Showing posts with label San Luis Opispo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label San Luis Opispo. Show all posts

Monday, August 10, 2020

Cali Sauvignon Blanc, Grown Organically

Bonterra Organic Vineyards bills itself as America's number one wine made from organic grapes.  They also make a trio of wines from grapes grown in their biodynamic vineyards.  The winery makes it clear that they have been doing organic farming since long before it was a fashionable trend.  Winemaker Jeff Cichocki feels an organic approach to growing the grapes makes a better wine.

The 2019 Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc comes from a blend of grapes grown in Mendocino, Lake, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma counties.  The grapes were fermented in steel tanks and aged there for six months, so there is no oak effect in this wine at all.  The wine has an alcohol level of 13.3% abv and sells for $14.

This pale-tinted wine has a fresh nose of lemons, limes, grapefruit and minerals, along with an herbal aspect that stays well short of New Zealand style grassiness.  California SauvBlancs usually feature riper fruit, and fuller fruit flavor than those from the southern hemisphere.  The palate on this one is all minerals, with a hint of the citrus in the background.  The acidity is zippy and the finish is long and savory.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Riesling From CA's Central Coast

Oh, how I love a Riesling with that petrol emotion.  The smell that reminds me of swimming near the flat-bottom boat with the Evinrude on the stern, dripping oil and gasoline into the water.  It's not environmentally sound, but it's from my teenage years on a lake in east Texas and I'm sorry about the water, but I loved that smell. 

Francis Cutruzzola and his partner Lisa Miller were longtime Sonoma County residents who merely visited the Paso Robles area - a lot.  One visit turned into a stay when they bought a vineyard outside of Cambria, where they grow two acres of Riesling grapes and five of Pinot Noir.

They work there with winemaker Stephen Dooley, who in 2019 will mark his tenth year on job.  My wife and I also like visiting the little town, and early on we were confused by the different pronunciations it received, with both a short and long "a" sound.  We gradually settled on the short.

Dooley is a U.C. Davis graduate who, the website says, has worked "the Napa Valley, the Australian outback, and the South African Cape."  His personal winemaking style has been shaped by those experiences.

Petrol.  This 2015 San Luis Obispo County Riesling from the Riven Rock Vineyard has that smell in spades, the smell that I long for in every Riesling I try.  It's so strong it's on the palate, too. There's also a wallop of wet driveway here, and even a hint of gin & tonic.  A nice acidity helps the wine be food-friendly, a natural for Riesling, anyway.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Great Chardonnay From California's Edna Valley

The six-year-old San Luis Obispo winery, Biddle Ranch Vineyard, does "small batch, handcrafted wines" from their 17-acre Chardonnay vineyard in beautiful Edna Valley.  They also source other grapes from choice plots in Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande, Santa Ynez and Paso Robles.  The four families who own the - the Fortinis, Rawlings, Roncas, and Woolperts - love the estate's "rolling hills, Chardonnay grapes growing on the vine, and sweeping views of the Santa Lucia range."  Winemaker Ryan Deovlet gets credit for guiding them "from grape to glass."

The 2015 Biddle Ranch Vineyard Edna Valley Chardonnay hits 13.8% abv and sells for $32.  Only 460 cases were produced. 

This Edna Valley Chardonnay shows golden in the glass.  It has a lovely nose featuring apples and oak, plenty of the former and just enough of the latter.  An underlying licorice note adds an interesting twist.  On the palate there's yellow apple, peach and a lemon-lime note, with a hint of the oak spice.  The acidity is brisk, while the finish is a long-lasting sense of minerals and citrus.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Edna Valley Chardonnay - It's No Myth

True Myth is a banner for the Niven family, pioneers of San Luis Obispo’s’ Edna Valley. Their portfolio contains some of my California faves, Baileyana and Tangent, both worth checking out. The label blurb explains, thankfully, that Mother Nature is the true myth, and she is honored on that label with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson,  "Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."

True Myth 2014 Chardonnay

The grapes for the True Myth 2014 Chardonnay are from the Paragon Vineyard in the Edna Valley AVA in San Luis Obispo County, a great place for white wines. In fact, they advertise that fact: "The Edna Valley provides one of the most special micro climates on earth to grow Chardonnay," they say, and the vineyard is a little more than five miles from the Pacific Ocean. They also note that it’s "the coolest growing region in all of California," which I can’t dispute but I have a hard time believing. Cooler than Russian River Valley? Cooler than Sonoma Coast? Cooler than Mendocino? Okay, it's cool.

The wine is aged nine months on the lees, half in a tank and half in French oak barrels, 38% of which are new. Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and it retails for  $18.

I have had a Chardonnay from Paragon Vineyard before,and this reminds me of it, quite a lot. It’s a SIP certified sustainable growing site and winemaker Christian Roguenant gets a nice full mouthfeel from the lees and the oak.

The straw-colored wine shows quite a bit of minerality on the nose, to be expected from Edna Valley grapes. The wet rocks and lime aromas are always a pleasure, as the are here. On the palate, there are tropical tones and plenty of citrus along with the beautiful oak effect - the wood is used in a very tasteful way. I vacillate between liking oaky Chardonnays and those with none. This one hits in the middle of the range and could be my favorite - for a while, anyway.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010


Ortman O2 Series Cuvee Eddy

Ortman Family Vineyards provided me with their three new wines in the O2 Series for review.  I've already written about the Sangiovese and the Chardonnay.  Today I focus on the Ortman Cuvée Eddy Rhone-style blend.

Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Petite Sirah from three San Luis Obispo County vineyards - Brave Oak, Dino Boneso and Wittstrom - combine in a wine the Ortman's describe musically as "a lot of smooth jazz with a little bit of rock and roll."  Winemaker Matt Ortman, a second generation winemaker - hence the "O2" designation - says the 42% Syrah gives black fruit flavors while the 30% Grenache and 19% Mourvèdre offer a healthy dose of earthiness and the 9% of Petite Sirah chips in some spiciness.  1,500 cases of '07 Cuvée Eddy were produced and it retails for $20.  The alcohol content is 14.2%

Cuvée Eddy pours up medium dark purple in the glass and the nose offers some great dark fruit aromas, and the promised earthiness hits hard.  Blackberry and black plum tread water in a mineral-laden nose which is then echoed on the palate.  The minerality leads the fruit around on a leash.  This is some dark juice here.  It benefited quite a bit from decanting - in fact, it became as smooth as silk.  Do yourself a favor - don’t drink it right after unscrewing the cap.  Give it some breathing time and you will be rewarded.  Richly.

I sampled the wine over a three-night span, and it got better - and darker in texture - each night.  It's a suggested mate with barbecue and pizza, and I can't imagine you could go wrong with that.  The intense mineral profile and lip-smacking acidity make for a very food-friendly beverage

Friday, October 29, 2010


Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast

Sunset's recent SAVOR the Central Coast event brought over 7,200 food and wine lovers to Santa Margarita, California and put two million dollars into the San Luis Obispo County economy.  These figures have been released by Cal Poly finance professor Kenneth Riener, in conjunction with independent research firm Productive Impact.

San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau Executive Director John Summer is already looking forward to the 2011 event, and so is Sunset magazine.  President of the Sunset Publishing Corporation, Barbara Newton, also confirms that SAVOR is set to become a highly anticipated annual event.  “For 2011, we are fully on-board, and our intention is to continue to do it.”

Southern California provided most of the non-local attendance, but San Luis Obispo County had visitors from as far away as Waco, Texas and London, England for the weekend food and wine event.