WINEormous with the Occasional Wine Council

Carmen Micheli, Ken Barnes, Linda Kissam, Tom Plant, Robin Dohrn-Simpson & Marc Simpson

Temecula’s Occasional Wine Council convened recently at one of its many secret locations, this time to taste the wines of Buena Vista Winery. Dating back to 1857, this Sonoma winery is the stuff of legends, founded by Count Agoston Haraszthy. The wines we tasted this evening all carried a suggested retail price of $14.99. Skeptical, yet intrigued, we began with our first wine of the evening.

The 2011 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc set the tone. It was pale straw in color with what I considered to be a very faint nose, but on the palate white grapefruit exploded. This wine is crisp with bright acids and was extremely food friendly. I found it paired well with lemon and coconut cookies and a triple crème truffle cheese that I had brought. Doing a web search it was easy to find this wine for less than $10. Great value.

WINEormous samosas

Carmen’s Indian Samosas

2011 Chardonnay was next. I picked up green apple and pear on the nose and thought it was very well balanced. The fruit clearly shined through and the finish lingered. Robin had prepared a goat cheese, walnut and apple soup that was a wonderful accompaniment to the Chardonnay as were Carmen’s Indian samosas with Gorgonzola chive crème fraiche.

Our first red was the 2010 Pinot Noir and was it ever a hit! From the first sniff there was no mistaking this was a Pinot. Strawberries and flowers dominated the nose. This was another very well balanced wine that just plain loves food. It went remarkably well with Linda’s roasted bar nuts, the goat cheese soup and a Hungarian sausage that Ken had procured. For me, the absolute no-brainer of the tasting.

WINEormous mushroom ravioli

Marc Simpson’s Mushroom Ravioli

The 2010 Merlot was another story. A few felt the bottle might have been corked. I disagree. I found dark fruits on the nose, and I wound up liking the smell better than the wine itself. It did pair nicely, however with Carmen’s samosas and mushroom raviolis that Marc prepared.

Marc had actually made the ravioli for our next wine, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine featured a very expressive nose that featured blueberry pie. On the palate it’s a bit peppery and still youthful. I think a few years in bottle will reward the drinker. It paired brilliantly with the ravioli and the truffle cheese with this Cab was insanely good.

We concluded the tasting with 2010 Zinfandel. The nose reminded me of black licorice and plum. I picked up tart cherry on the palate. It went very well with chocolate caramels and Linda’s bar nuts.

WINEormous Buena Vista WinesOverall we liked the Pinot best followed closely by the Sauvignon Blanc. We were extremely impressed by what a good value the Buena Vista wines represent. Try some for your next get together. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.