EarthDay F&W 2016 Quick Hits

The EARTH DAY FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL held at Castoro Cellars in Paso Robles proved once again a great opportunity to taste a comfortable cross-section of labels across Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.  Nice comfortable size–never overwhelming or suffocating–easy to hit up old favorites and new winery discoveries.  Food vendors were plentiful, parking convenient, weather perfect and–most importantly–GOOD GLASSES.  Main sponsors include SIPcertified  CAgrown  805Living  and  VisitSLOCountyEarth Day Food & Wine

2013 SUMMERWOOD ‘Diosa’ Adelaida Paso Robles  Mostly SY.  Obliteratingly dense and closed in, slowly cracking a tarry, rich smile into waves of tobacco and earth.  Substantial oak offsets the tannin, but they are still quite a factor.  One of the surprises of the day.

2013 WRATH Pinot Noir Boekenoogen SLH   Big rich fat dense, instantly heady in bouquet and translating in spades to the palate.  Shockingly concentrated, just never slows down, pumping horse-stall and wet loam in all directions and in the mouth an almost unwieldy concentration of fruit.  This is really not ‘food wine’.  It is a meal all of itself.  Lovely, but quite-manageable tannins.

2013 WRATH Syrah San Saba Monterey  Equally as dense as the PN ,but painted on a clearly SY bird.  Initially restrained, but brightly floral and downright pretty with a little patience.  Slowly opened up into dense concentrated beautifully tarry nectar.

NV LAETITIA Brut Cuvée   Always a winner.  About 50/50 PN/CH and not a hint of blush.  Solid, crisp, creamy, packed with fruit, citrus and hay.  Bright and sharp.  An absolute world-class bubbly.

2013 SEVEN OXEN Cassidy Paso Robles GR/MV/TN chewy but nice and round, full of dark tobacco.  Manages still and warm but steely.  Will definitely revisit on the blog.  Seven Oxen is going on a short-list of places to watch in Paso.

2013 SEVEN OXEN Zinfandel Paso Robles  A stunning peach and pear nose, light and pretty but not frivolous in the least.  The nose just blew me away.  In the mouth full of concentrated fruit, bitter and decisively tannic.  These two wines were my surprises of the day.  Tasted only because an adjacent table had a group surrounding it.  Lovely young couple up in Kiler Canyon making all estate wines.  Also bottling Mourvedre and Tannat alone in limited quantities.  GO TANNAT!!!

2014 RIDGE Zinfandel Paso Robles  Big awkward youthful nose, banana peel and cacao nibs.  Supple, even fruit on the palate–not jammy or cloying at ALL.  A couple disappointments I have experienced with some of the ’13 blends are completely redeemed in this wine.  Firm and lovely and one of the best Paso Robles Zinfandels I have tasted in some time.

2013 RIDGE Cabernet Sauvignon Estate   Insiders know this is the BARGAIN OF THE DECADE.  My love of 2nd labels is long documented and nearly invariable and this is no exception.  Oh sure… Monte Bello is nice, but when you can get this wine for 1/3 the price–on FUTURES even–you grab it.  WAAAAAY too young, closed in and meager but barely able to contain itself inside the dark gorgeous purple package but a little air causes it to EXPLODE dark fruit and on the tongue, euc and spice underpinnings, chalky and dense and tannic beyond belief.  Holy wow.

2013 TREANA Red.  Quite ripe and over-oaked.  Fruit of an elementary version.  Pretty bottle though.

2012 BAKER AND BRAIN Pinot Noir Floodgate Vineyard RRV  Black purple goodness, round RRV typicity, barnyard takes a back seat to polished fruit and spritely acid.  Mellow tannin.

2013 SOSTENER Pinot Noir SLH    Nice entry-level Pinot.  Soft and alluring, not much of either barnyard or tannin.  Good fruit, mellow and nice.

2013 J LOHR Petite Sirah Tower Road Paso Robles  Black as night, dense and jammy.  This is a softer version of PS but still retains drying tannins and I have drank MANY a Tower Road a decade or more of age and they really get beautiful–as PS should.

2012 J LOHR Pinot Noir Fogs Reach Arroyo Seco Monterey  More dark dark ruby concentration–something you don’t expect from Southern MontCo.  Roasted meat, sweaty horse and brilliant vegetal.  Briary to excess and wonderfully tannic.  I know Arroyo Seco is CH country and I have had some issues with a few Pinot’s from there, but this one rewards again and again.

2012 J LOHR Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Paso Robles  Oh my wow so interesting to taste this AT THIS TASTING after tasting it a week ago at Cab Collective.  THERE, surrounded by awkward flabby tannic monsters four times the price, it came off polished and integrated and balanced and lovely.  HERE, surrounded by Pinots and Syrahs and Zinfandels, it comes off as a big blustery tannic monster, crammed with fruit beyond belief and perfectly integrated, elegant, balanced and lovely.  At the 25$ PP, the HILLSIDE rewards and rewards–and has for decades.  Easily one of the top one or two wines at this tasting.

2013 JUSTIN Justification Paso Robles   Another wine I have long carried water for and today will be no exception.  This CF-dominate blend is my favorite Justin, and why?  It can be a little slutty but rarely offers up the flab and oak obfuscation iSauce is capable of.  This one today came off generous of fruit and definitely plush, but acid and tannin to a lovely point.
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