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 Vintage2010 Label 1 of 4 
(NOTE: Label borrowed from 2011 vintage.)
ProducerHerman Story (web)
VarietyRed Rhone Blend
DesignationCasual Encounters
SubRegionCentral Coast
AppellationSanta Barbara County

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2012 and 2019 (based on 7 user opinions)

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 91.9 pts. and median of 92 pts. in 72 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by drewdown on 4/24/2015: Lots of savory notes to this one. (453 views)
 Tasted by carisua78 on 4/22/2015 & rated 92 points: Interesting wine since it went from "I don't like the wine" to I can drink this all night long! It took about 4 hours to flourish. I guess it could be in wired stage at this point. Initially I couldn't pass the bitterness overpowering the black cherry and wild berries. There is also a touch of tea and spice with a long finish. (399 views)
 Tasted by JohnnyShiraz on 3/2/2015 flawed bottle: WS 93, 15.9% ABV , 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre

The bottle was flawed, not cork taint, but something was wrong.

I tasted it in a blind tasting of California Rhone Blends with 12 other people. The discussion was what was wrong. No one liked it. (588 views)
 Tasted by bskough on 1/12/2015 & rated 93 points: I was very pleased with this. I own a lot of HS wine but I have to be in the mood for it as it's usually huge.

The years have treated this well as it's still a big, fruit forward wine, but it has calmed a little and there's enough acid (yeah I don't always get enough of that from Paso) to make it extrmely enjoyable.

I did give it an aeration into a decanter for about 45 minutes. (820 views)
 Tasted by BABLUES on 12/6/2014 & rated 92 points: Part of Red Rhone from around the world tasting. Didn't take detailed notes. First time trying the Casual Encounters and like the Nuts and Bults, this was extremely nice. (829 views)
 Tasted by Central Coast Wino on 10/9/2014 & rated 91 points: Nice big, chewy wine, very bold, lots of fruit, meat, and smoke. (1119 views)
 Tasted by wendyinwlv on 9/4/2014 & rated 95 points: Another wonderful job done! Rich, full and beautiful. Dark fruit and berries. (1166 views)
 Tasted by BarryPaulPrice on 7/8/2014 & rated 90 points: Big, yes, but more fruit and not enough of the smoke/spice and leather/tobacco elements I like in my fave GSM types. No idea what this blend actually is though, so maybe I'm being unfair in my expectations. Big, and for me it was actually more enjoyable on it's bombastic first day than on day two. A wine I think I would rather drink young and brash if I am going to drink it. (1404 views)
 Tasted by rickfell-new on 7/3/2014 & rated 95 points: Another amazing showing! Cherry, spice, and a great mouthfeel and finish (1151 views)
 Tasted by daniel.jay on 6/4/2014: Drank w/ no decant. I've always enjoyed this wine. This particular bottle came out racing - classic dark fruits, great balance. Over the course of the meal it faded a little, becoming slightly more tannic, astringent and with a whiff of alcohol. May have been better w/ a proper decant. Consumed over 75 minutes from open. (1290 views)
 Tasted by dspieker on 5/2/2014 & rated 90 points: Dark inky color. Aromas of spicy dark fruit and earth. Consistent flavors with beautiful integration and seamless finish. Rich.
Consumed quickly. (1133 views)
 Tasted by dontime on 4/25/2014: Another excellent showing. Just tastes damn good. (1223 views)
 Tasted by Screameagle on 4/4/2014 & rated 90 points: A very nice wine although not as good as previous bottles. Russell is a very talented winemaker and I can honestly say we have never drank a bottle of his wine we didn't like. (1009 views)
 Tasted by caeleric/cae_cpa on 4/4/2014: pnp, consumed over 2 hours (yeah, it was a long week, so LAY OFF!!!). this was a stellar showing. earthy but sweet spice, licorice, cherry pie, kneaded dough, raspberry, and toast. very pure and plush in the mouth. great balance on the finish, where the flavors really popped on the finish. very impressive. so much better than the '11 casual encounters, though time may bring that vintage around. this prolly will get a bit better, but it's drinking great right now. if scoring, 92-93. (1003 views)
 Tasted by EvanJB on 4/2/2014: Excellent. Still big, but becoming a bit more mellow. Nice smooth finish. (884 views)
 Tasted by Redguy on 2/27/2014: Decanted 1 hour. Obviously a very big wine, but not as giving of the goods as I would have liked. Put another way, concentrated and firm. After reading my previous note this seems quite similar to that experience five months ago, though I did not remember at the time of cork pull. I would like to wait a couple of years for this to soften and come forth before trying another. That may not happen though as I usually just grab these HS wines from the cellar without much attention. (1126 views)
 Tasted by wendyinwlv on 2/16/2014 & rated 92 points: Yum, very nice and balanced and not too heavy. (930 views)
 Tasted by drrobvino on 2/8/2014 & rated 88 points: PnP, right out of the cellar.
Big and burly, not for the faint of heart. Had this wine with pepperoni pizza, and it definitely was center stage, overpowering the pizza.
A little hot on the palate initially, but that blew off over 30 mins, revealing a full bodied wine, black and blue fruits, vanilla extract, charcoal. There are med(+) tannins present at this point, which are a bit angular still, and there is certainly plenty of fruit to hold up as they soften over the next few years. The acidity is med, the finish is med(+) with echoing notes from the palate of blueberry compote and charcoal.
This ia a good quality wine, just starting to drink well now, but will further improve another year or 2, and drink well through 2019 or so. (990 views)
 Tasted by The Wine Write on 1/26/2014 & rated 92 points: Popped and poured at restaurant. Wonderful (as usual.). Big, dark fruit, lush in the mouth, pleasing finish. (1086 views)
 Tasted by ddsolomon2000 on 1/25/2014 & rated 93 points: Wonderful wine after it opens. Give it 30 mins. (936 views)
 Tasted by Redguy on 10/25/2013 & rated 91 points: Splash decanted. This bottle was in a strange place. To my mild surprise, the structure was firmly in charge. The varietals were competing with each other for supremecy as well. Well, the grenache and syrah were... the mourvedre was nowhere to be found. Don't get me wrong, this was excellent though it did lack the lush fleshiness that is so prevelent in Russels wines. Not sure this was a representative bottle but assuming it is, I'd hold for another year to soften and better integrate. (1634 views)
 Tasted by Redguy on 8/12/2013 & rated 92 points: Decanted 2+ hrs prior to wolfing down with smoked pork ribs. Wonderful blue, black, and red fruit compote with basalmic, brown sugar, and earthy notes that ground the ripen fruit nicely. Fine tannic frame with a polished mouthfeel. Great flavor penetration and depth too. This is drinking very well. Full bodied, friendly, and delicious as is though I found myself wanting for a spicy note on the back end to provide a third spoke of balance for all that goodness. Could have been monumental, but outstanding all the same. (2146 views)
 Tasted by Pacpizza on 8/10/2013 & rated 92 points: Wonderfull wine. We liked everything about it. It was even better than when we tasted it at the winery 10 months ago. (1619 views)
 Tasted by daniel.jay on 8/2/2013 & rated 93 points: While still young, this wine was deep and rich, the syrah bringing dark blackberry and cherry. The wine has good acidic balance. It was near perfect at about 90 minutes of air.

Left a small amount for night 2, the alcohol cut through the fruit on night 2.

I consumed a bottle of this about 4 months ago and it was a bit thin and acidic. I don't know if this was attributable to bottle variation or timing - but this bottle was fantastic and even better when the price is considered. (1751 views)
 Tasted by Screameagle on 6/6/2013 & rated 92 points: This wine is a hoot just like Russell From. Definitely needs a two hour decant. My type of wine but not everyone (2094 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Antonio Galloni
Vinous, Santa Barbara's Stunning 2011s (Jul 2013)
(Herman Story Casual Encounters California) Subscribe to see review text.
By Jeb Dunnuck
The Rhone Report, Issue #14 (12/18/2012)
(Herman Story Casual Encounters) Login and sign up and see review text.   92 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous and The Rhone Report. (manage subscription channels)

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Herman Story

Producer website

Red Rhone Blend

Read about the different grapes used to produce red and white Rhone wines
On CellarTracker, Red Rhone Blend is the term for a wine consisting of two or more of the traditional 13 Southern Rhone grape varieties. Typically it's the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre or Cinsault grapes, but can also contain the Muscardin, Counoise, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Roussanne, Terret Noir, Picardan or Vaccarese grapes.

A 'food' wine. Lacking pretension and intended for local consumption with local cuisine. Lacks the 'high' notes on a Bordeaux, more earthy and sharper so often a better partner to meat dishes with a sauce.


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California Wines (Wine Institute of California)

California is one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, with almost 100 grape varieties grown in over 100 viticultural areas, including dozens of ­different microclimates and soil types, as well as a very individualistic set of ­winemakers, many with international experience, which adds to and deepens that diversity.

Central Coast

Central Coast Wine Growers Association

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Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County

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