Sometimes wine can take to you places that are just plain cool. Well, cooler than the usual cool things that come with wine…or something. In any case, last month I had one of those experiences where my interest in wine took me to something new: my first PGA Tour tournament, complete with a winery on site. A golfer for the last few years, this understandably had me a bit fired up. Golf and wine!? Heck yeah! After graciously accepting a PGA Tour Media pass, the Lady, Steve and I headed into the Frys.com Open at CordeValle and Clos LaChance for a day of sunshine, wine, incredible golf and new vinopanion‘s, all along the cart path.
Being at the Frys and simultaneously sipping fine vino from Clos LaChance was a bit of a head-slapper. I mean think about it, how many people love wine that golf and vice versa?? A lot. Therefore it was truly a shock to discover that this is the only known professional golf tournament in the *world* that actually has a working (and long-time) winery on site, in this case sitting right next to the 15th green of CordeValle. Playing the tournie that weekend were quite a few heavyweights including one of my favorites, Rocco Mediate. As luck would have it, Rocco was actually in contention that day, leading to a nice win the next day on Sunday courtesy of FOUR EAGLES including one hole in one! It was his first wine on the Tour since 2002. One of those eagles came on the 15th as we were, you guessed it, enjoying some wine at Clos LaChance.
Clos LaChance is an entirely family owned and operated winery by the Murphy family, sitting on 1 Hummingbird Lane in San Martin, CA. It’s named for the French word for a closed in space (such as a vineyard, ‘Clos’) and Brenda Murphy’s maiden name (LaChance). It grew out of a lifelong passion for wine by both Brenda and Bill Murphy, he a longtime executive for HP. In 1992 they decided to take their skills public and that harvest became their first commercially released vintage. They moved to their rather awesome current digs on the course in 2001, just in time for crush. Clos LaChance produces three tiers of wines from the Central Coast and Santa Cruz Mountains appellations. Our very cool and accommodating host for the day was Cheryl Murphy Durzy, the Murphys’ daughter and the Vice President for the winery.
Our wine portion of the day started off in one of the upper rooms of the tasting room and winery, watching the Frys.com open on the Golf Channel, as it was taking place just a few hundred feet away outside. Indeed, the channel did a segment on the winery and we were happy to be in the room as the entire family (and friends) all watched the segment air for the first time! Bill, himself, had spent much of the previous night helping to edit the piece with the Golf Channel wonks. While watching the day’s golf events unfold, we started with the very interesting 09 Clos LaChance Central Coast Estate Viognier. It was nicely varietally correct, with nice floral and white fruit aromatics and a full, juicy bright palate. The interest comes from the salty minerality that comes out the rather long finish.
As we moved through the day, Cheryl had (amazingly) some free time to give us a tour of the gravity-flow winery, still in the full swing of harvest. We tasted through a number of fermenting wines (spitting of course!), including the intriguing sparkling wine that they were fermenting for the very first time. It had just come in and so it still had plenty of sugar on board (high brix), but the banana that was coming out of that chardonnay was almost shocking! As per the norm, some splashing did occur, but Cheryl was kind enough to handle all of the pours out of each tank.
Following the tour, we continued to taste through the wines and watching the golf heroics. There were a few that were open that day, including the very tasty 2006 Clos LaChance Central Coast Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, coming from the vineyard just outside lining the 15th fairway (usually the 3rd hole). Bill has a passion for the Old World wines of France, particularly Bordeaux. Here in the ’06 Cab I found plenty of similarities from my time in Bordeaux previously during the summer, particularly those wines in the Right Bank, despite its main varietal. This wine garnered an OldWorldWK badge from the WKBadges with its good dusty red fruit and anise in the nose and the medium-bodied palate and charred, dusty red and black fruit on the palate. As darkness fell, the party broke out for real at the Clos, rockin’ with a Journey cover band, food, wine and the Giants playoffs on a huge plasma big screen out on the lawn. Good times!
A big thank you goes out to Cheryl, Bill and Brenda for their hospitality during our time at Clos LaChance and also to Benson Marketing and the PGA Tour for my media access to the tournament, along with the Lady and Steve’s general admission to the tournament.
You can find all of the photos from our fine time at the PGA Tour Frys.com Open and Clos LaChance in the set on my Flickr and tagged with “CLC2010PGAFrysOpen“. You can also find all of the wines below for your own WineLog, tagged with the same, “CLC2010PGAFrysOpen“. Cheers!
Color: Medium garnet
Nose: Good dusty red fruit here, mixed with some darker black anise and blackberry.
Palate: Medium-bodied, with more of an old world style Right Bank wine, with fine, medium tannins, great acidity and good mix of dusty black and red fruit from the nose, followed by an anise and char finish. OldWorldWK