We met a couple of times in February and tasted Francis Ford Coppola’s 2010 Director’s Pinot Noir. Chris gave it four out of five stars and liked the spice and fruit notes on the nose and said it was bursting with dark cherry. Char thought it was a beautiful, well-balanced Pinot. Ken also got cherries and spice and thought it was a great value at $17. Not all the tasters were fans. That was the first of three Pinots we tasted that night. Next we tried the 2012 Ca’ Momi Pinot Noir from Napa. Jake thought it was wonderful, with a candied fruit nose and well-integrated tannins. He awarded it four and a half stars. Finally we tasted Masut 2012 Mendocino County Pinot. Sandy found it very fruit forward with intense cherry on the nose. Brian said “pretty decent this. I’m getting sour cherries… Has layers.” It sells for around $37.
At the beginning of March we met at Chris and Debi’s home for an all red tasting, starting with Brancott Estate’s 2011 Marlborough Pinot Noir. Chris liked its fruit forward profile and thinks it will improve in a year or two. I liked the soft nose and pale color and found it very food friendly. Tony thought for $10 it was an excellent buy. We ended this evening with Ca’ Momi 2011 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Jan called it the best one of the night, well-balanced with lots of plum and smooth tannins. Tony was also enthusiastic, saying it’s drinking awesome for a 2011 and thinks in five years it will be amazing. Chris called it “the epitome of a California Cab.” It sells for around $20.
We had two more tastings in March, the first in Fallbrook at Tony and Alisa’s place. Naked Wines provided Carmen Stevens 2013 Angel’s Reserve Chenin Blanc from South Africa. If you’re not familiar with Naked Wines, you pay them $40 a month which they in turn invest in independent winemakers from around the world. Alisa called this wine crisp and refreshing and a super value at $10. Ken liked the subtle pear on the nose and melon on the palate. Amy liked it, too, and said it paired very well with limoncello cake. Two Temecula wines rounded out the night, starting with Lorimar Winery’s 2011 Sangiovese blend “Vivace.” Ken loved the nose of caramel and cinnamon. Kim called it a big, bold California style wine and enjoyed the blend. It sells for $38. Last up was Bel Vino’s 2011 Zinfandel. Tony said it was like a spicy Tootsie Roll. “Yum!” Brain said “I like this. It’s soft and coats the tongue with a velvety dark fruit. The Barry Manilow of wine.” It sells at the winery for $43.