kwglgreek.jpgWhile sipping on 2006 Dionysos Korinthiakos Topikos Corinthian White Wine, Greece, I reflected on the week in wine that I have just finished. I was attending the Monterey Greek Fest in Monterey and enjoying the flavors of the Greek Islands and trying their wine, beer and of ouzo! The wine, which was much, better than the last Greek wine I had tried was while not fresh, had some good depth and interesting layers of orange peel, citrus, melon and sherry notes. The beer was a slight improvement with more refreshing acidity and sweetness, which was nice on such a sunny day. The Ouzo burned and reminded me why I don’t drink it, but it was a good way to end this festive and exciting day, and week!
The week started at the Family Winemakers Tasting in San Francisco, and ended over ouzo. The Family’s is always a great tasting and lively show for the trade and the public alike with hundreds of small and rare producers showing off their best wines. I was amazed at the overall quality this year, it was hard to find really bad wine and the selection of remarkable wines was outstanding. From Pahlmeyer Chardonnay to Mount Eden Estate Pinot Noir things were just fantastic, and I enjoyed catching up with many of my favorite producers. My local heroes, Richard Alfaro, Joe Martin and Jack Galante were winning great praise with their latest offerings, with the Martin Alfaro Deer Park Pinot Noir and the Galante Blackjack Cabernet getting lots of attention.
A couple of wines that really stood out were the 2006 Ancien Pinot Noir Red Dog Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain, 2006 Robert Biale Zinfandel Aldo’s Vineyard, Napa Valley, 2006 Lamborn Family Vineyards Zinfandel Howell Mountain, 2006 Heintz Family Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, and the 2006 Mount Eden Pinot Noir Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains. All of which rated in the 92-94 Point range and offer something special in their range of wines. I can highly recommend these wines, and urge you to chase them down.
I also recently tasted through the line up of Hartwell Estate wines and was highly impressed, and was left in awe of their Estate Cabernet and Merlot. I had the 2004 Hartwell Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags’ Leap District, Napa Valley rated at 96 Points and the 2005 Hartwell Estate Merlot, Napa Valley at 94 Points, both wines were super and left me wanting more. These can be ordered through Rancho Cellars, by request only. Only tiny amounts are available retail, so get on it now or they will be gone.
Before my week ended I returned to my friend Jack Galante’s ranch, yeah I just can’t stay away from this beautiful and amazing place to taste from barrel and do a little more research. Jack is a great host and welcomed me again like a family member, for which I am honored. He pulled samples of his 2007 Galante Vineyards Pinot Noir Almond Flat Vineyard, and I was blown away with its elegance all ready and light touch, I think this vintage is a break through for this wine. Make note and reserve some if you like interesting and unique Pinot Noir. Then he regaled us with tastes from barrel of his famed Blackjack Pasture Cabernet from the 2007 vintage, and again this was awesome with big flavors, chocolate-like textures and stunning depth. He also showed off some barrel selections of reserve wines and component blends, all of which were showing great. Jack is riding a big high right now and if you get a chance to visit Carmel or Carmel Valley look up Galante Vineyards. Bravo Jack, you are rocking it right now, keep it up!

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