Is it Possible, Local still Undefeted…
Several years ago when I was a serious wine guy, an article in the Fresno Bee, Aging Gracefully, quoted me saying “The potential of the region is not even born yet..”, but on Saturday night I believe we gave birth…
Local Winery owners/winemakers Ray and Tammy Krause again walked into wine stadium (four or so months ago they took on Bordeaux over several vintages with their Fait Accompli). This time was to use all the wines in their upcoming release. Bravely they left the rest in my hands to find befitting competitors to taste blind against, but in a way that I would not be using higher price points than the release price… I also wanted to throw in some twists.
First Flight: Riesling
1st Place Westbrook Wine Farm, Uber Rhenish, Kenwara Vineyard, Madera County, 2008 – 7 votes
2nd Place Pey Marin, Shell Mound, Marin County, 2007 – 5 votes
3rd Place Trimbach, Riesling, Alsace, 2007 – 1 vote
Amazingly enough in this flight, many of the judges were commenting on the aromatics of the Pey Marin over the other two wines, but it seemed the structure and fruit of the Westbrook Uber Rhenish was what won over enough votes to take it.
Second Flight: Viognier Blends
1st place Westbrook, Viognier-Valdiguie Blend, Simpson Vineyard, Madera County, 2005 – 7 votes
2nd place E. Guigal, Cote-du-Rhone Blanc, Rhone Valley, 2007 – 4 votes
3rd place Westbrook, Viognier-Valdiguie Blend, Simpson Vineyard, Madera County, 2008 – 4 votes
This was a little spin I wanted to put on this tasting… The truth of it, I knew the 2008 Westbrook VV would be a bit more like the E. Guigal, so I pulled a bottle of my 2005 Westbrook VV to prove a point that although these wines can have awkward points in their lives, Viognier can age well if properly structured. The 2005 won over the judges with its more developed and voluptuous nose and palate. Even though Ray and Tammy had not brought this bottling in they still took the win.
Third Flight: Cabernet Sauvignon
1st Place Westbrook, Cabernet Sauvignon, Peterson Valley Vineyard, Lodi, 2007 – 10 votes
2nd Place Ceago, Cabernet Sauvignon, Del Lago, Lake County, 2005 – 4 votes
3rd Place Cousino Macul, Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, 2006 – 1 vote
In this flight I was trying to confuse the judges on what wine was Westbrook Wine Farm. Chosing the Ceago for its big tannin and dark fruit and slightly vegetative nose, I hopped the dark density of the wine would have the judges thinking it was the Westbrook. With the older world style of the Cousino Macul that it would come off like a young Westbrook wine, but alas, neither were convincing enough especially since the Cousino had a bit of a mercaptan like taint.
Fourth Flight: Bordeaux Blends
1st place Peter Michaels, Les Pavot, Knights Valley, 2006 – 7 votes
2nd place Westbrook, Fait Accompli, Estate, Madera County, 2007 – 6 votes
3rd place Cain Cuvee, Napa Valley, NV6 – 1 vote
This one I tried to win. And did successfully, but cost a bit more (four times the bottle cost) to do so. This was a point was trying to prove… You can win any sensory competition if you put enough money and skill behind it. I think it was well-proven though that Westbrook’s Fait Accompli could be considered in the top wines of California (and especially after our Bordeaux experiment).
Fifth Flight: Petite Sirah
1st place Chronic Cellars, Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, 2006 – 7 votes
2nd place Westbrook Wine Farm, Petite Sirah, Simpson Vineyard, 2007 – 4 votes
3rd place Elyse, Petite Sirah, Napa Valley, 2006 – 4 votes
This flight was a bit more difficult, as quality Petite Sirah is just not hanging out every where. The Chronic took it with its broad fruit range, tightly packed dark berry fruit and a good amount of oak. The Westbrook was just suffering from being a barrel sample.