Another sold out crowd showed up this past week at the SSU Wine Club meeting to listen to veteran winemakers, Patrick Henderson of Kenwood Wine Estates and Greg Winter of Valley of the Moon. In addition to honoring the “end of summer,” the tasting featured a fascinating “varietal show down” of how two wines made of the same grape varietal can taste completely different based on appellation and/or winemaking techniques.
Valley of the Moon’s Greg Winter started with out with an unoaked chardonnay and then compared it to an oaked wine. He explained that consumers liked different styles, and so they produced both. When he asked for a show of hands, about 2/3 of the Millennials preferred the unoaked to 1/3 voting for the oaky chardonnay.
Other “varietal taste offs” included two zinfandels from different AVA’s – one light and jammy, and the other more dark, brooding, and spicy. The “piece de la resistance” was a taste off of Kenwood’s Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon against the iconic Jack London Vineyard Cab.
Favorite Wines of the Evening
When it came time to vote for the two top favorites, the white wines triumphed with the crowd that evening. Valley of the Moon’s 2011 Unoaked Chardonnay ($17) with crisp acid and fresh lemon/green apple notes was a favorite, as well as Kenwood’s 2011 Pinot Gris ($16) from Russian River Valley. It was a semi-sweet white with notes of melon and jasmine.
Once again the SSU Wine Club Executive Board were present, and provided everyone with great appetizer plates filled with salami, cheese, fruit and two types of chocolates. Another successful tasting at SSU thanks to the excellent wines of Kenwood and Valley of the Moon wineries.