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  • 2011 Caparone Aglianico

    I got this bottle (actually an entire case, which is how I buy all my wines from Caparone (or Cap as I refer to them)) in December of 2014 after returning from a road trip visiting friends in Sacramento.
    All of Cap’s wines are incredibly food-friendly, herbaceous, well-balanced with incredible depths of flavors, and have the structure to age for decades.
    This classic/noble Italian varietal is always good from Cap. This particular vintage is sharper and more tannic than other recent vintages (two nights ago I had a 2011 Pinot Noir from Windward, not exactly super close to Caparone but not terribly far either; that Pinot was easily the sharpest, most tannic, entirely red-fruited Pinot I had ever had from Windward; evidently the predominant characteristics of Westside Paso Robles 2011 vintage wines are red-fruited, sharp, and tannic elements). That characteristic is also obvious in the wine’s bouquet.
    Even though the wine pours typically dark for a red Paso wine, the flavor profile is 99% red-fruited, showing elements of tart and sour cherries, raspberries, and red currants. Typically for pretty much all of Cap’s estate-grown varietals, there is a mountain of herbaceousness in the flavor profile as well, especially dried savory herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage, and Herbs de Provence. Also typical for all of Cap’s wines, this wine has amazing structure in the form of low alcohol, crisp acidity and food-friendly tannins, along with the ability to age and mature beautifully for decades. The final (and best?) element of this wine is also typical for Cap’s wines: amazing depth-of-flavors and complexity, along with any and all elements being harmoniously integrated that allow this wine to be trillions of lightyears-worth food friendly. All of Cap’s wines are unfined and unfiltered (and hand-racked), which keeps 100% of the vines, grapes, soil, and terrior in each and every bottle.
    Also typical for Cap wines, this wine is amazingly food-friendly, thanks to its structure and depth of flavors. I paired this wine with a somewhat fatty roast pork (cooked alongside with onions, mushrooms, potatoes, and carrots) and this wine paired PERFECTLY with the pork. This wine would also pair well with just about any/all fatty meat protein dishes, such as prime rib, a porterhouse steak, etc.
    All of Cap’s wines are gorgeously food-friendly, with AMAZING structure, depth-of-flavors, complexity, and ageability. Their estate-grown Zinfandel and Italian varietals are ALWAYS fantastic. They source their Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the world-famous Bien Nacido vineyard a little bit north of Santa Barbara; those wines are also fabulous. Dave and Marc Caparone know what the heck they’re doing. Year-in and year-out they ALWAYS make fabulous wines at an amazing price on a price-to-quality ratio. If I had Bill Gates or Warren Buffet’s money (of if I had won that recent PowerBall lottery), I would have dozens of cases of Cap’s wines in my wine cellar.

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  • 2011 Fess Parker Pinot Noir Clone 115 Sta. Rita Hills

    We got this beauty from Fess’ wine club in September, 2013. The Santa Rita Hills (SRH) is one of the best Pinot Noir regions in the world. Not far from the Pacific Ocean, the weather is generally mild (not too hot or cold) and cools-down nicely at night (thanks to the on-shore breezes and fog from the Pacific) which maintains the Pinot and Chardonnay grape’s structure. The SRH also has very unique soils and terrior that can almost always be sensed in the wine.
    The bouquet is (SRH) earthy and tart-fruited. The fruit profile is split almost 50/50 between red and dark fruits, exhibiting sour cherries, raspberries, plums, and blackberries. In addition, there’s a beautifully well-balanced amount of dried herbs and black pepper elements. The perfect amount of oak adds a richness and creaminess in addition to very subtle baking spices in the flavor profile as well. The SRH soil and terrior are also evident in the flavor profile as well, in addition to a slight essence of minerality and stoniness. This Pinot is fabulously well-structured, with sharp tannins and acidity that are nicely integrated with the other elements of the wine making the flavor profile very deep and complex. The finish is smooth and lingering.
    We paired this beauty with lamb stew and this SRH Pinot paired perfectly with the lamb meat. This delicious Pinot would actually pair well with pretty much any red meat/protein dish, such as prime rib, lamb chops/racks/shanks, as well as just about any type of rich and fatty steak.
    If you’re looking for an always-fabulous and food-friendly Pinot, this SRH Pinot is tough to beat. Some of Fess’ best Pinots come from the SRH. This beauty displays harmonious elements throughout, with delicious fruits, herbs, spices, oak, and earth, all accompanied by food-friendly structure (tannins and acidity) that makes this a perfect food-friendly Pinot. This wine is drinking perfectly right now and has the “legs” to continue to age and mature nicely for another 3-to-5 years.

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  • 2012 Fess Parker Chardonnay Lazy F Ranch

    We received this bottle from Fess’ wine club in June, 2014. This is the first time we had ever received a Lazy F Ranch Chardonnay from Fess, based in one of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay regions on the planet: Santa Rita Hills (SRH), north of Santa Barbara and south of Paso Robles.
    The bouquet is mostly earth and oak, along with subtle hints and suggestions of smoke as well.
    This beauty is fabulously well-balanced and interesting, typical for a SRH Pinot or Chardonnay. The flavor profile is typical for a cool-climate Chardonnay, exhibiting a steely, mineral-driven essence that also exhibits a bit of oaky creaminess as well. I would guess that this wine was fermented in stainless steel vats and then aged in oak. Also typical for cool-climate Cali Chards, about 90% of the fruit profile is apple, pear, quince, and lychee. The other 10% profile consist of typical tropical and pitted fruits for Cali Chards, like mango, peach, papaya, etc. There’s also a delicious amount of dried herbs and white pepper as well, along with the previously-mentioned stony mineral essence.
    This white beauty is fabulously well-structured, with firm yet smooth and elegant tannins, perfectly well-harmonized acidity, all tied together with a firm backbone and lingering finish that goes “on” for miles. This wine is drinking gorgeously right now but has the “legs” and stamina to continue to age and mature gracefully and beautifully for another 2-to-5 years.
    I paired this beauty with one of my “Usual White Suspect” protein dishes: baked chicken thighs spiced with CostCo’s Simply Asia spice blend. This lovely Cali Chard paired perfectly with the chicken thighs and would also pair nicely with light-to-medium-bodied seafood dishes, such as scallops and fish filet dishes. I pretty much NEVER pair salmon dishes with Chardonnays, but this lean, steely, minerally, perfectly structured Chard would actually pair well with a rich, fatty salmon dish as well. Looking forward to future vintages of Lazy F Ranch Chardonnays!!!!!!
    This Cali Chard is one of the most perfectly-well-balanced Cali Chards I’ve drunk in quite a while, exhibiting delicious crisp fruits, dried herbs and white pepper, tons of granite-like minerality, a hint of oak and smoke, SRH earthiness, stainless steel zippiness, food-friendly structure (acidity, tannins, etc.), and depth of flavors and complexity that make me wish I could/would have bought 25 cases of this beauty if I was as wealthy as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Hope he 2013 is coming soon……………

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