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08.25.2006

California's Best Small Wine Producers: A Report From Family Winemakers 2006

I'm still in recovery. You'll break out the violins and run weeping when you hear it, but it really is tough work tasting nearly five hundred wines over the course of two days. So tough, in fact, that I'm never going to do it again. Yes, you heard me right. I've reached my limit. And so I think, has Family Winemakers.

The Family Winemakers Association is a marketing association dedicated to the support and promotion of small family winemakers of California. A noble cause, indeed. But now there are just....so many of them. It's really quite amazing. Over four hundred wineries were pouring their wines this past Sunday and Monday. It's become an fwm06_crowd.jpgevent that is nearly impossible to navigate, even spending two full days as I did this week.

This is no criticism of the association, or the event. It's merely the "thousand-yard-stare" of someone who tried his best to sample what the event had to offer and has come away with PTTD: Post Traumatic Tasting Disorder. As soon as I see several wine bottles together on a table, I start to twitch a little.

All joking aside, this event remains one of the highest quality public offerings of wine anywhere in the United States, but it's become something of the United Nations assembly -- far too many people in one room to actually get any real business done. I suppose there are much larger events out there (VinExpo, VinItaly) that prove these things can get even bigger and not collapse under their own weight, but certainly I'm going to have to change my strategy from now on.

Normally my tasting routine goes something like this: I try to stop at every table that is designated as "new" to the association. I skip wineries whose wines I've tasted recently (for instance, at the recent Pinot Days event). And I also tend to skip wines that I know I don't care for. But apart from that, I tend to try and taste.....well....everything.

And when there are 400 wineries all pouring between five and ten wines apiece, that pretty much meant that I was in serious, serious trouble. Even with two days to do it in.

I haven't bothered to count, but I did taste somewhere close to 500 wines, which proved not only difficult from a stamina perspective, but also from a recording perspective. I know many of you readers normally like me to report on those wines I didn't care for as well as those that I liked, but frankly that would have taken hours. My coverage below consists of only wines that scored above an 8.5/9 on my scale, simply because to have written all of them up would have taken an additional six hours that I did not have.

So without further ado, I present the fruits of my labor, my trial, my trauma -- my pretty darn good time at California's highest quality wine event. As usual, I have first called out the wines that I believe were exceptional values, and the rest are organized by score and by color.

Enjoy.


TASTING NOTES

BEST VALUES
2005 John Anthony Sauvignon Blanc, Carneros. Score:9.5. $19
2004 Justin Vineyards "Reserve" Tempranillo, Paso Robles. Score:9.5. $26
2005 Elyse Winery Rose, California. Score:9/9.5. $15
2003 Jepson Viognier, Mendocino. Score:9/9.5. $16
2005 Navarro Muscat Blanc Dessert Wine, Anderson Valley. Score:9/9.5. $17
2004 The Terraces Petite Sirah, Napa. Score:9/9.5. $25
2003 York Creek "MXB" Red Blend, Spring Mountain District, Napa. Score:9/9.5. $24


WHITES WITH A SCORE OF 9.5
2004 Chasseur "Green Acre Hill" Chardonnay, Sangiacomo Vineyard, Sonoma Coast. $43
2004 L'Angevin "Heintz Vineyard" Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast. $??
2005 John Anthony Sauvignon Blanc, Carneros. $19


REDS WITH A SCORE OF 9.5
2004 Ancien "Mink Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Napa. $38
2004 Barnett Vineyards Merlot, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $45
2003 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $65
2004 Big Basin "Rattlesnake Rock" Syrah, Santa Cruz Mountains. $55
2004 Chasseur "Freestone Station" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley. $55
2004 Justin Vineyards "Reserve" Tempranillo, Paso Robles. $26
2004 Outpost Grenache, Howell Mountain, Napa. $35
2004 Parallel Cabernet Sauvignon. $??
2003 Ramian Nebbiolo Dolcetto Blend, El Dorado County. $36
2004 Shadow Canyon Cellars Grenache, Santa Ynez Valley. $40
2004 Vergari "Dunah Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley. $39


WHITES SCORING FROM 9 to 9.5
2005 Grgich Hills Fume Blanc, Napa. $25
2003 Grgich Hills Chardonnay, Napa. $38
2003 Jepson Viognier, Mendocino. $16
2004 Littorai "Mays Canyon Vineyard" Chardonnay, Sonoma. $55
2001 Mt. Eden Vineyards "Estate" Chardonnay, Napa. $35
2005 Navarro Muscat Blanc Dessert Wine, Anderson Valley. $17
2005 Orin Swift Cellars "Veladora" Sauvignon Blanc. $25
2004 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay, Napa. $70
2005 Patz & Hall "Durrell Vineyard" Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast. $44
2005 Ramian Viognier, Napa. $29
2005 Spencer Roloson Grenache Blanc, California. $??
2005 Spencer Roloson "Noble Vineyard" Viognier, Knights Valley. $??


REDS SCORING FROM 9 to 9.5
2004 Ancien "Toyon" Pinot Noir, Carneros. $32
2004 Ancien Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $38
2004 Barnett Vineyards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $37
2003 Baxter "Caballo Blanco" Carignane, Mendocino. $30
2002 Baxter "Fedele (?)" Vineyard," Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford, Napa. $45
2004 Bella "Lily Hill" Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma. $36
2003 Blue Rock Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma. $45
2003 Cain "Concept" Red Blend, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $54
2002 Cain "Cain Five" Red Blend, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $100
2003 Carver Sutro Petite Sirah, Napa. $44
2004 Charter Oak "Monte Rosso Vineyard" Zinfandel, Sonoma. $45
2004 DuNah "Estate" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. $45
2004 DuNah "Sangiacomo Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. $45
2003 DuNah "Red Wine" Red Blend. $38
2005 Elyse Winery Rose, California. $15
2003 Elyse Winery Syrah, Napa. $35
2002 Fantesca Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $60
1995 Farella Park Vineyards "Orchard Block" Merlot, Napa. $45
2001 Farella Park Vineyards "Alta" Cabernet Blend, Napa. $50
2003 J Moss Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa. $60
2003 Jericho Canyon Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $75
2003 John Anthony Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $55
2003 Jones Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Knoll District, Napa. $55
2004 Justin Vineyards "Justification" Red Blend, Paso Robles. $50
2004 Klinker Brick "Old Ghost" Zinfandel, Lodi. $35
2004 L'Angevin "Sonoma Stage Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. $??
2002 L'Aventure Syrah, Paso Robles. $40
2001 Littorai "Savoy Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. $55
2004 Martinelli "Guiseppe & Louisa" Zinfandel. $42
2002 Medlock Ames Merlot, Alexander Valley, Sonoma. $35
2004 Merry Edwards "Klopp Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $51
2004 Merry Edwards "Meredith Estate" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. $51
2003 Michaud Pinot Noir, Pinnacles National Mounument, Chalone. $38
2004 Outpost Zinfandel, Howell Mountain, Napa. $42
2002 Palmeri Cabernet Syrah Blend, Napa. $49
2002 Palmeri Syrah, Sonoma. $49
2004 Paloma Merlot, Napa. $64
2003 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $66
2003 Ramian Bordeaux Blend, Mt. Veeder, Napa. $49
2000 Renaissance Vineyards "Granite Crown" Cabernet / Syrah Blend. $35
1997 Renaissance Vineyards "Claret Prestige" Cabernet Sauvignon. $36
2001 Renteria Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa. $45
2002 Ruston Family Vineyards "Cuvee Simone" Red Blend, Napa. $32
2002 Ruston Family Vineyards "Stagecoach Vineyard" Cabernet Franc, Napa. $42
2002 Ruston Family Vineyards "La Maestra" Red Blend, St. Helena, Napa. $50
2003 Shadow Canyon Cellars Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley. $40
2004 Shadow Canyon Cellars "Anita" Red Blend Santa Ynez Valley. $40
2002 Spring Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $50
2005 Terra Valentine Cabernet Franc, Napa. $35
2005 Terra Valentine Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $35
2005 Terra Valentine "Wurtele Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $50
2004 The Terraces Petite Sirah, Napa. $25
2004 Turley Wine Cellars Pesenti Vineyard, Zinfandel. $??
2003 Vergari Pinot Noir, Sonoma Mountain. $39
2003 Viader "Dare" Cabernet Franc, Napa. $42
2003 York Creek Cabernet Franc, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $36
2003 York Creek "Horshoe" Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $60
2003 York Creek "Track" Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $60
2000 York Creek Petite Verdot, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $30
2003 York Creek "MXB", Spring Mountain District, Napa. $24


WHITES WITH A SCORE OF 9
2004 Ancien Chardonnay, Carneros. $32
2005 Barnett Vineyards "Sangiacomo Vineyard" Chardonnay, Carneros. $29
2004 Broman Sauvignon Blanc, Napa. $16
2005 Cass Viognier, Paso Robles. $24
2004 Chasseur "Twin Hill" Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast. $40
2004 DuNah "Dedee's Vineyard" Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast. $40
2004 Hanzell Chardonnay, Sonoma. $65
2005 Hearthstone Roussanne, Paso Robles. $21
2005 J Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $22
2001 J Vintage Brut Sparkling Wine. $30
2004 L'Angevin Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $??
2004 Littorai "Charles Heinz Vineyard" Chardonnay, Sonoma. $55
2005 Marilyn Remark Roussanne, Monterey. $26
2004 Martinelli Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $40
2003 Michaud Chardonnay, Chalone. $38
2005 Navarro Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley. $11
2005 Navarro Pinot Gris, Anderson Valley. $17
2005 Patz & Hall Chardonnay, Napa. $36
2005 Renaissance Vineyards Viognier. $30
2003 Ruston Family Vineyards Dry Semillon, St. Helena, Napa. $14
2005 Saddleback Cellars Viognier, Clarksburg. $21
2004 Spring Mountain Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $30
2005 The Terraces Chardonnay, Napa. $25


REDS WITH A SCORE OF 9
2004 Ancien "Red Dog Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Mountain. $45
2002 Andrew Geoffrey Cabernet Sauvignon, Diamond Mountain. $75
2003 Baxter "Eaglepoint Ranch" Syrah, Mendocino. $45
2004 Bella "Lily Hill" Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma. $32
2003 Bink Merlot, Yorkville Highlands. $35
2005 Black Kite Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. $38
2003 Blue Rock Syrah, Alexander Valley, Sonoma. $37
2004 Bokisch Tempranillo, Lodi. $21
2004 Bokisch Graciano, Lodi. $26
2001 Broman Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $48
2001 Broman Syrah, Napa. $30
NV3 Cain "Cain Cuvee" Red Blend, Napa. $26
2005 Ca'na Rose of Cabernet, Contra Costa County. $14
2004 Cass Grenache, Paso Robles. $34
2004 Cass "Hacienda" Red Blend, Paso Robles. $34
2004 Chappellet "Mountain Cuvee" Red Blend, Napa. $26
2004 Chappellet "Signature" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $46
2005 Charter Oak "Monte Rosso Vineyard" Zinfandel, Sonoma. $??
2003 Charter Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $60
2004 Elke Vineyards "Donnely Creek" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. $25
2002 Elke Vineyards "Donnely Creek" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. $25
2003 Elke Vineyards "Donnely Creek" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. $25
2004 Elyse Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $43
2004 Frias Family Merlot, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $30
2004 Frias Family Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $65
2004 Frostwatch Merlot, Bennett Valley, Sonoma. $28
2002 Grgich Hills Merlot, Napa. $38
2002 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $58
2003 Halter Ranch "Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles. $34
2003 Hanzell Pinot Noir, Sonoma. $87
2002 J Moss Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa. $50
2003 J Moss Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford. $60
2003 Jones Family Vineyard "The Sisters" Red Blend, Oak Knoll District, Napa. $45
2004 Littorai "Hirsch Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. $55
2004 Littorai "Savoy Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. $55
2004 Littorai "Cerise Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. $65
2004 Lynmar "Quail Hill Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $50
2004 Martin Ranch Syrah, Santa Cruz Mountains. $26
2002 Medlock Ames "Red". $25
2004 Melville Syrah, Santa Rita Hills. $36
2004 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. $30
2004 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $36
2003 Michaud Sangiovese, Chalone. $32
2003 Michaud Syrah. $38
2004 Midlife Crisis Winery Barbera, Paso Robles. $19
2002 Mojon's Bench Cabernet Franc, Alexander Valley, Sonoma. $25
2004 O'Brien "Seduction" Red blend, Napa. $35
2004 Orin Swift Cellars "The Prisoner" Red Blend. $28
2004 Outpost Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa. $65
2003 Pahlmeyer "Proprietary Red," Napa. $110
2004 Patz & Hall "Chenoweth Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $47
2004 Patz & Hall "Pisoni Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. $80
2002 Philippe-Lorraine Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $35
2003 Pietra Santa Sangiovese. $20
2004 Red Car "The Fight" Syrah. $35
2003 Redmon Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa. $57
1999 Renaissance Vineyards "Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon. $27
2003 Renteria Pinot Noir, Carneros. $35
2003 Reverie "Estate" Cabernet, Diamond Mountain, Napa. $75
2003 Roesseler Vineyards "Savoy Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. $42
2004 Roesseler Vineyards "Alder Springs Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Mendocino. $45
2004 Roesseler Vineyards "Clos Pepe Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. $50
2002 Russian Hill "Windsor Oaks Summit" Syrah, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $36
2004 Shadow Canyon Cellars Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley. $40
2003 Spencer Roloson "Palaterra" Red Blend, California. $
2004 Spencer Roloson "Madder Lake Vineyard" Syrah, Clear Lake. $
2004 Spencer Roloson "Madder Lake Vineyard" Zinfandel, Clear Lake. $
2001 Spring Mountain Vineyard "Olivette" Red Blend, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $90
2004 Storrs Vineyard Petite Sirah, Santa Cruz Mountains. $30
2003 Surh Luchtel Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $37
2003 Surh Luchtel Syrah, Oakville, Napa. $25
2004 Surh Luchtel "Garys' Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. $48
2004 Terry Hoage Syrah, Paso Robles. $35
2004 The Terraces Zinfandel, Napa. $25
2003 The Terraces Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $48
2004 Trinitas "Old Vine Cuvee" Red Blend, California. $18
2003 Trinitas "Old Vine" Mataro (Mourvedre), Contra Costa County. $24
2002 Viader Syrah, Napa. $50
2004 VIE "Beatty Ranch" Zinfandel, Howell Mountain, Napa. $38
2003 Vinum Cellars "The Scrapper" Cabernet Franc, El Dorado County. $30
2003 Woodenhead "Martinelli Vineyard" Zinfandel, Sonoma. $38
2003 York Creek Tempranillo, Napa. $23
2003 York Creek Merlot, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $36
2003 York Creek "Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $45


WHITES SCORING FROM 8.5 to 9
2005 Ancien Pinot Gris, Carneros. $22
2005 Bink Sauvignon Blanc, Yorkville Highlands. $20
2004 Chappellet Chenin Blanc, Napa. $15
2005 Chappellet Chardonnay, Napa. $29
2004 Chasseur Durrell "Sand Hill" Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast. $48
2005 Fantesca Chardonnay, Napa. $35
2003 DuNah "Tre Cuvee" Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast. $38
2004 Frostwatch Chardonnay, Bennett Valley, Sonoma. $27
2004 Hearthstone Viognier, Paso Robles. $23
2003 Hendry "Blocks 19, 20" Chardonnay, Napa. $25
2004 Jepson Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino. $10
2005 Lynmar "Quail Hill Vineyard" Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $40
2005 Maddalena Riesling, Monterey. $10
2004 Marilyn Remark Marsanne, Monterey. $30
2004 Mt. Eden Vineyards Chardonnay, Napa. $17
2004 Navarro "Reserve" Chardonnay, Anderson Valley. $21
2005 Navarro Sauvignon Blanc, Anderson Valley. $15
2005 Patz & Hall "Zio Tony Ranch" Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $55
2005 Pietra Santa Chardonnay, Central Coast. $15
2005 Saddleback Cellars Pinot Grigio, Napa. $19
2004 Saddleback Cellars Pinot Blanc, Oakville, Napa. $19
2005 Shadow Canyon Cellars Viognier, Santa Ynez Valley. $18
2005 Storrs Vineyard Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains. $21
2005 Vinum Cellars "Vio" Viognier, Chalone. $25
2005 York Creek Pinot Blanc, Napa. $22


REDS SCORING FROM 8.5 to 9
2004 Ancien "Fiddlestix Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. $48
2002 Baxter "Rodgers Vineyard" Merlot, Oak Knoll District, Napa. $30
2002 Baxter "Vaca Mountain Vineyard" Cabernet, Chiles Valley, Napa. $45
2004 Big Basin "Mandala" Syrah, Santa Cruz Mountains. $45
2003 Bighorn Cellars Merlot, Napa. $30
2002 Buoncristiani Brothers "OPC," Napa. $40
2004 Chappellet Merlot, Napa. $32
2004 Cheseboro Syrah, Arroyo Seco. $20
2004 Frias Family Syrah, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $30
2004 Fritz "Estate" Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley. $25
2003 Fritz Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley. $35
2003 Grgich Hills Zinfandel, Napa. $28
2003 Halter Ranch Syrah, Paso Robles. $28
2003 Hearthstone Syrah, Paso Robles. $24
2004 J Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $28
2003 Jepson Syrah, Mendocino. $18
2004 M2 "Dos Arkies Blend," California. $18
2004 M2 "Old vines" Zinfandel, Lodi. $22
2004 M2 "Clone Six" Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa. $50
2002 Martin Ranch "Filtered" Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains. $24
2002 Martin Ranch "Unfiltered" Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains. $24
2004 Martin Ranch Merlot, Santa Cruz Mountains. $20
2004 Martinelli "Seven Mules" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $50
2003 McCauley Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $58
2002 Medlock Ames Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma. $42
2004 Midlife Crisis Winery Sangiovese, Paso Robles. $19
2003 Mojon's Bench Merlot, Alexander Valley, Sonoma. $25
2003 Mt. Eden Vineyards "Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $38
2004 Navarro Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. $25
2004 Navarro Zinfandel, Anderson Valley. $19
2005 O'Brien Merlot, Napa. $30
2005 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. $38
2004 Patz & Hall "Alder Springs Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Mendocino. $55
2004 Pietra Santa Pinot Noir, Cienega Valley. $18
2003 Pietra Santa Merlot. $15
2000 Pietra Santa Dolcetto. $15
2005 Ramian Rose of Grenache, California. $19
2003 Red Car "Boxcar" Syrah, Russian River Valley. $20
2005 Red Car "Shake, Rattle and Roll" Red Blend. $30
2003 Redmon "Duet" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $29
2002 Renaissance Vineyards Syrah. $27
2003 Reverie "A.S.S Kiken" Red Blend, Diamond Mountain. $35
2004 ROAR "Pisoni Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. $49
2004 Roesseler Vineyards "Griffin's Lair Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. $45
2004 Russian Hill "Estate" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $32
2004 Russian Hill "Tara Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $42
2003 Russian Hill Syrah, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. $22
2002 Saddleback Cellars Merlot, Napa. $34
2004 Saddleback Cellars Zinfandel, Napa. $38
2004 Shadow Canyon Cellars Rose, Santa Ynez Valley. $18
2003 Spencer Roloson "Tempranillo". $??
2003 Spring Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir, Napa. $50
2003 Spring Mountain Vineyard Syrah, Spring Mountain District, Napa. $50
2002 Storrs Vineyard Merlot, Santa Cruz Mountains. $25
2004 Storrs Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains. $24
2004 Surh Luchtel Zinfandel, Napa. $32
2002 Surh Luchtel Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $37
2003 Surh Luchtel "Page Nord Vineyard" Syrah, Oak Knoll District, Napa. $38
2004 Trinitas "Old Vine" Zinfandel, Contra Costa County. $18
2002 Van der Heyden Syrah, Napa. $40
2005 VIE "Los Madres Vineyard" Syrah, Carneros. $38
2004 Vihuela "Concierto de Rioja" Tempranillo, Paso Robles. $17
2005 Vinum Cellars Rose, Napa. $10
2005 Vinum Cellars "Cab" Cabernet, Napa. $30
2004 Vinum Cellars "Red Dirt Red," El Dorado County. $25
2003 Woodenhead Zinfandel, Sonoma. $28
2004 Bighorn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. $45

Are you tired yet?

Comments (12)

Greg wrote:
08.25.06 at 11:03 PM

That is a pretty amazing rundown. Are going to be at the East Bay Vintners Tasting tomorrow or does your palate need a rest?

The Corkdork wrote:
08.26.06 at 7:41 AM

What is truly amazing is that the event is only 4 hours long per day, so you tasted all these in 8 hours. I actually saw a young Asian woman with a press badge tasting only whites first, running around to each table and then coming back around for the reds. Probably a good plan, but difficult to execute. After a while, the only whites that popped out for me were ones that can cut through my tired purple tongue, which are usually big oakey beasts that I don't normally care for with a fresh palate. - CD

Yvette wrote:
08.26.06 at 8:49 PM

Thanks for the rundown. I wish I could have gone to this event. Maybe next year.

Ben wrote:
08.27.06 at 11:53 AM

I have to say that Navarro Muscat really stood out for me, too. Maybe because it was sweet, zippy and smelled so good, it floated above the sea of burl and brawn.

Erin wrote:
08.28.06 at 7:07 AM

It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it...I'm not sure I could hack trying that many wines in the course of what amounts to a work day. Thanks for the great rundown!

chuck wrote:
08.28.06 at 4:08 PM

Fantastic rundown... sitting on the east coast, I unfortunately fear I'll never TASTE that Navarro Muscat... I MISS CALIFORNIA!!!!!! sob~!

The Dabbler wrote:
09.03.06 at 10:35 AM

Where are you getting the prices for the Red Car wines? I am on their allocation list and they are charging on average $50 per bottle (give or take depending upon the release) for these very same wines. Are they ripping off mailing list customers? That would be highly frustrating but not a first...I used to buy direct from Flowers until I saw the same bottles in retail stores for 20% less than I paid direct.

Alder wrote:
09.03.06 at 11:49 AM

Jill,

Typically the MOST expensive place to purchase a wine is direct from the winery. That’s true across the board, except for those wines which shoot up in value immediately upon release and get resold by lucky mailing list customers for sometimes way more than they paid.

Having said that, the prices at most wineries are typically only a couple of dollars more than at retail outlets, so a disparity of $15 as in the prices is fairly unusual.

A couple things could be going on here. 1. I could have written down the price wrong at the tasting. 2. The person who gave me these prices at the tasting may have been wrong (sometimes the people working the tables are not full time winery employees, or are just not prepped with the right info)

If you're interested in the average retail price of a wine, I always suggest using www.wine-searcher.com

Diana wrote:
09.08.06 at 2:14 PM

I am trying to purchase Jepson wine but I am having no luck I just moved to Florida from California and I have not seen it anywhere here where can I purchase it I tried the website they do not ship to Florida! Thanks

Paul wrote:
09.11.06 at 3:15 PM

Just so happens that Jepson is this week's Woot Wine - 4 bottles for $41 shipped.

Check it out at http://wine.woot.com/ It says they will deliver to FL.

MRA wrote:
03.26.07 at 10:22 AM

I'm surprised you didn't like the Trinitas 2004 Old Vine Cuve more. It really shines with a meal. I had it with lavender smoked tri-tip and it was totally awesome.

Alder wrote:
03.26.07 at 2:50 PM

MRA: That's the great thing about wine -- everyone finds something different to love.

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