Sunday, March 25, 2012

Showdown Saturday

San Diego Wine Co vs Vintage Wines

We began the wine tasting at Vintage Wines where they were serving Sauvignon Blancs, $5 flights or $2 flights. As we entered, there was not many around, I saw Rick and he recognised me immediately, greeting me by my name. He was really nice and friendly. Good start. We decided on the $5 flight at the bar and sat down. The bar guy was quick and brought all 18 glasses of tasters to us, all organised. He was not only fun, friendly and courteous, he was also prompt with service (A+). We could take out time, relax and taste our wines, chat about them and other randoms (how Sauvignon Blanc feels like a middle aged women choice of wine - while looking after kids).

Taste Buds!

The flight had three New Zealanders, a Napa, a South African and a Loire (France).

2009 Kumeu River, Kumeu, NZ,
Smells and taste like an old grapefruit left on the kitchen counter top for the entire day. Has smells of lysol, the cleaning product, which was not very inviting. It tasted not too bad, with the lysol going away once you tasted it. But one cannot help thinking about someone cleaning the windows or the bathroom. Sad day. O

2011 The Crossings, Awatere valley, NZ 
This was sweeter than the last one without the lysol smell (huge improvement), and actually taste more citrusy fresh grapefruit than the last one. I recall having this in mentions where I rated it a little higher than this. OOo

2011 Spy Valley, Marlborough, NZ
 This smells of a flower bouquet and light honey. It taste citrus and sweet. I wish it was more crisp. OOO

2009 Silverado, Miller Ranch, Napa
Smells of honey and cantaloupe. Taste sweet with a little much acidity and alcohol at the end.  OOO

2009 Mulderbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
Smells like cleaning product and dirt. Taste of bark and raw green leaves not meant to be eaten. o

2010 Sancerre, Le Manoir, Loire valley, France
The difference of Sauvignon Blanc and any other wines from France as compared with other places has always amazed me and this wine is no different. It is as if we have to treat them with a special care because they are so different despite being made from the same grape. The Sancerre had a certain minerality to it and it seems pretty common for french wines to have that characteristics. The rustic taste I call it. It was not too sweet, had good taste with mainly the minerality shining. OOO

With a Marlborough on the New Zealanders team, guess who took the People's Choice award. By the end of it, all of us came to a same conclusion that the wines might have rated better if they were better chilled. Perhaps we just needed to drink a little faster. More people trickled in as we were halfway through.

We got up to browse a little and pay. I got to chat a little Rick and Bob about the flight while I paid, I wish I got to know what they enjoyed etc about the flight. Rick and I wine-chatted a little and I gave him my card like he asked for. Overall, good experience.

Onwards to San Diego Wine Co!

Torrey at SD Wine
There were a lot more people here than at Vintage. We browsed a little before proceeding to the tasting room. There was bread which was much appreciated although at Vintage they do tell you to bring food if needed, which other people did, but being absent-minded I forgot. The tasting room was packed and there was a wait on almost every wine which was a bummer. It was not too uncomfortable although I prefer the more relaxed setting at Vintage. Here is the line-up, a Sonoma county flight.

Cannonball 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma
Sweet and smooth. OOO

Casa de la Cruz 2009 Chardonnay, Sonoma
There was something a little off about this chardonnay but it was hard to put a finger on it. A little too acidic, not too smooth for a chardonnay. OOo

L'Oliveto 2010 Chardonnay, Russian river 
I like this better than the last Chardonnay. It was smooth buttery, just a little too much of the oak, although other people tend to like that. OOO

Martin Ray 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma
Simple cab that is not complex at all which is the very strange for cabs, known for their boldness and complexity. OOo

County Line 2010 Pinot Noir, Sonoma
A guy came up to us showing us his notes so far which consisted of 'good', 'kaka' and such. And this Pinot Noir, he pointed out had a 'kaka' on it. We then went on a whole trip about what 'kaka' means and where it might have came from. In the end, the conclusion was that perhaps the Norwegian kaka better fits this wine if we put some berries and fruits to go along with it. OOO

Leslie Hennessy 2009, Pinot Noir, Sonoma
I could not find this on Snooth and had to create it. I thought it was strange how it has been harder to find wines on this flight than the flight at Vintage. This was not as good as the last Pinot. It had a sunburnt raisin taste (go figure) and a weird finish that was not good. Oo

Blue Rock 2009 Baby Blue, Alexander Valley
Simple blend that had everything you can want in a red. Raspberry, fruity, juicy peaches and throw in a little spice and smokiness.  OOOo

Seghesio 2010, Zinfandel, Sonoma
Again, had to create a profile for it. Simple fruity Zin. OOo

Gamba 2009, Zinfandel, Sonoma
Interesting Zin. Fruity and almost jammy. It has a lot going on, leaning a little towards a dessert side.  OOOo

Notes and crumbs
It was fun to taste a range of things from Sonoma and have roughly two of each variety to taste next to each other. It was a better progression of life instead of just the Sauvginon Blanc drinking Middle aged women. There was a general consensus in the group that the Sauvignon blanc here was good and maybe better than the ones tasted at Vintage although I might prefer otherwise. Some of us bought some wines from the tasting and from browsing.

SD Wine Co
The prices of both places are comparable even to Costco. Vintage is more fun to browse with a wider selection and rare finds from collectors although SD Wine co was easier to browse with sections and everything well labelled. Wine tasting was more laid back at Vintage and one can bring lunch or snacks to go with the tastings while it was busier at SD Wine co. Both places had great services.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at both this wonderful places. Both are different and it will depend on the mood where I choose to go. Taste away!

No comments:

Post a Comment