I utter these words after turning left on an Orange County road to avoid the Southern California fires while en route to an OC Wine Fest management meeting. Our friends’ horses and homes have been spared from the blazes, and returned horses and people to their rightful places.
Unfortunately I can’t say the same about the most Northern California winery I have visited. Frey seems to have been totally destroyed. And, these veterans of several LA Wine Fests have already said they would rebuild. I need to send my best to them and am glad early reports of devastation of Signorella and Chateau Jean are not accurate. I can’t help but think this devastation will affect the industry and public significantly, but will wait to expand on this.
On October 17th I tasted the following wines in San Juan Capistrano. First came the 2015 Cowboy Canyon Chardonnay. The wine had a great nose, Mendocino grapes (!) good fruit, lingering on the palate. Great color, drinks well. I had a strong feeling this would go well with trout.
Second was a 2015 Stones Throw Chardonnay. With grapes from Paso Robles, this was a buttery, more green, sample, good on the palette. Close to San Luis Obispo, this was an easy drinking wine. I thought it would be good with salads and cheeses. This sample has a longer finish.
The 2015 A Stones Throw Cabernet came from Lake County grapes. Liked the color, and enjoyed the spritzy nose, and pondered the eucalyptus on the back of my teeth.
The 2015 Sierra Foothill Cowboy Canyon Malbec was a treat, good on the palette, good color, nice nose to it and a strong finish. My friend poured a 2014 Pinot Noir from Paso Robles. I likened the color on this a brownish but changing. Strong nose to this one and good fruit. Turns out I knew the winery near Creston from where it came. Great finish, too. Everyone liked this sample.
Once again, Sara Chapin has brought back the Charles Smith progeny. More of the five wines sold to Constellation Wines. Sara Chapin found the first one at a Von’s Grocery, from the Area Manager. We started with the 2015 Charles Smith Chardonnay from Washington State’s new AVA Ancient Lakes. 100% Chardonnay, the color was creamy, clear with a pear tinge. The nose was good with apple and stone. Flavor repeated apple with pear and some minerality. The finish medium to longer with texture creamy. I would pair this with a smooth cheese.
I conclude this report with the 2014 Charles Smith Rouge 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot. The color was a deep purple / garnet, the aroma had blackberry, blueberry — and some other berries. This was fruit froward with blackberries, currant, and a citric influence. Finish medium, texture moderate, tannic and acidity. I enjoyed some salami and cheese with this.