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WORLD CLASS CENTRAL COAST WINERIES: New Releases From Calera, Domaine Eden, Mount Eden Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, and Tablas Creek Vineyard

John Tilson • 1/19/14        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

Ridge Monte Bello Vineyard

The Central Coast American Viticultural Area (AVA) extends about 250 miles along the coastline of California from San Francisco in the north to Santa Barbara in the south. It is approximately 25 miles in width and covers some four million acres with just under 100,000 acres planted to wine grapes. The region has about 360 wineries and produces around 15% of California’s wine grape production. Within this area the six counties of Santa Cruz, Monterey, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara also have their own AVAs as well as over three dozen other smaller AVAs within these counties.

Scattered wineries in the northern part of the region produced great wines back as far as the 1930s and into the 40s and 50s. Examples of these wines would  include La Questa, Hallcrest, and Martin Ray (to read an article on some of these wines and a history of old wines in California click here ).

In the 1960s and 70s the number of wineries began to increase and included Chalone, Mount Eden Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard and Calera in the north. Further south in the 1970s Au Bon Climat and Qupé were established. And, since that time new wineries have expanded rapidly. I have followed this development from the beginning. Today there is no question in my mind that the best wines from California’s Central Coast are indeed world class wines. Included in this group are wines from the long established wineries Au Bon Climat, Calera, Mount Eden Vineyards, Ojai Vineyard, Qupé, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, and Ridge Vineyards and the newer wineries Chanin Winery, Domaine Eden, Quinta Cruz Winery, Tablas Creek Vineyard, and Tyler Winery. All of these wineries I have followed since their inception and have written articles on each. A recent comprehensive article on each winery can be read by clicking on the links below:

Listed below are tasting notes on wines mostly released in the latter part of last year from Calera, Domaine Eden, Mount Eden Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, and Tablas Creek Vineyard. They are wines that represent real value in today’s wine world. The wines are made in a traditional, food friendly style and are balanced and very easy to drink. You can drink them now and many will repay extended aging in the cellar. If you have not tried any of these wines, now is the time to do so. They are available in retail distribution and direct from the winery through direct sale and wine clubs.

CALERA WINE COMPANY

Vineyard at Calera

Calera was established in a remote location in 1975 by visionary owner Josh Jensen who set out to make great Pinot Noir in California. This was a real challenge at the time and a subject that intrigued me from the very beginning of my wine experiences and was reported on in the first issue of the Underground Wineletter in 1979 (You can read about some of those early experiences, including a visit in the 1970s to Calera to taste the first Pinot Noirs, by reading the early issues and Retrospective Reviews of the Underground Wineletter by clicking here. And to read an extensive article on Calera wines and its history click on the Calera link at the beginning of this article)
The Calera wines are really remarkable and of consistently high quality with the Pinot Noirs capable of aging for a very long time. (Bottles in my cellar from the first vintage, 1978, are still delicious today. And, because of the miniscule quantities produced, the wines were bottled only in half bottles!) All the Calera wines also have very detailed information on the back labels. This is a policy all wineries should follow. Calera wines are available in selected retail outlets and direct from the winery. Calera also offers four different wine clubs offering special pricing for different assortments of wines (to read about each club click here). These are wines to buy!

Mount Harlan

Calera’s Mt. Harlan Estate bottlings are special wines made in limited quantities. While most attention is devoted to Pinot Noir through the six different vineyard designated bottlings, the Chardonnay, Viognier, and Aligoté are also beautiful, distinctive, and very consistent wines.

2012 Calera Aligoté Mt Harlan Estate
In writing about the 2011 Aligoté last year here is what I said:
Aligoté is a rather obscure grape variety. Aligoté was the original white grape of Burgundy. But, after Burgundy was ravaged by disease in the late 1800s, Aligoté was replaced with Chardonnay. Today only a little Aligoté is grown in Burgundy. In the Côte d’Or there are a few small plantings with producers such as Ponsot, Ramonet, and Roulot making particularly fine Aligoté. But, plantings in Burgundy are now largely confined to the Maconnais and Côte Chalonnaise. In these latter areas, the village of Bouzeron produces the finest Aligoté. Here Aubert de Villaine, the co-proprietor of Domaine de la Romanée Conti, and his wife Pamela consistently produce one of the best from their Domaine A. et P. de Villane. (To read about their wines click here).
Aligoté is even rarer in California and Calera’s production is very small. The first vines were grafted to Aligoté in 2004 and more vines were added later. Still, today there are less than ½ acre of vines in production. It is a shame that there is not more Aligoté since the wine has a lot of character and a bright crispness that makes it very appealing. The Aligoté from Calera is consistently very fine and this 2011 may be the best yet.

This 2012 is also really terrific. Alas, the tiny 97 case production is even smaller than last year’s 140 cases. The wine has a light yellow color and a great perfume showing hints of citrus and mineral with a faint underlying tinge of pineapple. With lovely citrus tinged minerality the wine has elegance and style with great balance and a crisp lingering finish. At 12.8% alcohol this wine is very refined and very easy to drink – Outstanding.    $21   Best Buy        3-yellow-stars

2012 Calera Chardonnay Mt. Harland Estate.
The production of this wine totaled 834 cases. It is light yellow gold in color with a deep complex perfume showing peach, citrus, and a tinge of apricot with just a kiss of spice.
Lush and round with lots of richness, yet maintaining balance and finesse, this Chardonnay offers a myriad of fruits with citrus, tropical nuances and a long finish with a nice underlying crispness – Outstanding.    $34    Best Buy 3-yellow-stars

2012 Calera Viognier Mt. Harlan Estate.
This is a really lovely Viognier showing the classic floral perfume intermingled with hints of lichee nut and peach with just a tinge of citrus. It is rounded and silky with beautiful balance and is brimming with floral tinged fruit. A nice citrus note gives the wine brightness and is a great complement to the lush fruitiness. The production total just 386 cases – Outstanding.    $30     Best Buy   3-yellow-stars

 Central Coast

Made from purchased grapes these Central Coast bottlings from Calera are consistently first rate and very good values. The quantities produced are also higher than the Estate bottlings and more widely available.

2012 Calera Chardonnay Central Coast.
This wine is made from grapes grown on 10 different Central Coast vineyards and the production totaled 12,704 cases. Light yellow in color, this Chardonnay has a lovely faintly floral perfume tinged with citrus and spice and is finesseful and bright with lovely pure fruit accented by a nice crispness. This is a very food friendly Chardonnay that marries well with a wide variety of  foods – Highly Recommended.     $18    Best Buy  2-yellow-stars

2012 Calera Viognier Central Coast.
The production of this wine totaled 1,206 cases with all the fruit coming from the Gimelli Vineyard in San Benito County. The alcohol is 14.5%, but the wine retains a great sense of balance with very pure floral tinged fruit accented by a touch citrus and a faint underlying spiciness. This is a delicious wine that is great as a compliment to a wide variety of lighter foods, especially salads, appetizers, and delicate pasta dishes – Highly Recommended.    $17    Best Buy     2-yellow-stars

2012 Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast.
The production of this wine totaled 15,000 cases with the fruit coming from ten different Cental Coast Vineyards. The alcohol is 14.5%, but the wine retains a great purity and is very elegant with a lot of charm. Rounded and supple with a bright underlying crispness the wine has loads of spice tinged berry fruit accented by a faint floral nuance. This is an terrific value in a delicious Pinot Noir that has  great early appeal – Highly Recommended Plus.      $26      Best Buy    2-n-half-yellow-stars

 DOMAINE EDEN

DOMAINE EDEN

Domaine Eden is a new property located in the Santa Cruz mountains very close to the estate vineyards of Mount Eden. Under the skillful watch of Jeffrey Patterson, the vineyards are producing wonderful fruit which Jeffrey is crafting into wines with a lot of character and charm. The prices are very reasonable for the quality. This is a winery with great promise.

2009 Domaine Eden Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains.
There were 34,114 bottles of this wine produced. Dark in color the wine exhibits a deep fruity perfume of cassis and blackberry with a tinge of cedar and spice. On the palate, the  flavors are expressive and the fruit is very pure again showing a hint of cedar. Full and rounded, there is a firm underlying structure and a moderate amount of tannin. Appealing now, it is a wine that will benefit from 5-10 years additional bottle age – Highly Recommended.      $35     2-yellow-stars

2011 Domaine Eden Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains.
This wine is made of grapes grown on vines from different clones of Dijon 767, 777, and 828 as well as historic California clones from Calera, Mount Eden, and Swan. The production in 2011 was 14,402 bottles. With 14.5% alcohol the wine is nonetheless very elegant and finesseful showing a very nice color and a lovely floral berry perfume with a touch of spice. The flavors are expansive and very pure with spice tinged floral berry nuances and the wine is beautifully balanced with a nice underlying and crispness and a long finish. This is a really lovely Pinot Noir that drinks beautifully now and should age effortlessly for many years – Outstanding.    $35   Best Buy   3-yellow-stars

MOUNT EDEN VINEYARD

3bighouse2

This winery was created in the 1970s from the old Martin Ray estate. I have visited there often since that time and have written extensively on the property and its wines which you can follow by clicking on the link at the beginning of this article. It is amazing that this site can produce an unusual trio of world class Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay year after year. Suffice to say that the wines are consistently brilliant and they age beautifully. I have the wines in my cellar back to the 1970s. They have been great for many years and remain so today. If you are serious about wines that are balanced and delicious to drink that will also age effortlessly for many years, you really have to buy and cellar the wines from Mount Eden Vineyards. The wines are available in limited quantities at retailers and restaurants across the country and direct from the winery as well as through their Eden enthusiasts club (to learn more about the Eden enthusiasts club click here).

2009 Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Bottled Chardonnay Reserve Santa Cruz Mountains.
The production of this Reserve Chardonnay was 3,180 bottles. It has a light yellow gold color and a deep perfume that is floral and spicy with faint tropical nuances. On the palate, the wine is full, rich, and rounded with citrus tinged tropical fruit and a touch of spice followed by a long citrus tinged finish. This is a very flavorful Chardonnay with lots of early appeal, but I would it expect to continue to drink beautifully for many years – Outstanding Plus.   $70  3-n-half-yellow-stars

2010 Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Bottled Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains.
The production of this wine was 23,616 bottles. It is a classic Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay that is delicious now, but with a very long life ahead. Light yellow gold in color, the wine has a gorgeous perfume with floral citrus nuances and hints of peach and tropical fruit with a faint underlying spiciness. Beautifully defined and very focused, this Chardonnay exhibits stunning fruit that is very pure and complex with peach and tropical fruit accented by citrus and a tinge of spice. Impressively rich, yet with impeccable balance, the finish is long and crisp. In a word, this wine is gorgeous – Extraordinary      $60   4-yellow-stars

2009 Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains.
The production of this Cabernet was 17,280 bottles. It is an outstanding Mount Eden Cabernet that is destined to improve and age gracefully over 20 or more years. Dark in color the wine has an intense blackberry and cassis perfume accented by hints of mint and cedar. Loaded with a myriad of black fruits, there is also an underlying cedar and spice tinge and impressively rich and balanced flavors with soft and well integrated underlying tannins. While the wine can be consumed now, it cries out for additional bottle age to be fully appreciated – Outstanding.     $60    3-yellow-stars

2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Bottled Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains.
The production of this Estate Pinot Noir was 4,504 bottles. It is destined to be a classic version of this wine and, while appealing now, it will evolve beautifully over 5-10 years and keep many years beyond. The wine exhibits a very nice color with just a tinge of amber at the edge. It has a wonderfully complex perfume with floral berry fruit accented by tinges of spice and green olive and a tinge of smokiness. The flavors are likewise complex exhibiting the same floral berry fruit with faintly spicy, smoky, green olive nuances. Balanced with a nice underlying crispness, the wine will soften and become silky over time. Be patient – Outstanding Plus.    $70  3-n-half-yellow-stars

 RIDGE VINEYARDS

Ridge tasting room

I have visited Ridge Vineyards many times beginning in the 1960s. Over this period of time Ridge has been the most consistently outstanding producer of red wine in the state. The quality here is remarkable and the wine making follows strict traditional practices with minimal intervention. Given the increasing manipulative wine making practices in California over the last 20 years, Ridge Vineyards stands as the shining example of tradition. Last year, Ridge introduced ingredient labeling for all of their wines. This spells out precisely what goes into the bottle. This is a practice that all wineries should follow as consumers would be astounded to learn the things that are being added to wines today (to read my article on ingredient labeling click here).

I have written extensively about Ridge over the years and the most recent article (with links to other articles) can be seen by clicking on the link at the beginning of this article. Special bottlings and other wines are offered directly from the winery through their three wine clubs which are described as follows:

Z List

Designed specifically for the zinfandel lover, the Z List provides you an amazing lineup of single-vineyard zinfandels sourced from historic vineyards and shipped direct to you twice a year. Members receive two shipments per year. The Spring shipment includes: Geyserville, Paso Robles, and East Bench. The Fall shipment includes: Lytton Springs, Pagani Ranch, and Ponzo.

Advance Tasting Program (ATP)

Since 1977, the Advance Tasting Program (ATP) provides members the exclusive opportunity to receive very limited, single-vineyard wines. Old-vine field blend zinfandels and Rhone varietals (syrah, grenache & carignane) remain our primary focus. Each ATP selection reflects Ridge’s winemaking style, emphasizing the distinctive qualities of geographic location, as well as grape varietal. ATP wines receive the same careful attention given other Ridge wines, including monthly topping-off and quarterly racking of barrels, analysis, and, of course, frequent tasting. The finest parcels of each vineyard are fermented separately, combined, then aged (almost entirely) in american oak barrels supplied by the country’s oldest and finest coopers.

 Monte Bello Collector

Monte Bello Collector members receive an automatic, recurring futures reservation for our renowned flagship wine, the Monte Bello, as well as priority access to our estate bottlings from the Monte Bello vineyard.
Between nature’s offering and our selection, the number of Monte Bello cases varies each year. We hope to fulfill our commitment to current members, but it is possible that in a given year, because of weather or the rigor of our standards, we will fall short.
The quality of the Monte Bello can be assessed shortly after harvest, quantity by the following February. We will keep you informed, and hope to provide your requested amount in all but a very few vintages. Our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Merlot, and Estate Chardonnay are made available to members at time of sign up (if quantities are available). Regularly scheduled shipment of new release estate wines is in March of each year.

To get more information on the wine clubs go to the Ridge website by clicking here. Wines are also available through retailers as well as direct from the winery. I have been buying, drinking, and cellaring Ridge wines for nearly 50 years and have them in my cellar back to the 1960s. And, yes I still buy the wines every year. I cannot make a stronger recommendation than this!

2010 Ridge Vineyards Chardonnay Monte Bello.
I first wrote about this wine in my October 2012 article (to read that article click here).

Here is what I had to say then:

2010 Ridge Vineyards Chardonnay Monte Bello.
This wine is made from a severe selection of the best Chardonnay fruit representing 25% of the 2010 Monte Bello Ridge harvest. The wine was bottled just 6 months ago and will not be released for another year. It is the best Chardonnay I have ever tasted from Ridge Vineyards and is not to be missed.
Light yellow in color the wine has a stunning perfume with citrus and peach intermingled with faint hints of spice and a floral nuance. It has great flavor and intensity with a marvelous balance. The fruit is rich and supple, yet the wine is not at all heavy and maintains a great degree of finesse. The flavors are complex with citrus and peach intermingled with floral notes and hints of spice and honey. The finish is long and lingering. This is a profound Chardonnay that combines power and elegance which is a rare combination –Extraordinary.   

Since that time I have had the wine twice. It is absolutely stunning and, if anything even better, with a bit more bottle age. I hope that many of you were able to purchase this wine. There were 675 cases produced and the wine was offered for sale last fall direct from the winery and sold out in 2 days. This once again proves that “If you snooze, you loose!” But, make no mistake, in a world of over hyped and over spoofilated California Chardonnays, this is the real deal – a true classic that will age an evolve over many years.

2010 Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello.
I have tasted this wine four times – once from barrel and three times since bottling. No question, this is a very great Monte Bello. Here is what I had to say in the above referenced article from October 2012:

Tasted from barrel last year here is what I said:
This was an unusual year. The summer was the coldest in 50 years. But a heat wave in October produced perfectly ripened grapes which Paul and Eric believe is some of the finest fruit ever harvested. The blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. The color is very dark and the perfume shows intense fruit with just a floral note and a kiss of spice. The wine is rich and full, loaded with intense fruit, and structured with balanced tannin. This seems sure to be yet another of the all time great Monte Bellos – Extraordinary Potential.

After bottling, this year the wine is again extraordinary. The color is very dark and the wine has an intense perfume of spice tinged black fruits with a cedary floral undertone. The fruit is concentrated and very pure with lots of depth and layers of flavor. This is a wine with great underlying structure that will continue to develop over a very long period of time. It is classic Monte Bello – Extraordinary.  

Tasted twice since these notes were written, this is one of the all time great Monte Bello Cabs. It is delicious now, but will evolve over the next 20 or more years. This is a cellar treasure in the making. There were 3,250 cases produced. If you missed it, the wine is still available from the winery at $160 per bottle.

Some critics have panned 2011 Zinfandels. This makes no sense to me. The 2011 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville which I reviewed in my last Ridge article is an outstanding wine and a classic Geyserville. I have enjoyed the wine several times since its release last spring. It is now sold out at the winery, but may still be available in the retail marketplace. If you see it, buy it!  And the more recent 2011 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel releases below also are a testament to the quality of 2011 Zinfandels. This comes as no surprise to me as I cannot think of a year when Ridge did not produce gorgeous Zinfandels.

2011 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs.
The production of this wine was 12,300 cases and is comprised of 82% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, and 2% Carignane. It has a deep color and a gorgeous spicy floral tinged perfume underlying the plum and berry fruit. Balanced with great fruit and depth accented by a cedary, spicy, faintly briary nuance, the wine has great style with a claret like quality. Delicious to drink now, but this wine will continue to evolve beautifully over many years – Outstanding.       $38    3-yellow-stars

2011 Ridge Vineyards Pagani Ranch Zinfandel.
The production of this wine was 1,175 cases and is comprised of 78% Zinfandel, 18% Alicante Bouchet, 3% Petite Sirah, and 1% Mataro (Mouvedre). All the vines here are very old with ages from 90 to 115 years. The wine is dark in color and has 14.7% alcohol which is beautifully integrated and balanced with the very pure fruit. The perfume is gorgeous and redolent with blackberries and mulberries accented by spice. Succulent and very fruity the wine is packed with black fruit flavors showing a slight exotic tinge and an underlying spiciness. There is firmness to the wine’s structure and the tannins are well integrated. Delicious and very tasty now this wine will soften with a few years additional bottle age and keep well beyond – Outstanding Plus.     3-n-half-yellow-stars

(Note: This wine was first reviewed in my Ridge Vineyards article of October, 2012 and sold from the winery to Z list customers. It is now sold out. Once again, if you snooze you lose!)

2011 Ridge Vineyards Ponzo Zinfandel Russian River Valley Sonoma County.
This is the list of ingredients taken from the back label:
Hand harvested, sustainable grown grapes, indigenous yeast, narually occurring malolactic bacteria, minimum effective SO2
The production of this wine was 1,150 cases and it is made from 97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah. The color is dark and the wine has a deep floral plummy perfume with just a hint of spice. Very distinctive with lots of very pure supple fruit with plum like flavors and a nice brightness, this is a wine of great structure. Appealing now, the wine will age effortlessly for many years – Outstanding.     $30     3-yellow-stars

2011 Ridge Vineyards Primitivo Lytton Estate.
Here is the background on this new Ridge wine: In 2004, we replanted a five-acre block on Lytton West to primitive, the Italian name for a grape brought from Croatia to southern Italy in the late eighteenth century. This is the same grape that came from Croatia to America, via Vienna, in the late 1820s as zinfandel.

A unique wine to be sure, this is comprised of Primitivo (89%) blended with Petite Sirah (6%) and Carignane (5%). Dark in color the wine has a spice tinged berry and pomegranate perfume accented by a faint briary undertone. Full and rich, the wine is 14.9% alcohol, but has balance and a nice underlying firmness. Loaded with a myriad of black fruit flavors and lots of depth, there is a slight rustic quality which also adds to the appeal. Delicious to drink now, but my guess is that the wine will soften with a few years bottle age and keep for an extended period – Outstanding.     $32        3-yellow-stars

2011 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel East Bench Dry Creek Valley Sonoma County.
This is another Zinfandel was released to Z list members last year. Unfortunately, it is now sold out at the winery. Made from 100% Zinfandel and showing 14.6% alcohol this is a classic Zinfandel. With a deep color the wine exhibits a gorgeous blackberry perfume with a briary, spicy tinge. On the palate there is a myriad of rich very pure black fruit showing briary nuances and a faint underlying spiciness. The wine is soft, supple, and lush with delicious flavors and has undeniable early appeal – Outstanding.    3-yellow-stars

 TABLAS CREEK VINEYARDS

TABLAS CREEK VINEYARDS

Tablas Creek Vineyard was founded in 1989 with the purchase of 120 acres of vacant land in West Paso Robles. It is a partnership with Domaine Beaucastel and Robert Haas as the majority partners. The first wine was produced in 1997. (You can read the background by clicking on the link at the beginning of this article). Since that time the wines have been consistently remarkable. They are very distinctive and unique as compared with the more well known California varietals. They are food friendly, balanced, and just plain delicious to drink! The wines are available through selected retail outlets and direct from the winery through their three different wine clubs (To read more about the wine clubs click here).  I encourage you to try Tablas Creek Vineyards wines. They are truly special.

2012 Tablas Creek Vineyards Patelin de Tablas Blanc.
This wine is made from four white Rhône varietals (Grenache Blanc 52%, Viognier 27%, Roussanne 16%, and Marsanne 5%) harvested from eight Rhône vineyards in Paso Robles. There were 2900 cases produced. This is a lovely bright, clean, fresh food friendly wine with early appeal and it is a great value. Light yellow with a faint gold hue the wine has a lovely floral perfume with hints of citrus and a faint apricot nuance. Elegant with lots of finesse yet flavorful and redolent with floral tinged fruit accented by an underlying citrus note, this is very easy to drink – Highly Recommended Plus.    $20  Best Buy    2-n-half-yellow-stars

2012 Tablas Creek Vineyards Côtes de Tablas Blanc.
Made from a blend of four estate grown grapes (34% Viognier, 30% Marsanne, 30% Grenache Blanc, and 6% Roussanne). There were 1725 cases of this wine produced.
Light yellow gold in color this wine has a great floral perfume that is faintly honeyed with tinges of melon and citrus. It has lovely melon tinged fruit with floral notes and faint hints of tropical fruit and citrus. With a nice crispness on the finish this is a really lovely food friendly wine with early appeal – Outstanding.     $27   Best Buy 3-yellow-stars

Varietal Roussannes are rare, but they are worth seeking out for their complexity and ability to age for a long period. There are also very food friendly and complement a wide variety of foods.

2011 Tablas Creek Vineyards Roussanne.
This is the eleventh vintage for Tablas Creek’s estate grown Roussanne. There were 620 case produced and the wine will require a diligent search to find as it quickly sold out from the winery. The 2012 will be eagerly awaited later this year. Light golden yellow in color this Roussanne had a deep perfume of apple with a tinge of pineapple, citrus and spice. Full and rounded with great apple fruit flavors intertwined with hints of pineapple, citrus, spice and a faint minerality, there is an underlying crispness that adds immensely to the appeal – Outstanding Plus.    $30     3-n-half-yellow-stars

2011 Tablas Creek Vineyards Mouvèdre.
This is the eighth vintage for Tablas Creek’s estate grown Mouvèdre. There were 650 case produced. With a deep color the wine has a lovely perfume of roasted nuts, berries, spice and a tinge of vanilla. On the palate it has lots of berry fruit that is complemented by tinges of spice, vanilla, and roasted nuts with a faint smokiness. With a great structure showing no sense of heaviness, this is a delicious balanced wine with a long life ahead – Outstanding.    $40  3-yellow-stars

2011 Tablas Creek Vineyards Espirit de Tablas.
This wine is made from four estate grown varietals grown on vines propagated from the Château de Beaucastel estate in the Rhone Valley. It is comprised of 40% Mouvèdre, 30% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Counoise. The production totaled 4400 cases. With a deep color this proprietary red wine shows a great perfume of plums and dark cherries with hints of spice and cedar and a faint underlying dustiness. The wine is complex with great blackberry fruit and subtle hints of cedar, spice, and faint earthiness and has well integrated tannins. Lovely now, but with the ability to age beautifully for an extended period this is a very distinctive and attractive wine – Outstanding.     $55   3-yellow-stars

  CONCLUSION

The great wines of California’s Central Coast are a real treasure. Once again, I highly recommend that you give wines from the producers recommended here a try. You will not be disappointed. Later this year I will visit and taste more wines from the wineries mentioned here. I will also investigate a few other different Central Coast wineries to possibly add to my list of recommended wines. Stay tuned!
In Vino Veritas,Sig

John Tilson

 

 

 

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2 comments for “WORLD CLASS CENTRAL COAST WINERIES: New Releases From Calera, Domaine Eden, Mount Eden Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, and Tablas Creek Vineyard”

  1. Wondering why your tasting didn’t include Laetitia. Some tasty Pinot Noirs. JBL

    Posted by John B. Licata | January 27, 2015, 12:15 pm
  2. Thanks John,
    I have yet to visit Laetitia. I tried setting up an appointment a couple of years ago, but it did not work out. I will try again some time in the future. What I am doing with the Central Coast is to identify what I think are the best producers of traditionally made wines. Maybe at the end of the day that will be a list of a dozen or so. It is still a work in progress so stay tuned.
    Meanwhile, I always tell people if you want really good California wines look to the Central Coast. And, in particular, to the wineries where I have a long standing knowledge and whose wines I cellar and drink often. You can always expect to hear from me on these wines!
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | January 27, 2015, 6:41 pm

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