Monday, May 31, 2010


Core Wine Company - Dave Corey entered the wine industry in the mid 1990s in successive positions with Cambria Winery and Kendall-Jackson Vineyards. He started his own company in 1999, consulting vineyards on technical issues. Now, he is a full-time winemaker. Dave and his wife Becky head up Core Wine Company, and they share hosting duties in the tasting room in Old Orcutt. The old section of Orcutt may not be a killer destination, but it is a nice little place with a ton of small-town charm right off the freeway. Addamo Estate Vieyards' tasting room is right across the street from Core Wine, so it's a great little stop for some wine tasting.

The Fruit

Core Wine's main fruit source is the Alta Mesa Vineyard in eastern Santa Barbara County. They get additional grapes from Laetitia, Camp 4, Rodney's and French Camp vineyards, so their wines are all Santa Barbara County.

The People

When I dropped in to Core Wine, it was Becky behind the counter, pouring and talking about their wines. She and Dave share wine duties as well as home duties, so I would imagine you'll rarely find both of them in the tasting room together. Their operation is so small, their website explains, that Becky is "Employee Of The Month" - every month.

The Wine

Core Wine has four different brands. The Core label focuses on Rhone blends, Kuyam on Bordeaux blends, C3 features Tempranillo-based wines and Turchi specializes in single-varietal wines. On my visit, Becky poured comparisons of two vintages from the "hard core" and "elevation sensation" wines.

The 2006 "elevation sensation" is a lean blend of 61% Grenache and 39% Mourvèdre from the Alta Mesa vineyard.  The nose is mellow and the wine is medium weight and very smooth.  Cherry and earth on the palate made me think instantly of Pinot Noir.  The 2007 vintage struck me favorably, too, with the main difference being a brighter nose.

The "hard core" wine also has Mourvèdre and Grenache from Alta Mesa, with the addition of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in this Santa Barbara County blend.  The 2006 vintage has a brilliant nose with a fair amount of wood influence.  I get a lot more wood in this wine than I did in the "elevation sensation," probably due to the presence of the Cab and Syrah.  Sour cherry on the palate is abetted by firm tannins.  The 2007 vintage boosts the Mourvèdre and Cab percentages while backing off the Grenache.  This results in a wine that is a little darker in attitude than the '06, but just as lip-smackingly juicy.

Core Wine also features a pair of white Rhone blends - Grenache Blanc/Roussanne/Marsanne and Roussanne/Marsanne - as well as a rosé that sports ten different grape varieties and a late harvest Grenache called Candy Core.  Bordeaux fans will want to investigate the Kuyam label while the C3 sticker provides several Tempranillo wines, both in single-varietal and blended form. 

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