Posts Tagged ‘Santa Maria Valley’

A tasting with Lou: Sandlands, Sanguis, Soumade and more

November 3, 2019 Leave a comment

Lou and I gathered quite a while ago to drink some randomly selected wines.  A new wine for me is the NV Phillippe Tessier, Phil’en Bulle.  It is a little sweet for me so perhaps better with dessert.  Of particular note is the white wine 2017 Linne Calodo, Contrarian, Paso Robles.  I should also note the very young 2016 Domaine la Soumade, Cuvee Prestige, Rasteau which, with several years of age, will become a very good wine.  2017 Sandlands Vineyards, Red Table Wine, Contra Costa County is a young wine for drinking now.  A solid bottle of 1989 Raymond Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve, Napa Valley delivered surprise and pleasure.  A pair of Sanguis offered a fun comparison even if they should have been drunk up a few years ago. The 2011 Sanguis, 11-A, John Bastiano is very clean, chalky, and full of verve.  For a brief bit, I preferred the luxury of the 2011 Sanguis, 11-B, Bienacido but it sadly cracked up after a short period.

NV Phillippe Tessier, Phil’en Bulle, Loire
A Zev Rovine Selection imported by Fruit of the Vine. Alcohol 12.5%. A slightly hazy, light straw yellow. Very fine and strong bubbles carry the ripe, sweetish start. Some yeast the short finish.  **(*) Now.

2017 Linne Calodo, Contrarian, Paso Robles
This is a blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Picpoul Blanc, and 20% Viognier. Alcohol 13.7%. Refreshing with good acidity white nuts and expansive flavor. A core of tropical fruit remains but the gum, coating texture adds presence. Notes of pastilles in the finish. **** Now – 2022.

2011 Sanguis, 11-A, John Bastiano, Santa Rita  Hills
Alcohol 14%. A very light color with a green tinge. A little toast on the nose eventually blows off. Tart with some berry toast. Clean with chalk and yellow fruit. Plenty of verve. ** Now.

2011 Sanguis, 11-B, Bien Nacido, Santa Maria Valley
Alcohol 14.8%. A touch more fruit and weight, oily in the middle with a steely finish. Racy with good balance, it has some toast flavors. With air it begins to crack up revealing acidity and heat.  *** at best but Past Prime.

2017 Sandlands Vineyards, Red Table Wine, Contra Costa County
A blend of Carignan and Mataro. Alcohol 12.9% Grapey with cranberry flavor and chalky tannins. Tart with crunchy acidity this sports an interesting mineral, fruit blend.  *** Now – 2022.

2016 Domaine la Soumade, Cuvee Prestige, Rasteau
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Alcohol 14.5%. A grapey, young color and tight, grapey nose. Tight in the mouth but there is a lovely vein of fruit through the linear structure. Beautiful fat from the ripeness, it is powerful, building flavor. ***(*) 2024-2034.

1989 Raymond Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve, Napa Valley
Mature with Eucalyptus. Some firmness in the mouth but the Cab flavor comes out. In fresh shape this is a tasty wine with focused, ripe fruit, some dry wood notes, and structure in the end. *** Now.

A tasty pair from California

November 4, 2015 Leave a comment

It took a few hours of air for the 2012 Cambria Estate Winery, Pinot Noir, Bench Break, Santa Maria Valley to show its current bits of complexity and potential for short-term development.  The flavors are surprisingly good for this price point and the use of oak seems appropriate.  It is a wine worth drinking but I do, however, recommend you cellar it for another year before trying.  The 2012 Ridge, Three Valleys, Sonoma County is a wine to drink right now.  This perfectly blended, exuberant wine will make you want to see the bottle to the end.  It is advisable, then, that you purchase several bottles! These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2012 Cambria Estate Winery, Pinot Noir, Bench Break, Santa Maria Valley – $24
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which spent time in both new and used oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The tart cherry and black fruit flavors are acidity driven and eventually morph into a strawberry flavored finish.  The gentle and billowy ripeness exists over a gently assertive structure.  With air citric notes build as well as some chocolate sweetness and tobacco. *** 2016-2020.


2012 Ridge, Three Valleys, Sonoma County – $24
This wine is a blend of 82% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah, 4% Carignane, and 2% Alicante Bouschet.  Alcohol 14.2%.  The flavors have gravity from the start, building upon raspberry and other red berries with depth, acidity, and tartness.  There is just a hint of structure on the gums.  The wine is so well integrated that it is hard to describe.  With air, this medium bodied wine takes on a bit of cream in the finish.  I would drink this now while it is exuberant.  *** Now-2017.


Pinot on the Deck, Peay, Kistler, KB, Stemmler, and more! 25 August 2008

August 25, 2008 1 comment

This Saturday a group of us got together for a casual evening to taste Pinot Noir outside on our deck. Present were Deborah, Dave, Ross, Angela, Denise, Shane, Jenn, and myself. Deborah, Dave, and Ross are former co-workers. While Dave was in Iraq we exchanged email about wine and promised to get together once he returned. The wines were double-decanted within an hour of tasting and all wines were brown-bagged.

The top-ranked wines were:
1st: Dierberg
2nd: Kosta Browne
3rd: Kistler
4th: Peay and Stemmler

The quality of these bottles spanned a wide range. It was of great suprise to Shane and myself that the Dierberg was clearly the group favorite. We drank a bottle one month prior which we thought was good but certainly not remarkable. This bottle rocked. The Kosta Browne came in a close second. The Kistler, Peay, and Stemmler followed in a tight grouping.

I’ve done my best to summarize the tasting notes:

2003 Shea Wine Cellars, Estate, Pinot Noir, Willamete Valley
Garnet in the glass, definitely an older color. A light nose. In the mouth black fruit, some cool blue fruit, and some creaminess. There are minimal tannins. While some found this wine average, most disliked it with comments of “wow, so bad,” “jammy” fruit, or “alcoholic aftertaste.”

2004 Robert Stemmler, Nugent Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Almost as perfumed as the Dierberg but definitely a delicate nose. Angela thought it had a “great smell.” Sour red fruit at first then with air it became cloying and herbed. Heavy-handed in the mid-palate. The tannins were present but hidden by the fruit. I decanted all of the wines myself and when I got to this one I could smell it two feet away. It was intense but the power faded off when it came to the tasting.

2007 Sterling Vintner’s Collection, Pinot Noir, Central Coast
Purple-ruby in the glass. A light nose of bright fruit. Purple fruit and toasted flavors in the mouth. Two people enjoyed the long finish.

2005 Dierberg, Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley
The most perfumed and aromatic nose out of all of the wines. Very articulated dark red and blue fruits, black cherries. There was attractive grit to the fruit with excellent supporting acidity. There were fine tannins in the finish. This was deep, lush, and had a long finish. Dave found it “bold.”
Jenn found it “rich.” Deborah thought “It’s almost a religious experience – like being in a rural chapel.” I was certain this was not the Dierberg.

2004 Kosta Browne, Kanzler Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Garnet with slight-brick cast to it. Sweet round fruit that improved with air. Both Deborah and Ross enjoyed the berry flavors. Dave thought that although a high-alcohol wine it was well-balanced.

2005 Peay, Scallop Shelf, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Very light color. A nose that is very lightly perfumed. Red and blue fruits up front then a tad flat in flavor mid-palate. Deborah thought is “very delicate” and many found it a “lush” or “smooth” finishing wine. I think it is a bit young.

2006 Willakenzie Estate, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
A brighter, light raspberry color. Brighter red fruit on the nose. The nose immediately stood the wine out from the rest. Candied raspberry and cherry flavors in this “thin,” “light”, and “austere” wine.

2006 Kistler, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
This was a youthful purple in the glass. A “soft” or “delicate” sweet nose. Sweet fruit, though a little cloying. After the initial fruit flavors, the tannins become evident as they build to a short, slightly hot, coarse-tannic finish. Most people enjoyed the wine’s initial flavors but there were many comments highlighting the short finish and aftertaste.

A Wide Variety from Saturday and Sunday, 28 July 2008

The Kilikanoon was good but it is a powerful wine to be drunk in small sips. The Charles Smith Boom Boom was well done in the bright red fruit vein. The Mourre du Tendre was some funky stuff that I only drank two glasses of. The Attems Pinot Grigio was a nice surprise. And the two pinots were much appreciated during the humid Sunday evening.

2004 Kilikanoon, The Prodigal, Grenache, Clare Valley – $26
This grenache was aged for 24 months in older American and French oak hogsheads. A medium opaque ruby with some garnet. A light to medium nose of sweet red fruit. Concentrated fruit flavors assault with red fruit up front then dark berries develop in a supporting role. Mild acidity through with a mild finish and minimal tannins. I think this full-bodied wine needs more age before it can unleash all.

2006 Charles Smith, Boom Boom, Syrah – $22
From K Vintners. A good nose of light, bright dusty northwest red fruit. In the mouth, red fruit, raspberries, and acidity abound. Minimal, very fine, young tannins. There is a light, fresh, and slightly juicy finish. Drink now or within a year or so. It drank almost exactly the same the next night.

2001 Mourre du Tendre, Cuvee Tradition, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $22
Upon decanting Jenn found an intense nose of white grapefruit. To me it was more cat pee on clay litter. After 24 hours grapefruit/pee bit disappeared and was replaced by sweet red raspberry candy/liquor. The flavors follow the nose with slightly chewy red berries in this medium bodied wine. This is some funky stuff that won’t appeal to most.

These two ’95s have been lurking in my basement for some reason. I had some hope for the Puygueraud but….

1995 Chateau La Boscq, Vieilles Vignes, Medoc
Some stinky cheese at first then a light claret and cedar nose. There are bright red berries, lean fruit, and a cinnamon flavor that develops with air. This light to medium bodied show its acidity in the finish then is followed by a simple aftertaste. Drink up. It is drinkable but completely boring.

1995 Chateau Puygueraud, Cotes de Francs
A light color of heavily bricked garnet. A light nose of mostly volatile acidity.
Thin fruit, towards acidic and a little sour. A cool, menthol finish with very fine tannins in aftertaste. Gets worse with air. Not worth drinking.

A few good wines from dinner at a friends’ house. No notes, just what Jenn and I remember.

2007 Attems, Pinot Grigio, Collio – $17
I thought this was an excellent Pinot Grigio. Round and somewhat creamy fruit, lively and refreshing.

2002 Fromm, Clayvin Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Marlborough
The first bottle was corked but the second one delivered the goods right away. Good nose of dark blue fruits that is beginning to develop some complexity. This medium bodied wine has blue fruit in the mouth, some oak, and leaves the impression of restraint. While it drank well now I’d cellar it a few more years to see what develops. We preferred this over the Dierberg…not to imply that the Dierberg wasn’t good.

2005 Dierberg, Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley
Aged 16 months in 90% new French oak. Dark red berries on the nose. Dark blue and red fruit flavors that are concentrated with good acidity. I’d cellar this for a few years before drinking. The oak is not overdone.