Dan’s Counter Club Tasting at The Wine Company

It was another fantastic Tuesday evening at the The Wine Company .  Ryan Maloney from Shiverick-Jones Wines, Southern California wine distributor, brought eight unique wine picks to share with a crowd that exceeded twenty people.

So many wines…  Not enough time!

The evening started with an ’08 Tutu Pinot Grigio that had a clean, well-rounded nose of pineapple and nectarine, with light honey notes.  This medium-bodied wine was slightly chewy and coated the  palate  really well.  The flavor lasted long in the mouth, only to be refreshed by the next sip.  A great, low-priced social wine that can be served to a wide range of  palates without breaking the bank.

Next up was ’05 Grable Knights Valley “House Creek” Chardonnay.  This was the first that time most of the Counter Club encountered this wine.  The group concluded that this was a honey bomb.  The predominant nose and flavor was honey with hints of melon.

The ’94 Kalin Cuvee Chardonnay drew the most attention.  This Chardonnay had a beautiful gold tone that bordered slightly on the amber side.  It was definitely an aged Chardonnay with a full nose that had lemon grass and floral notes.  This extremely complex wine contained flavors that were hard for most to describe and had many scratching their heads trying to describe it.  The subtle, well-structured flavors of pineapple, citrus, pear, with  well balance hints of oak demonstrated the extra care that went into the crafting of this wine.

Following up the whites was a ’07 Drew “Gatekeeper” Pinot Noir.  This Santa Rita Hills Pinot was similar in style to a French Pinot.  Definitely a food wine with an intense cherry, floral, and slightly earthy nose, and lighter cherry and black berry flavors.  When paired with the food that was served, a slightly spicy appetizer provided by BJ’s, it was a real winner for people who preferred a more French style Pinot Noir.

Ryan then served up an ’06 Pierre Gaillard Faugeres.  This Rhone Grenache wine was a good example of what the French Rhone region is all about.  It had a complex nose with deep rich fruits, herb, and light floral overtones.  Deep rich currant and berries fill the mouth up and it finished with silky, long-lasting tannins.  A great overall Grenache at a price that won’t shatter the budget.

Next on the list was ’07 Culler “Casaeda” Napa Cabernet blended from Powell Mountain and Oak Knoll fruit.  This rich garnet colored wine blended from Cabernet and 23% Syrah boasted of rich ripe berries flavors, plum, meaty structure, and silky tannins.  The nose was complex and provided a rich array of berries.  This full-bodied wine should please most  palates and can be enjoyed by itself or with an entrée containing rich meats.

The final Cabernet was an ’06 Kamen from Sonoma.  This was the most talked about Cabernet at the Wine Company.  Most compared its quality to Cabernets that reach above $140.00 but was actually less than half that price.   Although the finish did not last as long as most expected, the wine was exceptional and the finish will only improve over the next few years.  This well-crafted wine denotes aromas of black and blue berries with hints of floral and oak notes.  The flavors are all that should be expected in a great Cabernet with the complexity and the silky tannins that denotes an elegant finish.  This wine will only improve with age and should be good for years to come under the proper cellar conditions.

Finally the tasting was finished with an ’06 Red Car “The Fight” Syrah.  This wonderful Syrah has rich dried fruits aromas with over 15% alcohol.  But don’t let the numbers “knock you out” the vanilla, coffee, and rich dark fruits held up easily to the higher alcohol.  This was a perfect ending to a great wine tasting event.

Most people assume that after a tasting like this, the evening was completely over.  This is far from the truth.  Since this was only a tasting, the pump was only primed.  The group broke off to try other wines in the Wine Company store and with thousands of wines to select from; the evening was just getting started.

What makes The Wine Company a great destination is not just the enormous selection, reasonable prices, free appetizers, entertainment (Thurs – Sat) or even free wine classes, but the diversity of people’s backgrounds that pass through its doors.  Some are just wine lovers, others maybe grape growers, and yet others may be wine makers that have come from a multitude of destinations.  It is not uncommon to find people from wineries all over the world stopping into the Wine Company and talking about their winery experience.

The Wine Company is more than a wine bar or a wine store it is a social destination, where people from all corners of the valley share one important commonality, the love of wine.  There are no pretenses or wine snobs, just a bunch of great people with a common interest.  So dress comfortably, put on a smile, and join the growing crowd at the Wine Company.

Edwin P Mahieu

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