Joel M. Fisher’s From the Grapevine: 9/11 Remembered at Malibu’s Cielo Sip

Dr. Joel M. Fisher

Dr. Joel M. Fisher is a renowned wine enthusiast, educator and columnist.  He also leads Los Angeles’ biggest and most prestigious wine, brew and spirits festival LA WineFest.  This week Dr. Fisher visits Bill Hersh of Malibu’s Cielo Sip to remember 9/11:

Ten years ago I was awakened early in the am by neighbors pounding on the door, and people yelling outside. When I opened the door everyone yelled to turn on the tv, and that we were under attack and at war.

This 9/11 was quite different. Bill Hersh invited me up to Cielo Sip to think about the attack, to observe the day by tasting some of his new wines, along with old favorites, and thinking over the past several years as it affected all of us.

We began the day, after my nearly one hour drive, with the newest Honey Pie, the white wine which does so well. The 2010 at $20 is a spritzy taste. with a bigger finish and more like a sauvignon blanc.

Cielo-Sip-Malibu-Joel-M-FisherThe Woodstock Moulin Rouge, a 2009 from, Napa, is a merlot blend, with cabernet franc. The wine drank smooth, and with the `15.2% alcohol was balanced and not as edgy as some of its relatives, with good fruit finishing out the taste. It was nice to go next to the 2009 Malibu Rouge, from the line of old favorite. and also with good fruit, balanced, smooth like I remembered and still with that edge, and a long finish.

The Cielo 2009 Cabernet Rose I had not tasted before, and at 15.1% alcohol was strong with a big nose. Following was the 2009 Estate Syrah,at 14.4% alcohol, which was great on the nose, firmly packed, balanced with a bit of an edge. The glass opens up into a long finish.

We finished with the Purple Haze, a blend with 80% Syrah, 20% Petite Sirah and packed nicely. A bit less alcoholic, at 15.2%, the Haze was full of good fruit, still a big wine, but smooth and balanced. I thoroughly enjoyed finishing the tasting with this bottle.


And, to those of you heading to Agoura and Sielo Sip, best to check ahead of time. There’s some remodeling being done both on the outside and in the nice tasting room inside (not the tasting bar, but the room for private tastings. You will enjoy the place. Andrew and Fabrize can both teach and entertain you, and while Bill was not there, brother Richard, the owner, was  en route to a family event celebrating his son’s newest family addition.

Barely three days later I received a call with both a question and an invitation. The invitation was a tasting of Kosher wines, both from Australia and Israel. The event was at the new wine bar, the Cask, run by Michael Bernstein, who decided he wanted to do wine more than real estate. Located on West Pico, west of La Cienega, and carrying only kosher wines and spirits, Michael has 400 wines and spirts in the shop, which is pretty good for something opened up mid April 2011.  We talked about his also stocking elite cuisine, and so far the response has been good.

The tastings, under the direction of Marty Sigmeister, National Sales Manager for Allied Importers. (in the pix sent earlier, Marty is the one with the beard.  The other chap is Michael)The small tasting opened in a room which could comfortably hold 40 some people.  The Cask is open from Monday to Friday night, then reopens Sunday for the public.

I wasn’t alone in liking the Prosecco from Borgo Reale (Italy).  The wine was dry, bubbly and firm, from Alba.  It was also yeasty, and showed lots of nice fruit.  You can find it for around $18 plus. Next, Marty poured a Chardonnay from Australia,  This was strong, with a good nose, leaner than the familiar variety we all know, but pretty good.  It is at this stage that I report to you that I’ve got some eye issues, which should be resolved within a month.  For now, please bear with me.

The 2009 Joseph River Shiraz is a good buy at $14. and at 14.5% alcohol does not hit you over the head.  This is a nice fruit forward product with good fruit flavors.

Our  friends from Borgo Reale produce a wine I really enjoyed, the Maturo, from a blend of 55% primitivo,45% negromaro, and tastes of plum, licorice, chocolate and spices.

Back to Australia, where the K Shiraz 2009  at 14.5% alcohol and selling here for $33, is a fruit forward, big wine with good balance and nicely compact.  The finish is smooth and good.  K, by the way, is made by the Joseph River facility.

Now, to Israel, where we tasted the 2009 Shiraz, blended with mourvedre and viognier and tasting very smooth and showing lots of cherry/berry fruits.  If a wine is fruit forward, this is a good example of that trait.  The taste ended with a great finish, and lingering licorice.

Dalton’s Alma or Bordeaux blend is presented in their 2009 version, with cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc.  The wine showed lots of fruit, and I liked its good finish.  This was a good sample of their handicraft, selling for $30 or so dollars.

The 2009 Dalton Reserve Cabernet, at $36 is a good buy.  After 18 months in oak, the fruit shows  through, but the end result is a balanced enjoyable wine with a long finish.

There are more Dalton’s to explore, so enjoy yourselves with all of these.  Kosher doesn’t taste like you all remember.  These are worth sampling, and with food.

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