Thursday, May 2, 2013

Report from ... California Wine Fair 2013 - April 8, 2013

The annual California Wine Fair was held at it's usual spot (The Royal York in Toronto) ... this year only select media was invited to the lunch and the rest congregated in the media room, which opened three hours before the big room.  In truth it was better to sit and taste the wines instead of sitting at the lunch listening to the big wigs of the LCBO and from California Wines blow smoke up each others ass and watch them fart roses trying to outdo how much they love each other; plus you have to try and gag down the rubber chicken and shrunken potatoes when all you really keep thinking is 'how packed the main room is gonna be and how quickly it will fill up'.  The part about the lunch I have always had trouble with are the speeches, the keynote are always interesting, but I always found it hard to stomach how California has a stranglehold on the Ontario market and how the kissing of ass is so prevalent between the brass.  Anyway the media room had approximately 80+ wines in it and I found enough here to get excited about without having to risk life and limb pushing and shoving my way through a room packed shoulder to shoulder with people wanting to get blitz on California classics ... below are the pictorial evidence of my tasting time:

The Line-up of wines on Table 1 ... and continued to ...
Table 3
Nothing beats a big bowl of white wines ...
except a second big bowl of chilled white wines.
Nice tropical vanilla and apple puree notes (****)
Lots of big apple notes with pleasant vanilla-caramel undertones (*** 1/2+)
Vanilla-caramel and peach cobbler - fat and fun on the palate (*** 1/2+)
lemon peel, peach stone, and green apple - fresh and lively (****+)
Vanilla and white fruit with some buttery notes and good acidity (****)
Big California with buttery caramel and poached peaches (*** 1/2+)
(St Michelle Wine Estate) Raspberry, strawberry and really quite juicy with nice white pepper notes (****)
Cranberry cocktail on both the nose and mouth with touch of something herbal (*** 1/2+)

Black cherry and juicy from nose to palate - not very Pinot-esque but very tasty (***  1/2+)
Nice big cherry-raspberry with good acidity mixed with bitter spices (*** 1/2+)
Juicy, succulent palate with chocolate covered cherries from nose to tongue (****)
There a little bitterness on this one along with herbal and cocoa (*** 1/2+)

Raspberry and spice with hints of strawberry jam (*** 1/2+)
Plum, chocolate, black cherry with a juicy cherry-chocolate finish ... (2010) best in a long time (****)
This one is substance over style: spicy, fruity and very food friendly (****+)
Big chocolate with cassis, raspberry-cherry and spice - really good finish too (**** 1/2)
Raspberry, cocoa and cherry (*** 1/2+)

Lovely (2007 Trailside) with rich chocolate and a whole lotta spice (****)
(2009) - pleasant and easy drinking with mellow red and black fruit (*** 1/2+)
Nicely spiced, cocoa powder and raspberry sauce (*** 1/2+)

(Justin 2010) - bold wine with chocolate and cherry, vanilla and spice with a sweet finish. (****+)

An instant classic: plum, vanilla, cherry and cola notes (****)

Atypical with its smoky-meaty version of Zinfandel, but so very tasty; perfect with bbq sausages (****+)

Vanilla and chocolate with a good hit of spice (*** 1/2+)
This one is sweet, sweet, sweet: cherry, vanilla and caramel (*** 1/2)

1 comment:

Dean Tudor said...

My big problem with the lunch: you could not spit out the wines at the luncheon tables. The last couple of years I just nosed and licked; otherwise, I'd pass out at the big show itself...