Archive for November, 2007

Tasting Notes – Ventura Wine Co.

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Tasted a few new wines at this past weekend’s wine tasting at Nick’s place.  The space where the tasting was held was basically a small ally-like strip of concrete, a bit small for the amount of people who came. 

Wines I tasted that made an impression were:

Caymus ’05 Special Selection Cabernet – Although still young, this wine exhibited nice black fruit flavors and earthy aromas.  The tannins are still a bit harsh, but I think some more time in the bottle will smooth these jagged edges a bit.  Probably won’t be as good as the 2004. Buy Now!

Wm. Harrison ’03 Cabernet Sauvignon - this one has had time in the bottle and expresses nice black and blue fruits as well as structure and balance.  The backbone is there, but much softer on the finish then the Caymus. Buy Now!

Fisher Cameron ’03 Red Blend – mostly Cabernet with some Merlot and Malbec, this is a powerful and concentrated wine with layers of flavors.  This one needs to open up to help smooth out the tannins, but once this occurs, it becomes silky and elegant.  This one, the Wm. Harrison and the Caymus were the best Cabs of the day.

Hewitt ’04 Cabernet Sauvignon – this one tasted good enough, not very complex and not worth the $65 price tag.

Seghesio Zinfandel Rockpile Vineyard – A nice jammy zin, with not as much spice as I like.  Rob liked this one more then I and it packs a hefty price at $36, not sure it’s worth this – especially when Brochelle is $32 and rockin! Buy Now!

Zaca Mesa ’04 Z Cuvee – easy drinking red, nothing special here, decent price at $14

Owen Roe ’06 Abbot’s Table – A blend of 10 different varietals – couldn’t name them if you paid me, but everything red :-)  I expected this to be almost too concentrated with all the fruit in it, but it was pleasant drinking, up-front fruit, with supple tannins on the long finish.  Good deal at $20.

Torbreck ’06 Cuvee Juveniles – from the Barossa Valley, this seemed too lean for me, too grapey. $15

Margerum ’05 M5 Red Blend – I’ve been wanting to try this wine for some time now and was a bit disappointed.  Seemed watery and undeveloped $23

El Felino ’06 Malbec – I’ve been searching for a Malbec in this $17 price range – this one is a bit more mellow then I prefer.  The light fruit flavors are well balanced with tannins which makes this an easy drinking Malbec for the price.

Ojai Ridge Syrah – I tasted either the ’04 or the ’05 – can’t recall so it didn’t blow my skirt up!

Waltzing Bear ’03 Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir – Can’t stand the label on these – what were they thinking?  A nice earthy quality in this light-bodied Pinot – definitely more old world-style with light fruit and mild mid-palate – lasting finish $31

Waltzing Bear ’03 Solomon Hills Pinot Noir – This Pinot had more upfront fruit flavors, more medium-bodied then the Gary’s Vineyard, more smokey /oaky aromas.  Liked this one better and it’s slightly less at $30

Broc Cellars ‘05 Grenache

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

From the Dry Stack Vineyard, this Grenache from Broc Cellars shows fruit up front with nice spicy undertones.  Smooth and ready to drink now.  Enjoyed with some delicious cheese from Westside Cellars in downtown Ventura. Buy Now!


Thursday, November 1st, 2007


France chocolaterie de l’opera

Battle of the Blends Tasting Notes

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Last week we attended yet another grand tasting at Mark Mixmaster Johnson’s house for the “Battle of the Blends” showdown.  This tasting was not an easy feat, but quite difficult with blends from all over the world.  The only rule was that each wine had to have at least 3 varietals, but the more oddball mix the better.  26 wines were blind tasted and after all was said and done, the two favorite overall were the ’01 Barnwood Trio (big, big surprise here) with a blend of Cabernet Sauv, Merlot and Syrah, and Orin Swift’s The Prisoner which is a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Charbono – both scoring 9.0 on my score sheet.  Some other surprises were the Peachy Canyon ’04 Jester coming in over 5 (expected less here) and the Four Vines ’05 Peasant scoring over 8 from Rob and I.  Someone was definitely trying to throw us off our game with the inclusion of the Big House Red.  Here are the rest of the tasting notes:

 Wine #1 – ’04 Wine Guerilla: A young, tight wine that’s slightly dry with light fruits.  Scores: Linda 5 (2nd taste scored 6), Rob 6

Wine #2 – ’04 Paraduxx: This had a great fruit aromas, 1st taste was big and meaty, fruit forward that balanced and mellowed the light tannins on the finish – very well balanced, stylish and smooth blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv and Merlot.  Scores: Linda 8, Rob 8

Wine #3 – ’05 Four Vines Anarchy: I described this as “very choppy” (not smooth) and Rob said “chalky”, flavors of dark berries with a sharp acidic finish. Scores: Linda 5.5 (really?), Rob 5

Wine #4 – ’04 Lone Madrone (not sure what varietal – sorry): We both guessed this was a GSM blend with nice fruits upfront, very well balanced with light tannins on finish.  Scores: Linda 8.5, Rob 8.4

Wine #5 – ’02 Col Solare: French-style wine with very mild fruit flavors and heavy tannins, Cab/Merlot blend.  Scores: Linda 6, Rob 6

Wine #6 – ’04 La Bernordine (sp?) Chateauneuf du Pape: Simple, one-dimensional wine that’s tart on the palate with an alcohol finish – no style.  Scores: Linda 5.5, Rob 4.5

Wine #7 – ’03 Tandem Peloton: Definitely a Pinot blend of some kind

Shop Red Blends Now!

Peltier Station Petite Sirah

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Donna opened a bottle of this Petite a couple days ago and brought what was left over (about 1/2 bottle) to my house last night to help her finish it off.  I was totally surprised by the staying power of this wine!!!  It hadn’t lost anything, still big upfront fruit – I like to describe as spiced chocolate covered ripe black raspberries.  The finish is super-long on this one.  A great bottle for the price (under $20). Buy Now!