WINEormous wine tastingWhat a day! It began at noon with a tasting of nine wines from Montefalco in Umbria, Italy. By the way, I was alone. Nine glorious wines and no one to share them with. Needless to say when my guests arrived several hours later, there was plenty of wine left in addition to the five wines I had selected for the evening’s tasting.

While in Lodi, I tasted Jardesca California Aperitiva for the first time. No doubt about it, this is a unique beverage. A blend of three white grapes, Jardesca is fortified to 18% alcohol with an Eau de Vie and infused with 10 botanicals including pink grapefruit, bay laurel and pink peppercorn. It’s served on the rocks. Our panel didn’t quite know what to make of it. MaryAnn said the nose reminded her of Sen-Sen. Al called it “very interesting.” Ken called it refreshing and unique. All felt the $30 price tag was a bit high. Our tasters gave it just under three out of a possible five stars.

We moved on to a more traditional wine, Dry Creek Vineyards 2014 Estate Block 10 Chardonnay. The vineyard is in Russian River Valley and the wine was aged in 100% French oak, 28% new. I loved the golden color and apple nose. Kat called it “very very nice.” Kim said it was a “big bold California Chardonnay.” Ken picked up apple, pear and warm caramel. Al simply said it was “exquisite.” It got three perfect five-star scores and sells for $30.

I’ve had the good fortune to visit Holman Ranch in the Carmel Valley a few times, and not only is the setting superb, they produce excellent wines. We tasted the 2011 Heather’s Cuvée Pinot Noir. Brian summed it up. “Sexy, smokey, luscious. I want to go to bed with it and wake up next to it in the morning.” Ken said it was smooth and dusky with dark cherry. Al thought it had a lovely, soft finish and it was elegant. MaryAnn said the fragrance was gorgeous. At $41, this wine scored just over four and a quarter stars.

On my recent Napa visit I stopped at Tedeschi Family Winery. Emilio Tedeschi and I had a good visit, I tasted several wines and I brought home the Brothers Blend. Laura called it one of the best. Kim liked the color and nose and thought the price point was good at $35. Esther gave it five stars and called it her favorite. Al said “the Petite Sirah takes center stage.” It also scored better than four stars.

Finally we tasted the Naked Winery 2014 Oh! Orgasmic Tempranillo from the Columbia Gorge. MaryAnn called it rich and smooth with a hint of spice. Brian felt it was heavy, dark and mysterious, “like a tart on a hot night between silk sheets.” Ken noted the dark, dark blackberry bramble. Even at $80, it scored close to four and a half stars.

Tom Plant launched WINEormous in 2009 and is a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. Tour details and pricing are available at Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701. Ask about special discounts.