Tag Archive for tasting notes

WBC 14: Best Wines

This is the first of several posts covering my experience at the Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC14) held in Buellton, CA, last weekend. I’ll feature one per week, likely through August, and why not start with what’s most important to me? Naturally, that’s the wines themselves.

Wines during the Blends break-out session.

Wines during the Blends break-out session.

Over the course of the conference, I tasted around 70 wines, the majority hailing from the Santa Barbara County (SBC) region. I was re-introduced to the beauty of the countryside of the Central Coast, something I rarely experienced while growing up in the city of Santa Maria. Turns out I really should have gotten out more.

Imagine…the wine world waiting for me outside of Old Orcutt!

Imagine…the wine world waiting for me outside of Old Orcutt!

But I digress. It’s the wines I’m talking about in this post, not the sunsets over hillsides. After two liveblogging tasting sessions, two workshops on wine blends and the syrahs of Ballard Canyon, two trips to wineries and more tastings there, and multiple big-tent tasting opportunities over brunches, lunches, dinners, and desserts, these 11 wines stood out to me. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

In no particular order….

1. Charles Krug 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

I gave this wine, the last one I tried during the white wine liveblogging session, my highest rating of the weekend, though I suspect #11 below might beat it had I taken the time to write down my notes. Regardless, this interloper from Napa Valley overflowed with honeysuckle and exceptionally flavorful Crenshaw melon. When sipping, lime mellowed the sweetness of those two flavors, creating a divine blend.

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2010 Downhill Cellars Torrontes White Table Wine

2010 Downhill Cellars Torrontes White Table Wine
Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Downhill Torrontes

I was delighted to see a Californian winery offering torrontes, which is typically grown in Argentina and is my favorite grape used for white wines. I picked it up on a Passport Day in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The sediment floating around the bottle’s bottom actually looks appealing. The wine smells crisp and of honey and lime with whiffs of peach and cantaloupe. It tastes like drinking flower nectar with an alluring combination of wildflower honey, kiwi, and cantaloupe notes and a bit of cream and lime on the back end.

This is how I like my whites: evoking the tropics and maintaining dryness while allowing for an undercurrent of sweetness. I would, and plan to, drink plenty more.

rating_truffle1

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2007 Downhill Cellars Susannah’s Barbera

2007 Downhill Cellars Susannah’s Barbera
Shenandoah Valley, CA

Downhill Barbera

I sampled this wine during the April Passport Day put on by the Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Growers’ Association, which I blogged about last month. Downhill Cellars only does tastings on Passport Days, so it was a rare treat, and one good enough that I ended up taking home two different types of wine. For me, that’s practically finding a treasure trove—I rarely take home more than one bottle from a tasting. I swear I’m not lying when I say I’m a drinker, not a collector.

This barbera’s nose is delicious: golden raisins, light brown sugar, ripe cherry, vanilla, and bourbon. The taste is even more layered, recalling jasmine at first sip, which segues into brown sugar with cherry and date and fig notes. It tastes like an unsulphured wine with fresh, bold flavors, though it has more character than they do, likely because it’s aged and unsulphured wines are often recommended to be consumed sooner rather than later. Vanilla finishes off the swish, joined by lingering dried apricot.

This wine straddles the dessert line for me because it’s so juicy and fairly sweet. It leaves me thinking of dried fruits that have some moisture left when you bite into them, and it’s an interesting smorgasbord of those fruits. Definitely worth the drinking.

rating_truffle1

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