1995 was the beginning of Orin Swift Cellars. On a whim, David Swift Phinney took an offer and went to Italy (Florence). David was introduced to wine, and how it was made. Phinney to a job at the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1997 as a temp harvest worker. The wine bug had definitely set in with a vicious bite! Orin Swift Cellars was started in 1998 (Orin is his fathers middle name – Swift is his mothers maiden name. These wines are from a weekly tasting group that I’m a part of and always look forward to something new.
Department 66 “Facade” Grenache Gris 2016.
This wine is aged in neutral French oak after it goes through a cool fermentation process. There’s no malolactic fermentation, so the wine retains its natural smells and tastes with a slight mineral quality. Only 10 barrels are produced, so grab it up where you can find it!
“”Veladora” Napa Valley – Sauvignon Blanc 2016.
The really cool thing about this wine isn’t necessarily the tastes; its what he does with the proceeds in my humble opinion. The proceeds go to a organization called Puertas Abiertas; which provides dental and health care for the migrants workers working in the vineyards. Politics aside, I think taking care of others this way, is a good human trait we can all learn from.
“Slander” Pinot Noir 2016
This is a Pinot blend for the most part. Typically, “Slander” was made from grapes from Santa Rita Hills, but the 2016 was blended with Sonoma grapes from William Wesley Vineyard. It’s reported that Dave said “Now this the type of Pinot that I want to drink”.
Bright ruby in color, clear, red cherries, raspberries, a slight rose on the nose. Ripe red fruit, with savory undertones with a balanced with perfect amount of Acid, giving you the feeling of a slight sweetness on the tongue.
I have quite a few more, but its been a long day, and I’ll continue with more. Please check out my Instagram for more posts!
In 1981, there were 19 wineries. Today, there are more than 900.
The “Evergreen State” is the second largest wine producer in the United States.
Over the past seven years, nearly fifty percent of Washington State wines reviewed by Wine Spectator received scores of 90 points or higher.
Sixteen hours average sunlight per day, about one more hour than California’s prime growing region.
Washington is home to Fourteen wine growing regions that produce nearly Seventy varieties.
Eight inches annual rainfall in Eastern Washington (the major grape growing region). Thirty-Five to Thirty-Eight inches in Western Washington.
The wineries of Washington State are at approximately the same latitude (46-47 degrees) as Bordeaux, France. “Interesting Facts” provided via Wine Warehouse, CA.
L’Ecole No. 41 Lumininesce White Wine 2015
A 3rd Generation family owned, winery is located in the Frenchtown School depicted on the wine label. They’re established in the Walla Walla Valley. The main focus is Semillon blended with Sauvignon Blanc which is typical of any Bordeaux varietal. On the nose is a medium plus note of honeysuckle and some tropical fruits. There is a slight taste of Cedar from the barrel aging, but not overpowering which can be overdone at times by some winemakers. There’s a crisp taste with a slight mineral but floral taste in the wine. I think this is a good stand alone, conversation wine. No food is needed to pair as can be the case for some bolder White Bordeaux.
Locations Washington Red
Locations wine is the epitome, of why the French sometimes yearn for less restrictions that have been placed on the many Chateau, houses, Cote. It is a blend across many appellations, taking away the traditional winemaking restrictions for a little freedom for the winemaker to do with what he wants, instead of being stymied by social wine circles. It is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petit Syrah barrel aged 10 months in French and American Oak. There is a primary medium plus red fruit on the nose, with some leather, some earthy wet leaves, and then a scent of black currant as the wine gets a little oxygen. I personally get the flavor of plum, chocolate, and framboise. Brown spices, and black tea, emerge later. I enjoyed this with Filet Mignon, which I usually don’t enjoy, typically lacking the marbling I prefer in a rib-eye. I’ll definitely buy more for the cellar and future dinner engagements. I only wish I had the opportunity to work on the wine label itself! In my humble opinion.
L’Ecole No. 41 Ferguson Estate 2013
A “Bordeaux Blend” from the Walla Walla Valley. Clean on the nose, black fruit, ripe rich plum with a black pepper on the nose. The taste was superb and I’m glad wasn’t one of my blind tastes at the Court of Master’s Somm test! I would’ve failed for sure. The 2011 vintage was in a competition in 2014, which included 15,007 wines that were judged by 224 international wine experts, including 66 Masters of Wine and 18 Master Sommeliers. Just 33 international trophies were awarded-0.22 percent of the total wines entered. The 2011 vintage won the top award for Bordeaux varieties at the Decanter World Wine Awards, which is considered by some to be the largest and most prestigious wine competitions in the world.
Whats interesting to note, is up until a few years ago, nobody was taking Oregon and Washington wines seriously. We didn’t notice the parallel of the region with France. People didn’t think the “terroir” could compete with the rest of the world. Now, people are being taken back by the fruit forward, but more complex wine that is coming out. Estates like Drouhin who come from generations of winemakers have made quite the statement and don’t have the rules of France holding them back, which I’ll leave for another day explaining that! So here’s a few photos of some genuinely good wines I had last night in my tasting group. I’ll return shortly to update the tasting notes as soon as I get the chance. Cheers!
I’m not going to be too detailed on this, because there are 60 appellations or different areas with kind of distinct wine styles in Bordeaux. Bordeaux’s name actually originates from the French phrase “au bord de l’eau”, which means “along the water”. Its not just some romantic name–the area does actually lie along the banks of three rivers, the Dordogne in the north, the Garonne in the south, and the Gironde, into which both flow and which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Information provided by Wine Warehouse.
Now that I have that out of the way. I’ll be going into last nights wine tasting of Bordeaux. Although appreciated worldwide; I personally have a love hate relationship with Bordeaux. Some are amazing, some I’d use to put in my beef stew-maybe.
You’ll notice there’s plates of hors d’oeuvres on the table for guests. I typically don’t eat ANYTHING while tasting wines. I’m not saying you shouldn’t, I just don’t want my olfactory glands to be compromised (my sniffer to be jacked by oils). So do what works for you. If you’re having friends over; always best to go with some snacks!
-2014 Chateau Bois Pertuis, Appellation Bordeaux. I used to carry this at my wine bar, but begrudgingly. I didn’t like it when it was sold to me before, and I still don’t like it. On a point system, I’d give it 75 points. I know people will hate on me for this, but its not something to drink with everyday foods or by itself, for me.
-2014 Chateau St. Ahon, Cru Bourgeois; 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. This was a good drinker, I’d like this one with a filet mignon, not too dry and would do well to lend its flavours the steak.
-2014 Chateau Pimorin, Haut Medoc; These guys have it down with the leaf thinning to the green harvesting to hands on pressing. This Pimorin is a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon 26% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc. For the price, it couldn’t be beat. A 2014 not having to wait til 2024 to enjoy and wasn’t going to rip your face off with tannins.
2016 Chateau Quattre, Cahors; Although the label states when it was blended is 2016, the fruit was sourced and matured in oak barrels for over 11 years. 80% Malbec, 15% Merlot, 5% Tannat. I concur with Decanter, easily 95 points and one of my fav’s for the night. I’ll continue with a few more tomorrow. Get your paws on this one. Great with steak or a stand alone, or even with a strong cheese. This Malbec will hold up. I think this will steal back the idea of Malbec from Argentina.
Until the next blog. Enjoy some wine with family and friends. Cheers!
Sponsored by JayCarterMedia (http://jaycartermedia.com)
PS, If there’s a certain kind of wine you’d like to see reviewed, by all means let me know.
My typical Monday evening consists of gathering with close friends and trying some affordable drinkers, as in wine. Yes, I think you can drink wine daily. Modern times and commercialism haven’t made this quite possible, but a glass or two an evening, and you’re only looking at a couple bottles a week. It’s not obscene to enjoy your evening and possibly extend some health benefits that other beverages might not at all.
-2016 Matua Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NZ. Has the typical citrus on the nose and mouthfeel you would normally get. It definitely has a nose and mouthfeel of a clean grapefruit.
-2014 Criterion Pinot Noir from Central Otago, NZ. A clear different taste than your typical Santa Barbara Pinot.
-2013 d’Arenberg “The Custodian” from Mclaren Vale, AUS. An interesting Grenache that should be tried at least once. I thought it was good with the food that accompanied, light fare fried fare, like the fried oysters I had, went very well and neither overpowered the other.
-2013 “The Strapper” by Yalumba GSM Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro from Barossa Valley, AUS. A good drink, although the name got a ton of laughs from the ladies attending!
-2013 Radis Estates’ “Mama Goat” Merlot from Coonawar, South AUS. Still had the typical chocolate note and dark berries I find consistent in many Merlots, without the price tag of Napa or French styles. A good buy.
-2013 Yalumba Shiraz 95%/Viognier 5% from Eden Valley-Triangle Block South AUS. Different and must be tried. Shiraz always a pleasant wine and goes very well with a baked or grilled chicken. I personally like this one with a bowl of navy bean and ham.
-2011 Thorne Clark “Shotfire” “Barossa Quartage” from Angaston, South AUS. A very good wine and a very good price as well.
-2015 Bleasdale “Bremerview” Shiraz from Longhorns Creek, South AUS. One of the young wines of the night, but WOW! This was my favorite! Not the most expensive, but drank like a Bordeaux without waiting for the years to pass before enjoying.
-2014 Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River, West AUS.
-2014 “Criterion” Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra-Victoria, South AUS.
Both of these Cabernets were great. Cab is still truly a prince when it comes to wine. Both great buys if you want to buy and have with a good red meat, unfortunately, They don’t quite compare with a Napa Valley C/S. Frankly, I think Napa has passed France with Cabernet as well. But that’s just the soil and sun that does what it does. Not all wine can be equal, but I haven’t had a wine I don’t like from any region. Except Temecula… I haven’t found one from there I like yet!
All these wines mentioned can be found in Southern California and were sourced from Total Wine & Spirits in Redondo Beach, CA. You don’t have to go to some amazing hidden space to find gems. They’re in plain sight. Just find some friends to do a small tasting together and enjoy. Cheers!
Hey guys and gals, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted last. I deleted quite a bit of content. I was going to open a wine location in the city of Torrance, but as I kept doing more and more to open business; and I was being asked to do other social media for other companies.. It has been fun and I realized, I actually had some talent! lol. So it was the beginning of Carter Reserve Marketing (Instagram #JayCarterMedia). I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve started a company and lucky to already have customers. I’m still drinking wine and rating them for the day to day drinker. I’m all for the big stuff once and awhile. But I absolutely love finding those gems out there that go with our everyday foods in Los Angeles. I just got a little occupied getting everything together, and really should enhance the wine side of things.
So, back to the theme… As things seem to fall apart with my wine venture – I started to notice how many people actually enjoyed seeing my failures. I was literally privy to listening to a conversation the back room boys had about me at Bo’s cigar lounge. In front of me, they’d never talk to me the way I heard them talk. I also am going to go off script here and say; “I’D LOVE FOR ANY OF YOU BO’S GUYS TO SAY WHAT YOU’VE SAID TO MY FACE”. Okay, now that’s, out of the way.. lol. Knowing when to hold’m: When you’re going through tough times, a lot of people are around. Try to see past the white noise of “things will get better” and see the ones, who still treat you like a person. Those are your friends and business relationships you want to hold onto. Knowing when to fold’m The guy or girl who used to hug you and treat you as a friend and brother, but now can’t seem to respond to your text message or your calls go straight to voicemail regardless of time of day. That’s the one you dump. Obviously, people have arguments and have “non talking spats” but when you know deep inside, there’s no positivity there… Dump’m! Do it quick.. The quicker you can shuttle a person like that, the faster you can work on positively and move forward with… well.. EVERYTHING! Best thing I ever did was not go back to Bo’s Cigar Lounge in Torrance. I used to be there daily, and I did nothing. Literally saw the same people, listened to the same complaints about their lives and how they would’ve and could’ve, but didn’t.
Thus is life. We move on. I’m sure some of the guys will read this and have more colorful things to say.. My answer… I don’t care. I’m about making things happen for myself and for my clients. I’ll review some wines on Monday night and have something out soon!
Oh yeah, sometimes the Negative Nancy is related to you. It might be your dad, mom, son or daughter. Communicate that you love them, but they need to stay in their lane. Your life is yours to live, we only have one. Stop dreaming of heaven and what might happen, start learning to deal with this gift called life itself. #MakeItHappen
If your business could some help with 2018 economy know how, contact me and see what we can come up with. Cheers!
Jay Carter, Certified Sommelier and championing for the regular wine drinker!
I had a wonderful evening of enjoying wines of the world at Chez Melange in Redondo Beach. It was a night of class Old World vs. New World wines; We don’t always win, but when “New World” wins, its a hands down achievement. I’m just happy to see California at some of the forefront of winemaking.
Chez Melange has brought under its umbrella, besides BOUZY GASTROPUB (which kind of has the look and feel of the TV hit series show of yesteryear “Cheers”) has brought SEA CHANGE and OYSTER BAR online. Last night, I was in the private room for wine tasting and no surprise was a great night of good appetizers, and delicious wines. I like that the Host brought in facts about the wine and we could deduce our own ideas of taste and smells. A great place to go and enjoy some wine and different facets of food. I spoke very briefly with Michael, one of the owners of Chez and hopefully I’ll be working some Somm events in the future. It keeps my brain sharp, and if I want to keep ongoing to my Master Sommelier goal, I must work the floor at a restaurant, or I’m done! Check the place out regardless, I’ve been going for years and never disappointed.