Tuesday, December 7, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE TOP 100 WINES 2010: CENTRAL COAST


Wine News!

The annual listing of the Top 100 Wines of the year, in the estimation of The San Francisco Chronicle, is out. Read the whole list here.  The following are the wines of California's Central Coast which made the Chronicle's list.  Included are Chronicle's comments on each wine.

2009 Alban Vineyards Central Coast Viognier ($24):
"John Alban's estate Viognier helped build his expert reputation, but this more affordable bottling is a worthy tribute to his full-bore winemaking.  A limpid nose of honeysuckle, ginger and cardamom hints at the opulence, with lots of tangerine and lemon."

2009 Zocker Paragon Vineyard Edna Valley Gruner Veltliner ($20):
"Gruner has mostly been one of those noble experiments in these parts, notable more for the effort than the results.  But Zocker, a sister label to Tangent, has succeeded with one that can rival its Austrian counterparts.  Proper notes of white pepper, peach and snap pea, with a slight soapstone edge.  Is Gruner the great hope of Edna Valley?"

2008 Alma Rosa La Encantada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($43):
"Santa Barbara wine pioneer Richard Sanford (Sanford & Benedict) is soaring with his new label.  This gorgeous estate bottling is heady with tobacco and nutmeg, and a balance of delicate dark blue fruit and tangy wild strawberry."

2008 Alta Maria Vineyards Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir ($25):
"This joint effort from James Ontiveros and Paul Wilkins is brightly engaging and irresistible, a perfect counterpoint to their profound Native9 wines.  A heady nose of forest floor, pine needle and resin give that woodsy edge to dusky strawberry and moist earth.  Lighter in step, and terrifically juicy."

2008 Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($50):
"The perfect Santa Barbara matchup - winemaker Jim Clendenen and the historic Sanford & Benedict site.  A smoky cola-edged, nuanced take, with lots of robust dark cherry and dried moss.  Opulent and complex, from Santa Rita's most famed site."

2008 Dragonette Cellars Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir ($38):
"This young label founded by Steve and John Dragonette and Brandon Sparks-Gillis is tapping into some of Santa Barbara's best vineyards.  This effort from a colder site southwest of the Santa Rita Hills, aged in neutral oak, landed at just 13.3 percent alcohol - and with that has come remarkable depth and refinement - roasted orange highlights and a warm mace spice and musk, plus radiant raspberry and cherry."

2007 Caliza Azimuth Paso Robles Red Wine ($45):
"A fantastic expression of the robust Paso style, with bright Grenache fruit and spicy Syrah in good balance, with a slight sweetness offset by lots of brine and allspice, and a bright, juicy finish that also reveals the darker Mourvedre undertones."

2007 QupĂ© Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Syrah ($30):
"Bob Lindquist's benchmark Syrah from this Santa Barbara County site is in gorgeous shape.  Dark and earthy, with brawny peppercorn spice, dusky plum and fine, delicious tannins.  It's equally rewarding whether you drink it now or age it."

2008 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Paso Robles Red Wine ($50):
"A leaner vintage has made Tablas' Mourvedre-dominant Esprit (with Grenache, Syrah and Counoise for the rest) a more aromatic, nuanced thing.  Dried sage and oregano, a bright mineral component, fresh blueberry and baked raspberry, with a leathery profile to the young, ripe tannins."

2007 Three Saints Santa Ynez Valley Syrah ($18):
"Winemaker Nick de Luca delivered a ton of nuance in this affordable bottle from Star Lane's second label.  Thirty percent of the wine was aged in steel, providing a welcome freshness, amid a gorgeous nose of milled pepper, anise and black currant."

2008 Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Zinfandel ($16):
"From the Margarita Vineyard at the southern edge of the Paso Robles appellation, winemaker Mike Sinor has crafted a dense, pure effort that's surprisingly nuanced, with violets, fresh black cherry, cardamom and juicy raspberry.  A slight bit of sweetness on the finish offers gratification, but despite its size (a solid 15 percent alcohol) it's a reminder that the big Paso style doesn't have to be makeup-laden."

- Excerpted from the San Francisco Chronicle.  Full article here.