Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tasting Notes: California Wines at JavaMonkey

Last Thursday's tasting at JavaMonkey was supposedly going to cover familiar territory: California. The good news is that there are a heck of a lot of wineries in that state. The bad news is that only two were featured at the tasting, Joel Gott, whose website address,, made me snicker, and Chateau St. Jean. No, it's not related to or a warring faction with Chateau St. Michelle (we asked).

When we were halfway through the tasting, Dan Browning noted that some of the wines had a typical taste for the varietal. For those of you who read my recent Decatur News Online article on Bellydance and Wine for Beginners and are interested in learning more, getting some of these would not be a bad idea for learning some of those flavors and how they manifest in wine.

The wines:

2009 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc (Lots of Random Places, California):
Floral nose, but mineral, a little grassy, and citrus palate. I said Meyer lemon, but overall, the grassy characteristics seemed to be the most popular ones noted.
Rating: Very Good

2008 Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay (Sonoma and Some Random Places, California):
If you're wondering what vanilla notes in a wine taste like, here's your chance. This vanilla bomb wanted chocolate ice cream and a cherry on top.
Rating: Okay

2007 Chateau St. Jean Merlot (North and Central Coast, California): also contains some Malbec and Petite Syrah
A medium-bodied, basic Merlot, this one seemed a little green at first but finished with good, dark fruit.
Rating: Good to Very Good

2008 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon (Central and North Coast, California):
This one is a blend of 91% Cab Sauv, 6% Petit Syrah, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Syrah; if that's not confusing enough, it was aged in 58% American oak barrels, 48% French oak, and 1% Hungarian oak
Nice fruit with a little cedar and oak. Yes, my description is shorter than the tech stuff.
Rating: Good to Very Good

2007 Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon (California):
Buttery and fruity with a "chewy" texture.
Rating: Very Good

2007 Joel Gott Zinfandel (California):
A bit young and temperamental, but opened nicely. Fruity with blueberry predominating.
Rating: Very Good

To recap, if you're looking for a grassy Sauvignon Blanc but don't want to go all the way to a New Zealand one or a vanilla-ish, oaky Chardonnay, these would be a good place to start. Yes, tasting wine is definitely easier than bellydancing.


Joe said...

how 'bout bellydancing while drunk on wine? Difficult to Very Difficult? :)

Cecilia Dominic said...

Ha! I did have a glass of wine before class one night, but I wasn't drunk. I would say, it depends on how coordinated you want to be. :)


Dan said...

Mind you, by "typical taste for the varietal" I wasn't necessarily being complimentary. i thought most of the wines of the evening were a bit pedestrian, and showed flavors typical of the varietal rather than of any particular region - e.g., I swear they threw cedar chips in the CSJ Cabernet. Too low of a common denominator in general. But that's what's popular.