tercero (Larry Schaffer) wine dinner notes

Larry Schaffer of tercero wines was kind enough to share some of his wines with us at a winemaker dinner in Sacramento tonight. eBobers in attendance besides me were Mitch Gilick, Samantha Sheehan and Rick Joyer. A few other local wine geeks were in attendance as well.

A few general thoughts about Larry’s wines: In general I found them to be fresh, clean and very well balanced. They were nice food wines yet had enough substance to be serious wines to drink standalone. None of them made you think about oak at all. Larry lets the fruit speak for itself.

A note about Grenache – I was thinking while drinking these wines that I think Grenache would be a great hit with those casual wine drinkers who used to drink Merlot and now drink Pinot Noir. It tastes good young and has a very joyful characteristic that I was enjoying tonight. It can be too fruity in the wrong hands but seeing what Larry has done with it was an eye opener for me. It also satisfies on the wine-geek level because of its transparency and nice acidity. It deserves to be more widely appreciated IMO.

2008 Grenache Blanc – A bright and energetic wine. Went very well with my cauliflower soup. Very nice fruit to acid ratio. Solid. My rating: B

2008 The Outlier (dry Gewurz) – Classic domestic Gewurztraminer aromatics. Substantial mouthfeel with complex flavors and mouthwatering acidity. Very nice wine. My rating: B+

2008 Rose (90% grenache / 10% mourvedre) – Rick Joyer mentioned that this tasted like a jolly rancher just as I was thinking watermelon and thats what it sort of tasted like, a watermelon jolly rancher. But please don’t think of this as pejorative description. I enjoyed the hell out of this wine. I could drink this a few times a week and be very happy as I like fruit in my Rose. This is highly recommended and a killer QPR. My Rating: A

2006 Camp 4 Grenache – Liked it but a bit outclassed by the wines it was served with. Score: B

2007 Watch Hill Grenache – This was my favorite red wine of the night (and we had a Saxum on the table). A great red fruit nose and delicious red fruit flavors that made me want to keep taking sips. Very good balance. Improved each time I revisited it so letting it age a bit is probably a good idea. Very much recommended. My Score: A

2007 Camp 4 Mouvedre – Can’t remember much about other than I liked it a lot. A darker fruit profile and a bit more masculine. My Score: B+

2007 Larner Vineyard Syrah – In the long run this will be the best wine in the lineup as it has significant stuffing and a solid backbone to age. Good fruit concentration leads to dark fruits and a long finish. I’m not a huge fan of young Syrah but this is one I’m going to age. Its drinking at a B+ level now but should be great with some age. Went GREAT with some lamb. Im not a huge wine/food pairing guy but that combo made my eyes light up.

2007 The Climb (50% petite sirah / 50% syrah) – Rich dark fruit flavors and a complex nose. Score: Solid B+

Great notes. I’ve only bought the white grenache so far, but…

Thanks for the notes. I got a trial pack of the 07’s and the 06 CdR cuvee taste alike. I look forward to trying them.


It was a blast getting together with some of the Sacramento crowd last night - along with ‘guest Napa member’ Samantha and hopefully the newest member of your group, Rick!!!

I want to comment on a couple of things . . . First, Enotria really does do a great job with both food and wine service - the cauliflower soup, scallop, and duck breast I had last night were top notch, and their willingness to bring as many glasses as possible was certainly very welcomed. That fact that Wednesdays are no corkage nights helps as well, especially when folks like me come to town (-:

I also really enjoyed the conversations that took place last night . . . It was a nice, eclectic group of people and the conversations flowed from topic to topic seamlessly, with plenty of great information shared by all. AND the restaurant set up was quiet enough where I didn’t need to strain to take in conversations from anywhere on the table!!!

I also want to note that there were OTHER wines there last night besides mine! Berry brought a nice Cornas (still not sure about the ‘cleanliness’ of the wine blahblah ), Mitch a very nice drinking La Sirena syrah, Lyle an ‘older’ Ravenswood Carignan that was quite earthy and intereesting, as well as a Graham Green Grenache from Lake County, and Rick brought an 06 Saxum Heartstone, that was an interesting contrast to my wines . . .
Lastly, I’m glad you enjoyed my wines and thought your notes were representative of what most at the table thought . . . It was fun to ‘watch’ the wines open up as the night went on (the 07’s are still very young, and the double decant right before dinner helped . . . but only a little) and I enjoyed the questions that came my way. And it’s ALWAYS fun for me to talk about why I do what I do . . . Always!

Thanks again and I’ll look forward fondly to my next trip up to Sacramento to share some more great food and conversation with you, Mitch, Rick and others in ‘the group’!