Tuesday, January 26, 2010

SCMWA Trade Tasting

The SCMWA held a trade tasting in San Francisco today. A couple of dozen great wineries pouring their current releases for buyers, distributors, restauranteurs and writers. It would be difficult enough to try all the wines without taking notes; at every table there's an old friend to catch up with. Many apologies to everyone whose wines I didn't get to taste.

These are more impressions than proper tasting notes. Overall the quality was excellent, with hardly any signs of over-manipulation.

2007 Black Ridge Viognier, Santa Cruz Mountains
Lychee, mango and tropical fruit nose. Touch of residual sugar, flavours of apricot and mango. A great pairing for spicy food. 90
2007 Black Ridge Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Heavy, black cherry nose. Rich, spicy cherry fruit. Medium, tannic finish. Needs a year. 91+

2007 Clos LaChance Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Black cherry nose. Smooth, rich cherry fruit, some spice. Light on the tannin and acidity. Drink now. 89
2007 Clos LaChance "Buff Bellied Hummingbird" Zinfandel, Central Coast
Smoky, ripe raspberry nose. Intense, concentrated dark raspberry fruit. Good structure too. 91 This would be good value anyway, but apparently Safeway have it on offer for $12 right now. Back up the van!
2006 Clos LaChance "Lila's Cuvee", Estate
Rhone blend. Smoky, meaty and earthy nose. Well structured, with good fruit backed by mushroom and earth notes. Needs a year or two. 90+
2006 Clos LaChance Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate
Soft blackcurrant fruit, fine tannins and a smooth finish. 90

2007 Heart O' The Mountain Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Tart cranberry and cherry nose. Rich concentrated fruit, kirschwasser on the finish. 90+
2006 Heart O' The Mountain Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Dusty oak, cherry. Nice sweet fruit, seemed more balanced and integrated. Drink or hold. Think I'm in the minority in preferring the 2006, to drink now at least. 91

2001 Kathryn Kennedy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Lovely rich warm, nose, complex currant notes. Wow. Intense fruit, nicely integrated. Seriously delicious now but will hold. 96
2005 Kathryn Kennedy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Fainter nose than the 2001, black fruits. Good fruit but not as integrated. Lots of structure. Less intense than 01 but perhaps more elegant. Needs time. 94+
2006 Kathryn Kennedy Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Sourced from 10 different vineyards from Woodside to Morgan Hill.
Soft, rich berry fruit on the nose. Smooth blackcurrant fruit, nice oak, good acidity, quickish finish. 91

2006 La Honda Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
Cabernet Sauvignon 57% Sangiovese 43%
Light nose, some black fruit. Light bodied and earthy. The tannin has calmed since I last tasted it, but it still needs time. 86
2006 La Honda Cabernet Sauvignon, Chalk Hill
Blackberry and dusty oak on the nose. Big, rich, ripe blackberry/blackcurrant flavours. Long tannic finish. Give it at least another year. 92
2006 La Honda Meritage, Chalk Hill
Nice floral, black fruit nose. Good blackcurrant fruit, less tannin than the Cabernet Sauvignon. Drinking well now. 91
2007 La Honda Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Unlike 2006 all the fruit went into one blend. I think it's a good decision.
Cherry Cola on the nose. Big ripe fruit, cherry and cranberry. Needs time. 90+

2008 Martella Sauvignon Blanc, Monterey
Fermented in steel, aged sur lie for 5 months.
Citrus nose, grapefruit, lemon and fig. Bright and fruity, mandarin pear and peach. 90
2006 Martella Grenache
Ripe, porty nose. Ripe, tart fruit (acid added?). Notes of liquorice. 85
2007 Martella "Hammer" Syrah
Earth, black fruit on the nose. Lots of tannins, liquorice again, bitter finish. 87
2008 Martella Zinfandel
Initial mushroom nose blew off to reveal floral, rose petal nose. Some residual sugar. Sweet raspberry, low acid, tannic finish. 85

2008 Martin Ranch JD Hurley Chardonnay
Cidery nose. Vanilla cream and smooth apple. Cidery finish. 86
2006 Martin Ranch JD Hurley Merlot, Santa Clara Valley
Oak, smooth plum fruit. 88
2006 Martin Ranch JD Hurley Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Earthy berry nose. Good acidity, nice fruit, tart finish. 88
2006 Martin Ranch Therese Vineyard Syrah, Santa Clara Valley
Earth, smoke and black fruit. Lovely fruit, nice acidity, crisp finish with white pepper 91
2005 Martin Ranch Therese Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Shy, earthy nose. Dense blackcurrant fruit, lot of tannin. Needs 3+ years in the cellar. 90+
2006 Martin Ranch Therese Vineyard Sangiovese, Santa Clara Valley
Lots of earth and sweet oak. Nice red fruit, red currant, earth, smoke, liquorice 91
2007 Martin Ranch Therese Vineyard Zinfandel, Amador
12% petite Sirah. Around 0.5% residual sugar.
Sweet raspberry syrup nose. Sweet raspberry, decent structure 87

2007 Mount Eden Saratoga Cuvee Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Made from declassified estate fruit as well as some from managed vineyards.
Peaches, pears and vanilla on the nose. Rich, sweet fruit, nice oak - not too heavy. Good tart finish. 91
2006 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Lighter nose than the Saratoga Cuvee, showing some caramel. Bright fruit, green apple. Not really showing much right now. Long finish though. Great potential. 90++
2007 Mount Eden Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Huge nose - cherry, raspberry and oak. Full bodied - rich cherry spice, orange peel and so much more. Long, lingering finish. Could be better than the awesome 2005. Buy this and cellar it. 96+
2007 Mount Eden Saratoga Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Always a good value. Nice dusty, blackcurrant nose. Good berry fruit, nice balance. 89
2006 Mount Eden Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Another 2006 with a light nose. Seems to be a feature of the vintage.
Elegant and structured, but way too young. There's a big wall of tannin around the fruit. Hard to rate at this stage; 89++++

2008 Odonata Chardonnay, Peter Martin Ray Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
Toast, fig and apple pie on the nose. Rich pear, peach and apricot. Toasted brioche on the finish. 92
2008 Odonata Grenache
Raspberry/cherry pie on the nose and again on the palate. Spice, raspberry, shows some oak. 91
2007 Odonata Malbec
Tart blackberry nose. Orange, blackberry, toast and clove. Good acidity. 90
2007 Odonata Durif, McDowell Valley
Nice black fruit. Spicy. Good tannin control. 90

2007 Sarah's Vineyard Old Vine Grenache, Santa Clara Valley
Interesting smoky, meaty nose. Medium bodied. Rich, concentrated fruit, light tannin. Very tasty 91

2008 Storrs Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Apple and vanilla nose. Flavours of green apple and tropical fruit. 89
2006 Storrs Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
Spicy, with cinnamon, clove and dried cranberry nose. Sweet cranberry fruit and white pepper, but there's bitter tannin on the finish. 88+ if the bitterness goes with time.
2006 Storrs "Two Creek" Rhone blend, Santa Clara Valley
Savoury, gamey, roasted meat nose. Rich and full bodied. Sweet, dark fruit; intense and concentrated. Medium finish. Good tannins. Great value at around $25 92
2005 Storrs "Lion Oaks" Zinfandel, Santa Clara Valley
Spice, black pepper, raspberry nose. Another wine with intense, concentrated, sweet fruit. Long finish. 92
2005 Storrs Petite Sirah
Nose shows barnyard, some tart black fruit. Lots of tannin, but not too much and there's fruit to support it. 89