A meager attempt highlight a handful of wines from last night’s pre-harvest grower party at Bassi Ranch in Avila–SLO Coast AVA pending–thrown every year by Mike Sinor & friends. Soooo many great wines to try, Instagram unfairly limits me to 10 but a fabulous industry bottle-share in the vineyard. There was no frolicking thru the vines although flat-brim was fairly well represented.
@scar_of_the_sea brought a BRILLIANT Syrah and a co-ferment of pinot gris and pinot–picked the same day a few feet up the hill from where we were standing. A bit darker than rosé, an extremely versatile light red… A lone old-school 2005 @qupewine Bien Nacido Hillside was singin as usual… @rajatparr brought a couple shiners from his Phelan Farms project and the Mencia was just about Wine Of The Day for me… Lots of @sinorlavallee present, including his rare Grenache and carbonic pinot… @outwardwines represented with a great cab-franc from SYV… Pretty sure I saw a bottle of their Bassi Ranch syrah on the table, but it kept evading me… The @evening_land 2011 Spanish Springs just gorgeous for a lil $30 bottle. At least three people commented they thought this brand was all Oregon… @maidenstoenwine brought a shriekingly young Pernand-Vergelesses 1er cru and some of his Riesling, of course… The @flyinggoatcellars 2013 Bassi Ranch was a victim of bad storage: muted and cooked–but not dull… And I will be a lot more careful about buying wines from Liquor Emporium in Lompoc… @saucelito_canyon_vineyard brought a Contra Costa County Carignane that blew me away. I honestly had no idea Saucelito Canyon made so much wine from up north in the valley and Sierra Foothills–I always thought they were just Arroyo Grande Valley Zin. Might have to follow up on that soon.
My favorite wines of the evening were Scar of the Sea’s Syrah, Raj’s Mencia and the Evening Land Pinot. It’s a tough pick in this crowd, but these three stood out head-and-shoulders in the group. Full disclosure: I BROUGHT THE EVENING LAND, but still: I couldn’t believe how nicely it showed. The Scar Syrah tight, green and effusive, throwing gobs of fruit in all directions, I would love a case for a *drink-one-a-year* programme. Raj’s Mencia just stunning, pretty and floral yet headily fruited à la Cru Beaujolais and certain Lagreins or Chinons. WHY isn’t this variety more popular???
Honorable mentions… A lone Clendenen entry: 1999 Ici-la-Bas feeling a bit tired but strong–a very interesting side-by-side with the Mongeard-Mugneret. Very similar core-values, though 20 years apart… Great cider from @durham.cider.wine YES, I do enjoy cider, but as a wine-guy, it has to be interesting and clean. This “Pretty Pippin” had a funky-ass pinot-ish nose of dirty baby diaper and grape skin–mouthfeel clean and supple. Very nicely done… Raj’s poulsard–also in shiner–and along with www.amplifywines.com/shop‘s Sauv-Blanc/Merlot blend–brought the total *shockingly light red by whatever means* category to THREE. Several interesting @dunites and @lady.of.the.sunshine bottles, the 2015 Montez Stephane St. Joseph stunning, the 2002 @brander_vineyard Bouchet with the cork that turned to POWDER on entry lavish but peaked and the sole Cab at the gathering…