Tuesday, March 2, 2021

A new year of wining...in San Simeon...

A bucolic scene at San Simeon
(photo by Rico Mandel)
This past year has been so challenging for everyone. I am pleased and amazed to see how so many of my wine colleagues have pivoted (the latest buzz word) and adapted to the new normal. Many event planners have created online events, virtual tastings, all designed to keep their base engaged. Others, like myself, stepped back a bit, waiting to see how things would develop. I tried not to give in to depression, but there were days that my major accomplishment was getting the bed made. 

Meanwhile, vaccines were being made and distributed! Hope on the horizon! Grownups in the White House! I started feeling a bit better, and after getting my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine, began to feel that I could return to the world. Carefully.

When I had the opportunity to get together with a dear friend, not seen in over a year, of course, I jumped at it. Rico was going to come to Morro Bay post-business trip, and we could spend some much-missed time catching up. We met for Friday night dinner at our favorite restaurant, The Galley, drank martinis followed by bubbly, and made plans for the next day. That night, I logged onto the Hearst Ranch Winery website and made a reservation for the next morning. Just as we left the house Saturday a.m., the phone rang. It was the winery, to let us know that we were free to bring our own food, if we so chose, as there would be no food truck that day. They also had cheeses, meats and crackers available in the tasting room. 

We headed north on Route 1 to San Simeon on a bright, sunny morning, arriving at the tasting room and discovering it had been completely updated in the years since we had visited. We were greeted at the door by Tasting Room Manager Damon Miele, whom I had not seen in person since I attended the World of Pinot Noir event several years ago! I gotta say, it was delightful to be so warmly greeted, and treated like royalty. After choosing which flights we wanted to taste, we made our way to our reserved table - #8 for those of you who want the BEST seat on the escarpment - and opened up our snacks to pair with the wines.

We got one each of the two flights, and shared both among the three of us.

Legacy Tasting Flight:

2019 Glacier Ridge Chardonnay - Well-balanced oak and fruit. Good acid, with a creamy finish.

2017 Babicora Malbec - A blend of 77% Malbec, 13% Petit Verdot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Violets on the nose, tangy red fruit and Asian spices on the palate, make this a delicious treat.

2018 Bunkhouse Cabernet Sauvignon - A blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec, 3% Merlot. Easy drinking, medium tannins, aromas of mocha and baking spices.

2018 Carpoforo Zinfandel - 82% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah. A good example of a Paso Zin. Fruit forward, a bit jammy.

Proprietor's Reserve Tasting Flight:

2017 Proprietor's Chardonnay - Their attempt at Burgundian style Chard elicited happy remarks from the tasters. My notes just say "OOH". Lovely.

2018 Lone Tree Cabernet Franc - A blend of 75% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot. Cherries and sweet tobacco on the nose, dark fruit and coffee on the palate made this a favorite.

2016 Proprietor's Cuvee The Point - A blend of 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Petite Verdot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 17% Malbec, 5% Merlot. This is described as a "Barrel Select Bordeaux Blend", and certainly lives up to the description. My extremely technical notes simply say, "Oh, yeah". Firm tannins, dark fruit, toasty oak notes. This wine could wait for another few years. Or drink it now, as life is uncertain.

2016 Proprietor's Cabernet Sauvignon - 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a beautiful wine. Blackberry and black currant on the nose. Spicy oak and tobacco, with rich, firm tannins. At $105/bottle, it's seriously out of my budget, but I'd be happy to receive it as a gift!

We purchased two bottles of the Malbec and one of the Cab Franc. I would have been happy to purchase more, but the year of lockdowns and canceled classes have severely affected my purchasing power. 

In any case, it was an idyllic way to start a Saturday. I must commend the excellent customer service from Damon and Stephanie, who made us feel special, because, of course, we are!

No comments: