We Are The Wine Percent (WOPN15)

As readers of my scribblings know, my shtick is not going out on huge tasting sorties and coming home with reams of notes.  I rarely visit tasting rooms and avoid the wine-festival scene like the plague. I tend to read and research wineries very carefully at home and if a particular style or winemaker piques my interest, I will note it and blast out for a bottle or two to analyze over dinner.  I regularly turn down winery suggestions (“You’ll REALLY like this guy!”) and offers for private tours and tastings.  Leave all that for the well-known scribes in it for the money and free bottles.  This is a more personal affair. But occasionally, a gathering targeted toward the more discerning palate and not the drunken maxi-skirt IT’S WINE O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE hordes will pop up and, red-solo-cup firmly in left hand, I will attend.  It always helps when my entrance-fee is waived!  In this case, World of Pinot Noir 2015, GSO generously comped a couple VIP tickets to Friday and Saturday’s grand tastings.  I was not able to attend Friday.  I had not attended WOPN since the Avila Beach days and the sweltering mugginess of tent-life spread out over a pasture left an undesirable impression.  I really hate tasting wine outdoors, and will glady tolerate the occasional attendee who clearly bathed in whatever elixir is on the cover of the Avon catalogue that month over trying to grasp a bouquet in the wind and sun and flies.  I tasted about 3 times the number of wines listed here, and also skipped MANY either because they represented local stuff I can easily find on wine-shop shelves nearby or am familiar with their styles–both good and bad.  Here is a blitzkrieg sampling of the standouts–in both directions–from yesterday.

One of the handful of Carneros wines represented at the tasting.  Really un-inspiring.  Carneros flabbiness and lack of too much going on.  Pass.

People keep telling me I will like this guy’s cab-based offerings, but his price-point has prevented out-and-out experimentation with them.  When I saw his PN’s on the table, I had to try.  Nothing really earth-shattering here.  Clean, well-made wines and that’s about all I can say.

Fresh from IPOB and definitely on my radar.  I have driven by his place in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto several times and failed to stop.  One of his wines (not pictured) I found seriously flawed, oxidized and bretty.  These two were excellent though, offering lovely fruit, earth and balance.

You’ve all heard me rave about Cordon, Etienne Terlinden’s personal label.  Summerland is his day job.  The two vineyard-designates in the middle I was not over-whelmed with, but the bread in the sandwich–the low-end basic blend and the Reserve pictured were really impressive with their range of nuances and concentration.  The Reserve in particular has a high spicy note of cinnamon and nutmeg absent in the other three.  It could be the oak talking, but so packed with flavours, it almost falls out of the category of great food-pinot and into the OMG JUST SIP IT BY ITSELF group.

Those who have been at this for a while will remember Bonterra hitting the shelves in the mid-90’s.  A Fetzer imprint, most of us had never seen “organic” on a wine label before, and “sustainable” before every Tom, Dick and Harry SIP/Demeter/Whatever certification I’d hazard 95% of the wineries represented yesterday now carry.  Well, this is a Bonterra imprint–still owned by Fetzer (or whoever owns Fetzer these days–I can’t keep up) and sold almost exclusively On-Premise and BTG.  P-P in the low 30’s and, as you can read: Fruit from SMV trucked up to Mendocino.  They do not make a *Mendocino* or *North Coast* offering.  Just SMV, surprisingly.  Really solid stuff–nothing overwhelming–but good, solid resty stuff which would put a lot of the glasses I have at local restaurants to shame.  This has to be in some big books, and am really surprised I haven’t seen in on local lists.

This guy had about 7 Anderson Valley bottlings and annoyed the piss outa me by continually trying to match which bottle to drink with what style I clearly liked.  Just shut up dude.  Don’t tell me what to like.  These two–at what he called the “thin” end of the range–were my favorites.  Otherwise:  Pass.

The 2007 Pedregal Cache cab-based blend was pretty easily my 2014 WOTY, so jumped at the chance to taste the PN.  The SLH stood out as representative of all good things SLH while the Paicines was dreadful and thin and un-fruited and just basically un-everything even remotely inspiring.

Again, no detailed notes because I go to these events to enjoy myself and to cover a lot of ground, but these two stood out in the very VERY nice category.  As one can imagine, RRV was very well represented at a situation like WOPN and honestly?  I was very disappointed with a large number of offerings from what has classically been my favorite Pinot AVA.  Something has happened.  Either they have changed or my palate has changed.  A ten-year diet of SMV, SRH, and SLH might be to blame. (smiley face)

OMG that’s blurry haha.  Must have been bumped.  Oh well, we ALL know who this is, again, fresh off of IPOB and been hearing so much about them.  These two SRH’s were absolutely STUNNING.  The Sanford & Benedict bottling “where it all started” I found really sub-par at best.

Side-by-side *whole-cluster* and… um… well, *non* tastings are always fun.  As usual, the ‘dirty’ one blasted you in the face with gamy nonsense and faded out immediately in to la-la-land while the ‘clean’ bottling started subtle and grew into something of near-magical proportions.  Big, extracted stuff though. Edna Valley and HUGE.

Mr. Blurry strikes again, this time on easily the worst wine tasted all afternoon.  I’m guessing this is in Templeton somewhere and can’t remember where fruit came from but really uninteresting stuff.  Just, No.

Darling child, yes, and tasted side-by-side with the 2007 of the same bottling.  They should have been swapped.  The 2007 showed wonderful fruit–albeit a bit fat–while I found this 2012 nearly undrinkable.  Oxidized and obese, lacking anything even remotely interesting.  Just gone.

 Oh, did someone say “fat”?  Couldn’t resist.  Yes, the Sliver Oak style is resplendent here.  But def yummy!

The best Carneros I tasted all day.  Find them.

The best RRV I tasted all day.  2013 left a lot to be desired, but the 2011 and 12 were just stunning examples.  Deep, dark, and well-fruited, with gobs of barnyard.  These were all in mag, so calculate that factor in, but all the same was NOT impressed with the 2013.

I think Anderson Valley was almost better represented on Saturday than all of Santa Barbara!  They were EVERYWHERE.  As this AVA is a huge fav of mine, tasted dozens of them.  This kid is tiny tiny and brand new and his stuff ROCKS.  His 14-8 (not pictured) was not viewed with admiration, but these two were standouts in pure, clean Pinot.  Tasted practically alongside Goldeneye and the difference in acid balance was obvious.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.