Monday, October 31, 2011

Sneak peeking at Paso Garagiste...

Photo by Xochitl Maiman
Made a last minute decision to hit the road to visit The Cellar in Santa Clarita last Thursday (10/13). Why? Because there was a special ‘sneak peek’ at a few wineries who will be participating in the upcoming Paso Garagiste festival on November 12th.

As I’m a big fan of Paso wines, and will be heading to the event next month, I thought I’d get a head start. I hadn’t been there in quite a while, so it was nice to catch up with owner DiMaggio Washington and his talented crew. The event was perfect – small enough to give me a chance to really visit with the winemakers (or their reps), and large enough to taste a bunch of wines!

I started in the back room with Lisa Dinsmore – one of the folks behind Paso Garagiste, along with Doug Minnick and Dan Erland Andersen – pouring Carlson and Red Zeppelin wines.

There were a lot of wines to taste. Highlights include:

Carlson Wines - Winemaker Chuck Carlson
2008 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir – My fave of the 3 Pinots being offered. Medium light garnet color. Spice and raspberries in the nose. Tobacco and mushroom with some earth in the mouth. A nicely balanced wine. Should age well.

Red Zeppelin – Winemaker Stillman Brown
2005 Monterey County Syrah, Bear Valley Vineyard -Spicy red cherry with some minerality, cedar notes and a yummy long finish. Yummy is a technical term.

Les Deux Chats – Winemakers Chris & Patty Connelly
2009 Roussanne – Filtered – Lovely minerality from this delicious Roussanne from the Ripken Vineyard in Lodi. No oak, just soft fruit balanced with just the right amount of acid on the finish.
2010 Roussanne – Unfiltered – A bit more viscous quality in the mouth than the 2009. Still very young. I’d like to try it again in a year.

Tercero Wines – Winemaker Larry Schaffer – who poured a whole bunch of wines not on the list! My faves:
2007 The Climb (Petit Sirah/Syrah) – Just a wonderful blend of two of my favorite grapes. Big. Fruity. Needed a big grilled steak.
2010 Mourvedre Rosé – This is one of my favorite CA Rosés. Dry as a bone, beautiful color. Crisp. Yum.

AmByth Estate – Winemaker Phillip Hart – Biodynamic farming at its best. Beautiful blends. And low alcohol. It CAN be done.
2009 Priscus – 46% Grenache Blanc/25% Viognier/17% Roussanne/12% Marsanne – Peaches and apples in the nose and the palate, too. Very crisp and refreshing. The perfect palate cleanser!
2010 Counoise – 100% Counoise. Surprising and tasty. And only 12% alcohol.

Stanger Vineyards – Manager JP French pouring
2006 Stanger Vineyards Syrah Library Reserve – Deep and dark purple, coffee and anise in the nose. The ultra-ripe fruit flavors provide a long finish. Liked this wine a lot.

So that’s the sneak peak. I can hardly wait for the big event!

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