The Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society conducted their fifth annual Grand Wine Tasting on June 9, 2012 in Fort Mason, San Francisco. Forty-seven wineries from North America participated in pouring to hundreds of appreciative wine aficionados.
Even for the most freshly minted of Amigos (such as myself), one of the most promising trends seen at this meeting was the evolution of Graciano to the top of the label in 750 ml formats, from its' humble upbringing as a structure player elsewhere in the peninsular cosmos. Mil gracias to Twisted Oak
, Quinta Cruz
, and Bokisch
for each of their utterly unique and powerful expressions in this emerging varietal. It's also fascinating to see the same Graciano elevation taking place in numerous bodegas throughout Spain in these very same years, which helps us to understand this movement as an essential path in the betterment of Iberian wine varietals. In the same spirit, I propose toasts to Kenneth Volk
for their unparalleled Malvasia Biancas, as well as to Forlorn Hope
for their authentic Alvarelhãos.
I love seeing Greg and Sharon Baiocchi (Fair Play, El Dorado County, California) snuggle up with their outstanding Grenache 2009, Entre Nous
(90% Grenache, 10% Syrah). It became an instant legend on the First International Grenache Day2011
at Two Shepherds Vineyards
in Fulton, California, when it overcame the local collective subconscious terroir dependency and garnered favorite-of-the-day, at the first public pouring in which Baiocchi had ever participated. Once again, Entre Nous was my favorite of the day.
Greg also demonstrated a very special decanter which he recommends to be used with Entre Nous 2009, because this particular Grenache is, as he says, "still a young wine". The decanter so firmly attaches itself to the outside of the mouth of the bottle, that it inverts perfectly, and the wine runs uniformly down the entire inside of the decanter. The aeration is completed as the pair is then turned right-side up, thus causing the wine to re-enter the bottle, ready to pour.
Standing in front of them on the table is their 2011 Neophyte Rose
(70% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre) which is now completely sold out.
Throughout the afternoon I met many visitors who had their own favorites, and at the same time shared with me their view that the whole class of 2012 Tapas member wines continues to bring greater value and appreciation to them in their enthusiasm for the artistry found here.
One such visitor was Marisa Molina
, a wine enthusiast and jewelry craftsperson who found herself awestruck by the quality and diversity of wine throughout the tasting.
With the continuous improvement in these wines, we will have more to share between each other as Tapas members' works grace our dining tables, complement our culinary efforts, fill our stemware, and help us to honor our families, friends, communities, colleagues, and clients with more wonderful experiences.
As these aforementioned heroes cultivate and vinify increasingly better blending components, the status of Iberian varietals rise, and the relative value perceptions gap with Bordeaux, Burgundy, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Languedoc styles of winemaking continues to close. This evolution will lead to more prominence for Tapas wines in home cellars, food pairings in restaurants & education, restaurant wine lists, wine bars, sporting events, arts and culture, product placement in film/TFV/Internet, private clubs, e-commerce and better shelf positioning/presence in retail everywhere.