In September, Wine Line had its sixth birthday. The editor and I opened a 6-year-old cabernet sauvignon to celebrate. The wine was wonderful. It had evolved gracefully and had developed a beautiful bouquet. I realized that in six years of writing this column I’d never mentioned the term bouquet. I apologize, but bouquet (see note below) can be one of those “winey” terms that turn people off. My goal is to turn people on to wine and that’s why I started writing this column. I try to stay true to my mission statement, which is: You should enjoy wine, keep it simple, avoid pinkie-waving wine snobs, trust your palate and drink what you like.
Wine walks on the rise
My first column in 2007 was about wine tasting along the recreation trail in Monterey. Since then, urban wine tasting rooms have sprung up all over the place. The reason why is fairly obvious. Most urban tasting rooms feature small production wineries (fewer than 3,000 cases) and many do not own an actual winery. Their wines often are produced in industrial sites or in shared custom-crush facilities. By eliminating the cost of building a fancy Disneyesque chateau, the winery can put that expense into growing or buying excellent fruit, which in turn makes excellent wine.
If you’re interested in taking a wine walk, here are several I’ve written about and the number of tasting rooms each has: Carmel (12), Carmel Valley (17), Lodi (10), Monterey (7), Murphys (21), Paso Robles (14) and Santa Cruz (15). Taking a wine walk is a great way to taste wine. You do it at your own pace and without driving. The editor and I recently followed the urban wine trail in Santa Barbara (18) and had a great time. (More on that in a future column.)
On Oct. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m., the Lodi Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the Lodi Wine Stroll. More than 25 wineries will pour their newest vintages in shops and boutiques on School Street. In honor of Pink Ribbon Month, proceeds will benefit the Geweke’s Caring for Women Foundation. Tickets are available at www.lodichamber.com. Get your pink on and sip, shop and support a good cause.
What’s on our table
The readily available, under-$15 and good-value red wines I selected this year were the 2010 Alamos Red Blend (malbec, bonardo and tempranillo), the 2010 Columbia Crest cabernet sauvignon, the NV Bota-Box Old Vine zinfandel, the 2010 Bonterra Mendocino County zinfandel, Francis Ford Coppola’s 2010 Diamond Label Claret, the 2011 Nobile Vines 1 Red Blend (merlot, cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel) and the 2010 Volver tempranillo. Two of the best deals/steals are the 2008 Three Rivers cabernet sauvignon and the 2008 Niner Estates syrah.
Thanks for reading Wine Line and if I get too “winey” let me know. On to Year 7. Cheers!
Note: As wine ages the chemical reaction among acids, sugars, alcohols and phenolic compounds create new smells/aromas that are called the wine’s bouquet. See what I mean?
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