Spit: Le Cuvier

While killing time waiting for our appointment at Clos Solene, we popped into Le Cuvier so my buddy could taste some very uncharacteristic wines. Le Cuvier uses natural yeast which impart a very dense, deep, added flavor to almost all of their wines. Since it’s natural it does different things to different grames, but on the whole their wines are pedal to the metal, high octane, high alcohol, more spirits than wine wines.

2009 Le Cuvier Chardonnay Reserve

I asked about the regular Chardonnay, and I guess they don’t make one. So why call it reserve?

N: Almost sauternes-y on the nose, sherry, caramel.

P: Crazy. Way way big, super extracted. Fried stone fruit, electric dense stone fruits.

F: Long, but all kinds of flavors. Zero Balance to this wine. Like the chili pepper of wine, but with concentrated fruit and craziness instead of heat.

2010 Le Cuvier Syrah

N: big, bold fruit. Branble. Black and red fruits.

P: fruity, not super stemmy.

F: Nothing memorable.

2013 Le Cuvier Pentimento

N: Big red fruits

P: Peppery, tart fruit, little more balanced than the 12 if I remember correctly. Tart Cherry, fresh cherries.

F: Pepper, cherries.

2010 Le Cuvier Zinfandel

N: Big Brambly fruits

P: Sweet, big fruit, sticky, big extraction, lots of cherries, strawberries.

F: Nice fruit, carries well.

2010 Le Cuvier Malbec

N: Muted

P: blueberries, pepper, spice, nice effort but not my taste. I just don’t get Malbecs.

Tasting this right after Nicora was like getting kicked in the head after eating a really great sandwich. It was interesting to contrast the styles but really just spoke to how insanely varied the styles in Paso can be. While on the whole I’d say Paso goes for bigger fruit than many other regions, it’s the more restrained styles (that still have big fruit) that really catch my eye, like Nicora (sorry Le Cuvier).


Spit: Nicora


I was up in Paso a few years ago tasting at Turley, and the lady pouring the wines was getting slightly exasperated that I didn’t love most of what she was pouring. My palate had long since moved away from Zinfandels, but I foraged ahead looking for bottles I could enjoy with my wife, who happens to still be a pretty big fan. After she got around to pouring an 06 Petite Syrah she happened to have open (and which I enjoyed more than the zins) she asked me where my tastes lied.

“For the area, Rhones. That’s my bag.”

“Oh, then you’ll have to meet my son! He just started making Rhone blends. GSM, Syrahs, they’re all really really good.”

“That’s cool, does he have a winery or something?”

“He just borrows space where he can. Here’s his card.”

I’ll admit I more or less ignored her suggestion. It was my last day and I had my itinerary planned weeks in advance. I stashed the card and figured I’d try her sons wines when I came up the next time.

Well, the next time I was heading up I contacted Nick of Nicora, and asked if I could taste his wines. A polite reply ensued that he didn’t have any wine left for me to taste. Next time up, same thing. And then again the very next time. When I was heading up for the bachelor party, I made sure to reply to the same email chain we’d been dancing over for the past 2 years. He said he didn’t have a drop to pour, but he’d raid his personal stash and open a couple of bottles for me. Squeeky wheel and all.

We tasted next to Alta Colina where Nick was renting space to make his wines. Over an empty barrel and on a wave of apologies for not having more to offer we tasted his 2010 Euphoric and his 2010 GSM.


2010 Nicora Euphoric

N: Great, balanced, a wave of different fruits creeping in and out of the picture. Blackberries, blueberries.

P: Nice on the tongue, light, balanced, a slight sweetness (like fresh baked sugar cookies). Great fruit, cherries, blackberries, blueberries. Extremely complex.

F: Mouthwatering, a lulliby of fruits dancing on the tongue. Delicious.

2010 Nicora GSM

N: I got lost in this nose, even though it was inititally closed down. This wine is definately made for some kind of long haul, I felt bad standing there swirling and swirling and swirling. Nick hadn’t decanted the wine for us and it desperatedly needed 6-8 hours sitting out to really come around.

P: Unctious. Great fruit, beautiful, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, whisps of meat char, bright herbs, clove, lemon peels. Just a tremendous amount going on, with a strong purity of Grenache fruit taking the lead.

F: Stays and stays. Fades slowly but rebounds in fits and starts of different fruit and herb flavors as it goes.

Color me smitten. If you like the Paso style of Rhone at all, this for me is both a taste and QPR winner. I plan on buying as much 2011 as my budget can afford, especially by the time I get the chance to taste it it’ll all be sold out (I couldn’t buy any 2010, which was terribly sad.)


Spit: Alta Colina


Up at lake Naciemento for a bachelor party, a friend and I stole a day to roam Paso and taste the new year’s wares. He’s how we faired:


2012 Alta Colina Grenache Blanc

N: Light Mineral, Apricot

P: White Stone Fruits, unripe Peach, Peach skins, watermellon rind.

F: Spice, crisp, apricot.

2012 Alta Colina Rose

N: Not much of one, nothing stood out. Might have been served a bit too cold.

P: Light strawberries, baking spices, rhubarb, a little stemmy.

F: A bit chewy, stem, unripe strawberries.

2010 Alta Colina GSM*

N: Nice brambly red fruits

P: A little sweet, big cherries, black cherries, chewy, stemmy (in a good way), lush, good acid, big big fruit.

F: Mouthwatering, great fruit.

A solid effort that with a slightly better QPR I might have taken home with me.

2010 Alta Colina Toasted Slope

N: Stewed Plum, blackberries, some cherry.

P: Blackberries, plum, lighter than the GSM overall

F: a bit of spice on the finish, light stem.

2010 Alta Colina Block 2 Bio

N: brown sugar, brandy, light red fruits.

P: Violets, red fruit, more feminine, kinda delicate but lakcing a ton of complexity, balanced, not overly tannic,

F: Blackberries on the finish.



Spit: Wine House Cab Fest

I headed to the WineHouse Cabernet Fest last month. Wasn’t sure what to make of this event. I like to be meticulous and try everything, but that was a little impossible this time around. I took scattered notes at first and got my head in the game a little more as the minutes ticked by. The * are the ones I liked.

2007 Franciscan Magnificent

N: Fresh crushed raspberry, blackberries.

P: Can tastes the merlot, some stem, warm fruits, plum, kinda dry.

F: Stem, plum.

2009 Mt Veeder

N: Perfume, earth, some stem, big.

P: Austere fruit, stem, perfume, purple fruits.

F: Stemmy.

2010 Buehler

P: Somewhat fruity, some spice, candy, cherries.

2008 Merryvale

N: Sweet raspberries/cherries, slight perfume.

P: Slightly sweet, medium bodied.

2009 Clos du Val*

Slightly more austere, perfume, blueberries, raspberries, cherry. Good weight.

2008 Burgess

Little flabby, sweet fruit. Not in balance. Lots of cherry, cola, spice.

2008 Turnbull

Lots of raspberries, some bramble, spice, cola, cherry, somewhat sweet.

2007 Lancaster

N: Muted

P: Sweet cola, cherry, maraschino cherries, dry, spice.

F: Good fruit, kinda sweet, cola.

2008 Spring Mountain

N: Perfume, crushed blackberries.

P: Raspberries, cherry, spice, med bodied.

F: Cola, crushed raspberries.

2009 Cakebread

P: Mixed cherry, some light baking spice, kinda refined. Nothing wows about this.

2009 Chateau Montelena

P: Light crushed brambly fruits, blackberry, raspberry, cherry, good structure.

2008 Chateau Montelena Estate

More austere, mouth coating fruit, plum, well built.

2007 Mayacamas

Blueberry, cherry, spice, interesting.

2009 Carpe Diem

N: Perfume and plums.

P: Sweet, sweet cherry, raspberries, cola, not overly oaky.

F: Sweet bramble, dry.

2009 Napanook

N: Perfume, austere plum, big, good.

P: Sweet cherry.blackberry, cola, austere fruits.

F: Ends austere w a bit of stem. Fruit stays throughout.

2009 Dominus

P: Very balanced, good cherry, cola, spice, well made, fruit creeps into the corners of your mouth, complex, slight kirsch, light bramble.

F: Slight stem. Good fruit, stem, austere.

2009 Freemark Abbey

P: Purple fruit, light perfume, somewhat sweet, lots of blueberry pie.

F: Blueberry pie filling.

2009 Stonestreet

P: Blueberries, baking spice, medium bodied, spice, light cherry.

2009 Mt Brave

P: Dry, austere, tannic, slight cola, cherry, blackberry, sweet.

2009 La Jota Howell Mountain*

P: Pure fruit, sweet and austere at once. Great balance, graphite, light spice.

2009 J. Lohr

N: Perfume, kirsch

P: Sweet, cherry candy, cola, very sweet. Some bramble. Zin-like. Spice, purple fruit.

F: Sweet fruit.

2009 Louis Martini Napa

P: Medium/light, slightly austere cherry, light spice, meh.

2008 Gallo Signature

P: Cola, purple fruit, slightly sweet, gingerbread, baking spice.

F: Cola, spice.

2008 Ladera Howell Mountain*

N: Little hot, little blackberry.

P: Juicy fruit, blackberry, cherry. Pretty big, slightly jammy, not overly sweet, some cola.

2009 Trefethen

P: Cola, spice, mouth coating, plum, dry, well built, cola, perfume, some bramble.

Trefethen Dragon’s tooth

P: Sweet juicy purple fruit, perfume.

2008 Nickel & Nickel

N: perfume and deep bramble.

P: Dark and red cherry, big cherry, somewhat dry, juicy, mouthwatering. Some earth and minerals.

2009 Far Niete

N: Funky nose

P: Purple fruit, spice, blanaced, good extraction, lots of perfume, a little hot.

F: Spice, dry raspberries.

2009 Chappellet

N: Purple fruits.

P: Very stemmy, sweet purple fruit, blackberries.

F: Spice, stem, sweet fruit.

2009 Ramey*

N: Muted.

P: A bit austere, big dark cherry and bramble. A little hot, chocolate, interesting.

F: Slightly austere.

2009 Shafer One Point Five*

P: Juicy purple fruit, blakberries, raspberry bramble. Spice, juicy, good, perfume.

F: A little hot, perfume, some brambly fruits.

2008 Cain Concept

N: Austere, stem, mushroom.

P: Dry, somewhat austere, plum, cola, spice, good, some cherry.

F: Cherry, spice, plum.

2007 Cain Five*

N: Blueberry, bramble, sapling, stem.

P: little hot, complex fruit, stewed black fruit, very good. Asutere, light plum.

2009 Buccella Estate

N: Balanced bramble.

P: Pie, sweet, blackberry, cherry, cola, baking spice, sticky tannins, slightly sweet. Well made, but nothing that screams interesting.

2010 Buccella Mica

P: Lighter bodied, some plum, a little chewy, cherry, chocolate.

2010 Hourglass*

P: Wow. Baked cherry pie, blackberry, huge milk chocolate, cherry coke, dry, mouthwatering. Worth tracking down. Very good.

F: Long and elegant.

2008 BV George de Latour

P: Very well made, big extraction, great juicy fruit, cherry and sweet plum, very good.

2008 Hewitt

N: Big Perfume

P: More muted than the nose, good bramble, dry, chocolate, light stem, little hot, good balance, well made.

F: Baked cherry, blackberries, baking spices.


Spit: Adelaida

Adelaida Cellars

I made an appointment to check out Adelaida’s wines. They’re a little tucked away from some of the other wineries, but their property is beautiful, and they supply grapes to a lot of the producers in the area. Was interested in their Rhones.

2010 Adelaida Version White

N: Pear with some slight perfume

P: Pears/peaches, some slight herbs, slightly austere, good acid.

F: Slightly spicy, crisp fruit.

2010 Adelaida Viognier

N: Floral/flowers. Crisp white fruit.

P: Soft at first, spicy white nectarine, some minerals.

F: Nice spicy nectarine on the finish, mouthwatering.

2009 Adelaida Pinot Noir HMR

N: Red Cherries, slightly austere, some exotic spices.

P: Light/medium austere cherries, dry, cranberries, allspice.

F: Mouthwatering, with dried cherries.

2011 Adelaida Version Rose

N: Light watermelon, some strawberries.

P: Crisp light strawberries, some cherry, light white pepper.

F: Great flavor on the the finish, dried watermelon, slight spice. Some cherry.

2009 Adelaida Version Red

N: Tart raspberries and dried cherries. Pure strong clean fruit.

P: Bright raspberry, dark cherry, complex, dry, asian spices, pepper, big, descent acid.

F: Peppery with good, slightly austere fruit. At the same time some bright fruit shows.

2009 Adelaida Syrah Anna’s Vineyard

N: Blueberries, blackberries, plum.

P: Plummy, black cherry, big, pepper, slightly dry.

F: Juicy plums, cherry, blackberries. Mouthwatering, and a bit dry.

2009 Adelaida Zinfandel Michael’s Estate

N: Raspberries, slight bramble, ripe raspberry, blueberries.

P: Slightly sweet/ripe red raspberries. Very intense blueberry/raspberry flavors. Some raspberry candy. Lots of blueberry.

F: Blueberry jam.

2006 Adelaida CAbernet Sauvignon Viking RES

N: Light sweet blackcurrant, very slight raisin.

P: Balanced, gorgeously put together, cherries, rose, slight leather.

F: Mouthwatering, dried/ripe cherries, slight blackcurrant.

2008 Adelaida Schoolhouse Recess Road

N: Sweet ripe red fruits.

P: Leans slightly to the candy side, jolly rancher, cherries and raspberries, bright ripe fruit, some spice.

F: Raspberry and spice, some slight blueberry.

2007 Adelaida Don Port Style

N: Heat/dried fruit.

P: Sharp raspberries.

Adelaida Ice Wine

N: Sweet dried apricot

P: Sweet peach, slight maple

F: Sweet, low acid.

Overall some nice wines, but too many that really didn’t hit my pallet the right way. The two that stood out were the Viking Cabernet and the Version Red. Both I thought were pretty and worth seeking out in the future.


Spit: Villa Creek

My buddy Paul crushing up some great Mourvedre picked the day before.

The night before stopping at Villa Creek I ate at the bar at Artisan, which is an excellent place to eat in Paso. I tried a Chateau Margene I hadn’t had the chance to taste earlier at the winery, which impressed me more and more. While chatting with Paul, the bartender, I learned he worked at Villa Creek most days, and he’d be there the next day helping with the Harvest. Small world.

They were in the midst of crushing and fermenting and futzing with their juice when I rolled up to the tasting. I’d heard good things about their Rhone wines, and they also own a restaurant in town of the same name, which I ate at that night.

2010 Villa Creek Garnacha

N: A bit muted blue and black fruit.

P: Red fruit, slight stem, some bramble, velvety fruit, a bit of tannin, some perfume.

F: Some nice fruit on the back, very slightly austere, great acid, mouthwatering.

2010 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvee

N: Perfume, bramble.

P: Rich tannin, plums, spice, slight vanilla.

F: Blackberries, nice balance, dry with good fruit.

2009 Villa Creek Mas de Maha Tempranillo

N: Muted.

P: Sticky dark tannins, dry, blackberry, slight blueberry. Very big, chewy.

F: Great acid, blueberries.

2009 Villa Creek Damas Noir

N: Muted.

P: Deep blue, black fruit, black tea, smokey, beef char.

F: Purple fruit, slightly sweet, perfume, slightly floral, black pepper, sweet blackberry fruit.

I was really impressed with these wines. I signed up for the mailing list immediately and grabbed some Garnacha and some James Berry which I didn’t get to try. These are made in the same new world Rhone vein as Torrin, Denner, and Booker, just a bit more approachable. Super enjoyable, not as well made across the board as some of the afformentioned wineries, but all of them a good steep up from daily drinkers and a few worth laying down in the cellar. Can’t wait to try more.

So... Much... Tastiness...


Spit: Hunt Cellars

Hunt Cellars on Highway 46

Next stop on the trail was Hunt Cellars on Highway 46. They had a few wines that people on the wine forums seemed to enjoy and they were very close to some of the other wineries I was trying, so I gave them a shot. They had quite a few library wines to offer (apparently they hold back quite a bit of their wine, they had multiple vintages of a lot of things available.). I think they maybe cellar their wines in barrel for longer than many others.

2009 Hunt Cellars Pinot Noir “Imagine”

N: Alcohol on the nose, deep raspberry, frambois.

P: A bit sweet, cola, light spice, a bit astringent.

F: Baked cherries, sweet spice, dry.

2004 Hunt Cellars Rhapsody in Red

N: A bit hot.

P: Ripe raspberries, sweet cherry, plum, juicy, with spices.

F: Nice, fruity, ripe red fruits, slightly dry. Big for an 8 year old, very good.

2006 Hunt Cellars Que Sirah Syrah

N: Deep raspberry, kirsch.

P: A bit spicy as it goes, uber ripe plums, raspberry, blueberries, blackberries.

F: Nice acid, good mouthwatering finish.

2005 Hunt Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon CabOvation

N: Good nose, black raspberries.

P: A bit sweet upfront, blackcurrants, sweet cherries, raspberry. Super dry.

F: Puckering.

2004 Hunt Cellars Petit Sirah Irresistible

N: Blackberries, a touch of heat.

P: Dry, spicy, big cherry, black pepper.

F: Some cherry, dry, puckering.

2007 Hunt Cellars Zinfandel Outlaw Ridge

N: Red fruits.

P: Plums, very spicy, pepper, licorice, raspberries, blackberries, some heat. Juicy red and black fruits.

F: High toned blackberry/raspberry. Dry.

2007 Hunt Cellars Mourvedre Mystery

N: Heat, plum and cherry.

P: Plummy, red plums, slight cherry, vanilla.

F: Sweet ripe red plum, some spice.

2005 Hunt Cellars Thriller

N: Heat, plum and cherry.

P: Plummy, red plums, slight cherry, some vanilla.

F: Sweet ripe red plums, some spice.

And now onto their lineup of dessert wines.

2005 Hunt Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Port

N: White peaches, slightly astringent, light tropical fruits, some banana.

P: Sugared, quite sweet, candied white fruit, light.

F: Sweet, sugary sweet.

2005 Hunt Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Port

N: Blackcurrants, deep black fruits.

P: Sweet, some pepper, red fruits, strawberry, a wee bit of caramel.

F: A pretty tasty port style.

2003 Hunt Cellars Zinfandel Port

N: Red raspberries, stewed, dried cherries.

P: Milk Chocolate & strawberries. Good balance. Some slight spice. Cherries, raspberries.

F: Strawberries

2002 Hunt Cellars Syrah Port

N: Dried red fruits, complex, with a fair bit of brambly fruits.

P: Caramel, cherries, maraschino, very light brown sugar, some baking spice.

F: Cherries, caramel.

2000 Hunt Cellars Tawny Port

N: Muted fruit on the nose.

P: Red jolly rancher, vanilla, yellow cake, nuts, roasted peanuts, sweet cherries, maraschino, grape-aid.

F: Somewhat sweet, with cherries and vanilla.

I ended up getting a bottle of the Que Sirah Syrah, the Zinfandel Port, and the Syrah Port. I wanted to grab a bottle of the Tawny as well but it was priced at twice the Syrah and Zinfandel, so I took a pass. It was very well made though.

A couple of different barkeeps on my journey asked inquisitively about what I thought of Hunt, and I started to get the idea that folks in Paso maybe don’t think very highly of them for one reason or another. I thought the wines were pretty good, though I gravitated twords their dessert offerings more than their regular bottles. The only other plus is that the wax broke off on one of the dessert bottles I purchased as I was traveling around, and they let me swap it out no questions asked. (even though I’m sure people do that sort of thing all the time, and then they talk about how dumb you are for leaving the wine in a hot car for an hour unattended behind your back. Yes I’m that retard. Sorry.)


Spit: Lone Madrone

This is when I got lazy about snapping the outside logos


Next stop was Lone Madrone on Highway 46. This was one of the highlights of the trip ’cause I held a bunny the entire time I did my tasting. Apparently they have a bunch of them that they’re offering to people even more fervently that their wines. Good people that want a good home for their bunnies. I can get behind that.

My little buddy helped me taste the wines

2009 Lone Madrone La Mezcla

N: Light passionfruit

P: Sweet, spicy, peach, tropical fruit, chunky mouthfeel.

F: Sweet, a bit dry.

2010 Lone Madrone Points West White

N: Light but rich tropical fruit.

P: Tropical, some spice, slightly sweet, slight roasted nut.

F: Nutty, roasted hazelnut, some light stone fruit, good acid.

2007 Lone Madrone Bailey Ranch Zinfandel

N: Brambly fruits, raspberry.

P: Cherry, spice, blackcurrant, not huge and a fruit forward, restrained and balanced, brambly fruits.

F: Nice raspberry, a bit dry.

2008 Lone Madrone The Will

N: Big sweet brambly fruits.

P: Big fruit, blackberry, cherry, strawberry, good acidity. Slight licorice, some nice baking spice, with a bit of brown sugar.

F: Dry, juicy ripe raspberry and cherry.

2008 Lone Madrone Enigma

N: Muted red fruit, slight bramble.

P: Balanced red fruit . Velvety tannins, slight spice. Solid, with some red plum, light cranberry.

F: Ripe fruit, decent length, decent acid.

2009 Lone Madrone Barfandel

N: Blackberry, plum skins, vanilla.

P: Good balance, acid, tasty blackberry pie.

F: Raspberry jam. Tasty.

I liked Lone Madrone a lot. I had every intention of buying bottles of the Enigma, Bailey Ranch Zin and The Will, but at this point in the day I had purchased so much wine I felt too guilty to step up and buy. I told the barkeep I’d swing back by for them a few days later at the end of my trip, but at that point I’d purchase so much wine I again couldn’t convince myself. Lone Madrone was a victim of circumstance, as one of the only wineries that had great wine I wanted to buy but didn’t. Next time I swing through Paso I’ll taste here again and try their offerings. These wines are definitely worth trying, I thought they were quite enjoyable and well made.



Spit: Grey Wolf

As a Wolves fan (Soccer) I really wanted to like them.

Next on the wine trail was Grey Wolf. I had heard good things about their wines so I headed down Highway 46 to check them out. They had a great big Labrador roaming the tasting room, oblivious to the people coming in and out save for the off chance one of them would be kind and feed him. I saddled up to the counter after giving the pup some pets and dove in.

2011 Grey Wolf Blanc y Blanc

N: Heady white stone fruits, can smell the chenin.

P: Medium bodied, slightly austere white fruit, good spice/white pepper.

F: Slightly sweet, good acid.

2010 Grey Wolf The River

N: Baked white fruit, bit of alcohol.

P: A bit austere, honeysuckle, unripe white fruit mixed with ripe white peach. A bit of weight to this one.

F: Slightly dry, dissipating fruit.

2009 Grey Wolf Roumours

N: White stone fruits.

P: White peaches, goldenberry, slight cut grass.

F: Grassy.

NV Grey Wolf Zinful Cab

N: Sweet Cherry, raspberry, blackberry, very ripe.

P: Dry, slightly sweet, big raspberries, some black cherries, bit of tannin.

F: Black cherry + raspberry. Decent acid.

NV Grey Wolf Lone Wolf

N: Raspberry pie filling, pie crust

P: Medium weight, some raspberry, balanced, clean bright juicy fruit.

F: Raspberries.

2009 Grey Wolf Alpha Cabernet

N: Dark cherries, some blackcurrant

P: Lots of black cherry, some raspberry, dry, a bit of tannin.

F: Juicy, raspberry and cherry, with a bit of pucker.

Was hoping for a bit more from these wines, but they just weren’t my style. A lot of the wines I wanted to try were part of their fall offering, so I didn’t get to try them. This was obviously the stuff that hadn’t sold out since spring and they didn’t have any library stuff to offer. I may try and make another visit sometime and give them another shot.


Spit: Castoro Cellars

Castoro Cellars

Next stop was Castoro cellars on Highway 46. Descent reviews of their whites got them on my radar.

2011 Castoro Cellars Sauvignon Blanc

N: Citrus/green apples. Crips.

P: Crisp apple, light pear, some spice.

F: Clean, short.

2009 Castoro Cellars Viognier

N: Tropical Fruits

P: Tart, passionfruit, starfruit, good acid, fruity.

F: A bit of spice, with some unripe tropical fruit.

2011 Castoro Cellars Tango

N: White stone fruits, peaches.

P: Fresh, clean, semi sweet, very good. Pie crust, white chocolate, stone fruits.

F: White Chocolate.

NV Castoro Cellars Rosato di Zinfandel

N: Muted strawberries

P: light strawberry, light grapefruit. Somewhat dry.

F: light strawberry, light grapefruit.

2007 Castoro Cellars Pinor Noir Santa Barbara Reserve

N: Brambly black fruits, some earth, deep baked black/red fruit.

P: Spice, strawberry jam, stems, bramble, austere, dry.

F: Dry, stemmy, unripe black fruit (not tart)

2009 Castoro Cellars Ventotto Anni

N: Deep raspberry, some baked strawberry.

P: Slightly sweet, deep red fruits, dry, grippy tannins, light red plum.

F: Red fruits, dry.

Castoro Cellars Petite Verdot Stone’s Throw Reserve (I didn’t jot down the vintage)

N: Ripe plummy notes, slight sweetness.

P: Medium weight, plummy, ripe. Medium dry. Good acid, blackberries.

F: Dry, lots of ripe red raspberries.

2010 Castoro Cellars Zinfusion Zinfandel

N: Sweet red brambly fruits.

P: Kinda sweet, bright raspberries.

F: Dry, lots of ripe red raspberries.

2009 Primitivo Whale Rock Estate

N: Very deep bramble.

P: Sharp raspberries, raspberry tart, kinda sweet, some stem, dry, a bit of spice, descent acid.

F: Rasp, slightly cloying.

Grapes hanging above me as I walked into Castoro Cellars.

I grabbed a bottle of the Tango which I thought was interesting for it’s white chocolate note. Other than that nothing really blew me away. The whole slate of wines is very reasonably priced though, and I could see grabbing a few as daily drinkers. They were very kind to pour me many many more wines than the ’7 and done’ rule allows, but I just didn’t dig their style of wines outside of the Tango. They did say that it was by far their most popular wine, so whoa is me for inadvertently joining the flock. But it was good juice, I’m excited to try it again soon.