The Winos’ Tasting Series: doing one’s civic duty on some Napa bottles

By Jesse on November 4, 2008

Want to know what’s even better than getting one of those little “I voted” stickers after you cast your ballot on election day? How about getting 25% off a delicious Napa Valley wine or two?

If you bring (or fax) your voting stub to Goosecross Cellars today or tomorrow, you’ll get 25% off any bottle in their lineup. The offer is good only on 11/4 and 11/5, and isn’t valid with any of their other offers or club discounts. The Winos received a couple of bottles not too long ago from the good people at Goosecross, and when Jordan showed up one night with a Pinot he’d snagged on a recent Napa trip, we threw some Winos together and made a night of it.

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Information on where to send your voting stub can be found at the bottom of this post… we know how you Winos adore discounts so. First, though, is the all-important wine review — essential reading for anyone who purports to be an informed “vitizen.” (Cute, right? I just made that up.)

First up was the 2007 Goosecross Cellars Chenin Blanc (Napa Valley), chilled to perfection and festooned with dew-like tears. Jessica led things off with “cat pee and kumquats” on the nose, while I called it grassy with a nice array of tropical fruit. Jordan agreed, picking up some kiwi and papaya notes, while Noah offered “guava,” along with a hint of honeysuckle. Erik was still stuck on the “cat pee” thing, and Jessica clarified that she meant it had a certain pungent Sauv Blanc quality to it. She further claimed that it smelled a bit metallic, and speculated that she was going to like the nose a lot better than the pal.

As it turned out, she was pleasantly surprised. The palate met Jessica’s approval; she opined that it was “acidic and pleasant,” and would “be great for a picnic.” Other responses were less enthusiastic: Jordan found it a bit too viscous, and thought it dropped off the end without offering a finish. Noah called it too sweet (“not for me!” countered Jessica). I found it sweet as well, though not unpleasantly so; in fact, I thought it had a certain Riesling Spatlese quality to it. Jessica agreed — she thought it’d smelled like a Chard, but was now drinking like a Riesling. Erik, for his part, thought it had no finish and called it “boring.” (Andrew, arriving a few minutes late, rushed through his glass and called it “good to the last drop.”)

At $23, the wine wasn’t a runaway winner; Jessica stated that she could buy a better Riesling for $15. This isn’t a group that’s had a whole lot of domestic Chenin, but if it was a Vouvray feel that Goosecross were shooting for, we found it a bit too ripe. As Jessica said, however, a great picnic wine when well-chilled, and a unique bottle all-around.

101_3337.JPGJordan’s a big fan of O’Shaughnessy, so when he visited the winery in Napa a couple months ago, he brought back with him a unique bottle indeed — the 2005 Capiaux “Pisoni Vineyard” Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands), the flagship wine of O’Shaughnessy winemaker’s Sean Capiaux’s personal label. This was a dark, dark Pinot… completely opaque in the glass, with some dark notes on the nose more typical of grapes twice its size. Jordan got chocolate and blackberry, and I picked up cigar. Jessica got smoke and coffee notes, while Noah picked up some smoked wood — hickory, perhaps? Underneath all the drama, I got the slightest hint of red fruit calling out for attention, and Jessica picked up a flutter of green pepper.

The pepper note repeated on the palate, except this time Jessica switched it over to the “ground black” variety. She noted the lightness of the body — somewhat unexpected after the huge nose — and observed some light tannins. Jordan agreed it was light, but lauded the richness of the flavors. I found the charcoal and dark chocolate notes to be prevalent, while Jessica offered that it tasted like “dirt” (always a compliment coming from her). Noah compared it to a “really dark stout,” in that “the first ten swigs can be rough-edged, but once your palate acclimates to the earthiness and the smoky dirtiness, it’s delicious.” Andrew complained that it needed more fruit, but Jordan called it “refined.” At $52, one would hope so.

We wrapped things up with the 2005 Goosecross Cellars Zinfandel (Napa Valley), which beckoned us into the glass with notes of birch bark and dried plums. Jessica got blackberry, recently-arrived “other Jessica” got raisins, and Andrew got cola. I picked up some baking spices, which then progressed into root beer hard candy. Another sniff suggested some chocolate fudge brownie — right near the edge, where it was slightly burned by the baking pan. Jessica loved the nose; she claimed that she “never wanted it to go away.”

The palate was medium-bodied and smooth, with some spice on the back end that lingered throughout the big dried-fruit finish. Jessica found it a bit sour, offering a touch more “blue raspberry” than she’d prefer; she also would’ve wanted it a bit more “full and concentrated.” Andrew thought there were a lot of interesting elements to it, but that they weren’t really “coalescing” to his liking. And, once again, he lamented the lack of fruit. I disagreed on the last count; it was certainly no fruit bomb, but I didn’t find it lacking. Instead, I called it “fun and rustic,” and “showing admirable restraint.” At $34, however, the assembled Winos thought that more “Zinny” Zins could be found for ten dollars cheaper.

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An attractive pair; “other Jessica” strikes a pose; Andrew stares blindly into space; photographers shouldn’t drink so much

To redeem your voting stub for 25% off a Goosecross bottle, contact them as follows:

Goosecross Cellars
1119 State Lane
Yountville, CA 94599
Phone: (707) 944-1986
Fax: (707) 944-9551 or (707) 307-7071
Open daily 10:00-4:30

The Young Winos of LA: edutoxicating Los Angeles since 2005.

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