Women Winemaker Celebration 2022 notes

Some beautiful wines here today at the Women Winemaker Celebration in the Roblar barn. Here’s a small portion of everything jumping out beautifully at me.

I will say this: HAD I tasted the Almarosa Bentrock at #wopn the past couple days those two Top-6 posts would have been different. RIpe and green and vegetal, rife with barnyard and delicious funky Pinot goodness with ridiculous fruit and tannin. Just beyond gorgeous. Literally Pinot Noir OF THE WEEKEND.

DanaV Happy Canyon cab also impressed me so much I stopped by the TR on the way home and snagged a few. Fruit-forward but not slutty, awesome structure and spice, layer upon layer of complex dust, licorice and leather–THIS might just be my new favorite Cab from the area. 50-ish bucks, which is about the new normal for this AVA bringing a PLACE to Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet. Santa Barbara makes cab???? Oh boy… we’ve been through this. Try to keep up!

Visiting the Turiya 2009 Paso PV/bec reflected a wine able to age gracefully. I’ve been hard on this label–some of them are just too oaky and flabby to appreciate–but this thing shows an elegant patina at 12: gorgeous brick with sumptuous tertiary coming through on the nose and palate. Next to the 2012 cab-franc, the house-style is unmistakable, though variables exist. Not cheap, but a showcase wine for the cellar.

Amevive showed all the bright stuff I’ve loved about her wines under Shokrian in the past. She made some of my favorite brash Syrahs from this vineyard and leases all estate stuff for her own low-intervention offerings. These are NOT rich lush ripe *jam & vodka* Paso or Santa Barbara wines. These are raspy, vegetal, bright-fruit monsters carrying the angst and beauty of St. Joseph and Cru-Bojo. Totally organic, native-ferments, WC and unfiltered, they aren’t for everyone, but you KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Low-intervention stunners.

A welcome visit with Magan and the Kunin line-up. ZERO dosage Jurassic Chenin frothy and ALIVE in the glass, crystalline shards of light and magic shred the palate in a soothing bath of bubbles. First visit with the 2018 Pape Star, and it is a welcome chip off the old block, remaining one of the great GSM bargains in the state and SOOOO unfettered–as always and in classic Seth fashion–with pomp & posturing. As brands change all around us under new regimes and circumstances, this label holds TRUE to form in classic profile, mentality and value. Never change.

As much bad things loyal followers know I say about CA nebb, Alison Thompson certainly has her way around it. I will admit: this grape confounds me and I would not flatter myself with a full grasp of it and its vicissitudes. In Italy: I somewhat get it. In America: I struggle. Several dozen new-world versions later since I first wagged my finger at this wine a half-decade ago, I tasted it today with new open-ness of mind. Rash and abrasively structured, a bitter core green and vivid: masking the fruit apparent in nose, attack and late-middle. Muddles of ripe cherry, prune and plum making shy statements throughout. Grapefruit minerality creases all surfaces, creating a wound classic candied fruit trowels over with aplomb. But it’s not a wine the 99 will relish. And I want to taste one at 10 or 20. Check it out.

Final Girl continues to shine brightly–since our lowly introduction 5 years ago when they BLEW MY MIND. I was telling Jessica Gasca the story today…. How it was my token experiment I challenge myself to with each outing. Some rather-touristy wine-fest in Solvang Park, put on by who-knows-who and I resolved myself to try one outlier. The worst labels I’ve ever seen, horrible packaging–not even the biggest Cambria fan (her day-job is winemaker for a huge chunk of their production). Syrah-Grenache blend and Petit Verdot WTF… I mean WHO makes PV in Santa Maria Valley. And then I tasted them. Been die-hard fan ever since and reviewed ALL of them. Brilliant wines for a penny and she opened the original SY-GR for me today and the Chenin is FIRE. You NEED these wines.

Amplify Wines also constantly pushes the envelope with carbonic and oddball interpretations of classic varieties. Carbonic Malbec from San Benito bottled in flint 500’s with gooey sediment and a dirty, leathery ‘bec burnt-tobacco, latex and sapling-briar nuance in the nose announcing the taste-profile I’m not even gonna warn you about. EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING offers a 12-variety blend I could only describe as *yummy*. And I know “yummy” usually means bad things–except when I mean it seriously–but there it carries context both yummy in a bad way and good. It feels sweet. She swears no RS, but admitted to Semillon as one of the dozen when pressed. Carbonic and milky, it’s a porch-pounder for sure–but gorgeous in its own shrill red way.

Good day, beautiful weather at Roblar Winery in Los Olivos and a nice, calm, intimate event–a nice come-down from yesterday & Friday at World of Pinot. Thanks to Karen Steinwachs and Brooke Stockwell and Stiletto Marketing and the myriad involved for throwing another great event with CHC for women’s health and Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation.

STAY IN TOUCH FOR NEXT YEAR!!! — Women Winemaker Celebration (this thing sells out EARLY)

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