Monday, March 2, 2009


My first OTBN (Open That Bottle Night). While the turnout was light it was enjoyable. The night's offerings our guests experienced:

  • Gainey "Limited Selection" Sauvignon Blanc, 2007: Lovely Sauvignon Blanc, grassiness and citrus on the nose, crisp acidity with just a kiss of oak. A great opener for the evening.

  • Fess Parker Pinot Noir "Ashley's Vineyard" 2006: I've written about this one before, raved actually, but it deserved it and even more so now. Deep red, bouquet bursting with cherry, rose petal, spice and a hint of smoke in there delivering red berry fruits, smooth almost sweet tannins and fantastic acidity with a hint of minerality in the finish. Bravo.

  • Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2006: A surprise. I loved this Zin all full of ripe fruits, good acidity... "jammy" (a word I tend not to use with Zins) with notes of cracked pepper and a hint of vanilla. A real pleaser.

  • Château Haut-Canteloup, 2005, Médoc: Our French contribution for the evening. Medium bodied, purple colored delivering black currants and spice rounding out well with good tannins and acid for a medium finish.

  • Baily 2003 Meritage: I like Baily, enjoy then more and more every time I go. Tio Ely and Cory brought this one over and I am so glad they did. Baily does a great Cabernet Sauvignon and creates solid Cab Francs and Merlots, so this blend showed off what happens when they all come together just right. Excellent fruit concentration, solid tannins and a fine supporting acid backbone all flow together to give one a long, tasty finish.

  • Merryvale Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon 2005: A pretty Cab even for those who aren't Cab drinkers. Very fruit-forward, rich, intense but not overpowering. Nice tannins, mouthwatering acid, medium finish makes it an enjoyable wine.

  • Epsilon Shiraz 2006 Barossa Valley: Raspberries, blueberries, violets and spice all rolled up and delivered in a velvety package. Medium bodied, ripe tannins, definitely a wine created to please.

  • Wines reviewed in 2009: 130


    tercero wines said...

    Just wanted to say thanks for the write up of the 06 Ashleys Pinot, a personal favorite of mine as well!

    I am on the winemaking team at Fess Parker and the 06 is going to be a beautiful wine for a long time. It has the acid and tannin structure to allow it to age wonderfully for a long time, but enough fruit and spice to allow you to enjoy it now!

    Let me know when you are up our way and I'd be happy to show you around if you'd like . . . and let me know if you are coming up for Vintners Festival next month . . .


    Mike Pape said...

    Thanks for your comment. I'm a big fan of the Fess Parker product and as long as your team keeps making outstanding wines I'll be more than happy to direct people to them. I also loved the Clone 115 Pinot the last time I tried it and the "Rodney's Vineyard" Syrah knocked my socks off.

    Being a wine club member Fess Parker is always on my "visit" list when I am in the area, so I will definitely let you know the next time I am up in your neck of the woods.


    Jon said...

    Thanks for including the Gainey, Mike. Winemaker Jeff Lebard would be happy to show you around at the winery when you get down that way. Just tell him that JonEVino sent you...

    Mike Pape said...

    Hey JonE, thanks for the note! I've been to a lot of places tasting wine and I am so in love with the Santa Ynez area. I'll put their Pinot Noir up against Sonoma (and even Burgundy) any day and when it comes to Syrah I'm leaning more and more to the Central Coast over most of what comes from the Rhone Valley (though there are still some stars across the ocean that really turn my head). I'm a member of Gainey as well so it will be a treat to see behind the scenes at both Fess Parker and Gainey on my next visit.

    tercero wines said...

    You might want to check out Eric Asimov's article in the NY Times re: Santa Barbara County chardonnays. Very well written - and I certainly like the results! (Our 2006 Ashleys Chard was their favorite!).


    Mike Pape said...

    Nice write up! I've had several on that list and I would agree. This was my own short review notes of the 2006 Ashley's Chard:

    2006 Chardonnay "Ashley's": 100% Chardonnay with 10 months in oak produced a lovely Chardonnay with good apple and pear on the nose and green apple, sweet oak and touch of butter on the tongue.

    Didn't get the lemon but I will admit it was toward the end of the weekend of tasting ;-)

    Regarding Diatom... they've gotten a lot of press lately. They don't make a bad wine but it tends, more often than not, to not be "my style". And as Fess Parker is showing, you can raise levels of alcohol in your wine and still produce a fantastic wine that doesn't seem "alcoholic". It takes a fine touch and I am finding it more and more at FP.