Posts Tagged ‘Cin-Cin Wine Bar’

“Now THAT’S Italian!”

February 12, 2012

This past Saturday, Kara and I hit up Cin-Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos with our friends Dave and Kara Thevegetarian for another one of their HUGE tasting events.

The theme?

Italian Wine…

Hecka Italian

Dave’s dad always says, “Italians invented wine!”

I’m pretty sure that’s not true, but one could make the argument that they did a good job perfecting it.

Let’s take a look…

First... Table 4

La Colombera Bricco Bartolomeo 2010 ($20): This white wine was all about the citrus fruit.  Tons of lemon and orange with a good hit of minerality.  86+

Poderi Foglia Conca Bianco 2010 ($21): Another white wine.  Totally different profile.  White peach.  Soil.  Lime.  86+

Cantine Del Indie Vino Rosso di Popolo 2010 ($18): The nose on this wine is a trip.  It smells like candy corn.  Straight up.  Candy.  Corn.  I asked Kara, Dave, and Kara if they were getting that aroma too.  They were all, “No.”  But, on the real… That’s what it smells like.  Not very Italian.  On the palate, this red was light in body.  It brought some good, spicy tires and red licorice.  88

Podri Foglia Conca Rosso 2009 ($24): This red wine has a wicked butter cream nose.  It totally caught me off guard, but it was kinda nice.  Loaded with condensed red fruit and spicy tires.  88+

Not a bad start…

Second... Table 1

Vietti Nebbiolo Perbacco 2008 ($27): On the nose, the Vietti brought this great tomato soup aroma.  After I mentioned that to Dave, he got mad at me.  He is the only Italian guy I know who hates tomatoes.  I, on the other hand, LOVE tomato soup.  On the palate, this wine brought a balanced attack of chocolate, tomato leaf, spice, and chalk.  This is a dope wine.  90+

Piancornello Poggio dei Lecci Sant’ Antimo 2010 ($24): This wine is primarily Sangiovese.  Cocoa and pepper pop on this nose.  Bell pepper and raspberry on the palate.  89

Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Amable, NV ($12): Here’s the thing about Lambrusco.  It’s basically Manischewitz with bubbles.  It’s fun.  You’ve got the nose-tickling frizzante action.  You’ve got concord grape juice with a hint of blackberries.  It’s just fun.  85

On to the next table…

The Next Table... Table 3

Nino Franco Rustica Prosecco di Valdobiaddene, NV ($15): From bubbles to bubbles… This Prosecco brought a great, crisp, palate-cleansing acidity of lemons and minerality.  Simple and fresh.  86+

Bertani Velante Pinot Grigio, Veneto, 2009 ($10): With a nice nose of fresh bread, this Pinot Grigio brings clean flavors of lemon and stone.  85+

Hofstatter Meczan Pinot Nero, Alto Adige 2009 ($21): This Italian Pinot Noir tastes like it sounds.  Leather.  Cherry.  Acid.  Spice.  Earthy nose.  Good stuff.  88+

Trerose Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2007 ($20): A really nice Earthy nose with loads of cherry.  On the palate, this Vino Nobile brought it with big, bright cherry, soil, and spice components.  I looked over at Dave, and he was all, “Now THAT’S Italian!”  I could not agree more.  90

Le Ragose Ripasso Valpolicella 2007 ($29): Ripasso is kind of a fun wine.  It’s a Valpolicella that has been run across some Amarone.  The nose was a cross between raisins (from the Amarone) and band aids (from the drug store).  On the palate, this Ripasso brought some concentrated bright cherries and notes of soil.  Good stuff.  90

On to the last table…

Last... Table 2

Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut NV ($29): Yeasty lemon peel on the nose.  Crisp acidity and minerality on the palate with hints of brioche.  87

Decugnano Dei Barbi Orvieto Classico il Bianco ($25): Look… When you taste this many wines in one sitting, some become instantly forgettable.  My note book says, “Floral nose.  Creamy –> Lemon Acidity”.  I did not write a score.  Take this however you would like.

Renzo Masi Rufina Chianti Riserva 2008 ($15): This Chianti was easily the best deal of the tasting.  Mushroom.  Cherries.  Fennel.  90+ points.  Keep an eye out for this one.

San Fabiano Calcinaia Cerviolo Rosso 2007 ($39): This Super Tuscan is made of Sangiovese and Merlot.  The nose is loaded full of big cherry fruit and tires.  On the palate, it is a chalky, Earthy beast with red fruit goodness.  Fantastic!  91

Azelia Margheria Barolo 2006 ($83): On the nose, this Barolo brings soil, raspberries, and cherries.  On the palate, this wine is all about subtlety and nuance.  Spice.  Tomato skin.  cherry.  Bell pepper.  The wine of the day.  91+

As we were bouncing around to the different tables, we discovered a few dessert wines that we wanted to save for last.  Here they are…

Mionetto il Moscato NV ($12): It’s a fun melon.  That’s it.  86

Badia a Coltibuono, Vin Santo, 2005 ($38): This Vin Santo reminds me a lot of that Yalumba sticky I had a while back.  Nutty toffee and coffee on the nose.  Sweet espresso on the palate.  This is the goopy stuff that drives me wild when it comes to dessert wines.  Love it.  90+

All in all, this was a fun event.

Maybe Italians did invent wine…

Stay Rad,



Don’t hold your head so high. You won’t see the Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

November 20, 2011

Did you read my post about the Bordeaux tasting I did at Cin-Cin Wine Bar the other day?

If not, you can read it here.

Now, you gotta know that Kara and I really did have a blast at that tasting.  It’s also nice just to have an excuse to spend a day in downtown Los Gatos, CA.


(There’s always a big but.)

There was one problem…

The people.

Not all the people.

Not most of the people.

Not even one percent of the people.


The interactions that we had with just a few of the people at the tasting really put a sour note on an otherwise sweet day.

The one thing that I hate about wine is the show that some people feel like they have to put on.  You have a lot of people at these events dressing as if they are going to the opera.  Now, there is nothing wrong with dressing nice.  Nothing at all.  The problem comes when people bring along an attitude of self-importance with their freshly pressed suits… their diamonds… and their pearls.  People trying to prove how classy they are, and failing miserably.

Not long after we entered the wine bar, and had begun our tasting, Cin-Cin became quite crowded with people.  As is always the case in crowds, people will occasionally bump into each other.  It’s almost expected.  While talking to Kara, I noticed a tall gentleman in a fine suit walking in our direction while looking for his wife on the other side of the room.  As I scooted over to the left, I motioned for Kara to move with me, but it was too late…  The man walked right through Kara… almost knocking her over and spilling her glass.

Kara was not happy to be bumped so hard, but what made it worse was the reaction (or lack of reaction) of the man.  After bumping her, this “classy” older gentleman did not even break his stride.  He continued on to the other side of the room, head held high, to join his wife.  Never mind the fact that if he took the time to look around he would have avoided Kara all together.  Never mind the fact that he nearly knocked my wife to the ground.  Never mind the fact that he did not apologize for the incident.  This guy didn’t even acknowledge that the event even happened!  He was so much in his own world…  He felt that he was so much more important that everyone else, that he didn’t even recognize that we existed!  Just writing about this now makes me want to start kickpunching!

It took a few minutes for us to cool down, but Kara and I decided to move on from the incident and continue with our tasting…

Later on, I got into talking to one of the distributors about some Pomerol when an older couple broke into the conversation…

“Do you know where I can find any Chateauneuf-du-Pape?” the older gentleman asked the distributor.

“We mainly focus on Bordeaux,” the distributor responded, “so I wouldn’t really know.  I’m not from here.”

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the best!” the woman broke in, “I can’t believe you don’t carry it!”

“Sorry,” he replied.

As the distributor moved over to help another couple, I leaned over to the couple and said, “You can find Chateauneuef-du-Papes almost anywhere.  I’ve seen plenty at BevMo, CostCo, even some at Trader Joe’s on occasion.”

“Sure they do,” the gentleman said in a very sarcastic tone as he grabbed his wife by the hand and moved over to a different table.

“Was I out of line?” I asked Kara, “I was just trying to be nice.”

The distributor looked over at me and shook his head in a way to tell me, “I feel you, brother.”

You’ve gotta know that the majority of our interactions with folks at the tasting were very pleasant.  But the bumping incident and the Chateauneuf-du-Pape episode really got to me.  Especially the Chateauneuf-du-Pape thing.

Especially the Chateauneuf-du-Pape

So, the next day, Kara and I went to CostCo.  Look what I found…


Kirkland Signature 2009 Cuvee de Nalys Chateauneuf-du-Pape!

Last night, the Thevegetarians invited us over to a dinner party, so I decided to bring the Kirkland Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  I wanted to get another bottle to bring as well, so I swung by Trader Joe’s on the way.  Guess what I saw?


Quinson 2010 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Well, what do you know?

It was almost too perfect!

So I decided to taste these two bad boys side-by-side…


Hey, snooty couple at the Bordeaux tasting! This one’s for you! Go sit on a tack!

Before we begin, a few nerdy facts about the region…

Chateauneuf-du-Pape (New Castle of the Pope) is one of the premier winemaking regions on the southern end of the Rhone Valley.  Mainly consisting of Grenache and Syrah, these wines can also have Mourvedre, Cinsault, Picpoul, Terret, Counoise, Muscardin, Vaccarese, Picardin, Clairette, Roussanne, and Bourboulenc.  The best Chateauneuf-du-Papes should contain higher amounts of Grenache and Syrah.   If you are looking for this stuff at the store, just keep an eye out for the bottle.  Most of them will have a  really cool coat of arms etched into it.

To start, we tried out Quinson 2010 Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Trader Joe’s…

Color: Dark ruby red.

Nose: Cranberry, chalk, and rubber.

Taste: On the initial attack, there is a big hit of sour cherries.  There is a big acidity to this wine that would make it great to pair with a variety of foods.  There was also a nice green spinach characteristic.  Nice!

Score: Pick it up!  89

Next, we hit up the Kirkland Signature 2009 Cuvee de Nalys Chateauneuf-du-Pape from CostCo.  A blend of 59% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 4% Vaccarese, 4% Counoise, 3% Mourvedre, 3% Muscardin, and 2% Cinsault, the Cuvee de Nalys is sourced from 3 of the premier vineyards of the region.

Color: Dark ruby red.  Darker than the Quinson.

Nose: Big chalk, raspberry, and orange zest.

Taste: There are some nice powdery tannins that coat the whole mouth.  It’s hella smooth.  The fruit is cranberry and orange.  I’ve never really experienced orange as a flavor profile on a red wine before.  Though it was unexpected, I loved it!  There are some spices of clove and nutmeg on the back-end.  I’m getting some tires as well.

Score: This would be the perfect wine for a festive holiday meal (if only there were one of those days coming up soon… if only).  Rad!  91

Now, of course, you can’t go to the Thevegetarians’ house without getting some food…


Warm Cerignola olives with thyme and sesame. Fantastic!


Peperonata. As Dave would say, “Hecka Italian!”


I made my way into the kitchen to find Dave grilling up some pumpkin…


A couple of minutes later, it turned into this… Zucca in Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour Pumpkin). Gnarly!


Lasagna. Fa sho, fa sho!

Lesson learned:

Don’t hold your head so high.  You won’t see the Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Take it away, boys…

Stay Rad,


I’ll Bordeaux when the Sauternes

November 7, 2011

This past Saturday, Kara and I headed over to Cin-Cin Wine Bar for another tasting event…

This time... Bordeaux!

Bordeaux France is one of the premier wine appellations in the world.  Although there are 57 regions within Bordeaux, there are really only four that you would need to become familiar with in order to sound like a wine geek:

Graves (including Pessac-Leognan, and Sauternes): Found on the “Left Bank” of the Garonne River, Graves is known for reds, dry whites, and some of the best dessert wine in the world (Sauternes).

Medoc: This is a wide-spread region found along the “Left Bank” of the Gironde River.  There are seven major sub-appellations of the Medoc (Haut Medoc, St-Estephe, Paullac, St-Julien, Margaux, Moulis, and Listrac), all producing reds.  In 1855, sixty-one of the chateaux were classified under the Grand Cru Classe (5 of which were of such high quality to be called Premiers Cru).

St-Emilion: Found on the “Right Bank” of the Dordogne River, the wines of St-Emilion are always red.  Piggy-backing off of the Medoc, St-Emilion also has a Grand Cru Classe ranking for their chateaux.

Pomerol: This is the smallest of the top red wine regions in Bordeaux.  Pomerol, also on the “Right Bank” of the Dordogne, makes about 15% as much wine as St-Emilion.  Though Pomerol does not have a ranking system, one can almost be assured (since they are so scarce) that most Pomerols are the bomb.

As far as grape varietals go, you will rarely see the breakdown of grapes listed on the bottle.  Bordeaux does, however, follow rules in terms of which grapes are allowed in their wines.  The whites of Graves (including the dessert wine of Sauternes) is primarily made of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  As far as reds go, Bordeaux can be made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.  To figure out what is the predominant grape, just look at the rivers.  Wines from the “Left Bank” are Cabernet Sauvignon based, while those from the “Right Bank” are mostly Merlot.

On the real, though… I’m tired of getting my nerd on.  Let’s get some drink!

There were three distributors at the event; James, Luke, and Jon.  Each had their own table with hella different styles of Bordeaux to choose from.  To make sure we started with whites, moved to reds, and finished with Sauternes, Kara and I had to bounce around a bit from one table to the next.

First… The Whites!

Chateau Ducasse 2010 Bordeaux Blanc ($18): We started at Luke’s table with this white wine made of 60% Semillon.  It had a crisp, flowery finish.  A great way to start the day.  86

Chateau Hout Rian 2010 Bordeaux Blanc ($11): Over at Jon’s table, we picked up this white made of primarily Semillon.  Again, this one had flowery notes, but with a hint of honeysuckle.  It was crisp and dry.  85

Once we got our palates primed, we headed moved into the reds at James’ table.


Chateau Petit Manou 2007 Medoc ($21): So, here I am telling you the Left Vs Right Bank rules, and the first red I show you just shatters them.  This is a Left Bank wine that is made like a Right-Banker.  The Petit Manou is 70% Merlot.  The fruit is bright cherry and cranberry with a soft, buttery finish.  Good stuff.  87

Chateau Picque Caillou 2007 Pessac-Leognan ($26): A Left-Banker with 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc, the Picque Caillou had a dusty nose with a green palate.  87+

Chateau Mongravey 2008 Margaux ($33): A true Left Bank Bordeaux made of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, the Chateau Mongravey falls under the Cru Bourgeois (just under Grand Cru) classification.  This one brought lots of dusty cranberry and Earth notes.  89

Chateau Pipeau 2007 St-Emilion ($34): A Grand Cru from the Right Bank, the Pipeau is 90% Merlot.  Now, don’t get it twisted.  This is a Merlot with balls.  There is a BIG barnyard funk on the nose.  The palate brings BIG leather and minerality.  It is both juicy and Earthy.  Nice!  90

To the next table…


Lafleur Gazin 2007 Pomerol ($45): 80% Merlot.  This Right Bank wine brings bright cranberry and cherry fruit.  A smooth wine.  89+

Chateau Hout Beausejour 2007 St-Estephe ($25): Barnyard.  Raspberry.  Dry palate.  Good acid.  There is a growing note of mushroom the longer the wine stays in the glass.  88+

Chateau Paveil de Luze 2008 Margaux ($30): This is a Left Bank red made of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon  The Paveil de Luze has some nice cranberry fruit, but it is more texture driven than anything else.  There is a nice acidity on this.  89-

Chateau Gloria 2008 St-Julien($63): 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot from the Left Bank.  This wine is silky smooth with leathery tannins and raspberry fruit.  Lovely!  91+  G-L-O-R-I-A!

Croix du Trale 2009 Haut-Medoc ($16): We were just about to move on to the last table, when I realized that we missed one of the wines.  Considering that the Gloria was so dope, it’s hard to go back to the Croix.  Dusty raspberry with butter.  Nice, but no Gloria.  88+

With that, we moved on to the last table…


Chateau Belles Graves 2007 Lalande-de-Pomerol ($28): Though not from the actual Pomerol appellation (Lalande-de-Pomerol is on the other side of the train tracks), Belles Graves is well-known for a different reason.  This is the wine that Jacques-Yves Cousteau would take on all of his adventures.  A Right Bank wine primarilly made from Merlot, this wine was hella tart and dry with fruit of cherries.  Not my cup of tea.  86

To make up for the Belles Graves, Luke provided the only vertical of the day with two (real) Pomerols…

Chateau Gombaude Guillot 2005 Pomerol ($67): Now this is why I love these tastings!  I’ve heard plenty of folks rave about the 2005 vintage of Bordeaux, but until now I’ve never had the opportunity to taste any 2005 that would be considered more than just a table wine.  This Pomerol is 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc.  On the palate, this right-banker was one smooth criminal.  Beautiful cranberry fruit, and a good hit of oak.  This wine has the body to last another 15 – 20 years, but is elegant enough to enjoy right now.  92.

Chateau Gombaude Guillot 1996 Pomerol ($60): Oh my!  The nose this wine is just dope!  Loads of juicy blackberry get smoothed out with tannins of delicious cigar tobacco leaf.  Wow!  Sometimes I wish you could taste these things with me.  Wow!  93

We finished off the tasting with two Sauternes dessert wines…

L’Alliance 2009 Sauternes ($27 Half-Bottle): Luke served us this Sauternes made of 90% Semillon.  There is a BIG nose of apricot and gapefruit.  On the palate the SWEET dride apricot overpowers the typical yeasty finish.  Good, but not what I think of when it comes to Sauternes.  90

Chateau Haut-Peyraguey 2005 Sauternes ($56): Jon capped off our tasting with this Permier Cru chateau from the epic 2005 vintage.  In comparison to the L’Alliance, the Haut-Peyraguey is much more reserved with its fruit.  This is a yeast-driven Sauternes (the way I think it should be).  This dessert wine has a good sweetness, but it is not obnoxious.  91

And there you have it…

16 wines…

One good time.

Stay Rad,


Going Sideways: The Ultimate 2-hour Pinot Noir Tasting

October 13, 2011

Have you seen the movie Sideways?

I know some of you may think it’s a silly question, considering that this is a blog about wine.


I ask again…

Have you seen it?


Released in 2004, the Academy Award Winner (best adapted screenplay in 2005) follows two buddies as they go on a road trip through Santa Barbara’s wine country.  Miles, the main character, is obsessed with Pinot Noir.  Obsessed!  He won’t shut up about it.

That being said, probably the most famous line from the movie can be found here (edited for the purposes of keeping this blog family friendly)…

In the following months and years, many a wine folk began to speculate that Miles’ love of Pinot Noir and disdain for Merlot had changed consumers’ perceptions of the two grapes.  They believed that the average wine buyer would go into a store thinking, “If Miles isn’t drinking any F-ing Merlot, then I ain’t either.”

Then, in 2008 The American Association of Wine Economists published this paper from Sonoma State University, showing that the “Sideways Effect” was a real thing.  Not speculation.  Not a belief.  A real phenomenon.

Truth be told, The Sideways Effect didn’t have much of an impact on Merlot sales declining… though they have gone down.  The greatest impact was on the increase in Pinot Noir price and case sales.

That makes sense to me.

To a new wine drinker, Merlot has a bigger name.  Pinot Noir, on the other hand, was for a long time a lesser-known hipster type of varietal.  Once Sideways opened the door to Pinot Noir, and people began to realize how delicious it was, sales went through the roof… Along with the price of the delicate grape.

Today, it is tough to find a good bottle of Pinot Noir under 15 bucks.  And, dare I say it, not even worth your money to gamble on a bottle under 10.  Today, the “value” is found in the 15 – 25 dollar range.  Even nuttier than that, the big boys of Pinot Noir are in the 45 – 80 dollar range.

We are talking about Pinot Noir, right?  The “Black Pine” (translated from French) is one of the lightest, most delicate red wines that you could possibly drink.  Most are ready to drink the day you bring it home, and you wouldn’t want to cellar any of ’em for longer than 5-7 years (and that’s pushing it).

But I have to say…

Pinot Noir is delicious.

It’s one of my favorite grapes.

The problem is that they are so expensive, it would cost a fortune to taste ’em all.

At least…

That’s what I thought…

Now THAT's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Last Saturday, Kara and I hit up Cin-Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos to do a little Pinot Noir tasting.  For 35 bucks, we got to taste the best Pinot Noirs from several distributors in the area…

Folks lined up to get their Pinot On.

Plus there was food!

See? Food!

Here’s how it all went down…

Table One

Pelerin 2008 Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands $29): This is an EARTHY pinot.  Lots of mushroom with a hint of rosemarry and bacon.  90 points.

Pfendler 2008 Pinot Noir (Petaluma Gap, Sonoma $40): Right away, you get to know how versitle a grape this is.  The Pfendler tastes nothing like the Pelerin.  This has loads of bright red fruit on the palate with a smokey finish.   89+ points.

Ryan 2009 Silacci Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Range $42): This is a well structured, well made Pinot Noir.  It tastes expensive.  The problem is that it’s not my cup of tea.  Unlit cigar (nice) with bright red fruit (nice).  It just didn’t work for me.  Still a good Pinot… Just not what I’m into.  88+ points.

Cipaiaux Cellars 2009 Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands $44): Bell pepper and leather.  Nice.  89 points.

Table Two

Chateau de Beauregard Bourgogne Rouge 2007 Memoire du Terrior (France $24): The more I get into all these big, bold, wines, the more I’ve come to appreciate the subtleties of a nice, light, Burgundy.  Light strawberry fruit, with good acidity and minerality.  88+ points.

Firesteed 2007 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley $25): Sweet tarts and nerds for days.  This is a fun one.  89 points.

Mohua Pinot Noir (Didn’t catch the vintage = (  Central Otago, New Zealand $23): Bright fruit with good acidity.  88+ points.

Papapietro Perry 2007 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast $46): Candied strawberries and smoke.  Very balanced.  90 points.

Emeritus Vineyards 2008 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley $32): This is loaded with DEEP fruit flavors.  Bright red fruit and berries.  Hella smoke.  This is a very nice bottle of wine.  Very nice!  91 points.

Table Three

Easton 2008 Pinot Noir (Sierra Foothills $28): A light Pinot Noir with hints of bacon smoke.  88+ points.

Paoul Hobbs 2009 Crossbarn Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast $34): This wine has a smokey nose with tons of ham on the palate.  Very nice.  89+ points.

La Follette 2009 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast $28): Smokey nose (there’s something about table 3).  There is a nice sugary strawberry fruit with pork and tomatoes.  Dope!  90 points.

Soter 2009 Mineral Springs Pinot Noir (Yamhill-Carlton $45): Sugary bright fruit.  Mushrooms.  Bacon fat.  This wine was delicious!  92 points.

Table Four


Table four, here…

This is my jam!

Louis Latour Santenay Rouge 2005 (France $23): This was a fun bottle.  You are not going to find many 2005 Pinots just lying around.  Bright cherry fruit with a lively acidity and cinnamon and clove spice.  90 points.

Faiveley Mercurey Rouge 2008 (France $24): This was one of the more tannic Pinots of the day.  Good strawberry fruit.  A very laid back wine.  89 points.

Argyle 2009 Nuthouse Pinot Noir (Dundee $61): Quite possibly the best Pinot Noir I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.  The gentleman serving the wine informed us that the Nuthouse vineyard used to be a nut farm.  In the wine, you can definitely taste the earthy flavors from the soil.  There is a bigtime macadamia and marcona almond presence in the mid-palate of this wine.  Plenty of herbaceous notes on the finish… particularly rosemary.  You have to try this.  93 big ass points.

Thomas George 2009 Pinot Noir (Russian River $41): This wine was a real crowd pleaser.  Sun-dried tomato with tons of herbs.  I loved this one too.  It reminds me quite a bit of the Pinot Noir of Willams-Selyem.  Very awesome!  92+ points.

Paraiso 2009 Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands $23): This is a DARK Pinot.  Smokey and rich.  88+ points.

Table Five

This is the La Rochelle table.

This is also when time started to run out for the event, so we had to speed up our tasting…

La Rochelle 2010 Pinot Noir Rose ($19): Grapefruit.  Nice.  88+ points.

La Rochelle 2008 Dutton-Campbell Vineyard Pinot Noir ($45): Buttery.  90 points.

La Rochelle 2007 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($72): Buttery with balance.  The most expensive wine of the day.  Good, but NOT worth it.  90 points.

With one minute left, we skipped table six.


Table Seven

Au Bon Climat 2009 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County $25): This was the only wine left at table seven, but I am glad we got to try it.  The Au Bon Climat is exactly what I expect a Pinot Noir to taste like.  Light, bright strawberry fruit.  Dope acidity.  Balance for days.  Nothing major.  Just goodness.  Get yourself this 9o point wine.  Enjoy it now with someone you care about… like I did.

For those counting, that was 22 wines we tasted… all Pinot Noirs.

After that much wine, the only thing left to do is lay down on the couch…


Stay Rad,


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