Tuesday evening was another great night at the Wine Company. Les and Dorian Linkogle from Briar Rose Winery, a producer of premium wines, brought eight unique wine picks to share with a crowd that exceeded twenty-five people. The quality of the wines is incredible. Les is one of the most creative winemakers in the valley, and a fascinating storyteller. He is not only entertaining, but has a knack at producing some of the best wines in Southern California.
Normally this private tasting, called the Counter Club, has people coming in right on time. But at this tasting, people starting to show up 30 minutes early hoping to get the best seat. Promptly at 4 pm, the service attendants started to pour and Les provided the entertainment with enriching tales of this winemaker’s world.
The evening started with a refreshing ’07 Citronier that is a Viognier infused with lemon extract. This is a great wine for a warm day by the pool or served with an early brunch. It is a perfect pairing with breakfast, such as eggs benedict and was served just that way at my home the following Saturday. The family loved it and became our breakfast of Champions.
Next up was an ’04 Holiday 2nd press Petite Verdot and an ’04 premium 1st press Petite Verdot (an international award winner) that was poured one after the other for comparison. This was the first time most of the Counter Club tasted a Petite Verdot. The wine was a hit and the quality was high. Both wines had a very dark color and aromas of blackberry, light clove, and plum. These wines had very soft tannins, 1st press being even softer and more full body, but yet still had a very long delicious finish. Almost all agreed that the 1st press was the best, but enjoyed them both.
Two other wines being compared side by side were ’07 and ’04 Cabernet Sauvignon. The differences of these two wines were like night and day. The ’07 had blackberry/currant aromas and flavors, while the ’07 had a much riper, more complex structure and silkier tannins. This is due to the American/French oak combination of the ’04 compared to the all French oak of the ’07.
Finally on the list was ’07 Katrina Zinfandel. This rich, dark garnet colored wine has an “old world style” with aromas of ripe cherry and plum notes. 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.
Even though the tasting was supposed to be over, Les had a surprise for the Counter Club. He brought in the first bottling of his Fumé Rosé. This Sauvignon Blanc Rosé, yes Rosé, was the first of this type I have ever known. To obtain a Rosé with silky tannins in a Blanc, he tossed the rules aside when he barreled this white wine in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. This was a surprise since, in most circles, this technique is not recommended. It has the nose of a Sauvignon Blanc, but the silky tannic structure of a Cabernet Sauvignon. Keep in mind, these two grapes are kissing cousins and so the mix actually is wonderful together. This would be a great Rosé for those hardcore red wine drinkers that want a lighter wine with tannic structure, or perfect for white wine lovers to move them towards a red. These cross-over wines are starting to become more and more popular. They are designed to further enhance the wine experience and bring flavors never before imagine.
As stated in previous articles, most people assume that after a tasting like this, the evening was completely over, but in fact that would be far from the truth. The evening continued with additional wines from Briar Rose, Pomerol, Reynolds Family Vineyards, and so many more, it is hard to remember or keep up.
This was one of the most enjoyable tasting events for the Counter Club at The Wine Company. Briar Rose is one of the more dynamic wineries in Southern California. The broad section of amazing quality wines being produced at Briar Rose make this winery difficult to beat. In fact as this article is being written, a glass of ’04 Petit Verdot is sitting by my side and a thought of when more can be purchased is weighing on my mind. Lucky for me, the Wine Company is carrying the product and a full tasting of these wines are to be hosted for a tasting in the near future. Reservations will be required, so make sure that the Wine Company’s email service has your email on their list, because this is a tasting you will not want to miss.