I’m very excited to be attending the Wine 2.0 San Francisco Expo tonight at Crushpad (Twitter)! I first mentioned the event in my precap a week ago and since then, many more details have been added. I’ll be blogging throughout the event in the WineLog.net sponsered Bloggers’ Lounge, that the WineTwo folks have again provided for this event (thanks Cornelius, Smoke (Twitter) & Co!). Watch this space as well as my Twitter feed for further details and updates through to 10pm tonight!
5:47 pm: I’m currently on the Genenbus from my day job, headed up to BART to meet up with my compadre in arms, Steve and then we’ll head over to Crushpad. It’s super windy in the Bay! I’m looking forward to visiting the booth of the best wine purchase search engine Vinquire (Twitter), and seeing the Luscious Lush herself, Thea/WineBratSF!
7:15 pm: Whew, finally here on a blustery evening in SF! Steve and I were immediately inundated by the happy faces of the various hooligans that come disguised as wine writers, bloggers and new media wine industry folk as soon as we walked in. @Sharayray, @SmokeWallin, @RandyHall, @ElJefeTwisted, @WineDiverGirl were all saying hello with wine in their hands, and then @SonomaWineGuy Jim cruised up.
Steve and I first started our wine night at Titus Vineyards, manned by Christophe Smith (Twitter) and Co.
Titus Napa Valley Zinfandel 2006
Color: darker ruby with a hint of garnet
Nose: Good plush cherry and strawberry with some nice dustiness underneath
Palate: Medium-full, with good acid and a hint of blue fruit underneath. Some cherry here as well, moving into almost a sage and mint towards the finish.
Titus Napa Valley Cab Franc 2006
C: Ruby garnet
N: Good plusher red fruit with an underlay of blackberry and nice touch of fresh earth to the nose.
Palate: Rather smooth already, with all of that red fruit, but backe dup by something darker and some toastiness from the good integrating oak.
Wow. Just had the mass tasting experience of the century from a recommendation from my good buddy, Chris Nelson, Pinot winemaker here at Crushpad. Michael at Michaud Vineyard is making phenomenal wines from the Chalone appellation in the Central Valley. I’m a little embarrassed, in fact, that I haven’t discovered his wines already. As I overheard at his table, “Burgundy with a hint that are a hint more fruit forward.” Michael has taken these larger tastings to a new level with his insistence on pouring vertical flights, in order to “get a better feel and idea of the wines that come out of this (Chalone) appellation.” I heartily agree!
Michaud Vineyard Chalone Chardonnay 2001, 2002, 2003
Phenomenal wines here, 5/5 stars. The ’01 was my favorite, with amazing mouthfeel, acidity that is vibrant and fruit that is still one of the stars, lots of pear in this one. The ’02 continued the adventure with more of a lemon custard nose, but was fuller on the mouth with more of that citrus family flavor to the higher acidity in this wine. It still has a carassing finish that lasts just as unreasonably long as the ’01 and has a great minerality all the way to the end. The ’03 is much more yellow apple, making me wonder if this is the progression of the fruit with age or an indication of the versatility of the appellation, where the vintage can dictate very different fruit depending on the year. Amazing and a very special experience.
I’m hoping to the get the Pinot’s on “paper” here as well, but Titus is beckoning again….
OOP! Before Titus, I need to mention and review a wine that was a very nice gesture from Ross Halleck of Halleck Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast. He donated a bottle to be poured to everyone who was in the Bloggers’ Lounge:
Halleck Vineyard Sonoma Coast Clone 828 Pinot Noir 2006
Color: Lighter ruby
Nose: Earthy, and dusty red fruit with some cooler blue fruit underneath then some spicy pepper at the end.
Palate: Medium-full with more of that earthy red fruit that has a charred cherry at the peak and stays very bright with some cooler fruit that comes in towards the longer blue fruited finish, replete with good savory herbs. Nice!
Whoa, last call!
Finishing up with the last, under the table secret, wine from Titus:
…to be continued…
Sorry to keep everyone waiting so long for the secret, under-the-table wine that Christophe was pouring to those in the know…it is:
Titus Napa Valley Lot 1 2005
Color: Inky monster, lots of violet on the edges
Nose: Doing phenomenal, with great spicy black and blue fruit, but this isn’t bruised it’s darn fresh and bright! Towards the rim there’s a lot more red fruit with a bit of fresh cigar.
Palate: Outstanding and huge, but has a softer touch to it so that it comes off as a nimble pass rusher. Good medley of fruit here, too with some oak that is still integrating contributing some cedar and toast. Quite good and very interesting!
It was at this point that I was notified by usual partner-in-crime, Shana, that Doug Cook of Able Grape was a bit peeved that I had yet to visit. I headed over there just at the end in time to get a taste of a Brunello that was doing wonderfully from a magnum:
Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG La Casa 1995
Color: Hint of ruby in core, but brick red with a bit of browning at the edges.
Nose: Quite good with some nice forest leaves, red cherry, spicy dried herbs and some anise.
Palate: Still retaining good fruit here, but has subsided somewhat and allowed some good savory herb and other secondary flavors to take control of the balance. Great acid and structure.
Finally, the night appeared to be at a close…we thought. We then ran into Leon Glover of the esteemed Lionheart Wines, whom I’ve written about quite a few times. He chided me for never stopping by his table and rightfully so…he was right next to Michaud, but I was too distracted by the other gentleman’s verticals! We followed Leon out to his car for an improptu “trunk tasting.” Unfortunately, it was a bit of a speed tasting, so my notes are rather limited:
Lionheart Wines Dry Creek Valley Syrah 2007
Lionheart Wines Santa Barbara County White Hawk Vineyard Sangiovese 2007
Lionheart Wines Santa Barbara County Angel’s Blush Rosé 2008
The Syrah was doing phenomenal, as I’ve come to expect from Leon, even if it was quite closed and tight. Buy this now, while it’s still available and lay it down for at least a couple years! It showed a great hoppy and floral nose of lilac and with a great mouth that is showing good balance already between the blue and black dusty fruit, pepper and cedar. The Sangio was now showing some great cherry fruit with a fair amount of oak that has yet to integrate and then a touch of blue fruit in the finish. Lastly, the rose, while not in my preferred style, is a well-done offdry quaffer with some good acid to back up the touch of residual sugar that Leon has left behind to complement the big strawberry fruit, coming from a blend of three good vineyards in Santa Barbara.
At this point, Steve and I were ready to roll and headed off into the night, chuckling over our many adventures while perusing the packed wine studio known as Crushpad. Another great WineTwo event!
April 5, 2009
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