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"Roll out the Barrel" Gala for the Make a Wish Foundation

The San Diego "Roll out the Barrel" Gala on May 16th 2009 was another wonderful event in support of the Make a Wish Foundation. This event featured over 30 different wineries and included a few brokers and wine stores representing various labels, local entertainment and Restaurateurs gracious enough to share their wonderful menu items. All the wines represented at this event are available from a local San Diego area retailer, the Meritage Wine Market and Tasting Room.
I arrived about six o'clock and a few places had already quit pouring! Unfortunately I was unable to try all the wine being poured that evening and in recognizing some of labels and producers, I focused on some of the names I've only read about in other blog posts and wine related periodicals to try first.
Some of those pouring which I was the most interested are brokered by Native Wines and of course being a huge Cabernet Sauvignon fan, the wine I was most interested in was the 2006 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon 750ML in which a certain Mr. RP gave the 2003 a whopping 95 points. I do believe this one could not be far from the mark and at over $110.00 per bottle and in my book not your everyday drinker. This wine is definitely built for some aging, so grab a few for a special occasion. The 2006 Buccellas Cabernet is very polished and fruit forward, it is what I would call a cocktail wine! This is the type of wine you would want to pour in the beginning of the evening, it's dressed to impress with well woven and smooth tannins wrapped around an elegant opaqueness in the core and irrepressible full throttled fruit from start to lingering finish. A true whopper of a wine!
This is one of those boutique wineries with a cult-like following. The 2006 Buccella Merlot, was equally as amazing as their 2006 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot was every bit its equal, but had the more round mouth feel, normally associated with Merlot. With the Merlot coming in around the $75.00 price range depending on where you shop, it appears to be easier on the wallet and would pair more easily with food than the Cabernet. Both were 100% varietals. I rated these wines "best of show" and the QPR was excellent for the caliber of these wines.
Chris, the gentlemen from Native Wines was also pouring the 2005 Egelhoff Cabernet and 2005 Lamborn Family Cabernet, while many folks were raving about the Egelhoff and rightly so, I gave the edge to the Buccella!
While I was tasting through the wines from Native, right next to them was MINER FAMILY VINEYARDS , whom I noticed had a new (new to me) label in the lineup. I do love their Simpson Vineyard Viognier very much and will often have a few in the cellar, the 2005 AIA caught my palate's attention. This folks is what I would call a very food friendly red wine. The nose is full and embracing of the senses with brilliant red fruit aromas. The mouth feel was smooth with generous plummy, lavender and cherry notes swirling around smooth tannins. Produced from low-yielding Napa vineyards and composed of 63% Cab. Franc, 17% Cab. Sauv., 17% Merlot, 2% Merlot and 1% Sangiovese. This is a drink now and often wine, but with a price point which discourages that mantra at $33.00 each. I would like to see this wine in the $24.99 price range, which would give it better QPR score. If I were in the ratings biz, a score of 86 is where I would place it, a higher score would be merited with a lower price point.
Another of my favorites from the show was from Viader Vineyards where Tony Soter and Mia Klein help Delia Viader produce this Deer Park winery's distinctive blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Janet Viader was pouring the 2005 Viader, Proprietary Cabernet Blend and the 2005 Dare, Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Blend was decanted for about an hour before I showed and was excellent! In a few words this wine firm, rich and intense with a complex core of currant, black berry and plum framed by toasty oak nuances leading to a long and persistent finish. This wine sells for about $90.00 depending on where you may find it, but while I really liked this wine the price point will keep many from imbibing on the incredible quality of this wine. The 2005 Dare, 100% Cabernet Franc has a much more approachable price, while being an equally well made wine. Tapered and restrained, with notes of cherry and plum built upon fine tannins melding together in long caressing finish. Priced at about $40.00 each, it's a little above QPR ceiling in my opinion. I would like to see this wine in the $29.99 price range, to help it achieve a better QPR score. Both are wines worthy of your consideration and a vote with your wallet.

Last, but certainly not least of my favorites being poured by Eric Reichenback, Shiverick Jones Wine was the 2007 Table Cabernet from the Napa Valley and the 2005 Mirror Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, the Mirror in it's first release from a new kid on the block and the wine making team of Jeff Smith and Rob Lawson. The mirror was intense and concentrated, with layers of ripe currant, plum and subtle notes of sage and leather and framed in a wonderful toasty oak structure. Very approachable now, but it could hang around in the cellar a year or two. Some may recommend longer bottle aging, but I like to consume my wines a couple years after bottling. I would recommend decanting this wine and hour or before imbibing to help unfold the bountiful aromas and flavors. Sitting at about the $75.00 price point this wine is in the correct QPR range for a wine of this caliber and depth! Definitely a well made and hand crafted wine. Conversely, the the 2007 Table Cabernet, rich and intense with potent currant, roasted coffee and small notes of leather leading to a long and persistent finish. This wine has a price point, which will encourage the opening of many wallets, cellar doors and purchases of many cases. Selling for about $30.00 each depending on where you shop. According to Meritage Wine Market you could call for some special pricing available for Roll out the Barrel Participants.
These few wines I've highlighted here only represent a small selection of the myriad labels being poured at this wonderful event dedicated to making dreams come true and giving hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions. A big thanks to everyone who participated in this great event and to the Make a Wish Foundation for putting a first class event! A hearty well done, well organized and skillfully produced. I look forward to attending this event again next year, until then cheers everyone!

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