It’s been a busy Spring so far, so I apologize for getting this review out a bit late. This is the second event I’ve attended at the popular Palate Food & Wine in Glendale, California. Steve Goldun, a wine mentor of mine for many years, and his partner Octavio Becerra, have created a hot spot for foodies and wine enthusiasts alike, with the emphasis on creativity served up in a casual way.
With only 20 wineries represented, this event, held April 3, 2011, was small by some tasting event standards, but well attended. In addition to the wines, Hitching Post Restaurant of Buellton was there with owner Frank Ostini at the grill turning out delicious wine tasting “go withs”.
Sponsored by the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance, located in Santa Barbara County, this tasting focused on wineries representing a group of about 55 in total, growing over 20 wine grape varieties planted on approximately 2500 acres. I love these “focused” tastings as it really gives me the opportunity to taste wines made with fruit from the same vineyards but by different winemakers, explaining their “whys” and hows”.
Kathy Joseph of Fiddlehead Cellars was there pouring her own wines, which were very good. The interesting thing was that there were several other wineries pouring Pinot Noir made from fruit from her Fiddlestix Vineyard. Again, a great opportunity to taste the different ways these wines were made. Of these, Pali Wine Co.’s 08 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard, was my favorite.
It was also a great pleasure to meet Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe. Wes has 28 acres of estate vineyards to work with – 24 are planted to Pinot Noir and 4 to Chardonnay. It was the Chardonnay that stood out for me on this day. While I really enjoyed the Chablis style 09 Estate Chardonnay, Barrel Fermented, it was their 2000 Estate Chardonnay, “Homage to Chablis” that stood out and was the most intriguing wine of the day. Not having tasted many 10 year old chardonnays to begin with, I was amazed at the fact that it not only had held up, but in fact had aged beautifully into a complex, multi-layered gem.
I very much enjoyed meeting newcomers Kessler-Haak Wines and tasting their inaugural releases of 08 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from their estate vineyards. Congratulations to Dan and Ellen Kessler, owners and winemakers.
So when you’re out there in your favorite wine shop looking for something new to try, think about exploring a specific area. It’s always interesting…..
I’LL DRINK TO THAT !