Syrahs at Webster’s Fine Stationers, Saturday, May 21

The good news – it looks like we’ll be at Webster’s Fine Stationers on a monthly basis, starting today.

For those of you who were there today, please let us know what you thought in the comments below. And here are our tasting notes.

Please keep in mind, this isn’t a test and you’re not checking your answers against ours. The idea here is to calibrate your impressions with ours so that when we write this tasted like peach and you thought it tasted like cherries, then you’ll know that when we write peach you’ll probably taste cherries.

These are all made with the syrah grape and are dry reds.

Smoking Loon 2007 California Syrah

Deep red color with a red cherry fruit nose.
Lightweight mouthfeel
Dry tannins with some tartness from the acids.
An easy drinking wine that would be good with food.
Alcohol: 13.5 percent

Penfolds Koonunga Hill 2006 Shiraz/Cabernet

Made with: Syrah(Aussies call it shiraz) and Cabernet Sauvignon

From Australia. A nose similar to black licorice. Medium mouthfeel with some fullness and softness.
Good acids and some drying tannins. Some tartness.
Alcohol: 13.5 percent

Bearboat Russian River Valley 2007 Syrah

Dark color. Nose has herbaeous character – think mint, asparagus and grass.
Medium mouthfeel. Good acids. Decent tannins.  Some tartness and slight sour cherry note in taste. It really, really needs some time to open up and some food to be a good glass of wine.
Alcohol: 14.3 percent
Rosenblum Cellars 2007 California Syrah Vinters Cuvee

Bright red fruit in the nose – cherry and raspberry. Balanced to slightly tart flavors. Richer mouthfeel. Some residual sweetness like a Zinfandel. Good finish.
Ok for foods and as a sipper.
Alcohol: 14.8 percent
All of these wines are available at Webster’s Fine Wines and Liquor (part of the Webster’s complex of businesses), 2450 Lake Avenue, Altadena, CA 91001-2442, phone #(626) 797-1163.
Our next Webster’s Tasting will be June 18 and we’ll be pouring Cabernets for Dad.

Flying Goat Cellars 2009 Goat Bubbles Rosé Sparkling Wine

Type: Dry sparkling rosé
Made with: Pinot Noir
What makes it special: Hand made from the Santa Rita Hills
Plays Well With: Just about anything.

If you think pink means icky sweet, then the only thing pink about this wine is the color. It’s a dry sparkling wine with the tiny bubbles that marks a true method champagnoise and it has no, repeat, no residual sweetness. The nose is clean and fresh. The taste is dry and chalky in a good way and the wine dissolves into bubbles by the time it reaches the back of your mouth.

There are plenty of good acids that make this a wine that needs food. Mimosas or bellinis are perfectly all right on their own, but this sparkler is too good to dilute with fruit juice. It’s a bubbly built for cleansing the palate between bites of a Caesar salad,  or to enjoy with seafood like salmon and orange roughy or any special dish that doesn’t need a special occasion. We recommend you enjoy it often.

Flying Goat – Bubbles and More in the Santa Rita Hills

Kate Griffiths and Norm Yost at Tasting

Last January, when Michael came home from the Pinot Days tasting in Santa Moncia, he was all excited about Flying Goat and Norm Yost. Yost is the owner/winemaker at Flying Goat Cellars.

Based in Lompoc, he makes mostly pinot noirs from the surrounding Santa Rita Hills. But since pinot noir is also the grape that makes Champagne, Yost is making a lovely couple of bubblies called Goat Bubbles.

“It’s truly a labor of love,” Yost said, after going through the whole process of making bubbly – most of which he does by hand.

Goat Bubbles? Given Anne’s growing love of sparkling wines, she was intrigued. And so when Yost and his wife Kate Griffiths showed up at a recent tasting featuring wineries from the Santa Rita Hills, that was almost the first table we went to.

Griffiths, who handles most of the non-production parts of the operation, said that she knew what she was getting into (as much as anyone does) when she married Yost.

“We’ve only been married around fifteen months,” Griffiths said. “We’ve been together five years, but he launched his label probably about twelve years ago.”

The tasting room is based in the Wine Ghetto in Lompoc, California. Griffiths said that Flying Goat’s tasting room has been open about two years and was one of the first four wineries to open a tasting room in the Wine Ghetto area.

It’s an area that’s picking up in interest, especially since the recession. Both Griffiths and Yost said that it seems like people from Los Angeles and Orange Counties were looking for someplace different to get away and relax that wasn’t over-priced and discovered Lompoc.

Also, let’s be real, interest in the Santa Rita Hills has been growing pretty quickly recently, and since Yost gets his grapes from about eight different growers, including the famed Clos Pepe, you can bet he’s drawing more interest.