Last weekend the streets that crisscross through Raleigh Studios in Hollywood were transformed into a maze of food, wine, and spirits vendors. By 2 o'clock the June gloom had burned off and hundreds of Angelenos poured through the gates to visit these booths, and enjoy L.A. Wine Fest. This annual event offers seminars, organized tastings, food trucks, wineries, importers, and even brewers in a rather unfocused (who needs that?) but jovial array of excess. And yet the sprawl that is Los Angeles can easily absorb this exorbitance, making it a lighthearted and fun event that gives the attendee a chance to try a wide variety of beer, wine and spirits, all while helping out the Greater Los Angeles Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Hollywood YMCA. It is an event worth attending both to find a surprising new wine, and to people watch as the large groups of attractive image concious Californians meander the movie lot doing whatever it is that they do; entertainment at its finest.
In the midst of the mayhem I came across several wines that are worth your attention. As usual I never attempt to take formal notes and evaluations at these types of events. There are too many distractions. But I know what was good, and here they are:
Caliza 2008 Syrah - Surprise, I liked a Paso Robles Syrah. I've been hearing more and more about Caliza, whose Westside location puts in en route to many of Paso's finest tasting rooms. Check them out.
Lone Madrone 2007 Bailey Ranch Zinfandel - I love my zinfandel brimming with red fruit and a bit of spice, and this has it in perfect balance. I've written about Neil Collins (Tablas Creek winemaker) and his personal Lone Madrone line before, and they never disappoint.
Micheal-Daivd 2009 Sauvignon Blanc - A Lodi based winery, Micheal David is making this wine with fruit from Lake County. I love a Sauvignon Blanc that has bright fruit flavors with a crisp acidity, and this delivers. Delicious, and well priced.
Perlage Prosecco de Valdobbiadene 'Canah' Spumante DOCG - Perlage was at the festival to promote their other Prosecco, which is made with no added sulfites. While impressive it does not have the nose and palate appeal that their 'Canah' does. This is a beautiful stand-alone sparkler that deftly balances its acidity with a creamy profile that is wonderful.
Edward Sellers 2007 Cognito - A blend only a Paso Robles producer would dare of 40% Mourvedre, 25% Zinfandel, 20% Syrah, and 15% Grenache, this wine sings to me. The Mourvedre blasts out first on the nose giving a smokey, meaty, tobacco quality that is very intriguing, but there is oodles of fruit there as well. A delicious wine from a producer whose wines and price points across the line up excited me. This was probably my favorite table of the entire festival.
Well there they are, a fun event with some nice surprises. Check out these wines (all will cost you under $35), check out Los Angeles Make-A-Wish, and plan for L.A. Wine Fest next year.
In the meantime another great event in the same vein is coming up in L.A. The Stars of California with OCeanfront pairs some of Orange County's greatest chefs with some of California's finest wines. The crowd is limited to 200 so it will not be a free-for-all festival style event, and the opportunity to eat to your heart's content will be present. Join us, for a good cause and a good night.