TAPAS – 2010
3rd Annual Grand Tasting – June 5, 2010
Report on the 3rd Annual Grand Tasting presented by TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates, Producers, and Amigos Society), on Saturday, June 5th, 2010, at the Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason in San Francisco, California. The event features the most extensive annual tasting of US-produced wines made from Iberian grape varieties. The event this year featured an afternoon Grand Tasting in a new, larger venue.
TAPAS is a non-profit trade association formed in January 2006. The group’s stated mission is “promoting New World production of wine grapes and wine styles native to the Iberian Peninsula.” There are currently about 70 winery and vineyard members of the association, located in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Texas.
Overall impressions: As with the past two TAPAS tasting events, this tasting offered a wonderful opportunity to sample domestically-produced wines made from Spanish and Portuguese grape varieties in one setting.
There were 39 wineries pouring at this year’s Grand Tasting, from all over California, plus several from Oregon and Arizona. This year’s event was in a much larger space at Fort Mason than last year’s, and the turnout was exceptional – I was told that about 1,100 people attended, and I’d guess that was at least double last year’s attendance. Especially in this economy, that’s a real testament to increasing consumer interest in Spanish and Portuguese grape varieties, which are still not widely-known in California. One of the more humorous moments of the tasting was when I overheard someone at one of the winery tables being asked if she wanted to taste the Tempranillo, and she replied “Tempranillo – what’s that?”
WHITES & ROSES:
Bokisch ’08 Albariño
D’Alfonso-Curran ’09 Grenache Blanc
Dancing Coyote ’09 Verdelho
Forlorn Hope ‘09 “La Gitana” Torrontés
Longoria ’09 Albariño
Tangent ’09 Grenache Blanc
Verdad ’09 Sawyer-Lindquist Albariño
Verdad ’09 Rosé
Bodegas Paso Robles ’06 Graciano
Bokisch ’06 Tempranillo
Core ’06 “Ground Around”
Dos Cabezas ’08 “Águileón”
Forlorn Hope ‘09 “Suspiro del Moro” Alvarelhão
Pierce Ranch ’07 “Cosecheiro”
Quinta Cruz ’07 “Concertina”
Red Lily ’06 Tempranillo
St. Amant ’08 Touriga
Truchard ’05 Tempranillo
St. Amant NV Tawny Port
The larger venue this year was most welcome, as it allowed plenty of room in front of the winery tables and for general milling around. Along with the huge paella provided by Marco Paella of Rancho Cordova – which generated a long line of people waiting for a plate throughout the afternoon – there was considerably more food on hand this year. Aside from a minor check-in glitch, this was an extremely well-organized event. My only suggestion for next year would be to provide larger and easier-to-see signage for the winery tables – the small signs set on top of the tables were tough to see, particularly once things got crowded. But overall, everything went very smoothly at the event.
With a few more wineries pouring at this year’s event and the bigger crowd, it was not possible to get to all the producers I would have liked to, and among others, I missed out on a few favorites from past tastings such as Fenestra and Villa Creek. I found that a few wineries poured one or more of the same wines that they had poured last year, but most showed off new releases. There were a handful of barrel samples and older vintages being poured as well.
It seemed to me that more producers are starting to use the Spanish or Portuguese names for various grape varieties rather than the generally more-familiar French names for the same grapes – for example Garnacha (Grenache), Monastrell (Mourvèdre), and Mazuelo (Carignane). In addition, some producers use the Portuguese name for Tempranillo – Tinto Roriz. On top of that, some producers list a particular variety by the older-style name of “Touriga Francesa” while others use the newer “Touriga Franca.” You’ve gotta know your grapes or you can get confused quickly! I’ve stuck with the names as given by each producer in the list of wines below.
I’ve found more wines I liked each successive year at the TAPAS event, with more standout wines this year than in the past. It was good to see some very fine wines both from producers that specialize in Spanish and Portuguese style wines and from those whose Iberian-variety wines form only one part of their line-up. While there is still plenty of potential for these wines to improve, I got the sense that they are starting to arrive as a real alternative to some of the more familiar varieties in California and the western US.
Past favorites Bokisch, Core, Quinta Cruz, St. Amant, Truchard, and Verdad continued to present impressive wines, while others such as Bodegas Paso Robles, Forlorn Hope, Longoria, and Red Lily stepped up this year as well. It was not easy choosing the favorite wines listed here, and wines from Berryessa Gap, Coral Mustang, Mahoney, and Valley View (as well as a couple more wines from the producers listed) were among those who could have been added to the list. And as I’ve mentioned in the past, many of these wines are very well-priced in comparison to other wines of similar quality, so it’s well worth giving them a try. Each year, the TAPAS tasting event has grown in both size and quality, and I expect that trend to continue in the future.
Selected Tasting Notes
2009 Albariño, Estate, Southern Oregon. Very light color, ripe tropical fruit nose, medium-bodied with a hint of sweetness on the finish – this struck me as quite different than the leaner, crisper ’08 vintage.
2009 Grenache Rosé, Estate, Southern Oregon. Light pink color, with strawberry / raspberry aromas and a touch of spice, lively mouthfeel and a refreshing finish with a slight tannic bite.
2007 Tempranillo “Umqua Cuvée,” Southern Oregon. Medium-light red-purple, ripe red fruits and spicy oak, a lighter-bodied Tempranillo with fairly mild tannins.
2006 Tempranillo, Estate, Southern Oregon. Slightly darker color, this displayed a darker fruit profile along with some earthy notes, bigger structure in the mouth and more grip on the finish.
2005 Tempranillo, Reserve, “South East, Angle, & Knoll Blocks,” Southern Oregon. Medium-dark color, the aromas included plum, black cherry, smoke, and tobacco, with some oaky undertones. Richer on the palate, with chewy tannins.
Berryessa Gap Vineyards
2007 Tempranillo, Yolo County. Aged for 12 months in neutral oak. Medium-light color, herb/tobacco notes along with plummy fruit, medium-bodied with a big, grippy finish, a nice lighter-style Tempranillo.
2007 Tempranillo “Rocky Ridge,” Yolo County. This wine uses some new oak for aging. Medium color, with earthy plum and darker fruit, along with a distinct vanilla/oak overlay. Denser and more structured on the palate, with fairly big tannins.
Bodegas Paso Robles
2009 “Doña Blanca,” Paso Robles. 60% Grenache Blanc, 40% Malvasia Bianca. Very light straw color, ripe tropical fruit with distinct floral undertones, smooth mouthfeel and slightly sweet finish.
2006 Graciano, Central Coast. Medium-dark color, this shows plum, blueberry, earth, and herb aromas, medium-bodied in the mouth and not too tannic, with a long pleasant finish, very nice.
2005 “¡Viva Yo!,” Central Coast. 90% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Slightly darker color, with tobacco/herb and smoke along with darker berry fruit. Richer on the palate with bigger tannins on the finish.
2003 “Iberia,” California. 32% Touriga, 30% Graciano, 30% Tempranillo, 8% Tinta Cão. Sourced from Napa Valley fruit. Dark color, showing riper blackberry, spice, and vanilla/oak on the nose, big and mouthfilling, with grippy tannins on the tasty finish.
Comments: This was a fairly new winery to me, and it featured a solid line-up. All the reds were quite good.
2008 Albariño, Terra Alta Vineyard, Clements Hills-Lodi. Very light color, bright aromas of white peach / stone fruit, medium-bodied with a smooth, pleasant finish, nice.
2009 Garnacha Blanca, Vista Luna Vineyard, Borden Ranch-Lodi. Very light straw color, apple, pear, spice, and a slight leesy note on the nose, a bit richer mouthfeel than the Albariño, long finish.
2007 Garnacha, Clements Hills-Lodi. Medium-light color, bright fresh strawberry aromatics, along with touches of earth, spice, and wet stones. Fairly light-bodied and lively in the mouth, clean finish with mild tannins, nice.
2006 Graciano, Mokelumne River-Lodi. 95% Graciano, 5% Tempranillo. Medium color, this showed an earthy, smoky character along with ripe darker fruits and dried herbs. A richer mouthfeel than the Garnacha, it finished with medium tannins.
2006 Tempranillo, Jahant-Lodi. Medium color, smoky and leathery elements along with ripe plum and blueberry, plus a pretty floral note on the nose, this was medium-bodied with bright acidity and very good structure, with fairly big tannins on the finish, one of the standout wines of the day.
Comments: Once again, the Bokisch impressed me across the board. Markus Bokisch told me that he’d meant to pour the ’07 Tempranillo but had the ’06 instead – and the ’06 was terrific.
2009 “Ann’s,” Cochise County, Arizona. 45% Grenache Blanc, 35% Verdehlo, 20% Symphony (some fermented on skins). Very perfumey/floral aromas, along with ripe apple / pear and some leesy notes. Rich texture on the palate with a smooth finish.
2005 “Padres,” Sonoita, Arizona. 39% Tempranillo, 31% Petit Verdot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc. Medium color, showing ripe, high-toned plum, smoke, and sweet oak on the nose, medium-bodied with moderate tannins.
2007 “Padres,” Sonoita, Arizona. 58% Tempranillo, 25% Petit Verdot, 17% Cabernet Franc. Medium color, fruit-forward but not as ripe as the ’05, displaying boysenberry and blueberry, a bit of earth and dried herbs, and a big spice component. Fairly rich but with good structure and medium tannins, nice.
2008 “Padres,” Sonoita, Arizona. 35% Tempranillo, 23% Petit Verdot, 18% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc. Medium color, similar character to the ’07 but with a stronger herb/tobacco element, and not showing as much structure as the ’07 though still with firm tannins.
Comments: The ’07 “Padres” blend was very tasty, and was my clear favorite among the three vintages poured.
Coral Mustang Wines
2006 Tempranillo, Vista Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles. Medium-dark color, ripe blueberry aromas along with vanilla/oak, and loads of spice. Fairly full-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and pleasant finish, nice.
Core Wine Company
2007 Core White, Santa Barbara County. 70% Grenache Blanc, 29% Roussanne, 1% Marsanne. Light straw color, with minerally, waxy, leesy elements leading the way, along with apple / pear fruit. Medium bodied with smooth mouthfeel and finish.
2007 Core Rosé, California. Mostly from Tempranillo, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Light salmon color, with raspberry / red fruits, spice, and a mild tannic grip at the end.
2007 Core Grenache, Santa Barbara County. 80% Grenache, 20% Syrah. This bottling replaces the old “numbered” red blends. Medium color, bright red fruits / black cherry, smoke, and spice, nice acidity and not too tannic, a pleasant lighter-style Grenache.
2007 C³ Tempranillo, Santa Barbara County. Medium color, with smoky plum, earth, and dried herb aromas, medium-bodied on the palate with very good structure, and a moderately tannic finish, quite good.
2006 C³ “Crazy Eights,” Santa Barbara County. 78% Tempranillo, 11% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon. Slightly darker color, with more forward dark fruits than the Tempranillo along with a strong herb/tobacco note. Bright on the palate, with a more grippy finish.
2006 Core “Ground Around,” California. 39% Grenache, 36% Tempranillo, 25% Syrah. Medium color, showing fresher, livelier red fruit aromas along with touches of earth, smoke, oak, and a minerally element. Big and structured in the mouth, with firm tannins, it had a long, tasty finish, very nice.
2006 Core “Elevation Sensation,” Alta Mesa Vineyard, Santa Barbara County. 61% Grenache, 39% Mourvèdre. Medium color, showing a riper raspberry/plum fruit profile along with earthy notes and a strong spice component. Medium-bodied, with moderate tannins on the lively finish.
2007 Core “Mister Moreved,” California. 93% Mourvèdre, 7% Grenache. Medium-dark color, showing Mourvèdre’s earthy, funky side along with very ripe and spicy dark fruit. More full-bodied but not heavy, this finished with very grippy tannins that need time to resolve.
Comments: Dave Corey missed last year’s TAPAS event, and it was good to see him back this year, featuring one of the strongest groups of wine I tasted.
2009 Grenache Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley. Made all in stainless with no malolactic. Very light straw color, showing bright apple and spice on the nose along with a stony mineral quality, medium-bodied with a smooth, pleasant finish, very nice.
2009 Grenache Rosé, Santa Ynez Valley. From Grenache Gris. Very pale pink color, with strawberry, spice, and a slight floral hint. Lively acidity and a fresh, clean finish, nice.
2006 Tempranillo, Santa Ynez Valley. Medium color, ripe plum and blueberry with plenty of spicy oak on the nose, medium-bodied with some firm tannins on the finish.
Comments: D’Alfonso-Curran’s Grenache Blanc once again showed why it’s one of the best around. The Tempranillo was served rather cold so it was a bit hard to judge.
Dancing Coyote Wines
2009 Verdehlo, Clarksburg. Very light color, herbal/grassy fresh apple and stone fruit aromas, almost like a Sauvignon Blanc. Medium-bodied with a smooth, pleasant finish. Atypical for a Verdehlo but quite a nice wine.
2009 Albariño, Clarksburg. Light straw color, bright citrus fruit with some leesy notes, nice texture with bright acidity and a clean finish.
Comments: Dancing Coyote’s wines are among the best I’ve tasted from the Clarksburg AVA.
Dos Cabezas WineWorks
2008 “El Campo,” Pronghorn Vineyard, Sonoita, Arizona. 30% each Mourvèdre and Tempranillo, plus Petit Verdot, Grenache, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Roussanne. Medium-dark color, very ripe black cherry / raspberry, with clove and oaky notes, a smooth mouthfeel and lower-acid finish.
2008 “Águileón,” Cimerron Vineyard, Cochise County, Arizona. 90% Tempranillo, plus Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Souzão and Tinta Cão. Medium color, with some slight floral notes along with earthy plum, spice, and sweet oak. Not as ripe as the “El Campo,” this had better structure and medium tannins.
Comments: I thought the Dos Cabezos “Águileón” was the best Arizona wine at this year’s tasting.
Forlorn Hope Wines
2009 Torrontés, “La Gitana,” Silvaspoons Vineyard, Alta Mesa-Lodi. Made in stainless with no malolactic fermentation. Light color, this has restrained Muscat-like floral aromas along with tropical fruit, medium-light bodied in the mouth, with a long smooth finish, distinctive and quite pleasant.
2009 Verdehlo, “Que Saudade,” DeWitt Vineyard, Amador County. Barrel-fermented in neutral oak. Medium-light color, leesy ripe stone fruit on the nose, bigger mouthfeel than the Torrontés with a pleasant finish.
2009 Alvarelhão, “Suspiro del Moro,” Silvaspoons Vineyard, Alta Mesa-Lodi. Medium color, earthy, floral, and spicy higher-toned plum / blueberry fruit, medium-bodied with very nice acidity on the palate and moderate tannins, very nice.
2006 “Mil Amores,” DeWitt Vineyard, Amador County. Field blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, and Tinta Cão. Medium color, darker fruit profile with dried herb and sweet oak undertones, rich texture on the palate with a big, grippy finish.
Comments: Forlorn Hope is headed up by Matthew Rorick, who is also the winemaker for highly-regarded Elizabeth Spencer Wines in Rutherford. This was among the best group of wines poured at the event.
Harney Lane Winery
2009 Albariño, Lodi. Light color, ripe stone fruit with a slightly briny component, medium-bodied with smooth mouthfeel and finish.
2007 Tempranillo, Lodi. Medium-dark color, showing ripe plum and darker fruit aromas, along with spice and vanilla/oak. Fairly big on the palate with moderate tannins on the finish.
Comments: Harney Lane uses all estate-grown fruit, from the Mokelumne River area of Lodi. The Tempranillo is from 14 year old vines.
2009 Albariño, Clover Creek Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley. Very light straw color, restrained stone fruit and mildly briny aromas, medium-light weight in the mouth, clean and refreshing finish, very nice.
2007 Tempranillo, Clover Creek Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley. 93% Tempranillo, blended with a little Syrah and Merlot. Medium color, smoky, herb/tobacco, black cherry and spice aromas with a touch of sweet oak. Nice texture on the palate with moderate tannins, and a long tasty finish, nice.
Comments: Rick Longoria’s Spanish variety bottlings tend to get overlooked among his fine Pinots and other wines, but these were both very good.
2008 Albariño, Las Brisas Vineyard, Carneros. Very light color, citrus and a touch of wet stone / minerals, bright acidity on the palate with a lively finish, nice cooler-climate Albariño.
2008 Vermentino, Las Brisas Vineyard, Carneros. Light straw color, stone fruit aromas with some spice notes, a bit bigger in the mouth than the Albariño, with a smooth finish.
2007 Tempranillo, Las Brisas Vineyard, Carneros. Medium color, herbal and savory notes along with plum / blueberry fruit and spice, medium-bodied with good structure and moderate tannins.
2007 “Los Tesoros de Joaquin” Tempranillo, Livermore Valley. 89% Tempranillo, 11% Petite Sirah. Medium color, showing smoky black cherry, earth, and tobacco aromas, medium-full bodied, youthful tannins on the finish, nice.
2007 “Zarzuela,” Livermore Valley. 69% Tempranillo, 20% Touriga, 8% Petite Sirah, 3% Souzão. Medium color, more ripe and fruit-forward than the Tempranillo with more noticeable sweet oak, bigger on the palate with more chewy tannins.
2009 Tempranillo Rosé, Napa Valley. Made in neutral oak. Very light pink color, subdued watermelon aromas, moderate acidity with a smooth finish.
2006 Tempranillo, Napa Valley. Medium color, higher-toned ripe black cherry / red fruits, medium-bodied with fairly big tannins.
2005 Red Wine, Napa Valley. 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Tempranillo. Medium color, a slight floral note along with pronounced herb/tobacco and green olive Cabernet character, more full-bodied with firm, chalky tannins.
2003 Reserve Red Wine, Napa Valley. 78% Tempranillo, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium color, more plummy fruit along with dried herbs, some tangy notes in the mouth and a moderately grippy finish.
Pierce Ranch Vineyards
2009 Albariño, San Antonio Valley. Very light color, shy citrus and stone fruit aromas with a slight stony touch, moderately lively mouthfeel with a smooth finish.
2007 “Cosecheiro,” San Antonio Valley. 48% Tempranillo, 34% Touriga, 11% Tinta Cão, 5.5% Grenache, 1.5% Graciano. Medium-dark color, upfront plum / black cherry fruit with tobacco and dried herb, nice structure in the mouth with medium tannins and a long tasty finish, very nice.
2006 Tempranillo, San Antonio Valley. 94% Tempranillo, blended with Syrah and Grenache. Medium-dark color, riper plum and blueberry with a more noticeable sweet oak component. Fairly rich texture with bigger tannins.
Comments: Most of the Pierce Ranch wines are from their vineyard in the San Antonio Valley in southern Monterey County. Ian Brand, formerly at Big Basin, is the winemaker.
2009 Verdelho, Silvaspoons Vineyard, Alta Mesa. Very light straw color, nectarine / stone fruit with leesy undertones. Fairly rich in the mouth with a long smooth finish.
2007 Tempranillo, Pierce Ranch, San Antonio Valley. Medium-light color, smoky black cherry on the nose, very bright and lively mouthfeel with moderate tannins.
2007 “Concertina,” Pierce Ranch, San Antonio Valley. 74% Tinta Roriz, 19% Touriga Nacional, 4% Touriga Franca, 3% Tinta Cão. Medium-dark color, this showed some pretty floral notes along with earth, spices, dried herbs, and bright red fruit aromas. Medium-bodied and lively, with fine tannins on the finish, a standout wine.
2007 Touriga, Pierce Ranch, San Antonio Valley. Medium-dark color, displaying a less earthy, more fruit-forward character of darker berries along with a distinct floral element. Bright acidity on the palate with slightly bigger tannins, quire good.
2007 Graciano, Bokisch Vineyard, Mokelumne River. Medium-dark color, earthy darker fruits, some smoke, and a touch of herbs, richer mouthfeel and a long tangy finish.
Comments: The sister winery of Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyard, Quinta Cruz again featured one of the strongest line-ups at the event. I was disappointed that I just missed their “Rabelo” dessert wine, which I liked a lot at last year’s tasting.
Red Lily Vineyards
2006 Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon. Medium-dark color, pretty floral notes along with earthy plum / boysenberry fruit, dried herbs / tobacco, and a touch of nicely-integrated sweet oak. Good structure on the palate with medium tannins on the finish, quite tasty.
2007 “Red Blanket” Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon. A bit lighter color, this showed similar character to the regular Tempranillo bottling but with a more pronounced earthy component and less-apparent oak, with a lighter body in the mouth.
Comments: The regular Tempranillo is aged for about two years in barrel and another two in bottle, while the “Red Blanket” bottling gets less aging and less new oak. Both wines were very good.
St. Amant Winery
2009 Verdelho, Amador County. Light color, with bright stone fruit and guava notes, lively acidity in the mouth, and a clean, refreshing finish, nice.
2008 Touriga, Amador County. Medium color, darker berry fruit with a pretty floral component along with some earthy notes and an underlay of vanilla/oak. Medium-bodied and not too tannic, tasty finish, quite impressive.
2007 Tempranillo, Amador County. Medium color, earthy darker fruits plus a touch of oak, big and mouthfilling texture with grippy tannins on the finish.
2008 “Bootleg” Port, Amador County. From Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Souzão, Tinta Cão, Bastardo. Dark color, with dark fruit aromas along with some spice and a strong dark chocolate character. Rich and mouthfilling with a firmly tannic finish, very tasty.
NV Tawny Port, Amador County. 100% Bastardo, blended from three vintages. Medium-light brick-red color, with brown sugar, smoke, and very nutty aromas – more almond than the pecan notes from St. Amant’s previous Tawny. Great texture, moderate tannins, and a long, nutty finish, terrific Tawny.
Comments: St. Amant continues to produce some standout Iberian-variety wines, and their Port-style bottlings are particularly noteworthy.
Silvaspoons Vineyard / Alta Mesa Cellars
2009 Verdelho, Alta Mesa-Lodi. Light color, displaying ripe stone fruit and tropical fruit aromas, moderately rich mouthfeel with lower acidity and a smooth finish.
2007 Tempranillo, Alta Mesa-Lodi. Medium color, showing ripe black cherry, smoke, and herbs, medium-bodied and not too tannic.
2008 Tannat, Alta Mesa-Lodi. Barrel sample. Medium-dark color, earthy dark fruits, big and mouthfilling with huge chewy tannins – very much a youngster.
Comments: Silvaspoons Vineyard sources fruit to many of the wineries pouring at this event, and must grow more different Iberian grape varieties than anyone in the US. The vineyard is located in Lodi's Alta Mesa sub-appellation.
Stein Family Wines
2007 “Just Joshin” Tempranillo, Sierra Foothills. Medium color, ripe red fruits and earth, big and structured on the palate with a grippy tannic finish, fairly straightforward but tasty.
Tangent Winery / Trenza Wines
2008 Tangent Albariño, Edna Valley. Made in stainless with no malolactic. Very light straw color, apricot / stone fruit aromas, medium-bodied with nice balance and a clean finish.
2009 Tangent Grenache Blanc, Edna Valley. Made in stainless with no malolactic. Very light color, initially more shy on the nose, but opened up to reveal apple / pear with some spice and lees notes, very nice texture and a long, smooth finish, quite good.
2009 Trenza “Blanco,” Edna Valley. 50% Albariño (made in stainless), 50% Grenache Blanc (made in neutral oak). Light color, bright pineapple / tropical fruit along with a mineral note, bigger mouthfeel with good balancing acidity.
2007 Trenza “Tinto,” San Luis Obispo County. 42% Tempranillo, 40% Syrah, 13% Mourvèdre, 5% Grenache, 40% new French oak, 20% new American oak. Medium color, plum, smoke, and vanilla/oak on the nose, fairly full-bodied with a grippy but not harsh finish.
Comments: Tangent and Trenza share the same ownership. The Tangent vineyards are all SIP-certified for sustainable farming practices.
2006 “Tejada,” Lake County. 58% Tempranillo, 42% Garnacha. Medium-dark color, oaky plum and blueberry aromas, fairly rich mouthfeel with chewy tannins.
2005 “Tejada Reserve,” Lake County. 87% Tempranillo, 13% Garnacha. Medium-dark color, similar to the regular ’06 bottling but showing more earth and spicy, smoky oak on the nose, along with a bigger mouthfeel and a very grippy tannic finish.
Tesouro Port Cellars
2005 California Dessert Wine. From Touriga Nacionale, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Alvarelhão, Souzão, and Tinta Cão. Medium color, displaying very ripe dark fruit and brown sugar aromas, rich mouthfeel, with a touch of heat on the finish.
2005 Tempranillo, Carneros, Napa Valley. Medium color, showing plum and red berries, dried herbs, earth, and a smoky, savory note. Quite lively on the palate with fine tannins and a delicious finish, very nice.
2002 Tempranillo, Carneros, Napa Valley. Medium-light color, with herb/tobacco and earth taking the lead along with some smoky black cherry fruit, an almost silky texture in the mouth with nicely-resolved tannins.
Comments: Truchard always brings out one of their older Tempranillos to taste at this event, and it’s a great treat to experience how beautifully they age. They produce some of the most elegant Tempranillos at the TAPAS event.
Twisted Oak Winery
2007 “River of Skulls,” Calaveras County. 88% Monastrell, 12% Syrah. Medium red-purple color, black cherry and earth with some herb/tobacco and sweet oak notes. Medium-bodied and fairly acidic in the mouth, with moderate tannins.
2006 Tempranillo, Calaveras County. 94% Tempranillo, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium-dark color, more earthy, with plum and darker fruit aromas along with a touch of oak. A bit weightier on the palate with good structure and clean finish.
2007 “The Spaniard,” Calaveras County. 64% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano, 16% Garnacha. Medium color, more intense ripe red fruits on the nose along with vanilla/oak undertones, bigger and richer mouthfeel and more grippy tannins.
2007 “Parcel 17,” Calaveras County. 46% Monastrell, 36% Mazuelo, 18% Graciano. Medium color, much riper, almost pruney fruit along with earth, spice, and more noticeable oak, full-bodied with a firmly tannic finish.
Valley View Winery
2005 “Anna Maria” Tempranillo, Applegate Valley, Oregon. Medium color, opening with plum and red fruit aromas accompanied by earthy and savory notes, medium-bodied and not very tannic, with a long flavorful finish.
2006 “Anna Maria” Tempranillo, Applegate Valley, Oregon. Slightly darker color, similar to the ’05 but showing a somewhat riper and darker fruit profile and without the savory component, more structured in the mouth with grippier tannins.
Comments: Valley View’s Tempranillo was grafted onto 30 year-old Cabernet vines in 2003.
Verdad Wine Cellars
2009 Albariño, Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, Edna Valley. Very light straw color, showing leesy and minerally apple / stone fruit on the nose, nice texture on the palate with crisp acidity, distinctive and quite nice.
2009 Albariño, Santa Ynez Valley. 80% Albariño, 20% Verdehlo. Very light color, with lemon / citrus aromas along with a stony mineral element, brighter acidity with a clean, fresh finish, nice.
2009 Rosé, Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, Edna Valley. 100% Grenache. Very light pink color, fresh watermelon and spice, medium-light bodied with a refreshing finish. This was the best Rosé I tasted at the event.
2007 Tempranillo, Santa Ynez Valley. Medium color, smoke and herb notes are at the forefront, along with plum / boysenberry and spicy oak, medium-bodied with refined tannins.
Comments: Verdad now features two separate Albariño bottlings, one of them from the new biodynamic Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard in Edna Valley. Both were excellent – tough to pick a favorite between the two.
[Additional Reviews & Journals from Ken Zinns]