Back to the Futures

If by any chance you feel you have nothing to look forward to, then I know you definitely didn't go to the Winehound's Wine Futures event yesterday.

There is something very wonderful about tasting the region's best wines straight from the barrel; something raw and fantastically austere about the naked bottles, yet to be adorned with fancy labels. It's sort of like seeing the president in his underwear or something.

Anyway, of the wines I did get to taste in those short three hours (note: I likely missed a lot of great ones), these are the ones I'm looking forward to tasting more of in (now what will certainly be) an epicurean future:

Autonom 2007 Rhone Cuvee Central Coast ($26): This humongous and super young Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre melange seems built to age well. Release: Summer 2010

Paul Lato 2009 Pinot Noir Zotovich Vineyard Santa Rita Hills ($65): Luckily, I got the last few drops of the day of Lato's Pinot. Sometimes I take a sip of wine and a ton of descriptions whirl around in my mind. Sometimes there's just one word, like in this particular case, for which I simply wrote "graceful" and left it at that. Release: Spring 2011

Melville 2009 Pinot Noir Sandy's Santa Rita Hills ($39): This Pinot has a blackberry note that deepens its intense strawberry jam flavor. A nice hint of petroleum makes the wine taste cool and composed. Release: Summer 2010

Melville 2008 Syrah Donna's Santa Rita Hills ($39): When I think of Melville, my mind usually wanders to Pinot Noir, but this was one of the most delightful Syrahs I tasted. The most salient aspect of this wine for me was its bacon aroma, which sits indulgently on the palate along with dark fruit and flowers. Release: Summer 2010

Rey 2007 Syrah Central Coast ($20): A unanimous favorite at a blind tasting I recently attended, Rey certainly didn't disappoint with this juicy, exciting, and all-around delicious California Syrah. I'm willing to bet this was the best value wine there. Release: Spring 2010

Samsara 2008 Syrah Melville Vineyard Santa Rita Hills ($40): This was the most outstanding wine I tasted all day. Blueberry pie notes give way to a powerful wet earthiness, with a perfect balance of acidity that lends a delightfully bright and strong finish. Release: Fall 2010

tercero 2008 Petite Syrah Santa Barbara County ($30): Aside from how much fun I had talking to ever-so-entertaining winemaker, Larry Schaffer, tercero's wines provided a lovely experience. The last of the line-up, this Petite Syrah was super dirty in an extremely pleasant way. Release: Fall 2011

Vogelzang 2009 Viognier Estate Happy Canyon Santa Ynez Valley ($24): Although this wasn't exactly a big day for whites, this Viognier--fresh and decadent as a summer peach-- was hard to ignore. Release: Summer 2010

Vogelzang 2007 Cabernet Estate Happy Canyon Santa Ynez Valley ($43): Sensually layered with every kind of flavor your taste buds could ask for-- tart and sweet cranberries mingle with smoke and spice, this is definitely a Cabernet Sauvignon that will stay on your mind. Release: Fall 2011

After tasting Santa Barbara County's unchartered territory of wines, I've solemnly decided that the future is delicious.

event calendar sponsored by: