Wine Talk

Snooth User: napagirl68

East Bay Vintners "Urban Experience", Jack London Square tasting

Posted by napagirl68, Aug 10, 2011.

I was responding to an older post mentioning this event, and thought I'd start a new thread here.

 The East Bay Vintners' "Urban Experience" was held last Saturday (Aug 6) at the Jack London Square Pavilion in Oakland.  Members of the East Bay Vintners' Alliance were invited to pour their wines at this event, along with local restaurants that served up pairings for the various wines.  It was a nice showing... not too crowded, but still energetic.  The provided food pairings for each were decent, although I found the food overall to be a bit disappointing in quality, with the exception of a few.

As for the wine... This was my first tasting of the Oakland/Berkeley/Alameda (etc) wineries that were present; hence, I do not know if the wineries had a "trend" to pour inexpensive stuff, or if they were presenting their best.  This can, unfortunately, be an issue as events such as these.  Also to keep in mind, not all wineries in the East bay were present, only those affiliated with EBV who wanted to participate.  There are other good wineries that I do not believe participate in the EBV association..... um, Eight Arms Cellars comes to mind? (and they make some good vino).

Anyhoo, I have to comment on Dasche, since DH just got some DCV zin over in OZ.  Dasche did have  a few reds there, and forgive me for not remembering all of them because I only really liked one.... the 2008 Florence Vineyard, DCV Zin.  Readers also need to know that I am NOT generally a zin/syrah person!!  But thisis not a big fruity zin, but one more in the style that I prefer:  Amazingly light for a zin, but not watery or thin... think white pepper, earth, a bit tartness to the fruit, not  overripe at all... almost like a just-ripe blackberry with that earthy, peppery note.  For this wine, your choices on pairings increases, SH, IMHO.  I think this could really broaden outside bbq/grilled burgers...   some gourmet pizzas, florentine dishes, tex mex, even some cheese pairings....  I ended up buying a few bottles:

I must mention two other wineries that stood out for me...

Stomping girl winery was, by far, pouring the best wine at show, hands down.  They specialize in artisan Pinot Noir (close to my heart), and had three great pinots there... a sonoma coast pinot, a carneros pinot, and a russian river pinot.  Although I tend to be partial to the sonoma coast pinots in general, I absolutely LOVED the RRV pinot:  This was a very nice, light, red, almost clear pinot...  earthy/slight barnyard nose, red fruit, a bit of spice, and enough of that french oak to wind the flavor out with a very subtle toastiness.  Ahhh...heaven.   Bought this too!

The other wine that stood out for me was from a wine company with an office in Piedmont, CA, Aubin Cellars.  They don't really have a formal tasting room, but they will happily do tastings by appt at their office. Aubin seems to me, a bit more like a "wine company" when you research them. They import barrels/tanks, and make wines via winemakes at various locations, according to this article: .   But from what I tasted, these wines are ones to watch :-)    Aubin Cellars'  Verve 2008 French Colombard, Domaine de Mirail. was the one I particularly liked.  This wine was very well balanced...  some very slight tropical and floral notes, but tempered with good acidity and  minerality.. complex, yet with a crisp finish.  I'm sure it would pair great with seafood, but since I am allergic, i plan to experiement with my arsenal of artisan cheeses:-)  

My overall impression of the event itself was that it was mostly well-managed, decent attendance, but not crowded.  Albiet for a few rude tasters who don't know to go to the back of the line after getting a pour (jeez, we'er not bellied-up to the bar here!!!) , it was a good event.  The cheese plates that were offered globally were really good... they even had a black truffle cheese!  But some of the local restaurant offerings were sadly either over-salted or pedestrian.  The offering of live music was a bit of a disappointment, since they didn't start until almost the end of the event.  And... well... um..they were not so great music-wise....

As for the tasting... if, and I mean IF, these wineries were pouring a good representation of their decent wines, then I would wholeheartedly suggest this show to those who would like an "all in one" , "no driving", tasting location for the East bay winemakers.   Generally, I prefer to visit the wineries when possible.  But this did give a good example of what is happening out in Berkeley, Alameda and Oakland.  But please don't forget those wineries who don't belong to the alliance as well.

My favorite take away was the discovery of Stomping Girl Wines....

  I am definitely visiting them soon!!



Reply by Capn Jax, Aug 11, 2011.

Interesting... I only had one Oakland-native wine one time. Something with a nautical these, maybe a porthole in the label/imagery? I don't remember what it was.

Love that - when folks stay right up at the table so no one else can get in. Basically becomes the de facto behavior for most folks once someones doin' it. Whadda ya gonna do?

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 12, 2011.

CJ... it was prolly this winery-

I know at tasting rooms, some think they own the bar until done tasting/ buying.  Not that I agree with it, but I tend to understand it better.  But at a SHOW, where there is an established line of 15 or more people... well, it's just called CUTTING.  whatcha gonna do is stand your ground :-)

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