There’s a tendency among wine nerds in their early development to cast a supercilious glance at California, and there may be some reason for it. Wine’s been made there for a long time, and there’s no shortage of cynical wineries who are happy to produce what might be accurately called “lowest-common-denominator” wine. Juicy and insipid with no real finish and no eye toward quality, some California wines have rightfully earned their reputation as the cynical product of businesspeople catering to the whims of a Coca-Cola culture that demands residual sugar over balance. This month’s Last Sunday tasting is meant to remind us all that a wine can be unabashedly Californian in style and still be balanced, have an elegant finish or spice or funk or tannin or acid that makes it excellent not only as a porch pounder but as serious food wine as well. Mike Galkin joins us on the 29th at 3:30 pm to remind us not to go high-nosing past the California page of a wine list, and to honor a style and wine culture that insist that the New World has every bit as much validity as the Old.
The tasting is $35 plus tax and tip, and reservations are an excellent plan. We don’t take web or email reservations for our wine events, however, so give us a call at 326-9363 and we’ll put you on the list. Thanks.
Central Coast sleepers
2018 Curran Grenache Blanc, Santa Barbara County, California $21.00
Utilizing 50 years of combined winemaking experience, Bruno D’Alfonso & Kris Curran offer a collection of exceptional wines and unique varietals. Today the husband-and-wife team focuses exclusively on their own collection of fine wines under four different labels. Curran label, which was the first label Kris established in 1997, concentrates mainly on vineyard-designated Spanish varietals including: Grenache, Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, and Tempranillo. Made from 100% Grenache Blanc. Fermented in stainless steel. To retain the freshness of this wine, we did not use any oak or send the wine though malolactic fermentation. A clean and fruity, dry white wine with notes of ripe mango, white peaches, and hints of passion fruit and elderflowers. Medium bodied, with balanced acidity, firm tannins, and a clean, crisp finish.
2018 Groundwork Counoise, Central Coast, California $21.00
100% Counoise. Sourced from the Rancho Arroyo Grande Vineyard – Old Potrero block, Derby Vineyard. 100% Carbonic Macerated in closed topped tanks for 21 days by native yeasts in closed tanks. Aged for 4 months in neutral French oak puncheons. This wine is filled with fresh notes of rhubarb, white pepper, semi-dried cranberries, young violets, semi-dried cranberries, wet forest floor, and unripe plum.
2018 Field Recordings “Wonderwall” Pinot Noir, Edna Valley, California $23.00
Wonderwall focuses on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from extreme Central Coast vineyards. Vineyards sources are Greengate, Spanish Springs, Chaparral, and Derbyshire. The wine spends 8 months in French oak, 15% of which was new. Black Cherries, figs, cola and almond bark. Touch of smoke and black tea. Hint of white pepper, clove and cinnamon.
2016 Curran Pinot Noir “Rancho La Vina,” Sta. Rita Hills, California $30.00
100% Pinot Noir grown in the Rancho La Viña Vineyard. Hand-sorted fruit was 100% de-stemmed, then cold soaked in open-top fermenters for 4 days prior to yeast inoculation. Time on skins totaled 19 days prior to barreling. Tis Pinot Noir completed Malolcatic fermentation while aging in barrel. Aged for 18 months in 30% new French Oak.
Dark ruby in color with wonderful aromatics of blackberry cobbler, plum and raspberry jam, with hints of lavender and blueberry and nuances of coffee and nutmeg. This Pinot Noir is dark and brooding, yet is lifted with exotic fruitiness. Bold, velvety tannins lend themselves to a long, lingering finish.
2016 Sextant ‘Wheelhouse’ Zinfandel, Paso Robles, California $21.00
With fruit sourced from their RBZ Vineyard, this Zinfandel was blended with Petite Sirah and Syrah. Aged 20 months in 16% New Hungarian, French and American oak barrels. A vibrant profile features wild strawberry and raspberry signatures as spice and earthy tones appear on the mid-palate. The finish is smooth, laced with a hint of satisfying acidity.
2014/2015 Sans Liege “En Gedi” Grenache, Paso Robles, California $48.00
100% Grenache. 30+% whole cluster fruit, fermented in open top fermenters. Aged for 21+ months in French oak in a combination of new and used French oak.
Yes, it’s hokey, but here are the notes from the winery. If you knew Curt, it would seem less weird: “It seems as if you’ve been walking for days. You check your notebook and assure yourself that you have followed the directions “past the wild growing raspberries and sage bushes, then through the field of lavender.” Pausing now to note your location with your graphite pencil and completely ready to give up, you smell a combination of baking cocoa, clove & vanilla. You look up and there it is in the distance – a secret cottage at the edge of the woods. The scents are so familiar; you know she’s there.”