Wine & Food

Snooth User: Really Big Al

Wine Tasting - 2017 'GEMS on the Road'

Posted by Really Big Al, Apr 19, 2017.

Sandra and I were invited to attend a special wine tasting event in Washington DC tonight - called, "GEMS on the Road".  These were wine selections from twelve California wineries, with an emphasis on Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals.  It wasn't cheap mind you as you could select as much as you wished to consume.  There were horderves and water available too, in case you drank too much.  We elected to have a small bite to eat after this 2-hour event at nearby Dish, right near The Kennedy Center.  

There were some fantastic wines at this event.  My favorite was the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from B Wise (the one not on their list) but most of the wines were devine.  We both tried the 2012 Po-lyph-o-ny Pinot Noir from La Rochelle and it was very nice too. 


Reply by Really Big Al, Apr 19, 2017.

Sure there were more pictures.  We were able to stop at most of the tasting stations in the Ritz-Carolton of Washington DC.  It's fun talking to other folks too as we strive to get a taste of the finest wines.

Reply by Really Big Al, Apr 20, 2017.

Medlock Ames (Alexander Valley, CA) was our method of access to this event, as we belong to their wine club and naturally we were interested once we heard about it.  We sampled their wines of course, and club members were able to try their Snakepit that was held in reserve under the table.  We have a few of the Snakepit releases in our cellar.

Reply by rckr1951, Apr 20, 2017.

Outstanding report and pics.  Happy for you 2.  I envy your retirement.

Reply by Really Big Al, Apr 20, 2017.

Thanks RC.  We're still recovering from all that wine.  The food was gone fairly quickly, so it's a good thing we had reservations at that restaurant following the event to get nourishment prior to taking the Metro back to our car in Crystal City (Arlington, VA).  

We met several couples during the event; one couple lives in Delaware and they have around 300 bottles in their wine cellar.  Most of their wine is from WALT Vineyards, which is how they heard of this event.  The gentlemen is a civil engineer, so we had that engineer connection.  Interesting fact that most of their bottles are from WALT Vineyards too (there are several vineyards in CA and OR), but that winery apparently is associated with Hall Vineyards, who was also represented at this event.  The couple from Delaware really love Pinot Noir from California.  We did like them but I would not buy that much of any varietal.  

Reply by EMark, Apr 20, 2017.

Very interesting, Al. It sounds like you had a great time.

I was wondering if "GEMS" was an acronym.  If it is, my quick search could not decode it.  It looks like the GEMS is a marketing confederation (my word) of the member wineries.  

I have not had very many of the wines on the list that you depicted.  OK, I've had two.  If I had attended, I would have loved to have tried the Biale Palisades PS and the Chappellet Las Piedras (which, I assume, is a Cabernet Sauvignon).

However, to be perfectly honest, I probably would have been intimidated by the entrance fee.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 20, 2017.

Interesting lineup--nice group of California quality-but-not-cult makers.  I agree about spreading one's bets when it comes to grapes and makers.  I think I've got 33 or more varieties/blends represented in my holdings which are a modest 350 bottles or so.  (Wait, that dropped when I drank my last Lagrein this week, and I'm probably out of dolcetto, too.)  To each his own.  Usually when you see that, it's someone buying some French thing, like a particular Burgundy or Bordeaux. 

I've certainly had a few of those wines, or others by the winemakers.  Chappellet and Patz & Hall are rep'd by my friend the PR person.  Everything is from a pretty constrained area from Napa to the RRV (and not a ton of RRV) except the Pisoni PN, I think.  But I really cannot see the connection, unless the East Coast distributor is common to all of them. 

A lot to sample, and with the high entrance fee, one tries to do too much sometimes.  Brings up the "taste a number of things" versus "taste one thing" question again.  My own preference is to have a group of people small enough to have conversation but big enough that you can open a range of wines.  Anything more than a half dozen wines in a night and I can't remember much without taking written notes.  But tastings, dinners, Snooth/WB offlines, all have their place. 

Reply by MJET, Apr 20, 2017.

RBA-nice event with some really good wines. We usually don't go to big wine tasting events but every now and then we try one. We prefer the smaller tastings at a few local wine shops. Thanks for sharing.

Reply by Really Big Al, Apr 21, 2017.

I believe the group associated with this wine tasting event is Feast it Forward.  I cannot see a history of them hosting this event on their web page though, so it's hard for me to confirm.  Several of the wineries do establish a connection though (B Wise).  What do you guys know about Feast it Forward?  The 'GEMS' I believe represents the jewels or quality items associated with wines from Napa / Sonoma.  I cannot find a meaning of GEMS otherwise.  With regard to the entrance fee, yes it was high but I think it's a bit of a donation too.

Oh, I still have more pictures!  You know me.....

Reply by rckr1951, Apr 21, 2017.

I love Robert Baile wines - his petit(e) sirahs and zins are usually really good and I'm in the same boat as EMARK with both the Chappellet  and the Chateau Potelle..  How were those?

Reply by Really Big Al, Apr 21, 2017.

The Robert Baile 'Black Chicken' was certainly not my favorite, but his Limerick Lane Vineyard Zinfandel was most excellent.  We were at his tasting station towards the end of the event and I don't even know if I tried his Cabernet Sauvignon.  As for the Chateau Potelle, which I barely remember too, but I think I sampled their 2013 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and it was most likely a good wine.

I should state that I did not pour out a single wine.  Sandra poured a few but drank most all of her wine.  I think we easily had four glasses, maybe five for me, before it was over.  The time just flew by too.   We staggered over to Dish, one of our favorite restaurants with Keith as the bar tender (he suggested we seriously check out the Washington state wines last year, which we did last month), and had some pasta before getting on the Metro to go back to our car.  

Reply by Really Big Al, Apr 21, 2017.

Man, I look shit-faced in that picture above.  I couldn't get Sandra to hold still, as she was really feeling it.  

Hey, does anyone recognize those glass pieces on the wall in the Ritz Carlton?  Give you a hint.  

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