Wine enthusiasts, industry folks and media converged on Aug. 17 at the San Mateo Event Center for the Family Winemakers of California Tasting.
Joseph Harbison, chairman of the Family Winemakers of California, wishes he had more members in his organzation. I should have followed up on his statement. Did he mean the number of family winemakers in California is shrinking, or does he wish more family-owned wineries joined in support of the FWC, the policy and political voice for small, family-owned wineries? If I am able to speak with Mr. Harbison again, I will ask him what he meant. The man behind Harbison Estate Wines on the Silverado Trail in Napa and more than 150 of his member wineries poured on Aug. 17 at the FWC Tasting. The event drew industry professionals, media and wine enthusiasts.
Among the highlights:
2013 Chateau Montelena Potter Valley Riesling ($25): Bright and pale gold in color, floral and fruit aromas ranging from honeysuckle and citrus blossom to banana and mandarin orange.
2011 Thirty-Seven Pinot Noir ($40): This Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir has a complex flavor profile with a creamy mouthfeel. Definite chocolate and coffee aromas, with hints of tobacco and crushed stone.
Elisa Correnti and Al Brayton of Thirty-Seven Winery in Sonoma at the Family Winemakers of California Tasting in San Mateo.
2010 Keenan Cabernet Napa Valley ($50): From the Spring Mountain District and Pope Valley in Napa comes this fabulous Cabernet, brimming with black cherries and mocha. Delightful nose. Medium bodied.
2011 Chaix Wines Cabernet Sauvignon ($48): Pronounced Shex, this wine by any name is superb, with all the characteristic dust the Rutherford appelation has to offer.
2012 Bonneau Los Carneros Catherine’s Vineyard Estate Grown Chardonnay ($65 1.5L): If you like creamy texture but not too much, this is the Chardonnay for you. Delightful crispness with a whisp of butteriness.
NV NELLCOTE Rose ($65): An incredibly satisfying rose made from Grenache and Syrah. This is not a lightweight. Pair with pork roast or Thanksiving dinner.
2010 Vineyard 511 Cabernet Sauvignon ($125): The Ojdana family proudly represents the Diamond Mountain area of Napa and captures its essence in the bottle. Rich, not overoaked.
2006 Corte Riva Merlot ($50): Mabuhay! Nieves Cortez is proud to be a winemaker and proud to represent her homeland, the Philippines. Her lineup includes a juicy merlot that reveals a lot of dark plums and even chocolate.
2012 Sojourn Cellars Sangiacomo Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir ($54): Complex flavor profile: tea, black cherry, forest floor. Pinot Report gave it 96 points, almost a perfect score. Can’t argue with their assessment.
These wineries produce small lots, so their offerings can be hard to find. But they’re worth the effort.