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Want to end your work week in a fabulous way?  Go taste some really outstanding wines from Tablas Creek this Friday 12/10 from 4:30-7:00pm  at East Beach Wine.   This is a great opportunity to taste wine with Tablas Creek’s Tommy Oldre without having to drive all the way to Paso Robles.   He’ll be pouring six wines that span four separate vintages from the Tablas Creek estate.  The lineup includes:  2009 Cotes de Tablas Blanc (a new release), 2008 Cotes de Tablas, 2007 Syrah, 2008 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc (rated 94 points by noted wine critic Robert Parker Jr., not to be confused with Ray Parker Jr.), 2008 Esprit de Beaucastel and 2006 Esprit de Beaucastel.  The 2006 Esprit de Beaucastel is available for sale in magnum format, though from what I understand there are only a few left.  Buy one for your best friend or favorite wine blogger.  😉   This event costs only $10 and is sure to put you in the right mood to finish your holiday shopping.   And since East Beach Wine is located at 1114 State Street, you’re in walking distance from shopping (and restaurants) in any direction.   Happy quaffing and tell Tommy that you heard about the event from!

Presqu'ile Chardonnay

As the old saying goes, “no man is an island”, but Matt Murphy and Dieter Cronje, winemakers of Presqu’ile are good with “almost”.  Presqu’ile is French for “peninsula” (or almost an island) and it is the name that Murphy’s grandparents gave to a promontory of land they purchased off of the Missippi’s Gulf Coast.  It was a gathering spot for family celebrations for many years until hurricane Katrina destroyed it.   Years of fond memories inspired Matt Murphy to name his wine label Presqu’ile.

Dieter Cronje and Matt Murphy winemakers of Presqu'ile

Dieter Cronje (L) and Matt Murphy (R) winemakers of Presqu'ile

I was fortunate enough to taste the Presqu’ile 2008 Chardonnay at the Chardonnay Symposium earlier this year.  Unfortunately, the bright sun conspired with my camera settings and my photos weren’t good – in fact they were really, really, bad.  (Thankfully their winemaking is way better than my photography.)  Suffice it to say, Presqu’ile is worth seeking out.  The Chardonnay fruit is from Solomon Hills and Bien Nacido and is cold fermented with native yeasts.  Some is aged in stainless steel and the rest in neutral French Oak.  This wine is too good to pour for your friends who insist they only like red wine…which leaves more for you!  Murphy and Cronje also make an incredibly bright and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc that you can find on the by-the-glass list at Full of Life Flatbread.   Now, you have yet another excuse to go to Flatbread this weekend.  =)  They also make a Pinot Noir, which I am looking forward to tasting soon.  For more information on Presqu’ile, check out this great article that the Santa Barbara Independent just published.   Until next time, remember life is too short to drink bad wine!

2007 Ken Brown Cargassachi Pinot NoirI got some news from Deb over at Ken Brown that some of my favorite wines are running really low in terms of inventory.  There are only 12 cases (out of only 140) of the 2007 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita AVA) left.  I’ll be the first one to admit that most Pinot Noirs leave me wishing I was drinking a wine with a bit more oomph.  I am always on the lookout for what I call a “velvet hammer” which is a balanced Pinot Noir with deep, multi-layered flavors that make a smooth progression over my entire palate, with a long finish.   I rarely find these types of  uber-satisfying Pinots, but  Ken Brown’s 2007 Cargasacchi is a lovely velvet hammer, indeed.    The flavor profile is distinctly black cherry with baking spices and some earthiness.   Here are the stats for the wine geeks out there (you know who you are):  Alcohol 14.6%, pH 3.65, 100% Pinot Noir -clone 115 on 3309 rootstock, harvested 10/10/2007, French oak for 17 months.  Get it while you can – and tell Ken or Deb that Anne at Wine Nation Underdog sent you.

2005 Ken Brown Syrah A CuveeKen Brown is also running low on the 2004 Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah and the 2005 A Cuvee Syrah.   There are only fifteen cases left of each.    Both are outstanding, but I am a huge fan of the 2005 A Cuvee; I will sheepishly admit that I am such a fan that I asked Ken to autograph one of my bottles. The A Cuvee is a blend of warm climate fruit from Watch Hill Vineyard and cooler climate fruit from Bien Nacido.   Flavors of black plum and blackberry from the cool climate fruit and spice and garrigue from the warm climate fruit combine to make a Syrah so deep and luscious you want to swim in it.   Just be sure to give this one some time to breathe so that you get to experience the full spectrum of flavors.    This wine is drinking soooo beautifully right now but if you are the patient type you can lay it down for a few years and be rewarded for your restraint.

What do you think about Ken Brown Wines?  Drop me a line and let me know.   Until then, remember life is too short, drink good wine.

De Su Propia Cosecha
Even though I insist that I “drink wine, not points”, I was thrilled to see one of my favorite boutique wineries, De Su Propia Cosecha, receive glowing praise in Robert Parker‘s most recent edition of the Wine Advocate.   Kudos and congratulations to Chris and Deanna King, the husband and wife winemaking team of De Su Propia Cosecha.   Here is the review for De Su Propia Cosecha 2007 Red Luna Matta Vineyard:

Wine Advocate
rating:  “92…A sensational blend of 42% Grenache, 42% Mourvedre, and 16% Syrah that utilized whole clusters in the winemaking process, this deep ruby/plum-colored wine initially screams kirsch liqueur in the nose, but as it sits in the glass, raspberry, licorice, and lavender aromas emerge. The aromatic complexity is matched by a wine boasting splendid concentration, medium to full-bodied flavors, beautiful purity, and a silky, seductive texture. Drink this super-impressive proprietary red over the next 4-5 years.”

Faithful Wine Nation Underdog readers will note that I tasted this wine as a barrel sample (before it was bottled) and gave it high praise back in June of 2009.   I also mentioned the De Su Propia label earlier this year and said “if you can find it, buy it”.    So, there you have it, proof positive that Robert Parker reads Wine Nation Underdog.  😉  Well, maybe that is overstating things a bit.  Perhaps a better way is simply to say that Mr. Parker and I agree that the De Su Propia Cosecha 2007 Red Luna Matta Vineyard is an absolutely gorgeous wine, worth seeking out.   If you can find wines from DSP Cosecha or its “sister” label, Rey, buy them, you won’t regret it.  I know that Bob over at the Winehound in Santa Barbara has a few cases.   Get some while it lasts and tell Bob that Wine Nation Underdog sent you!

Foxen Block N Pinot Noir

2008 Foxen Block N Pinot Noir

Just released:  2008 Foxen Pinot Noir Block N – Bien Nacido Vineyard – just four barrels (only 100 cases) of this gorgeous wine were made.  I was fortunate enough to taste it recently at an event at Foxen and fell in love.   Block N is the oldest Pinot Noir block planted at Bien Nacido, which is planted with the “California Heritage” Martini Clone. The fruit was picked early in the day on the 6th of October.  The whole berries were destemmed, and fermented in a small open top fermenter for 10 days. Twice daily punch-downs helped to extract color, tannins, and the classic red summer fruit qualities into the wine. It was bottled (unfined and unfiltered) in early March 2010 after 16 months in 50% new François Frères barrels.

2009 Foxen Rosé of Mourvedre

2009 Foxen Rosé of Mourvedre with Foxen vineyard in the background

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