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Standout Wines from the Shade Wine Tasting

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Photo by Elise Thompson for LAist

By Greg Thompson, Exclusive to LAist

The Shade event last Sunday at Shade saw over 50 medium to large and boutique wineries poured some their best selections, many not usually seen at these events! There were too many to review, or even list, but standouts included Acacia. BV, Cambria, Chappelet, La Crema, and Plumpjack. It was a classy touch having Fiji bottled water available

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Organic wines were popular, as were traditional vintners who have adopted sustainable and bio dynamic farming, and Energy efficient and environmenal Design. These included Paul Dolan whose eponymous owner pretty much started serioius organic vineyards at Mendocino County's Fetzer. Adjacent were the classic Mendocino wines of Parduccci. Representing Napa were Cade Winery, Grgich Hills Estate, and Trinchero Family Estates.

It was hard to pick a best of show because the selection of wines at the event was mind-boggling. But here are a few standouts amongst the wines we did sample.

1. Paul Dolan Mendocino Chardonnay 2006

Organically grown. Pure character and flavor plus great fruit intesity from organically grown 'old vine Chardonnay' planted in the early 70's and perscriptive holistic practices.

2. Grgich Hills Napa Valley Chardonnay 2006

Certified Organic and Biodynamic. The winery is named after Miljenko (Mike) Grgich and Austin Hills of the Hills Brothers Coffee family. Elegant and balanced, the 2006 Chardonnay does not see malolactic fermentation. This maintains crispness and acidity to balance its concentrated fruit. Shows notes of lemon, flowers, and honey.

3. Cade Winery Napa Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

From premier Napa vineyards, very drinkable while young- deep, dark, and lusccious. Berries,currant, and vanilla in the aroma and flavor. Smooth finish with enough tannin to promise a long happy life. Green, solar powered winery using sustainable farming practices.

4. Rosenblum Kathy's Cuvee Viognier 2007

Viognier is an exotic wine originating from the steep hillsides of Condrieu in the Rhone.
Kathy's is a cuvee or blend of various batches of Viognier. The initial aroma and mouthfeel reminds one of Coteaux Champenois, the cuvee of still Chardonnay from Champagne. The mid palate and finish show stone fruit notes, rich vanillas and a touch of toasted oak.

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5. Domain Chandon Carneros Chardonnay 2006

Also similar to Coteaux Champenois in that it's a still Chardonnay produced by a Champagne producer dedicated to its French tradition. Good acidity with noticeable citrus and minerality
and a rich creamy texture.

6. David Noyes Chardonnay 2006

Champagne like aromas of apples, citrus, and baked bread. Hints of vanilla and caramel follow through the mouth with full fruit in the mid palate and finish. Easy to drink now and should be for a few more years.

7. Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay 2007

Smooth and elegant in typical Rombauer style. Rich forward fruit flavors of apple, peach, and tropicals linger then end with a long crisp fruity finish. Somewhat buttery with a creamy texture and oak tones from the barrel fermentation and aging.

8. Trinchero Mount Veeder Chardonnay 2007

The mineral rich mountain region's steep slopes, scarce water, and thin soil create elegance and
intense fruit. Abundant citrus, tropical fruit, and a creamy texture from extended aging on the lees.

9. Robert Mondavi Napa Chardonnay 2006

Finding the Mondavi wines actually grown in Napa is a treat. The rich tropical fruit, floral and spice are the 'fruits of' grapes grown in the cool Carneros region. Rich silky flavors from barrel fermentation and batonage during sur lie aging in French oak.

10. Tobin James Chardonnay Radiance 2007

A favorite of everyone in the group. Clean and dry with rich tropical fruit that overwhelms the senses. Ripe citrus and creamy accents. Ripe fruit finish.

11. Titus Napa Valley Zinfandel 2006

Lively, well balanced (with 14% Petite Syrah). Aromas of berries and pepper with dark chocolate and spices on the nose that follow through to the palate. With complexity and concentrated fruit, the long finish shows vanilla tinged barrel spice from American oak aging. Can cellar 8-10 years.

12. Merryvale Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Intense yet well balanced. Aromas of blackberry, cassis and violets. Mouth filling dark fruits, good minerality. Will age well, decant while young

13. Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

To achieve balance, the wines were blended prior to aging in new American oak. A complex and elegant balance of fruity and savory elements. Dark ruby color with aromas of black plum, chocolate, and rose petals. Soft and velvety becoming fruity, floral and spicy. The finish is long and smooth with good tannins that will help it age through the 20's.

14. Ruffino Modus 2005

The Sangiovese from Chianti meets the Bordelaise Cabernet and Merlot. Sangiovese gives solid structure and cherry and red berry aromas; the Merlot contributes smoothness, enriched by mint and black berry fruits; the Cabernet Sauvignon adds austerity, with its sweet, herbaceous perfumes and elegance.
Complex, yet simple. Modern with a traditional Tuscan character. Modus is a union of Ruffino's century old experience and the company's desire to experiment with new technologies.

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