The 2005 Pinot Blanc/ Pinot Gris Santa Barbara County is a fresh and fruity wine with citrus, apple and spice notes along with hints of white flowers and marzipan. Crisp acidity on the finish says this wine belongs on the dinner table.
One of the best values in CA Chardonnay from one year to the next is the 2006 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay. Juicy, crisp, clean and refreshing, adjectives not normally associated with CA Chard! Notes of citrus, ripe pear and lemon cream shine through on both the nose and the palate. The wine is fermented and aged sur-lie in neutral barrels to add a creamy note of complexity.
From a block of vines that Jim Clendenen planted in '94, this is consistently one of my favorite wines and a testament to what true Pinot should taste like: Balanced, finessed, complex and with more acidity than you will ever find in a 15.5% abv monster "Pinot" from Napa. Violet perfume and bright fruit aromas lead to a palate that is silky and easy to like with notes of black cherries, blueberries and a touch of mocha. Delicious.
The '05 Joven was fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel tanks and spent two months sur lie. The nose had a pleasant dry earth spiciness along with aromas of baked red fruits. The palate was ripe with lots of red fruits, more of the warm earth spiciness and plenty of acidity. Fans of soft wines may be put off by the dry feel, but those of you who like Euro-styled reds this is a great value.
Dry rocks, bell pepper, black pepper and rich dark fruit aromas led to a palate that was at first a little too tightly wound to be enjoyable. But as the wine opened the tannins faded ever so slightly to reveal a measure of richness, chewiness and a silky feel. Overall a pretty tasty super tuscan for the money.
An interesting rendition of Orvieto. This wine had a nose that was rich, floral and clover honey all over the place. I thought the wine would be on the sweet side, but the palate was much more balanced with a nice citrus note to compliment the honeysuckle and marzipan finish.
Bright and cheery on the nose with lots of red fruit, spearmint and a roasted meat note. The palate was on the other end of the spectrum with rich black fruit, dark chocolate, coffee, roasted herb and something meaty that reminded me of Asian-style spare ribs. Lots of tannins, lots of length and lots of complexity. Outstanding.
A very well made Pinot Gris with a nose that carried lots of perfume and spice and also hints of citrus, star fruit and fresh honeydew. The palate was more broad and open than I expected, with juicy pear and papaya notes that turned to chalky minerality on the tongue before finally finishing with just enough acidity. Splashes of cinnamon and lime zest added complexity.
Dark, dark and darker on the nose, with chocolate, black fruits, tar and charred earth. The palate is rich and concentrated, with lots of dark fruits, some dry earth notes and a little bramble along with a grilled meat note. Complex, rich and entertaining.
Not many good Charbono's out there, so the reference point for this wine is small. French oak smoke on the nose, but also warm rocks, dark and ripe fruits and a slight amarone note. The palate is creamy and spicy, with fresh herbs, strawberries and red cherries, and ample acidity on a light frame. Very interesting.
Not much on the nose other than a little pear and spicy apricot aromas. This wine picks up on the juicy and rich palate with lots of key lime and granny smith apple, with mineral undercurrents on a crisp and dry frame. Tasty.
Ah, the promise of what might have been, or what could be. Beautiful on the nose, with spicy blackberries and black currants, rocky earthen notes, fresh herbs and overall a very rich nose full of complexity and promise. The palate is where things go downhill. Very dry and very tannic. Some dark fruit is mixed in, but at this point to much acidity of all kinds to be enjoyable. Will time in the bottle help? One can only hope.
Lots of garrigue and old stone character on the nose with some dried red fruit aromas and notes of sweet red fruit perfume. On the palate there is a tasty patry crust note going on, with sweet red fruits and a silky and creamy feel to the fruit. A little oaky, but not over the top. Lots of structure and length, with chewy tannins and a more acidity than I expected from this hot vintage. Very good.
Superlight on the nose with a little gooseberry and grapefruit, some smokiness, a little caramel and some white flowers. the palate is dry and very acidic with some green apple and nectarine notes. Crisp and refreshing and a great summer sipper, and only $8!
$12? Really? On the nose there are plenty of ripe and round aromas of dark fruits, forest floor, an earthen note and some faint fresh herbs. The palate has rich and sweet dark fruits, some earthiness, lots of tannin and acidity and a nice, long finish. Big wine for the money.
Ripe and tropical aromas of apricot and mango fill the glass while flavors of chewy pears and apricots coat the tongue. Lots of fruit and cream (maybe some sur lie action?) followed by a slight marzipan note on the finish. For a $15 chard this wine offered more complexity and richness (but not oak!) than your average CA Chard.
Not a bad effort from the combined forces of Codorniu of Spain and winemaker Dave Dobson of Artesa. The nose held sweet black fruit notes, dry-rocks and a pervasive alcohol note that didn't kill the wine, but definetly could have been missed. The palate was long and silky, with sweet red and black currants, plenty of tannins and body and a long, mouthfilling finish that was a little oaky on the far end. Tasty, but in need of a few years in the cellar.
Lighter in color than many CdR but this wine had a nice mix of perfumed red fruit aromas and a more restrained than most style on the palate with juicy red fruits, some warm rock minerality and a little oakiness. A little higher in acidity on the finish as well. A very traditional style of CdR.
Heady aromas of baked black cherries, kirsch and vanilla give way to a big, bold Pinot. Sweet red fruits, a toach of oak and pepper speak well on the palette, but may be overshadowed by a bit too much alcohol. A well structured Pinot from a great vintage that could use a few more years in bottle to settle down.
This blend from the Lafite Rothschild family offers an expressive mix of old world and new. Smoke, tar, tobacco and game aromas hint of the Syrah and Cabernet in the mix. Cocoa, pepper and ripe black fruits on the palette speak of the Alicante and other local grapes. A good value and a lively red.