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Family Winemakers of California

Paul H | Nov 16, 200212:12 PM

Did anyone else go to the Family Winemakers 2002 tasting at Fort Mason?

I thought it was overwhelming, almost 400 wineries in a gigantic hall and thousands of people drinking (and spitting out) wine. Getting there late (6:30) didn't help; I only had 90 minutes to wander around. Since I couldn't taste 700 wines in 90 minutes, I looked for familiar names, which is, of course, the worst behavior possible.

I was looking for interesting Syrah and Pinot Noir. I did find a few I liked, but would be interested if anyone else found some stars.

Siduri had some very tasty Pinots and the winemaker, Adam, is just about the friendliest fellow imaginable. He is starting to get grapes from the Santa Barbara Paso Robles area, and had one “under the table” bottle that was most delicious. Since Pinot Noir has the reputation of needing a long, cool growing season, I’ve always wondered why wine from the Santa Barbara seem to be so good. I can’t explain it, but I like it.

I was liked the Pinot Noirs from Lynmar, Sapphire Hill, and Roar Vineyards.

I didn’t find any Syrahs that knocked my socks off, but the wines from Ahlgren Vineyards and Hunt Cellars were notable (which means I wrote “good” in my show guide.

I also had a taste of a gigantic and very impressive Merlot from Paloma Vineyards.

It seemed that one-half of the winemakers I talked to had no distribution to speak of, selling on the internet, in the tasting room, and to local restaurants. There must be hundreds of special things I missed. Anyone else out there care to add some comments?


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