Tasting events. Bigger tasting events. And even bigger tasting events. Thats the trend out Left these days. ZAP, Cal-Italia, Rhone Rangers all are looking to expand their tastings in hopes of expanding their sales. One can hardly blame them.
Family Winemakers is no different.
I enjoy the Family Winemakers tasting it gives me a chance to catch up on the impossible task of keeping track of all the new wineries. Good God theyre sprouting up like mushrooms after a spring shower. With the economy as it is, I cant understand why so many people are so anxious to lose their money. But dreams are hard to suppress, and I wouldnt try to deter anybody from chasing their particular bliss.
Nevertheless, its getting more challenging for a correspondent to find a way to make you, the reader, feel as if you were there. There were more than 300 wineries pouring in the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason. Last year I tried to find new faces and wines I did not know, so this year I thought to take the opposite tack, and look up friends to see how they were doing since I last saw them.
Well, it was crowded at the entrance, and there was the usual meltdown at will call and registration. These folks could certainly benefit from spending some time with the folks in the ZAP organization - they seem to have much better logistical success with events of this size.
first stop of the day was with John Guilliams
(right) who produces Cabernet from his small family owned vineyard on Spring
1998 Cabernet Sauvignon 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8%
Cabernet Franc muted Cabernet fruit in the nose with lovely spice
very pretty in the mouth with good acid and tannin structure, but
accessible nicely balanced, as I would expect from this producer. A
fine effort, especially with this vintage.
1999 Cabernet Sauvignon much darker ruby color in the glass
quite subdued aromatically almost explosive flavors in the mouth
fairly rich Cabernet fruit with a strong acid backbone again, very
well balanced, but showing a lot more stuff than the 98. Another very good
wine from this under-recognized producer.
call ahead, John and Shawn are likely to invite you up to their place to
taste some wine. You will not be disappointed.
and Walt Flowers were away on business
and were not able to attend today, but were well represented by Ross
2000 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast pretty golden color the
aromas show more oak than fruit at this point far better balanced in
the mouth lovely melon flavors a tad too much oak for my palate,
but these wines integrate well with a little time in bottle.
Flowers 2000 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast nice deep color in the glass concentrated notes of black cherry with a touch of pleasing stemminess in the nose well concentrated in the mouth with a touch of velvety tannins long, clean follow. Theres a lot to like in this Pinot it is elegant, but still has some power and structure, and I find it very appealing.
Loring (left) is rapidly endearing himself to winelovers with
his luscious Pinots and his exuberant personality. He regularly
participates in several wine bulletin boards and was resident winemaker at
this years MoCool.
2001 Pinot Noir Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard a bit light in
color rather restrained aromatically, but shows a burst of sweet Pinot
fruit in the mouth medium weight with good balance some smooth
tannins on the back end all in all, a pleasant medium weight wine that
should pair well with a variety of foods.
2001 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe deeper in color, but likewise
aromatically reticent wonderful explosion of deep Pinot and pitted
fruit flavors in the mouth full and rich Pinot Noir, and as is typical
of this producer: clean and balanced.
November 13, 2002
P I A
Loring 2001 Pinot Noir Garys Vineyard color is almost identical to the Clos Pepe again, very restrained in the nose a richly flavored Pinot with just a bit more stuffing and certainly more tannin structure. It may turn out to be a longer lived wine and have a touch more heft. I am learning after tasting a couple of vintages of Brians wines that he has unmistakable talent as a winemaker, and is producing rich, clean and well balanced wines that are a very fine expression of California Pinot Noir.
1999 Sangiovese Dorothy and Kal
Showket held out a portion, and are re-releasing this wine.
Wonderfully dark and rich fruit aromas with a hint of road tar and licorice
very attractive equally rich in the mouth coats the palate with
deep Sangiovese fruit the tannins that remain are quite velvety long
and clean follow. Those who dismissed this producers Sangiovese (happily, I
was not among them) certainly have to question their observations. While not a
classical Italian expression of the variety, it nevertheless is a wine of
distinction and character.
Showket 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon I have eagerly awaited this release, and will enjoy following its development. Very deep color somewhat restrained in the nose again, a wonderful richness and depth of flavor in the mouth. I think this is destined to become an exceptional Cabernet at this point it is still very young, of course, and needs to develop it undoubtedly shows its potential today.
is always a pleasure to chat with Peter Wellington (right),
winemaker for his family owned Wellington Vineyards, in the Valley of the
Moon. I tasted two of the ten or so wines he was offering.
2001 Roussane Russian River sourced from the Saralee Vineyard
light golden hue pretty hints of wildflower and predominantly white
stone fruit in the nose - white peach and apricot the flavors follow
with an added component of minerals and slightly steely acidity that produces
both wonderful flavors and excellent structure.
Wellington 2000 Syrah Sonoma County dark ruby color rich plummy fruit with a not unpleasant touch of rubber that fades after a moment or two sweet and pretty in the mouth medium to full bodied with some light to moderate smooth tannins that do not mar its appreciation, but ensure some aging clean and nicely balanced a very good expression of Sonoma County Syrah.
Allan Bree November 2002