WSR Wine Blog

Wine tasting reviews, trips and stuff

Santa Barbara Vitners Festival 2011

For all those who are interested the dates for the Weekend Festival in Solvang / Lompoc is April 16th from 1-4pm, but make a weekend of it and enjoy the countryside and the plethora of wineries to visit and enjoy.  Most have extra stuff going on with food, wine and festivities.

Make your room reservations quickly as the rooms do sell out and then go buy a ticket or two.  This has really turned into a great event again!

2011 Vintners’ Festival Weekend
April 15th – 18th Pinot Noir

The annual Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Festival Weekend attracts wine lovers from near and far for an opportunity to meet member vintners, taste their wines, and enjoy great food and music over a long spring weekend, April 15th – 18th.

The main event is the Vintners’ Festival – a festive outdoor environment on Saturday, April 16th from 1 to 4pm. The Festival features the wines of our 130+ members of the Association, live and lively music, a silent auction and wine country cuisine by the area’s finest chefs. The Festival will once again be held at River Park in Lompoc.

Our wineries also host events throughout Santa Barbara Wine Country starting Friday – tastings of library wines or barrel samples, vineyard barbecues, winemaker dinners, wine & food pairings. Check back with this website for a complete listing of these great events.

You can also take advantage of the Vintners’ Visa – your passport to twelve participating wineries over the 4-day weekend.

Vintners’ Festival Tickets
River Park, Lompoc, April 16th, 1 – 4pm
$75 per person

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Road Trip | Leave a comment

Sonoma and Williams Seylem Weekend

A few weeks ago for a long weekend in Northern California wine country, a small group (11) of our Pinot group were able to enjoy the country side and fine wine, walk through the forest of vineyards on hilltops and valleys to enjoy a few of the producers of Pinot Noir and a few others along the Russian River Valley and Sonoma coast. 

This trip headed by our leader John Slater had a purpose, to visit a long time friend and wine maker Burt Williams (formally of Williams Seylem), coordinate dinners and gather wines that Bert and partner created in the early to late 90s made from a variety of vineyards. Through many Pinot group members and including Bert, a slew of wines were obtained and served at two dinner sittings at Dry Creek  Kitchen and Santi Restaurant.  (I have listed the wines below from the two sittings)

Over the course of the weekend we had tours at Williams Seylem new wine facility, Olivet Lane, Hirsch Vineyard, Brogan Cellars and a tasting at Selby winery.

Hirsch Vineyard

We really enjoyed the private tours at the mentioned facilities and tasting the new release of wines but one that stood out the most and was so appreciated was David Hirsch vineyards in the mountains up the coast line north of the Russian River Outlet.  He was very personable and really gave the group a real feeling as to what the process and history of his vineyard had gone through and continues to progress into making great wine, and it showed.

On Sunday through the numberous calls from Bert’s wife Jan, to her daughter, she scheduled a meeting for those still in the area to visit Margi and taste a few of her wines and hear about her story since Bert had been out of the business for nearly 10 years.  Margi is producing great wines and seems to have the touch in making great Pinot noir like that of her father. 

Margi of Brogan Cellars

I could go on and on over this weekend but I will just post the wines we drank for this special weekend and hope those who read this can and will enjoy wines from any of these producers as you will be experiencing quality at it’s finest.  I did not take notes on the Hirsh (I did buy wine) and Olivit Lane so anyone who can provide some additional details would be most helpful.

Selby wines were wonderful and we took her by surprise in her tasting room.  We tasted through all of here wines and ones that came to mind for me were the Sauvignon blanc and a non released sweet Simillon (get some) that was like liquid gold Saturn’s!    Her Pinot’s were great and she so graciously went back to her cellar and brought in some barrel samples of her upcoming releases.  She really has brought forth quality wines and look forward to drinking them again.

Thursday night we went to a Willi’s Wine Bar in Healdsburg which is a tapas style restaurant and had the following Wines:

Blanc Fume’ de Pouilly by Didier Dugueneoue
Cote- Rotie – E. Guigal
Jessie’s Grove – Carignane (02)
LeRoy Montagny (02)
chateau Certan, Pomerol (79)
Justin Justification (96)
Friday night – Dry Creek Kitchen 
Vueve Cliquot  1996 
Williams Seylem Sonoma County 1996
Williams Seylem Sonoma Coast 1996
Williams Seylem Sonoma Coast 1997
Williams Seylem Summa  1995
Williams Selyem Prescious Mtn 1996  
Williams Selyem Prescious Mtn 1997
Williams Selyem Coastlands 1996
Williams Selyem Coastlands 1997

Williams Selyem Olivet Lane 1993
Williams Selyem Olivet Lane 1996
Williams Selyem Olivet Lane 1997
Williams Seylem Allen 1992
Williams Seylem Allen 1994
Williams Seylem Allen 1996
Williams Selyem Allen  1997
Saturday – Santi Restaurant  
Paul Bara Brut NV 
Brogan Morning Dew Ranch  2006
Wooden Head Morning Dew Ranch  2007
Whitcraft Morning Dew Ranch 2008
Morning Dew Ranch  2008

Willams Selyem Russian River 1993
Willams Selyem Russian River 1994
Williams Selyem Riverblock 1997

Williams Selyem Cohn  1993
Williams Selyem Rochioli 1992
Williams Selyem Rochioli 1995
Williams Selyem Rochioli 1996

Willams Selyem Hirsch  1996
Williams Selyem Hirsch  1997
Williams Selyem Ferrington 1996
Williams Selyem Ferrington 1997

Brogan Cellars:


We tasted everything on her list below except the Chard and Zinfandel. 

2007 Lingenfelder Vineyard, RRV Pinot Noir
2006 Pinot Noir 10th Anniversary Cuvee, North Coast Pinot Noir
2006 Merlot Rosetti Brothers Ranch, Old River Road, Mendocino County Pinot Noir
2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
2007 Morning Dew Ranch, Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
2007 Buena Tierra Helio Doro block Pinot Noir ($90)

2007 My Father’s Vineyard “Margi’s Block” Pinot Noir
2006 My Father’s Vineyard “Shula’s Pond” Pinot Noir

2008 Hanson Vineyard Pinot Noir
2008 Morning Dew Ranch

2009 Anderson Valley (not released yet) Pinot Noir 

2008 My Father’s Vineyard “Jans Block” Pinot Noir 

 The highlights were the Helio Doro, My Fathers Vineyard (we bought the last few bottles).  Her 09 Anderson Valley was very good as well and you can buy futures. Then the Morning Dew was a good wine, the Merlot was a hit but was port like and 17%  alc. But lots of fruit!!

Just a great weekend and I look forward to returning and enjoying that Wine Country again!

Sonoma Trip Photos:

January 28, 2011 Posted by | California, Other Tasting Notes, Red Wines, Road Trip, Wineries | 1 Comment

WSR January 2011 Beaujolais Tasting

What a great way to start off the New Year if I do say so myself!  Beaujolais and Coca au Vin at Scott’s, what a great combination.   I was really impressed that these wines showed so well and unique to themselves.  Wonderful fruit, tourier and in the Fleurie,  Chenas and Moulin-a-Vent showed good structure and long finishes.  I would never have given these a second look when purchasing wines but at the price they are at and the quality of the wines, I will absolutely put a few on my shelf for drinking. 

I want to thank everyone for their kind notes and hope you all enjoyed or will enjoy Beaujolais from here on out.  Here is the list of wine poured:

O- Maison Ambroise – Cremant de Bourgogne                        $18 (WE)

Flight 1:

1) Terres Dorees Jean- Paul Brun – Beaujolas Blanc (char) 2009   $15 (HT)

2)  Hubert Lapierre – Chenas 2009                                $18(K&L)

3) Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais Vielles Vignes 2008         $ 16 (HT)

4) Louis Jadot – Beaujolais – Villages 2009                      $9 (HT)

Flight 2:

5) Chateau Thivin – Cote de Brouilly 2008                        $20 (HT)

6) Domaine Des Braves – Regnie – Grand Vine du Beaujolais 2009   $16 (HT)

7) Domaine Calot – Morgon 2009                                   $22 (HT)

Flight 3:

8)  Domaine Cheveau – Saint-Amour 2008                            $20 (HT)

9) Domain Cheysson – Chiroubles                                  $16 (HT)

10) Terres Dorees – Fleurie 2009                                 $24 (WE)

Flight 4:

11) Chateau des Capitans – Julienas  2009                        $16 (HT)

12) Pascal Granger Earl – Julienas Grand Reserve  2005           $22 (HT)

13) Thibault Liger Belair – Moulin a Vent 2009                   $25 (WE)

January 11, 2011 Posted by | France, Group Tasting Notes, Red Wines | 1 Comment