd.

Beauregard Vineyards
Did not taste.

Black Ridge Vineyards
2006 Estate: Quite an atypical Pinot; much more black fruits than cherries. My note says "Blackcurrant wine gums". First release from this winery - definitely one to watch. Well priced at $31

Burrell School Vineyards
Tasted Saturday
2005 Veranda Vineyard: Bright nose, with some of that "Pinot funk". Good acidity on the palate, with pleasant cherry flavours. $38
2005 Estate: On the nose I got oak and raspberries. On the palate it was richer and more intense than the Veranda vineyard.
2006 Barrel Samples - Four samples of different clones; 115, 667, 777 and 05, each remarkably different. An impromptu blend of the four showed great promise; this could well turn out to be better than the 2005.

Byington Winery & Vineyards
2005 Estate: Tasted, but no note.

Cinnabar Vineyards & Winery
2006 Santa Cruz Mountains: A strong aroma of smoked meats that carried over to the palate.

Clos LaChance Wines
Did not taste

Clos Tita
2005 Cuvee:
2005 Estate:
Both wines showed good, bright cherry/raspberry fruit. The Cuvee also had a slight hint of brettanomyces; not overpowering or unpleasant, but certainly present. Unfined and unfiltered.

Domenico Wines
2006 Santa Cruz Mountains: Tasted, but no note.

Hallcrest Vineyards
2004 Vista Del Mare Vineyard: A rich, full bodied wine.
2004 Barrel Select: Ironically the barrel select showed a hint of oxidation that I didn't care for.

Heart o' the Mountain
2005 Estate: Very impressed by this debut release. Definitely a winery to watch. $48

Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery
2006 Estate: Lots of tannin. Some good fruit, but it was hidden behind the tannins.

Kings Mountain Winery
1999 Santa Cruz Mountains:
2003 Santa Cruz Mountains:
My notes simply read "Good nose, good acidity, a little thin on the finish".

Loma Prieta Winery
2006 Santa Cruz Mountains: $50. My notes just say "Pleasant Valley Road".

McHenry Winery
2004 Estate: Made in a more elegant, restrained style. Very good value indeed at under $22
2004 Swan Clones: $28

Mount Eden Vineyards
2004 Estate:
2005 Estate:
What can you say about Mount Eden that's not already been said? Arguably the best Pinot maker in the region, both wines were beautiful with rich fruit and a long finish. Definitely ones for the cellar.

Muccigrosso Vineyards
2004 Estate: Big, spicy wine, but with some green tannins giving rise to a bitterness on the finish.
2005 Estate: Similar, but without the bitter tinge.

Nicholson Vineyards
Tasted on Saturday.
2006 Estate Chardonnay: High levels of ethyl acetate giving rise to a "pear drops" nose which carried over to the palate. Lots of acidity. Not to my liking.
2006 Rose: Again, not to my liking. Lots of green tannins.
2005 Estate Pinot Noir: Hint of pear drops again, but not as strong as on the chardonnay. Bright cherry flavours and a hint of sweetness.
2006 Estate Pinot Noir (unreleased): Showed more oak than the 05. No pear drops here, but lots of tannins. Needs at least a couple of years in the cellar.
2007 Estate Pinot Noir (barrel sample): Very tannic indeed. There seemed to be some good fruit under the tannins. Definitely has potential.

Pelican Ranch Winery
2006 Deer Park: High levels of volatile acidity.
2005 Green Valley Road: I got the strangest impression from this. If you've ever done any electrical work you'll know that acrid smell that solder flux gives off - I got that on the palate and couldn't get past it.

Pleasant Valley Vineyards
Tasted on Saturday
2004 Brittany Morgan Chardonnay: A lighter style of chardonnay, creamy and lemony with good minerality. $35
2005 Brittany Morgan Chardonnay: Higher in acidity than the 04, with more lemon $35
2005 Dylan David Pinot: A very elegant Pinot. Cherry flavours nicely integrated with the oak. A nice wine but hard to justify the price at $85
2006 Dylan David Pinot (Barrel Sample): Following on from the 05, with brighter cherry and less oak at this stage.
2007 Viognier (Barrel sample): I only got the last drops of this, not enough for a real taste, however it seemed to have some residual sugar.

Roudon-Smith Winery
2006 Santa Cruz Mountains: Tasted, no note

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard
2004 "Bailey's" Branciforte Ridge:
2003 Vine Hill Reserve: Blend of last of the Jarvis vineyard and first crop of "Bailey's"
SCMV makes wines that need to be cellared for a few years. Both showed good, bright fruit with an earthy component.

Sarah's Vineyard
2007 Santa Cruz Mountains (Barrel Sample): Very primary at this stage. Needs to spend a while longer in the barrel. However it certainly shows promise.

Silver Mountain Vineyards
Tasted on Saturday:

2004 Estate Pinot:
2005 Estate Pinot:
2004 Muns Vineyard (SCM):
2004 Tondre's Grapefiled (SLH)
2005 Tondre's Grapefiled (SLH)

Sonnet Wine Cellars
Tasted on Saturday:
2004 Kruse Vineyard:

Tasted on Sunday:
2005 Muns Vineyard: Very good. Rich cherry flavours and a long finish. Better than the 2004 Silver Mountain Muns Vineyard.

Soquel Vineyards
2005 Muns Vineyard: Another good expression of Pinot from the Muns vineyard. Interesting to taste this immediately after the Sonnet; it seemed much more tannic and young. Definitely needs cellar time. Good, but not cheap at $50.

Storrs Winery
2005 Santa Cruz Mountains: From Pleasant Valley. Tannic and young, but rich - needs time to show its full potential.

Testarossa Vineyards
2005 Schultze Vineyard: Yet another winner from the Schultze vineyard, but at $55 Windy Oaks is better and cheaper.

Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards
2005 Santa Cruz Mountains:
2006 Santa Cruz Mountains:
My notes simply say "Excellent".

Trout Gulch Vineyards
2006 La Source: Two samples. First was slightly corked, the second oxidised.
2001 Estate: A knockout. Really very good. No longer available, which is a shame as I'd have definitely bought some.

Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery
Tasted on Saturday
2006 Diane's Block: Great bright fruit. Diane's Block is a seperate 3 acre vineyard in nearby Aptos.
2006 Estate Cuvee: More complexity than the Diane's Block. Should repay ageing.
2006 Wild Yeast: Quite superb. Rich, complex spicy flavours.

Wines of Vine Hill
2006 Gatos Locos: Very tight and tannic. Needs time.
2005 Cumbre: I got an overpowering impression of tar and asphalt from this wine. Couldn't get any fruit at all.

Woodside VineyardsDid not taste - they apparently ran out of wine very quickly. I heard very good things from a few people who did get to taste it.


Dr. Debs said...

Yeah, these tastings are challenging and surprisingly hard word. But you get better the more that you do them. Thanks especially for the Fogarty "excellents." I keep meaning to try their wines and this is a good reminder to do so.