Monday, June 25, 2007

Tasting Panel: Sequoia Grove plus The Other Guys

Last week's tasting panel wines featured two wines from the populist but limited production wines of Don Sebastiani & Sons and a wine from Sequoia Grove, a Napa stalwart that has seen tremendous improvement in the last few years since its takeover by deep-pocketed Kobrand Corporation.

SebastianiSequoia.jpg

Here are the wines featured:

Napa Chardonnay "le bon vin de la Napa Valley", The Other Guys (Don Sebastiani & Sons) 2005 ($15.00 suggested)
100% Chardonnay from purchased grapes. 13.5% Alcohol, 3.41 pH, and .63 mg/L TA. 500 cases produced.

Napa Chardonnay, Sequoia Grove 2005 ($20.00 suggested)
Winemaker is Michael Trujillo, head winemaker at Sequoia Grove and of Karl Lawrence fame. 100% Chardonnay from Carneros. Fermented in stainless steel with white Burgundy yeasts strains. Aged 10 months in new French oak with bi-monthly lees steering. Malolactic fermentation was fully blocked to maintain acidity. 13.8% Alcohol.

Dry Creek Zinfandel "Plungerhead Old Vines", The Other Guys (Don Sebastiani & Sons) 2005 ($18.00 suggested)
100% Zinfandel from purchased grapes. 14.9% Alcohol, 3.63 pH, and .68mg/L TA. 4,250 cases produced.


Judgment/Comments:
Napa Chardonnay "le bon vin de la Napa Valley", The Other Guys (Don Sebastiani & Sons) 2005
Thumbs Up: 73%
Thumbs Down: 27%
Pros: fresh, balance, lighter "Chablis" style, mineral, smooth, easy drinking, good value, better nose than palate
Cons: crowd pleaser, label needs help-like a club soda bottle, bit simple, bland

Napa Chardonnay, Sequoia Grove 2005
Thumbs Up: 73%
Thumbs Down: 27%
Pros: oaky, crisp, long finish, "California Chardonnay" taste, positive "ditsy blonde" association, tastes like it can still age, somewhat Burgundian, good acidity, nice mouthfeel, great price, good finish
Cons: big, not much going on, detracts from crisp Burgundy style

Dry Creek Zinfandel "Plungerhead Old Vines", The Other Guys (Don Sebastiani & Sons) 2005
Thumbs Up: 91%
Thumbs Down: 9%
Pros: spicy, full body but not too strong, intense aroma but not over the top taste, good balance, sweeter fruit, alcohol is well hidden, refreshing, good food wine
Cons: jammy, hot finish, crowd pleaser, lighter than other Plungerhead Zinfandels

Conclusions:
1. The three wines proved to be highly favorable among the tasters and are all clear winners.

2. The three wines showed wide appeal even among different kinds of tastes.

3. A key reason for the positive response to the wines is their price points.

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