Thursday, May 31, 2012

Proprietor's Reserve


I got an email from Proprietor's Reserve asking the following question to win a free seat for Jaffurs Winemaker dinner that night.  Name one of the two varietals of wine that Santa Barbara County is most known for? Having visited recently, I answered right away (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) and got two seats for the price of one ($50 per seat regular price)!
Cozy setting

The menu was as follows:
2009 Thompson Vineyard Grenache Blanc
Honey Goat Cheese | Grilled Bosc | Prosciutto | Garlic Asiago Crostini
2010 Santa Barbara County Viognier
Seared Shrimp + Scallop | Herbed Baby Greens | Toasted Hazelnut | Grilled Yellow Squash | Red Bell | Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Salad and crostini
2009 Santa Barbara County Grenache
Chicken Normandy | Green Apple | Dried Cherries |Toasted Pecan | Thyme Wild Rice

Chicken Normandy
2010 Santa Barbara County Syrah
Braised Pork Roast | Boysenberry Syrah Reduction | Sweet Potato Mash | Sage Butter

2010 Thompson Vineyard Petite Sirah
Grilled Chicken | Andouille | Crimini | Artichoke | Roasted Red Bell Pepper | Tarragon Cream | Crusty Bread

Lemon Crème Brûlèe | Mixed Berries | Chambord Sauce

Creme Brulee
We arrived a few minutes late to find a group of people who have gathered outside the shopfront. It was a small cozy place with strategically thought out layout. The first and second course had already been served when we were seated along with a couple who were regulars. It began with a brief introduction about the Proprietor's and then on to Jaffurs before we began our courses.

The food was intricate and delicious, pairing wonderfully with the wines. What I was most impressed with was how personal it was. The winemaker of Jaffurs Matt Brady introduced each of the wines and Erin Sealy, who was the hostess (also the cook!) introduced the food in a fun way of going through her thought process of cooking and pairing with the wine. I would love to come back for more! More about the wines later!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


This was part of a package deal online which sells pretty unknown wines ( I have never been able to find any information on the wines I bought elsewhere although their recent selection seem pretty decent.

Bellchambers Petite Sirah 2010

I could smell leather, berries and some spices and it tasted like berries and ripe cherries along with a hint of tobacco. Obvious tannins and simple flavors, not complex. OOo

I had it with Japanese curry which is relatively spicy. It definitely brought out the bitter tannins although the fruitiness along with residual sugar and spice complements the dish pretty well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bacchus Brown Bag

Fill in the blanks and win!
I have been hyping myself up for B3 on Saturday and it finally happened!

First things first, the place was not difficult to find but as is every downtown, parking was not fun. The surrounding shops were under renovation or for rent, with two huge barrels marking the entrance of Bacchus.

There was a feel of a dungeon as we went down the stairs to discover a little cellar as if we walked into a whole new world. The deco was elegant and simple, nice wood tables arranged in a comfortable manner and mood lights lining the walls. The atmosphere was romantic yet casual. Browsing their selection, it was definitely not one I knew well.

We went straight to their brown bag. It was very well organised and people were friendly and helpful. It was fun and exciting to talk about what we were tasting and what we thought each one was. They even had a little guide to the varietals that were in the brown bag.

It was pretty difficult with all the possibilities, even with two brains (not that we are well-trained). We also have not tasted some varietals that were on there, which made it harder. The reds was hard because we were not sure if the wine was just not a good representation of what we thought it was. It was also interesting to understand the psychology behind wine tasting. Sometimes we just tried to convince ourselves on something we taste because that is what we want it to be. We scored 3/8. Oh well, it was fun! 
Tasting notes

2010 Hugo GRUNER Veltliner Austria
2010 Casnati Pinot Grigio Argentina
2011 Puerto Viejo Sauvignon Blanc Maule Valley Chile
2010 Tomero Torrontes Argentina
2007 Waterstone Chardonnay Carneros California

2010 Karly Zinfandel Amador County California
2010 Scarlet of Paris Pinot Noir Corsica
2010 Puerto Viejo Cabernet Sauvignon Curico Valley Chile
2008 Lo Tengo Malbec Argentina
2010 Luisa Cabernet Franc Fruili Italy

Saturday, May 19, 2012


This was a gift from friend which I shared for Mother's day.

Castello di Amorosa Fantasia 2009

It smells like peach colored roses, the one that wins best scented rose of the county fair, with a hint of sweet ripe strawberries. When I tasted it, it was bubbly! Which surprised me because I did not read the label. The bubbles were refreshing, with juicy sweetness (but not too sweet!) that would make a summer day perfect. It was a little foxy, reminding me of a Concord. OOOo

Fun Rose!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


New taste bud! Guess who!
This impromptu trip was made because of a very persuasive taste bud who had his roots in the state. I almost did not make it but with the countless 'BUT IT'S WASHINGTONS!', I gave in. How could I say no to wine tasting anyway. 

Furthermore, we had a new taste bud joining us! 

The following is the tasting in order (All from Columbia Valley except Columbia Crest-not labeled).

14 Hands Hot to Trot White blend 2010
Smells sweet floral with apricot. Medium to full bodied. Taste of ripe peaches and melon. Will definitely revisit! Great well balanced flavorful blend.  OOOo

Corvidae Wine Co The Keeper Cabernet Franc 2010 
Smells smoky. Not a good balance of tannins and acid. Had berries with a hint of pepper and smokiness.  OOo

Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Franc 2009 
This was an interesting one. It smells of roasted coffee beans. It was a good balance although there was not much flavor. It was simple without much fruit but had good smokiness to it. OOO

Mercer Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Smells leathery and cherry. Light with obvious tannins yet simple like taste bud put it, 'dark sour cherry' pie. OO

J. Bookwalter Foreshadow Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Smells of burnt caramel and brownies. It was toasty with good balance of acid and tannins. Tasted great with plenty of ripe juicy berries. Will definitely revisit! OOOO

Columbia Crest Les Chevaux Red 'Horse Heaven Hills' 2010
This was toasty and a little sweeter than expected. OOo

Milbrandt Traditions Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Had a roasted caramel taste which reminded me of the Luck Charms cereal. Oo

14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
This Cab is a little on the sweet side for me. Or am I biased by olive bread I am eating? OO

Sineann Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
There was plenty going on for this one. It smells like super glue, paint and raw tuna. It was complex in flavor with a flavor explosion in the mouth. Had none of the glue or paint (phew!), but had tobacco and fruits (hmmmm tuna). OOOo

K Vintners Milbrandt Wahluke Slope Syrah 2010
This was a standard Syrah good peppery spices to it. Although well made, it did not really standout. Perhaps there was too many Cabs in this tasting.

Overall pretty impressive! I was very reluctant to toot his horns after all the rave about how Washington wines are the best conversations. But hey, I really enjoy some of these wines! Yeay Washingtons!