Up to Chaine d'Or for the Stefania spring release event. Chaine d'Or is located just off the 84 near to the junction with Summit Road. It's a great, winding drive through Woodside and some lovely wild countryside, with great views over the south bay. The winery itself is underneath a private house. There are no signs from the road; you have to know where to go. It's nicely equipped for its compact size. Paul and Stef Romero recently took over managing the winery and its 20 year old vineyard; around 2 acres, planted on a gentle slope to Chardonnay and Cabernet, with a few other Bordeaux varietals for blending.
2007 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains $45
Sourced from a small vineyard in Corralitos near to Windy Oaks. Yields were very low in 2007 resulting in less than 2 barrels being made; as a result this has been sparsely allocated to mailing list members only.
Remarkably similar in style and profile to Windy Oaks. There's a light, floral nose with notes of tart cherries. The nose became more prominent after the wine had been open a couple of hours and had warmed up a little. Nice rich mouthfeel, with spicy flavours of cherry and cranberry, and a tart finish. No trace of heat despite the near 15% alcohol. Very good.
2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains (Barrel sample)
The nose is very different from the 2007; more spicy (allspice?). It's showing more acidity & tannin now; good cherry fruit and nice spice. They yield in 2008 will be slightly larger, but not much; around 65 cases.
2006 Haut Tubbe $20
A blend of several small lots including Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah.
Notes of mushroom and underbrush. Flavours of blackberry and raspberry with an earthy finish. Nicely balanced.
2007 Haut Tubbe $20 (not yet released)
The 2007 is a blend of primarily Syrah and Zinfandel. It's got a smoky, earthy nose; on the palate there's raspberry, plum and other black fruit. It's rich, with plenty of tannin and a smoky finish. Very good value.
2005 Chaine D'Or Cabernet Sauvignon $24
This has a very 'barnyard' nose; not Brett, but very funky. On the palate it has some nice blackberry/blackcurrant fruit, but the finish is lacking. Paul ascribes the nose to the inclusion of the 'press' wine; in future vintages he plans to reduce the amount in the blend.