The seminar was on the blending of their Symmetry wine, a Cabernet dominated affair that had 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Malbec in the 2007 version (***1/2) with the last five percent being the remainder of the Bordelais grapes (Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc). They brought along the five building blocks for the 2009 Symmetry and asked those in attendance to make up and record their own blend. Rick Sayre (V.P. and Director of winemaking oversaw the blending and even took notes on the ones he liked; I think this might be the new wave of winemaking - have your customers make up your blend. Tasting through the components I used one word to describe each (keep in mind these wines had been open for 2 hours when I finally got to them): Cabernet Sauvignon - chocolate; Merlot - raspberry; Cabernet Franc - tobacco; Petit Verdot - spice; Malbec - dark fruit. My attempt at a blend had mainly Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) with 10% Merlot, 10% Malbec and the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot at 5% apiece ... though I didn't use any scientific measuring tool. Rick was not a fan of my blend because he found it too heavy and tannic, Rodney Strong likes their wines to drink now, but also age. I have to admit that I liked my version, oh well, back to the drawing board. As for the real completed wines, here were my top choices:
The Finished Strong Wines (The Strongest) ...
2009 Chalk Hill Chardonnay ($24.95 - Vintages, April 30, 2011) - lots of vanilla and buttery notes on the nose; palate doles out the fruit by way of peach with a touch of the tropical, the vanilla nuances really round out the fruit in the mouth; lovely. (****)
2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($59.95 - Private Order) - the nose was chocolate, black cherry and blueberry, while the palate had rich dark fruit, chocolate, spice, vanilla and cinnamon. The tannins gave the wine nice weight without being too demanding. (****+)