Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting’

Sustainability in a bottle? Drink local!

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Locals Only Tasting 6/9We’re all doing our part to be a little more green, so why not extend that effort to your vino selection and keep it local? After all, we live in the lap of vineyard luxury in Santa Barbara and Ventura County with some of the finest Zins, Syrahs and Pinots around. By selecting wines from local vineyards, not only are you cutting down on the energy expended in packing, shipping and transport, but you’re supporting our local winemakers and economy. A glass of wine never felt so sustainably good!

Kick off your wine closet sustainability movement and join us this Thursday 6/9 for a “Locals Only!” tasting of some of our neighbor vineyards’ best. We’re pouring our favorites from neighbor Santa Barbara and Ventura County wineries Dragonette Cellars, Four Brix, Jaffurs, and Babcock for your tasting pleasure. Come taste the local bounty and go green!

Cheers!

Davina DaVino

Father Knows Best…and he wants wine!

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Father's Day PromotionHot off the presses is our Father’s Day gift card promo! From now until Father’s Day (6/19) purchase a $50 gift card and receive a voucher for a free tasting for any Friday or Saturday!

Maybe you’ll give it to your dad…maybe you’ll keep it to yourself. Don’t worry, we won’t tell!

Purchase your gift cards online (enter “Father’s Day Promo” in the notes/messages box) or at the shop. Gift cards are available via in-store pickup or mail.

Cheers!

Davina DaVino

Under the influence of the wine label? Guilty as charged.

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Orin Swift - PapillonOh go ahead and call the wine police. I’ll confess. Have I bought under the influence of the wine label? Yes sir, officer! Guilty as charged.

But, admit it. We’ve all done it. Sure we research the vintage tasting notes, read the reviews online, keep current on the industry trends, and mine feedback on our apps. But when you’re running late for that dinner party, you’ve left your phone in the car, and there isn’t a soul to ask for a recommendation, what does it come down to? That’s right…the label.

And really, what’s wrong with that?

Chonic Cellars - Sofa King BuenoAfter all, we taste with our eyes first. We swirl the wine, pontificate its color, its brilliance, its opacity, its legs. It’s our eyes that set the stage ripe with anticipation, setting the expectations of what will soon roll over our tongue. And yet, we discard the label as unimportant, a decoration, a distraction, a rookie mistake. Isn’t the label really our first taste of the vino goodness to come? And if it isn’t, shouldn’t it be?

Still not convinced? Consider some of our favorite wine labels in the shop.

 Orin Swift PapillonOrin Swift - The PrisonerOrin Swift - Saldo

Orin Swift
Strong, bold and arresting with layers of complexity in the storytelling. From Papillon’s hands of third generation Napa Valley grape grower and winemaker Vince Tofanelli to Saldo’s striking red and white label maker label, Orin Swift’s labels offer a visual amuse bouche of what awaits inside.

 

 

 

Herman Story - On the Road, Nuts & Bolts, and TomboyHerman Story
Fresh and forward, saturated, and yet, balanced, Herman Story’s labels reach out and grab you without even a line of front text. It’s pure experience: lush, vivid and focused. And just when you think you’ve got the blend of vineyards figured out, it slaps you with a barrage of words and smirk on the back label.

 

 

Owen Roe - Sinister HandOwen Roe - Yakima RedOwen Roe
Conversation starter and finisher. Owen Roe visually tempts your taste buds with a master blend of historical richness and salt of the earth earnestness, all delivered with a wink and a smile. Look no further than Owen Roe’s Sinister Hand label. Ominous yet tempting, it tells the tale of a rowing race won by a competitor slicing off his hand and tossing it on shore to be the first to touch, and ultimately become king. Determined, focused, arresting…or at the very least, a great party conversation starter.

Sans Liege - ProphetessSans Liege - GroundworkSans Liege - Cotes-Du-CoastSan Liege
Tasting this Thursday (5/12) at The Wine Closet with the winemaker himself!
Seductive, enrapturing and powerful, San Liege promises an “anthology of sensory travels” from first glance. A visual feast rich with layers of emotion, temptation and longing, San Liege’s labels deliver that first bite of the forbidden bottled inside.

And with that your honor, I rest my case and give it to the jury. What wine designs have caught your eye and tempted your palate?

Cheers!
Davina DaVino

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A taste of the Pacific Northwest – Owen Roe Winery

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Owen Roe Tasting 5/5It’s hard to imagine, but not so long ago, wine experts turned up their nose at Napa. California wines, competing with their French counterparts? C’est ridicule! Yet, starting with the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 where Napa swept the reds and whites, new meccas of wine goodness have been popping up all around the country. One of the latest hotbeds to hit the vino shelves is the great Pacific Northwest. Between its diverse regions of soil and climate favorable for producing fruit with low pH and on point acidity, the Pacific Northwest has burst into the wine scene with distinct flavor, power and personality.

Owen Roe Sinister HandOne of our favorite labels from the Pacific Northwest has to be Owen Roe from David O’Reilly. From its memorable labels (like the severed hand of Sinister Hand) to its complex layers and balance of fruits and spice, Owen Roe’s wines are silky on the palate and big on personality. Such a strong core can only be developed by the history and soil it comes from. Steeped in Irish heritage, the winery is named after Owen Roe O’Neill a 17th century patriot from County Cavan Ireland (where David is originally from) who led an army against Cromwell based principles of integrity and liberty, two ideals that inspire the wines at Owen Roe and are commemorated through images on each of the Owen Roe labels. Continuing the tradition of integrity in his vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Washington’s west end Yakima Valley, Owen Roe’s grapes are hand harvested and bin fermented with manual punch downs and finally aged in French Oak bringing forth the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Yakima Red Owen RoeThe result? A powerful Pacific Northwest offering of some of the best Pinots and Syrah’s we’ve tasted.

  • Syrah Ex Umbris ’09: Latin for “out of the shadows”, this started as a one-off produced from the smoky grapes of a wildfire, but has become a signature Syrah. Deep plum and dark cherry greets you on the nose with a velvet palate of blackberry, peppercorn and black licorice against plush tannins.

Sinister Hand GSM ’09: Besides having one of our favorite conversation labels (depicting the result of a rowing competition between the O’Neills and O’Reillys where in order to reach land first and own it the lagging rower sliced off his hand, tossed it on shore, and became king), this Grenache blend brings a complexity that’s hard to pass up. 79% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 3% Mouvedre, and 2% Counoise.

Yakima Red Bordeaux-style Blend ‘09: Showcasing the world-class Merlot and Cabernet-Franc grapes of the Yakima Valley, the fruit is from several small vineyards from the cooler western end of the region, where the long days of sunshine and moderate temperatures in the evening conspire to produce lush aromatic grapes with lovely acidity and low ph. The result is a lush black cherry, bright red berry and cassis layers with a toasty spice finish.

Owen Roe Ex UmbrisDon’t have a weekend to jet up to the Oregon / Washington border? Never fear my wine enthusiasts, we’ll bring the Pacific Northwest to you (minus the weather). Join us this Thursday 5/5, Cinco de Mayo, to take a tour through Owen Roe’s great Northwest best paired with our own Southwest feast.

Cheers!
Davina DaVino

Sipping and Grilling – Orin Swift Palermo

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

BBQ Pizza & WineThere’s no doubt. It’s good living in Santa Barbara County. Not only are we nestled with an ocean view in the mecca of some of the best vineyards and winemakers in the world, but we’ve got perfect BBQ weather practically all year long. Great grilling and good wine…how can you possibly beat that?

Yeah, you can’t.

Getting our Wine Grilling on - Palermo

Which is why, as an admitted BBQ addict, I’m constantly on the hunt for great grilling wines. One-course, flash-in-the-pans need not apply. I’m looking for a wine that sips pleasantly round the fire pit for cocktail conversation and yet holds its own when the hot topics get fired up at dinner. We’re talking that rare garnet gem of goodness that brings a balance between easy drinking for easy living and a bold attitude ready to stand up with something to say. It might just be Tuesday, but my grill is hot and I’m lining up the bottles for the weekend.

Orin Swift PalermoTop of my BBQ list this week goes to Orin Swift’s new 2009 Palermo Cabernet Sauvignon (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot). If you’ve tasted Orin Switft’s The Prisoner , Saldo and Papillon, you know Palermo roars in with an impeccable pedigree and doesn’t disappoint. Gathered from Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, Saint Helena, and Spring Mountain grapes and aged 16 months in French Oak, Palermo brings to the table blend of the best for a full mouth coat and long finish. It pours dark garnet with a ruby rim and beautiful legs, and unfolds into a bold cherry nose, a perfect complement to a smoking Q. Inside the drink is a complex but silky balance of black raspberries, aged tobacco, and dark chocolate palate with aged oak undertones that blend beautifully with balsamic chicken or stand up to a steak. It lingers on the finish, and packs a punch with 15.5% ALC.

It might only be Tuesday, but I’ve got my Palermo on order and a tri tip in the fridge. Who says BBQing is just for the weekend?

Ready to do some grilling of your own? Swing by The Wine Closet for our Thursday Night Sippin’ and Grillin’ 5-wine flight, and get a taste of Orin Swift’s Palermo.

Cheers!

Davina DaVino

Bottled Passion – Bodega de Edgar

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Bodega de Edgar

What makes a good wine great and a great wine unforgettable? Passion. It might not be heading the tasting notes, but you taste it on the palate and you feel it on finish. It’s the culmination of every decision – from soil selection to aging – being driven by the winemaker’s unyielding commitment to pour every ounce of themselves, their experience, and their journey into bottled perfection. It’s both undeniable and unexplainable, but it’s present in the best. And there are few that it’s more present than in local winemaker Edgar Torres’ Bodega de Edgar wines.

Edgar Torres’ wines are handcrafted masterpieces. No surprise really, as Edgar started his journey surrounded by amazing wines as a waiter at the famous Villa Creek Restaurant, and developed from cellar rat to winemaker under the tutelage of McPrice Myers (McPrice Myers Wines) and Russell From (Herman Story Wines), two outstanding winemakers in their own rite. What Edgar pours into every vintage is his love of the art and of the land culminating in a passion for and commitment to small production, natural wines. Sourcing the same grapes as Meyers and From, Bodega de Edgar’s wines undergo natural fermentation (no yeast added), where the natural heat of Paso Robles and the yeast within the grape skin initiate fermentation, allowing the varietal and vineyard designate to pronounce itself from nose to finish.

Bodega de Edgar - BottlingAs with most masterpieces, they’re few in number and hard to come by. Bodega de Edgar’s lots are small and purposely so focusing on quality over quantity. Edgar’s Grenache/Syrah blend, E2, for example, has only 45 cases produced. His Garnacha? A select 100 cases. And his Albarino? 310 cases. But we’ve got all three, and we’re the only shop in the area that does.

This Thursday night (4/7) we’re pouring all three (E2, Garnacha, and Albarino) limited releases plus Bodega de Edgar’s newly bottled ’09 Tempranillo and ’07 Syrah. Come by and taste the passion!

Cheers!

Davina DaVino

Drink your wine! Don’t dust it!

Friday, March 18th, 2011

 When I first started exploring wine, my wine closet (ok, more like a wine rack) rarely made it over 5 bottles. Why? Because I drank them. Switch to today, where my wine closet is stacked floor to ceiling with great wines. A wine lovers dream, right? Yes, if I were actually drinking them. Unfortunately, I’m dusting them, not drinking them. Maybe it was the process of collecting them like little treasures of grape goodness for that “perfect” moment of uncorking, but now I can’t bring myself to actually open them. It’s true…I have become a wine hoarder.

What’s the fun in that?

That’s exactly what Brian Loring of Loring Wine Company (our featured winery at next Thursday’s Night Tasting) asks in a great two part episode on Vaynerchuck’s Wine Library TV. Among other industry and vintner insights, Loring pleas with wine geeks everywhere: “Drink your wine!” (Check out part 1 and part 2 here.)

We agree and offer up a couple young goodies that are tasting well now for your drinking (not dusting) pleasure.

  • Beckmen ’09 Grenache
    Bright and bold for its age, this 100% Grenache brings together fruit from two exceptional clones planted on Beckmen’s estate vineyards meticulously farmed with a focus on low yields to achieve high quality fruit with great concentration. Intensely aromatic, this Grenache displays bright red berry fruit and spice layers, underscored by a plush, silky texture. 475 cases produced. Get it.
  • Palmina ’10 Pinot Grigio
    Freshening things up, this new kid on the block brings beautiful aromatics with notes of nectar, green pear, quince and a hint of sesame seed. Lively and yet round on the palate with lemon curd and more pear flavors mingling with lychee, marjoram spice and a gravelly earthy streak of flinty summer rain. The color of diffused sunlight on an early summer morning, Palmina’s ’10 Pinot Grigio is versatile with food and lovely on its own as an aperitif, picnic wine or as a well deserved glass of wine after a hard workday. Get it.
  • Forefront ’08 Cabernet Sauvignon
    Born a deep thinker (or drinker), Forefront’s ’08 Cabernet Sauvignon brings a blend of multiple varieties and appellations giving this bottling tremendous complexity. Syrah delivers the wine’s modern profile lending a luscious fruit-forward character that is a soft counterpoint to the Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa. Aromas of blackberry, red cherry and raspberry leap from the glass, enlivened by intriguing notes of spice, cedar and toffee. The palate echoes the nose with a juicy swirl of dark and red berries and plum, supported by solid yet smooth tannins that prolong the delicious finish. Get it.

Also, get to know our featured winemaker on Vaynerchuck’s Wine Library TV for some poignant industry, wine making and wine history insights. It’s an oldie, but a goodie.

Brian Loring on Wine Library TV, part 1
Brian Loring on Wine Library TV, part 2
Thanks Wine Library TV!

Cheers!
Davina DaVino

Judgement of Camarillo

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

This idea was borrowed from the actual Judgement of Paris of May 24, 1976 when California wines kicked French wines in EVERY category – blew them all away…

No doubt we’ll be having some fun this Thursday night in our first ever all blind tasting – the wines that is, not the tasters :-) We’re hosting a Bottle Shock party appropriately named “Judgement of Camarillo”, and will be pouring 6 wines; 3 French, 3 Domestic. Score cards will be provided to help you select your favorites.

There’s no wrong answers here, just good wine from different parts of the world in a knock-down, drag-out competition…all in fun of course.

Tasting is $15 per person and includes 6 wines and appetizers – this Thursday, 2/4 between 6-9pm.

Find wine tasting events in your neighborhood

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Did you know you could visit www.localwineevents.com and view wine tasting events in your neighborhood?  The Wine Closet posts its Thursday night tastings on this site so if you’re interested in what’s going on around town, check it out.