Tuesday, May 5, 2009

An hour at the San Dimas Shop and Tasting Room

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Heidi Daniels and her assistant Bonnie at the San Dimas Shop & Tasting Room on an early Tuesday afternoon.

As I walked in, Heidi immediately invited me in and she was friendly enough to give me a quick tour of her establishment and handed me a wine tasting schedule. I was amazed of the assortment of wines from wall to wall. SDWS is a cute little wine bar with different wines from around the world, also with a good selection of non-commercial micro-brewed beers.

This weeks wine tasting event is called the “Battle of the Blends”. During this event, you are taken on a journey through an assortment of different wines from France, Carneros in California, South Africa, Australia, and Napa Valley in California. For a tasting fee of just $15.99, I was able to taste from all six regions.

My first pour was from Languedoc, France with a 2007 Domaine Auzias “Bonal” Cuvee Blanc. It is a blend of Chardonnay and Muscat Petit Grains. It is definitely a Chardonnay, but with a much greater sweetness from the Muscat grapes with tastes of peaches and apricot on the palate. The taste lingers like a Chardonnay, but with a much more pleasant finish. Retail price is $12.99.

The second pour was a 2006 Malibu Estate “Cielo” Malibu Rouge from Carneros, California. This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. This is peppery wine and goes along well with tri-tip and burgers. Retail price is $19.99.

The third pour was from a 2008 Boekenhoutskloof “The Wolftrap” from Cape of Good Hoe, South Africa. This dark red wine is a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier. It has deep of garnet colors, but is light on the palate with hints of vanilla from the French oak and spicy flavors and mellow tastes of blackberry and cherry and has a nice long wonderful finish. For the pedigree of this kind of wine, one can expect to pay over $30 per bottle. Surprisingly, it is reasonably priced for this kind of quality. Retail price is $17.99.

My fourth pour comes from Padthaway, Australia. It is my wine of the week, the 2007 Henry’s Drive “Pillar Box” red. This wine is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. With its abundant cherry and French vanilla flavors, makes this a velvety smooth wine worth savoring by itself or with food. This bottle of wine is reasonably priced at $13.99.

The 2005 Mount St. Helena “Heritage Site” red was my fifth pour. This blend has Zinfandel, Syrah, Charbono, and Petite Sirah that comes from Napa Valley, California. Upon the first sip, the zinfandel grape is evident with tastes of leather, ripe plums, and a flowery bouquet to the nose. This juicy wine goes well with a porter house steak or barbequed tri-tip. Retail price is $15.99.

The final pour comes from Napa Valley was the 2005 Ceja Vineyards “Vino de Casa” red wine. This wine comes from a blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah grapes. This wine is full of ripe cherry flavor and the perfect balance of fruit and spice. For the quality, this bottle is reasonably priced at $21.99.

That was my tasting experience at the San Dimas Wine Shop & Tasting Room. It was an intimate and personal experience with the hosts of the wine bar. While I was there, I witnessed as Heidi brainstorming for the wine tasting that will be for next week and the following month. In the coming week is a “Blind Tasting” tour. For each wine presented will be in a brown bag to hide the wine to make the event a fun “guessing game” experience.

For anyone that is interested in experiencing an affordable wine tasting experience in a friendly, non-stuffy environment, I highly recommend this establishment. It is located in downtown San Dimas on Bonita Ave. It can be easily missed, so drive slowly and you will see the cute little store.

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