WINEormous wine tastingBig surprise, I know. Once again I rallied the troops and they responded in spades! We had a full house at Ken and Taryn’s with food and wine galore.

We kicked off the evening with the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc from Tom Gore Vineyards in Sonoma. Tom calls himself a farmer and is a firm believer in getting it right in the vineyard. Kim called it bright and “zippy.” I like the soft, tropical nose and found it well-balanced. Tony called it a great value for the $13 price. It scored an average of three and a half out of a possible five stars.

Our next wine came with a View-Master. Remember those? You put in a little picture wheel and click to scroll through 3-D images. The makers point with Harken is to bring back the days of toasty, buttery Chardonnay. The 2015 barrel fermented Chardonnay is 100% barrel fermented, went through malolactic fermentation and spent seven months in 80% American and 20% new French oak. Allison gave it a perfect five-star score. Sue found it a little too buttery. Ken liked the “wonderful” balance and liked the stone fruit notes. Brian called it “crude, but sexy.” At $15 it also averaged three and a half stars.

We tasted a Garnacha from Spain, the 2013 Las Rocas. Jim called it a good value for a well-made wine. Ken called it very drinkable and liked the $10 price tag. Tony also thought the price was right and recommended letting it sit in the glass for 30 minutes or so. Once again, another three and a half star score.

We moved to Italy for the 2014 Donnatà Nero D’Avola. Jean called it a food wine. Al liked the nose and said it was ok for the price. Judi said it was well-balanced with good varietal flavor, Sue called it rich and mellow. At $10, it scored close to three and three-quarters stars.

Golf’s Ryder Cup concluded recently, with team USA taking home top honors. We tasted the Mouton Cadet Ryder Cup wine from France. It’s a Bordeaux blend that Jean called very traditional and smooth. Tony said it was a nice bottle for $15. Judi called it the “best of the night” with a nice mouth feel. It scored nearly four stars.

Finally we spent a return visit to Sonoma for the 2013 Merlot from Dry Creek Vineyard. 85% Merlot with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, it spent 17 months in French and Hungarian oak. Sue called it “so mellow.” Jim found it a bit tannic. I loved its lingering finish and called it the perfect Merlot. Tony said “Dry Creek is always a winner.” At $24 it scored nearly four 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.