Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Los Olivos

Back to my old stompin' grounds! First stop? Stolpman! First taste? 2009 Rose -salmon-colored, dry, tart with citrus accents, very Provencal. Next in the flight, 2009 L'Avion, a very round, full Roussanne with an interesting hint of nutmeg. The vineyard crew made the next wine in the tasting room lineup, the 2009 La Cuadrilla from Syrah and Grenache  co-fermented with a little Viognier thrown in, next up 2007 Sangiovese - soft, mellow and creamy -a dreamy Sangio you can even drink on its own. The 2008 Originals had a meat and rhubarb nose and fruit and pepper flavors, the 2008 Hilltop Syrah was much nicer, more elegant and pleasing. The '08 Grenache was medium bodied round, fruity and pleasing. All in all a lot of stars for Stolpman this time around.

Fortunately, the tasting room person at Stolpman recommended the new kid on the block. Just across the street we found Steve Dragonette of Dragonette Cellars. Famous opera singer Aunt Jessica changed the name from Dragonetti. No matter the name, a bunch of winners here. Dragonette specializes in Sauvignon Blanc making three different bottlings. The three star 2009 Santa Ynez Sauvignon Blanc  was beautiful, round, and fruity with none of that in your face grapefruit so common in Sauv Blancs. The 2009 SB from Vogelzang Vineyard was balanced and carefully crafted, too. A good 2009 Pinot Noir was followed the 2008 Syrah with hint of eucalyptus and mint in the nose. The bombshell, 2008 MJM, named after the owners' wives was big and beautiful with a fabulous nose. This is definitely a winery to watch..

Every year I seem to have missed Tensley winery, but not this year. The wines were all good, but a little light for my taste. The most interesting wine was Detente a combined effort of Joey Tensley and Cecile Dussurre. The wine is a blend of 50% Domaine de Montavac Gigondas and 50% 2008 Tensley Colson Canyon Syrah.We first tasted Gigondas in a small Rhone style restaurant in the Maubert Mutualite area of Paris in 1970. The 1962 Gigondas was unforgettable. Gigondas could be called the poor man's Chateauneuf Du Papes, but in my book, anyone who gets to drink Gigondas is rich. BTW, Gigondas is another one of those reliable, not well known wines that you should jump at on a restaurant wist list.

Qupe has become one of  my favorite wineries in Los Olivos. This is truly a family winery. Every family member makes wine - Bob, the father, Louisa, the wife, and Ethan the son. Louisa's Spanish style wines are bottled under the Verdad label. 2010 Verdad Rose was a little sweet for my taste, but the 2009 Albarino was wonderfully dry with good fruit that gave it a fuller mouthfeel, almost like a Galacian Albarino, but with riper California fruit.The 2008 Qupe Roussanne "Bien Nacido Hillside Estate" had a nose of pear and fruit, and a fruity big bodied mouthfeel. The widely available Qupe Los Olivos Cuvee was excellent as usual and the even more widely distributed 2008 Qupe Syrah "Bien Nacido Vineyard"  was even better Virtually all of the Qupe wines were excellent, esepcially the 2009 Sawyer Lindquist - "amazing", "fantastic", leather, tobacco, panoply of spice, garam masala.

I got to Los Olivos early so I had a  cup of coffee and an egg croissant at Corner House Coffee.
Los Olivos is a lovely place with great tasting rooms, but the city, which only offers portable restrooms to tourists and wine tasters really had better clean up its act. As Jimmy Durante used to say only the nose knows!



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