CALIFORNIAN WINE TASTING

for

THE IRISH GUILD OF SOMMELIERS

Hosted by Justine Adam, Wines of California

Delivered by Liam Campbell, representing the Tasting Committee

at The United Arts Club

21st November 2011

Chardonnay 2008, Scott Family Estate

Arroyo Seco, Monterey County 14% €14.99    @ Select independent off-licences

Classic Californian sunshine in a glass: tropical fruity aromas of pineapple core and papaya.  The honeyed tones suggesting super ripe fruit was harvested.  The mid-palate echoed the luscious fruit and in a creamy smooth texture induced by lees-stirring. Well-balanced acidity, subtle oak seasoning and a very long finish. The buttery character is derived from the malo-lactic fermentation.

Background Note: A Dijon clone of Chardonnay is used in his new American Viticultural Area (AVA): Arroyo Seco, classified as Zone ll (the coolest being Zone l (coastal) and the hottest being Zone V.  Premium quality wines are associated with Zones l, ll and ll.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Beringer Vineyards Stone Cellars

Napa Valley 13% €11.99   @ Independent off-licences

A youthful ruby colour with very little fading at the rim.  Pale in intensity.   Ripe and youthful primary soft berry aromas.  Fresh acidity and very gentle tannins. Secondary jammy blackberry fruit on the mid-palate.  Light-bodied and in an approachable easy drinking style.  Medium length and ripe blackberry finish.  A good example of a quality entry level Californian Cabernet.

Zinfandel 2008, Beringer Vineyards Founders’ Estate

Napa Valley 13.5% €15.95 @ Independent off-licences

Youthful appearance of ruby colour with medium intensity.  “Boiled Sweets” aromas from fermenting at low temperatures to preserve fruity scents.  Dark fruity flavours with a little more structure than the Cabernet.  Lively, vibrant acidity. Long length with a spicy note on the finish.  Mellow and gentle style of Zinfandel.

Background Note: Zinfandel’s ancestors are the Primitivo from Italy’s Puglia region and a Croatian varietal: Crljenak Kaslelanski.

Zinfandel 2007, Rutherford Ranch

Napa Valley 15% €19.99 @ D6 Wines, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6W; The Hole in the Wall, Blackhorse Ave, Dublin 7; Cellars Big Wine Warehouse, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 and The Parting Glass, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow.

Deep ruby colour and very viscous, highlighting the powerful alcohol level. Intense aromas with a “dusty” fruit character, typical of Rutherford, reflecting the AVA’s terroir.  An abundant super-ripe earthiness, harmonious and very well integrated alcohol  into the vibrant fruit flavours.  A well structured wine, stylish and with character and a very ong lingering mellow finish.

Background Note: from the Rutherford AVA one of over 13 in the Napa Valley.

Ménage à Trois 2009, Folie à Deux Winery (Zinfandel, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon)

St. Helena, N. Napa Valley 13.5% €9.99 – €10.99 @ Independent off-licences.

A halo of purple-blue on the narrow cerise rim of the wine suggesting a wine very early in its evolution.  Initially, a little volatile acidity on the nose, which disappeared quickly.  Concentrated ripe fruity aromas. A good structure supports the fruit burst of ripe dark berry flavours spiced plums and blackcurrant fruits.  Very clean and pure flavours.  A long length to this gentle and refined style which will have a broad appeal.

Pinot Noir 2006, Clos du Val Estate

Carneros, S. Napa Valley 13.5% €26.99 @ O’Brien’s  off-licences

The wine’s maturity is evident o the appearance – tawny russet reflects and a broad garnet rim.  Complex and mature multi-layered bouquet displaying initially, lean redcurrant and raspberry fruits.  Complimented by subtle smokey aromas from 12 months aging in French oak barrels.  A slight vegetal development evolving underneath.  Distinguished and very stylish  pure fruit flavours are harmoniously integrated into he excellent and well-balanced structure.  Refined and smooth silky texture.  Classic Pinot Noir.

Background Note: Carneros AVA stradles Napa Valley and Sonoma at the southernmost part of Napa at the mouth of the valley.  Cold air from the Pacific are sucked into Napa, producing a cooling influence, ideal for cool-climate loving Pinot Noir.

Tasting notes: Liam Campbell & Mary O’Callaghan.