Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

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Brian Ojalvo
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Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#1 Post by Brian Ojalvo » May 17th, 2019, 10:48 pm

Want to inform our Southern California contingent about this great tasting coming up on June 2nd at Hadley & Bennett in Los Angeles. West of Temperance will be pouring some obscurities along with many of our friends below. Hope to see some So Cal Berserkers there representing.

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Ken Zinns
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#2 Post by Ken Zinns » May 18th, 2019, 6:45 am

This will be the first time that the Seven % Solution event will take place in Southern California, as the organizers moved from the Bay Area where it had been held in previous years. Among many really good annual tastings, this has been my favorite of recent years for both the quality and diversity of wines poured there. I'm bummed that I won't be able to head to L.A. for this upcoming event - I've tasted and/or helped pour for Harrington or Edmunds St. John at nearly all of the previous Seven % Solution tastings and I'll definitely miss not being there this time (Bryan Harrington will be there to pour and hopefully Steve Edmunds will be there too).

Like Brian in his original post, I want to encourage Southern California Berserkers to get tickets for this - you won't be disappointed.

A link to more info and tickets here: Seven % Solution Los Angeles tickets through eventbrite
Note that trade / media passes are available too.

Still more info from the event organizers, Bergamot Wine:
Event info: https://bergamotwine.com/seven-percent- ... the-event/
Wines expected to be poured: https://bergamotwine.com/seven-percent- ... -the-wine/
Background of the event: https://bergamotwine.com/seven-percent- ... -movement/

I've written several reports on past Seven % Solution tastings that you'll be able to find on the Grape-Nutz.com website (and you should be able to search for abbreviated versions here on Wine Berserkers too). Looking forward to reading some reports from Berserkers here on the upcoming tasting! [cheers.gif]
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#3 Post by Brian Ojalvo » May 18th, 2019, 10:11 am

Thanks for adding those links Ken. Appreciate that. Sorry we will miss you in LA in June as your insight is always refreshing. I'm certain our Seven % squad will be pouring in the SF Bay area again soon.
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#4 Post by Steve Anderson » May 19th, 2019, 12:08 pm

Was never able to attend the Healdsburg event, so glad to see this coming to LA. Looking forward to it!

Cheers,

Steve
Last edited by Steve Anderson on May 31st, 2019, 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#5 Post by Ken Zinns » May 31st, 2019, 7:02 am

Good article on the SevenFiftyDaily blog yesterday about idea behind the Seven % Solution tasting:
Why More California Winemakers Are Embracing Varietal Diversity

For those of you in the Los Angeles area, don't forget that the tasting is coming up this Sunday. Bummed that I won't be able to make it this year but I know it will be a fun tasting with a lot of very good - and very different - California wines.
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#6 Post by Ken Zinns » June 4th, 2019, 6:12 pm

Just curious, did any Berserkers attend this tasting? If so, anyone care to share their impressions?
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#7 Post by larry schaffer » June 5th, 2019, 12:23 pm

Ken,

I know someone who attended who dug the location and the wines and wineries pouring. They mentioned that it was busy but not too crowded - but I'm surprised I have not heard more about it as of yet. Very little social media coverage as well. Different than the Northern California versions for sure.

Now all I need to do is find a way to get myself in the next one - to pour my Carigane, Cinsault, Marsanne, Roussanne, Mourvedre, etc . . .

Cheers!
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#8 Post by Ken Zinns » June 5th, 2019, 3:36 pm

Your wines would fit into this tasting nicely, Larry.
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#9 Post by G. Greenbaum » June 5th, 2019, 6:02 pm

I was at the trade tasting. It was really great to try so many cool wines and meet the wonderful people making them. The venue was very comfortable and perhaps the first wine event in Vernon, CA (at least for me)!!! So cool to finally meet Hardy Wallace as well as see some old friends. I was really impressed with the wines coming out of Clarksburg. Some quality riesling and chenin blanc being poured. I hope this event and others like it continue to showcase the men and women striving to make quality wines.
Regards,
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#10 Post by GregT » June 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm

I was surprised not to see you Larry. I was there for the early part, then they stopped for a lunch break and I ran into an old friend from NYC who I didn't know had moved west. That was nice and we'll be getting together.
Ken Zinns wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:12 pm
Just curious, did any Berserkers attend this tasting? If so, anyone care to share their impressions?
Ken - you asked for it!

As to the wines, I didn't try all of them as there were only a few hours and I wanted to talk to some of the wine makers. Plus I had another tasting to go to at 1:00. I didn't spend a lot of time writing notes. I wanted to see if I could get a general sense of the wines and find anything new and interesting.

Actually, I didn't spend ANY time writing notes so these are from memory. I did of course try Bryan Harrington's wines - always good, always interesting, and he's a hoot. And he had a wine called Misteri, based on the fact that UC Davis wasn't able to identify the grape he brought back from Europe. Consequently, he has what is may be the single most unique wine in all of California. That's just hard to top. Way to go! (BTW, it was also pretty good.)

What was really interesting to me was the fact that so many people are finally realizing that California is actually a pretty good place for some Italian varieties, and they're actually making good wine out of the grapes. I think that in the 1990s, people tried to make wine from any number of grapes, treating them all like Cabernet Sauvignon, which was going through its own steroid growth spurt. That was one of my objections to a lot of the Zins that were made in the late 1990s - get them bigger, oak the hell out of them, and charge some prices.

From my limited tastings around the state and at events like this, it seems like there's a wiser approach taken today. So all lined up were West of Temperance, Villa Creek, and Unti, and surprise, they all made Aglianico. And the wines were all different. I think it was John pouring the WoT wine? Not sure, as I've never met him before. But Villa Creek's was dark and tannic and really reminded me very much of a few that I've had from Vulture, although I'm far from having any expertise regarding that grape.

The WoT wines were quite different, both from the Villa Creek and from each other. Two different vintages and the wines really reflected the differences in the weather. As a group they did not seem quite as deeply tannic and astringent as the VC, although they were chewy for sure. They also seemed maybe a bit more savory in a sense, although that's just relative. I tried Unti last as I knew their wines and almost passed until I saw that they had an Aglianico so figured I'd do myself a pedagogical favor and taste side by side producers.

Across the way was Donkey and Goat, and they had an oddly colored liquid in a big bottle so I ambled over to see what it was. A rosé of Grenache. Normally I'd be likely to pass but I've never seen a rosé of Grenache that color. Kind of a cloudy orangey color, rather than the bright pink one might expect. Did I want to try it? But of course. Fearing that I might be in for a Feiring-style wine, I braced myself and looked for the spit bucket. Tasting the wine however, wasn't so bad at all. In fact, it was a damned good wine. I guess I wouldn't keep it for a number of years, but it was entirely pleasant and truly unlike anything I was expecting. They had an orange wine but I don't remember the variety. And they also had a Mourvèdre that was unlike any I've had. Typically that grape produces a fairly big and dark wine and they're usually either stinky or have notes of blueberries. This was definitely unique in that it was lighter than any "red" Mourvèdre I usually find. We did find a few in Spain that weren't oaked and that were kind of fruity versions, but it's not all that common and I was intrigued by this wine.

This is also where we almost had a spit bucket incident. I was spitting all the wines as it's the only way to get through all the dozens I had to. So there's a guy to my right and there's a bucket next to him. I motion, he moves back, and I take the bucket and put it between us. He tries a wine, picks up the bucket, and puts it back on his right side. Twice more we did this and I was just about to get all biodynamic on his ass when he says his farewell and moves somewhere else. Beaming with the pleasure that you can only get from a handy spit bucket, I tasted through the rest of the wines and I think I like Donkey and Goat now. I wasn't familiar with them before.

Heading indoors, I ran into Ser Winery, owned by the charming Nicole Walsh, all the more charming because she went to Michigan State and ex Michiganders stick together. More importantly, she was pouring a rosé made from Cabernet Pfeffer. Who makes Cab Pfeffer? I think Harrington did but I've had precious few, so I was anxious to try this one. She did it whole cluster press and then left it on the lees for half a year or so. How could you not be interested in tasting it? It really was a unique rosé with some hints of white peach and none of the irritating melon and bubble gum that a rosé can often have.

A completely different experience was the I Brand Cab Franc, which may well be one of the most Loire-like Cab Francs I've had from California. The vineyard is apparently cooled by the Monterey winds and if you like Chinon, this might be something to look for. They didn't try to hide the bell pepper but they didn't let it take center stage either. Just a really good version of Cab Franc. Kudos to them. And guess what? There was the spit bucket guy again. But at this point he was all jovial and friendly and apparently hadn't been spitting too much because he strikes up a conversation with me. I rarely have much to say about anything so I nodded politely and listened, occasionally remarking on this or that and we ended up not quite BFFs, but I felt that we had reached an understanding about spit bucket etiquette.

I tried plenty of other wines, but as I said, didn't take any notes. The overall experience was completely worthwhile however, and I would definitely suggest that anyone who's interested in interesting wines should attend. Not the place to go if you're looking for high-points and cult wines, but definitely the place to go if you're a curious sort. My hunch is that some people are experimenting for the sake of experimenting and that may not be a productive approach in the long run, but how do you know what you can do unless you try? Good for all the producers and I hope to attend again.

Sorry for the length of this, but Ken asked for impressions and well, here you are. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#11 Post by larry schaffer » June 5th, 2019, 8:38 pm

Greg,

Not sure how they handled who got to pour, but I was not given the opportunity. I've reached out to Kevin Wardell - let's see what happens in the future.

Cheers!
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#12 Post by Ken Zinns » June 5th, 2019, 9:07 pm

Thanks, Gregg and Greg! Glad to hear both of you enjoyed it, and good to read those detailed impressions, Greg - thanks for sharing! Sounds like you hit a lot of good wineries, though it looked like everyone who poured there would have been a good choice.
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#13 Post by GregT » June 5th, 2019, 11:01 pm

It was actually brilliant and I've missed it before so was glad to attend. Seriously interesting and good wines.

Larry - you should be there. I don't know the politics, but if you need a character witness, I'm there!
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#14 Post by Steve Anderson » June 5th, 2019, 11:15 pm

My wife and I attended as well and thought it was a great event and well worth the drive up from San Diego. As noted upthread, I had always wanted to make it to one of the Healdsburg events, but could never make it work.

I am not a notetaker and my original plan was to seek out the producers I had not previously tasted, but that fell apart pretty quickly. How can you not spend time with old friends and long time favorites like Hardy Wallace, Pax, San Diego's own J Brix, Arnot Roberts, Edmund St John, Mathiasson, Villa Creek, Solminer and Lioco? In the end, that is where most of our time tasting went, and I regret not getting to many of the others. I was spitting, but have yet to convince my lovely wife to do the same so pacing was key along with a cut off time to make sure we could remain coherent for our dinner reservation.

The venue was large, but the vendors (particularly indoors) had pretty tight table set ups that only allowed 2 people to taste at a time. Not a major issue after the initial rush.

I did make a point to seek out Brian Ojalvo at West of Temperance (based on his starting this thread) and glad that I did. Brian and John seem like great folks and are making some excellent wines. I was a particular fan of the Fiano (sold out unfortunately) along with the Eaglepoint Sangiovese, which I have been a sucker for since tasting the Sean Thackrey versions from the early 2000's. Other new or newish (to me) producers that stood out were Donkey and Goat, Ser, Ian Brand and Thacher. I've tasted Donkey and Goat at Raw Wine LA and Nat Diego events, and continue to be impressed by what they are doing. The photo shows the skin fermented Marsanne, which I think Tracey mentioned was on the skins for 308 days. The Counoise blend was also a favorite on the day, along with all four of the ESJ wines. the Ian Brand Albarinos, and the Villa Creek Clairette blend to name a few.

There are some photos and posts from winemakers and attendees (including ours) on IG under the #sevenpercentsolution hashtag.

Hoping that Bergamot will bring this event back to LA again next year and highly recommend this event to SoCal area Berserkers!

Cheers,

Steve
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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#15 Post by G. Greenbaum » June 6th, 2019, 9:08 am

GregT wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm
A completely different experience was the I Brand Cab Franc, which may well be one of the most Loire-like Cab Francs I've had from California. The vineyard is apparently cooled by the Monterey winds and if you like Chinon, this might be something to look for. They didn't try to hide the bell pepper but they didn't let it take center stage either. Just a really good version of Cab Franc. Kudos to them. And guess what? There was the spit bucket guy again. But at this point he was all jovial and friendly and apparently hadn't been spitting too much because he strikes up a conversation with me. I rarely have much to say about anything so I nodded politely and listened, occasionally remarking on this or that and we ended up not quite BFFs, but I felt that we had reached an understanding about spit bucket etiquette.
Greg - Were you able to make over to LoFi? I thought their Cab Franc and Cot were outstanding and easy ringers. A few other stand out wineries I tried for the first time were Calder, Jolie-Laide, Lepiane Wines, Jaimee Motley & Little Frances.
Regards,
Gregg


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Re: Seven % Solution tasting in Los Angeles June 2

#16 Post by GregT » June 6th, 2019, 10:56 am

I don't think I made it to them. I did make a point to try Edmunds St John, and Steve really has to be like the patron saint of all these folks as he's been doing this for a very long time. And I made it to Pax and Calder and a few others. Now I regret not having visited LoFi.

In part it was about crowding - I sort of went where I would be able to find a space. If I saw lots of people at a table, I'd go somewhere else and come back when that table cleared. Next time I may try to taste by variety, which is what I used to do, i.e. go around and taste all the grape X I can find, then grape Y, etc. Hard to do sometimes but years ago I learned a lot about grape varieties by doing that.
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[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

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