This is a side of the wine business I'd never seen, having only been to Vias and Martin Scott. Lots of well-known brands. Big, high-throughput wine stores that live of RIP's are the main consumers. Most of the people were there to party, though. Glasses were sub-par. The food was terrible for tasting (curry? strong cheese? wtf!!!). Some tables were outside, where the wind was so strong it blew glasses off the table. White wines were chilled to pieces (can't blame the pourers, given the quality of the wine). The level of intellectual discourse was generally low or nonexistent. Periodically the lights would go off, and a huge light/water show would commence, spraying everyone with chlorinated water. In short, it was a total shitshow and very difficult to actually work. A challenge, to be sure :)
NOTE: VINTAGES ARE NOT NECESSARILY EXACT. For the higher-end offerings, vintages were listed. But for many wines no vintage was listed in either the tasting guide or the book, and I neglected to write down the vintages (oversight on my part). But seriously, you'd think an importer would care about vintages.
Hess Family Wines
First stop of the day. Tent outside. Windy. Met Janet F. of Daniel, III somms! Layers was good.
Amusing story about legal battle with the high-end Primus. These wines were all over-oaked. Apparently the Primus got a R0P.
- 2007 Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon - Chile, Maipo Valley
Reduced, with some olive tones. (FLAWED)
- 2004 Veramonte Pinot Noir - Chile, Casablanca Valley
Reduced. Apparently this was made by paul hobbes? (FLAWED)
- 2006 Veramonte Primus The Blend - Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley
Not a bad nose, but way over-oaked, in a bad way (sawdust). R0P9 apparently??? (65 pts.)
- 2006 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
Tight nose. Strong bitter oak tannins on the palate. sawdusty oak. (70 pts.)
- 2006 Quintessa - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
Estate-bottles. Over-oaked, but with good balance. sawdust. (70 pts.)
Bad fruit. Fake wines.
Rodney Strong Wine Estates
Canopy Management Wines
tasted because of the labels. terrible wine, though.
Currently (formerly?) LVMH.
- N.V. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé - France, Champagne
Nice yeast on nose. some traces of apples. Not sure if this was vintage. (78 pts.)
- N.V. Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut - France, Champagne
Raw dough on the nose. decent. Palate: light and good acidity. (78 pts.)
- 2007 Domaine Chandon Pinot Meunier - USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
Weird sour dough on the nose. Very off. Didn't taste. possible microbial contamination? (50 pts.)
- 2006 Casa Lapostolle Syrah Cuvée Alexandre - Chile, Rapel Valley, Cachapoal Valley
- 2004 Castello di Monsanto Nemo Mulino Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
All menthol and brett on the nose. In the mouth, just brett. (60 pts.)
- 2007 Newton Chardonnay - USA, California, North Coast, Napa / Sonoma
Watery, tart, not a chard. Light body. (68 pts.)
- 2007 Terrazas de Los Andes Malbec - Argentina, Mendoza
Round, fleshy, a little poorly done oak. sugar-fied (some RS, maybe some acidification? but still "dishonestly sweet" to mimic fruit). (70 pts.)
Jordan Vineyard and Winery
Chard sucked. Cab was good.
Woman knew Birk (though no longer with us). Directed me towards some less-distributed labels.
- 2005 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir Bourgogne - France, Burgundy, Bourgogne
Stemmy and green. med tannins(?!) (68 pts.)
- 2005 St. Francis Red - USA, California, Sonoma County
A little oak. Other notes lost. (78 pts.)
- 2006 Agricola Titignano Lago di Corbara Salviano Turlo - Italy, Umbria, Lago di Corbara
green olive on the nose....? Not cabernet? Round. (70 pts.)
- 2005 Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva - Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
Reminded me a little of sangio on the aftertaste (memory from Martin Scott). (78 pts.)
- 2003 Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
Yes. I tasted wines from The Man.
- 2006 Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
Ok nose. In the palate, oak bomb. (65 pts.)
- 2006 Baron Philippe de Rothschild Mouton Cadet - France, Bordeaux
- 2008 Franciscan Estate Sauvignon Blanc - USA, California, Napa Valley
Bitter. not terrible. (70 pts.)
- 2006 Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
Decent oak, tart juicy and simple. (75 pts.)
- 2008 Estancia Pinot Grigio - USA, California
Juicy cheap oak. (65 pts.)
- 2008 Alice White Chardonnay - Australia, South Eastern
Out of a 500ml tetrapack. Not bad. Simple, watery, with some tart malic acid. Not recognizable chardonnay, but recognizable white wine. Too cold to guage whether there are minor flaws. (70 pts.)
Trinchero Family Estates
Didn't taste the Terra d'Oro (I seem to remember it being crap/oak bomby when I visited.
- 2006 Folie à Deux Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
Green olive, hint of Brett. Upon re-tasting, all brett. decent palate though, not over-oaked. Unimpressive fruit. (70 pts.)
- 2007 Folie à Deux Merlot - USA, California, Napa Valley
Something is very off in this nose. Can't tell what. (55 pts.)
R&R Marketing, LLC
R&R's own wines? Did this quickly. Some of these were nose only if they didn't pass muster.
- 2007 Snowden Sauvignon Blanc - USA, California, Napa Valley
Flawed nose. didn't taste. (FLAWED)
- 2005 Quixote Petite Sirah Quixote - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
dirty nose (hint of huitlacoche). Oak bomb in the mouth. (60 pts.)
- 2007 Pavi Pinot Grigio - USA, California, Napa Valley
Dirty nose. Didn't taste. (60 pts.)
- 2007 Melka Métisse Jumping Goat - USA, California, Napa Valley
Lots of flavor. Other notes lost. perhaps a bit oaky? 79 pts.
- 2006 Parallel Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley
Green nose with some oak. Ok. (76 pts.)
- 2007 Husic Vineyards Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
OAK. 60 pts
- N.V. J Vineyards & Winery Cuvée 20 - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
Ok doughey nose. Ok palate but needs acid. Some weird flavors. (70 pts.)
Raptor Ridge Winery
About 2K case production on some of these wines. Spoke with the marketing director/wife of winemaker. First year with R&R. No idea why they were with R&R. Winemaker could do events. Good wines. Of course.... this isn't the brand power we were going for. This is really a fluke: a CV-style producer in R&R.
- 2008 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
A little yeast on the nose... makes sense given slight re-fermentation. A bit frizzante with decent acid and med- bitterness. Slightly off-dry, but pleasant chilled. (75 pts.)
- 2007 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
Nose... indistinct. maybe good? P: good acidity, just touch oaky. (73 pts.)
- 2007 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
slightly oxidized. Both bottles. med+ body. med+ oak. good acid. 78? 80? (FLAWED)
- 2007 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
too much oak, manifests as wood/sawdust rather than secondary oak flavors. (65 pts.)
Overall a pretty impressive lineup. Maybe too present for us. Nice verdejo, but wrong season for it perhaps. Daniel said those verdejos with good acidity are a dime a dozen. Maybe I should explore more verdejo!
- N.V. Gloria Ferrer Va de Vi Ultra Cuvée - USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
Some tropical fruit on the nose. decent acid and mousse. (80 pts.)
- N.V. Freixenet Cava Cordón Rosado Brut - Spain, Cava
Decent yeast nose. Big crass bubbles. (78 pts.)
- 2007 Gloria Ferrer Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
Nose: Good wood on the nose. P: a bit watery, but that nice bitter wood that I think people are looking for in chardonnay. (83 pts.)
- 2008 Freixenet Malbec Acordeon - Argentina
Wrong kind of oak. Tight. (68 pts.)
- 2005 Vaza Rioja Crianza - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
both the existing bottle and the next one opened had acetaldehyde. Flawed wine? (FLAWED)
- 2007 Tapena Verdejo - Spain, Castilla-La Mancha, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
Chlorine on the nose. Watery in the mouth at first, but then strong, clean acid. Good. (79 pts.)
- 2008 Tapena Tempranillo - Spain
A little sawdusty oak. A little fake juice. (74 pts.)
Wines had been open for ~4-5 hours. All were soft and lacking tannic structure by now.
- 2007 Michael-David Vineyards Petite Petit - USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
OAK. (60 pts.)
- 2007 Michael-David Vineyards Zinfandel 7 Deadly Zins - USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
OAK. (60 pts.)
- 2007 Michael-David Vineyards Viognier Incognito - USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
Not bad. A little detergent fruit aromatics. Dry on the palate with oiliness and impression of sweetness. some marsanne/roussanne. Not good either. (75 pts.)
- 2005 Michael-David Vineyards Petite Sirah Earthquake - USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
This is weird. Doesn't smell like wine. Smells like black liquorice. Soft in the mouth.... probably because it had been open for 4 hours. (70 pts.)
Raptor ridge winery, and some of Freixenet's selections are probably our best bet. To be honest, this is not our world and it should stay that way.