TAPAS 2011 Tasting in San Francisco

This last Sunday we attended the TAPAS wine tasting event at Fort Mason in San Francisco. It was held in the spacious Herbst Pavilion and there was plenty of space to maneuver among the 40 plus wineries presenting their Spanish varietal wines. The wineries were mostly from California but some were from Washington, Oregon, and even Arizona.

Janelle and I had decided beforehand to make two cycles around the pavilion. We first tried all the Albariño wines and the second time around it was all Tempranillo. There was no possible way to circle again and try some of the other Spanish varietals. We spit of course but palate fatigue settles in even if you rest, eat, and drink some of the SanTasti palate cleanser and rejuvenator that was available.

We are very partial to Spanish wines after having spent 4 weeks in Spain in 2007. We really enjoy this Tapas event and we love comparing the domestic version of Spanish varietals to those of Spain. Here are our favorites of the Tapas tastings and our ratings.

Albariño Wines
Abacela 2010, Oregon 88 Points – $18
Bodega de Edgar 2010, San Luis Obispo 86 Points -$17
Bonny Doon 2009 Monterey 87 Points – $18
Harney Lane, 2010 Lodi 89 Points – $19
Longoria 2010, Santa Barbara 90 Points – $23
Idilico 2010, Washington 87 Points – $15
Riaza 2010, Lodi 87 Points – $19
Tangent 2010, Edna Valley 88 Points – $17

It is too bad that our favorite Albariño, the Longoria, is priced at $23. We enjoyed this wine but we can find many Spanish Albariño wines for under $15 that are just as tasty. I guess the same can be said for the Tempranillo wines we tasted. It is tough trying to compete with some of the big Spanish wineries that can export huge amounts of wines to the U.S at such a low cost. Recently we posted articles about Spanish Albariño wines and a taste-off we had of Spanish Tempranillo wines.

Tempranillo Wines
Irwin Family Vineyards 2008, Grass Valley $25 – 90 Points
Jarvis 2009, Napa Valley $65 – 90 Points
Longoria 2008, Santa Barbara $36 – 88 Points
Pierce Ranch 2007, San Antonio Valley $19.95 – 87 Points
Six Sigma Ranch 2007, Lake County $42 – 88 Points
Truchard 2002, Carneros $25 – 88 Points
Twisted Oak 2006, Calavares $25 – 89 Points
Yorba 2007, Amador County $38 – 89 Points

Winemaker Derek Irwin - Irwin Family Vineyards

So sorry that we could find only one Tempranillo wine under the $20 mark. The Irwin Family Vineyards was clearly the winner for us. This wine really tasted more like the Spanish Tempranillo wines you would find from Spain. Not so big and robust, just the right balance of body and acidity. Definitely a great buy at $25. We enjoyed the Jarvis but hey, at $65 a pop, you should like it a lot. The Yorba and Twisted Oak are also very delightful wines.

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