Lionheart Wines @ Artisan Recap

Last Thursday’s Lionheart tasting at Artisan was a roaring success, with both tasters and winemakers very satisfied with the evening. Wine was discovered, bottles bought and taste buds were pleased.

Outside Artisan WinesAs I announced previously, Lionheart’s winemaker Leon Glover brought out 5 wines for us to try, all pre-release until his Mane Event Summer Release party later that Saturday at Crushpad. I got there a little before the start of the event and said hello to Leon and Artisan proprietor Lena and caught up with them for a bit before tasting some of the wines there that night. I hadn’t tasted most of the wines since the barrel tasting, and I was excited to try them now from the bottle. I was so busy getting caught up that I forgot to try any of the wines before we got busy! Once that mistake was rectified, I was free to mingle and check out our crowd, with had great diversity in age, style and wine knowledge. Also making the event were Marshall & Brittany, founders of WineQ.com. After raving about Lionheart for so long, I was glad that they could finally check out the wines for themselves.

Leon at work!All of the wines were showing incredibly well, with the 2006 Santa Barbara Syrah easily taking the award for the wine of the night. I didn’t talk to a single person in the crowd that night that didn’t flat-out love that wine. That particular wine in fact, was the one that first introduced me to Lionheart at the Wine 2.0 Spring Fling last April, so it came as no surprise to me that it was received so well. That the SB Syrah is actually one of the first wines that Leon ever made, is an intimidating side note to the evening! The 2006 Roaring Red was a close second as a favorite for me that night with it’s plush nose of blueberry cobbler from the Syrah and cherry and velvety mouthfeel from the Cab Sauv. Jenny’s appetizer selections were fantastic and very tasty alongside the wines.

Lionheart @ ArtisanLeon also brought a Vinturi with which to pour the reds and it was an interesting exercise to taste the SB Syrah twice, once without the Vinturi and once through it. I found the aromas to be much more open as if decanted as expected, but the mouthfeel was also much silkier than without the gadget. Cool stuff! While I don’t think every wine might benefit from the device (again, much like decanting) it really can make some young wines shine.

The night was so busy that it ended later than expected, which can only be taken as a good sign. After bidding farewell to Leon and Lena, Beth and I headed back to the homestead.

It wasn’t goodbye for long, however. While I did have to work all morning at the day job, I was able to very briefly swing by the Mane Event on Saturday and try the 2007 Pinot. Wow. Phenomenal stuff, even as it is still a work in progress. Just a tremendous nose of cranberry, cherries and roses then a racy palate that fills your mouth with that wonderful red fruit and a very long and dynamic finish. I can’t wait to try this wine in a few months!

All of the wines that Leon was pouring that night are listed below and are also tagged with “LHW2008AWL-WL“, in case you would like to list them all in your own WineLog.

Wines poured in order, by Leon at Artisan:
Lionheart Wines Russian River Valley Saralee’s Vineyard The Angel’s Share 2007

Lionheart Wines Santa Barbara County McGinley Vineyard Roussane 2007

Lionheart Wines Santa Barbara County Syrah 2006

Lionheart Wines California Roaring Red 2006

Lionheart Wines Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Wine tasted pre-bottling at Mane Event:
Lionheart Wines Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2007

WineLog.net Presents Lionheart Wines @ Artisan Wine Lounge & Café

Lionheart WinesWineLog.net is very excited to announce an evening discovering the wines of Lionheart Wines at Artisan Wine Lounge & Cafe in Walnut Creek, CA. Winemaker Leon Glover will be pouring his Summer release wines that will be officially released later this month.

I first discovered Leon’s Lionheart Wines when tasting two of his Syrahs at Wine 2.0 this past Spring. Later, Leon graciously extended an offer to barrel taste his upcoming releases last month, which I excitedly accepted. All of the wines have tremendous character and wonderful mouthfeel. I’m very excited to now taste these wines after having been bottled!

Artisan Wine Lounge & CafePlease join Leon, Lena and the whole crew at Artisan and myself for an exceptional summer evening, tasting pre-release wines from an exciting new boutique vintner. The full details and wines are listed below.

WineLog.net & Artisan Wine Lounge & Café Present:
An Evening with Winemaker Leon Glover & Lionheart Wines
07/17/08 7pm – 9pm
$10 per person for wine and appetizers
15% Off all Lionheart Wines purchased at the tasting!
1633 Bonanza Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 tel 925.280.1633

All of the wines that Leon will be pouring are his Summer Releases and are tagged with “LHW2008AWL-WL“. We’ll see you on Thursday the 17th!

Lionheart Wines Santa Barbara County Syrah 2006

Lionheart Wines Russian River Valley Saralee’s Vineyard The Angel’s Share 2007

Lionheart Wines Santa Barbara County McGinley Vineyard Roussane 2007

Lionheart Wines Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Lionheart Wines California Roaring Red 2006

Parsonage Village Vineyard 1st Annual Wine Club Party

Parsonage Family VineyardMost of my readers know that I have a fond place in my heart for the wines from Carmel Valley, CA. Beth and I have made numerous trips to the Carmel-by-the-Sea and Carmel Valley region over the years, as evidenced by the travel post I wrote earlier this year. We’ve tasted some great wines over the years from wineries such as Heller Estate, Bernardus, Galante Vineyards and Boëté. I only get truly excited, however, by the wines from Georis Winery and Parsonage Village Vineyard (PVV). Last weekend, Frank Melicia, Bill Parsons and the entire rest of the combined clan threw their very first party, their 1st Annual Wine Club Party, to be exact…and I was fired up!

Smoky Carmel Valley!I met up with my tasting partner for the day in the City, my good friend Daniel and we headed out around 11am down 280 to make the trek to the winery just outside of the Village in Carmel Valley. We were a bit worried about the trip down due to the huge number of fires that were (and still are) hitting NorCal, particularly the Big Sur fire that was currently combining from 3 smaller fires into 1 major blaze. A few weeks back in fact, Beth and I had a terrible time getting down 101 with the Walker fire taking out a lot of the Santa Cruz Mountain area and the fire teams using the Morgan Hill airport as a base of operations. Fortunately, Daniel and I cruised down just fine and made it from SF in just under two hours.

Frank MeliciaOnce we arrived, we were immediately greeted by the winemaker/enologist/viticuturist of the winery (the Super(wine)man, if you will) Frank Melicia. A former horticulturist with a native species bent (he actually populated the company campus of my day job, Genentech), Frank is married to Ali, one of the daughters of the Parsons’ patriarch and matriarch, Bill and his wife Mary Ellen. Mary has an incredible skill of creating fine works of art with her quilts and tapestries. BIll & Mary Parsons at the PVV Tasting RoomThe long-in-the-making brand new tasting room and art gallery in the Village features much of her transcendent work, as do the highly unique labels for each of the Estate wines. I particularly like her labels for each of the “grandson estate reserve wines,” so named for each of the current four grandsons in the family.

After a little bit of stretching and proactive hydration, we trekked over to the waiting tent and winery below the Parsons’ homestead to indulge ourselves with the food and, of course…the wine! In one of the greatest ideas I’ve ever seen at a wine club event, the wine was self-serve…I couldn’t have thought of a better method of service myself! Parsonage Village VineyardDaniel and I started with the white, actually the very first white that PVV has ever produced, the 2007 Snosrap single vineyard Chard. It is highly complex and touching on some of the finer Burgundian characteristics of silky mouthfeel with a hint of cream, yet still infused with a depths of crisp white and tropical fruit…fantastic. We then made our way through the rest of the reds that were open, split between the 2005 Estate bottlings and Snosrap, their brilliant second label wine composed of fruit from the Carmel Valley estate and various Monterey County appellations.

The waiting wines!As Bill presided over the festivities with an air of calm casualness and Frank bounced around with some form of child on hip like the mad man he is, Daniel and I leisurely enjoyed our lunch and chatted with various members of the family and other patrons.

Once lunch was finished, Frank blew me away with the very gracious offer for me to lead our own barrel tasting of the slumbering lineup of 2007 Estate and Estate Reserve reds. I, of course, jumped at the chance after overcoming some initial shock. Daniel with other barrel tasting friends.2007 was a very challenging vintage for PVV, as drought conditions forced the essentially dry-farming winery to truck in water in order to try and salvage some of the fruit from raisining temperatures of +110 degrees. The resulting wines are a study of how natural calamities can create stunningly complex and deeply concentrated wines. All were showing quite well, despite having been racked only a couple days prior. Unfortunately, they only were able to produce about 25% of their normal production, so jump on these next year when Bill sends out the yearly Futures flyer!

Heading outDespite all of the fun and great wines, events like these have to end at some point…and Daniel and I had three more parties to head to that day! We thanked everyone for a phenomenal time that was right up there with the best wine events that I’ve ever been fortunate to attend and headed back up the coast.

I’ve uploaded and/or listed below all the wines that Daniel and tried that day. I’ve split them up by bottles that were open to drink and wines that we tasted when I ran the barrel tasting. If you’d like to list all of these wines in your own WineLog, I’ve tagged all of them with “2008PVV1WCP“. If you were there last weekend, leave a comment and tell me how you felt about the event. Enjoy!

Bottled wine that was open for the event:

Snosrap Arroyo Seco Cyrano Red Wine 2005

Parsonage Village Vineyard Carmel Valley Estate Syrah 2005

Parsonage Village Vineyard Carmel Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Snosrap Monterey County Coastview Vineyard Chardonnay 2007

Wines tasted from the barrel:

Parsonage Village Vineyard Carmel Valley Rocco Estate Reserve Syrah 2007

Parsonage Village Vineyard Carmel Valley Bixby Estate Reserve 2007

Parsonage Village Vineyard Carmel Valley Dario Estate 2007

Parsonage Village Vineyard Carmel Valley Tanner Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007