Sunday, May 19th, we went to the California Wine and Jazz Festival at Conejo Creek Park North in Thousand Oaks. It was presented by the Rotary Club of Westlake Village Sunrise and they support high school music programs in Conejo Valley with the proceeds.
This year the stemless wineglass fit into a festive plastic festival plate. I think I need the unit that attaches to a camera, and maybe a place to hold the tasting notes and a pen, or just a golf cart. But that would be drinking and driving and we know that isn't going to happen ...
First stop was at Stonefire Grill for some pasta, salad and a slider. Great way to start the festival.
Herzog Wine Cellars poured a 2011 Special Reserve Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County and their first estate bottled wine, a 2010 Petite Sirah, from Prince Vineyard, Clarksburg, CA. Both wines were excellent, and the Petite Sirah went well with the brownies they served.
Herzog is the master of displays and marketing bling.
Steve Felten, former winemaker at Norman Vineyards, was pouring a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc and a 2009 Pinot Noir from his newly established Felten Cellars in Paso Robles. We liked both of them very much.
Did I mention it was breezy? As soon as I picked up my wineglass from the red plate it and the fork took off and landed right on Steve. Embarrassing. He didn't miss a beat pouring though, and luckily, I'm a member of the clean plate club, so he didn't get much on him. It could of been a lot messier. That was the end of my little red flying plate, and I was happy to eat whatever was served with it's own plate or napkin later on.
ViñAlegre poured their 2011 Rosé (made with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), 2009 Merlot, 2010 El Sueño (75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot), and 2010 Primitivo (Primitivo grape is part of the Zinfandel family). I thought the El Sueño and Primitivo were very good.
Casa Baranca Organic Winery's Alysia Dewar was pouring a Sauvignon Blanc, a Merlot and the wine I tried, a very nice 2009 Pinot Noir, Laetitia Vineyard (Arroyo Grande).
John Shaw was pouring his Alma Sol Winery's 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and 2010 Cuatro Caminos, a nice red blend. I especially enjoyed a preview of his 2011 Merlot, bottled 8 weeks ago and ready for distribution around September. It seemed to be pretty good to me right now, but maybe I like Merlot Nouveau.
Former “Tonight Show” trombonist Matt Finders and the Matt Finders Ensemble were playing some great jazz.
Devon enjoyed the Qupe Chardonnay and rated it the best of the festival's white wines. We met the guys from the Wineyard who were enjoying it too! I tasted the 2009 Verdad Tempranillo, Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard and the 2010 Syrah, Bien Nacido. Both were very nice.
Brendan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant was serving some awesome sliders, with and without jalepeño.
Lee and Helen Williams, Owners/Winemakers of Golden Star Vineyards, were pouring their 2012 Chardonnay, Monterey, 2011 Purple Haze (Zin, Merlot, Malbec), 2011 Zinfandel, Paso Robles, 2011 Merlot, Paso Robles, and 2012 Syrah, Chavez Vineyards, Antelope Valley. My favorite was the Purple Haze!
Red wines from Magnavino Cellars were poured by those laid back Rotary guys.
After a little bottle re-alignment it was clear that these fine red wines were available: 2010 Zinfandel, 201 Syrah, 2010 Sangiovese, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon - all from Lodi Appellation. I always rate these reds highly and this tasting was excellent as usual.
Malibu Sundowner/Wades Wines was pouring Cabernet Sauvignon and other fine wines.
Great little tacos from Pierre's Catering. 9021PHO is in the background; didn't get a chance to try their noodle soup.
A change of pace from Pinkberry and Robek's booth. Pinkberry's Chocolate Hazelnut gelato was a favorite.
And what follows a Chocolate Hazelnut gelato best? Nothing like a Hopstorm IPA with 6 different varieties of hops. Pretty good! And I tried the Jeremiah Red too.
Moez gave Roger (Dr. Hops) the day off and was pouring some Honey I'm Home Blonde Ale and a very nice Schwarzbier. I tasted the Schwarzbier dark lager and it hit the spot; plenty of flavor, but not too heavy.
Firestone Walker poured their Union Jack IPA (my favorite, above), California Pale Ale, Double Barrel Ale, 805 (blonde ale), and a new Pivo Hoppy Pils. They told me I had to try the Pivo since I like hops. I did. And it was hoppy, but it was still a Pils style beer otherwise, and it's not my favorite style.
Bean Crazy had coffee available and Chemayne Faulconer from Roblar Winery and Vineyards shared some of their wonderful wine:
- 2010 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
- 2011 Meule Rouge (34% Grenache, 33% Syrah, 33% Mourvedre)
- 2011 Vivre la Vie (50% Grenache, 50% Syrah)
Qdoba Mexican Grill served a very nice mango salad - good with white wine.
Who are Lucas and Lewellen anyway? It turns out that Louis Lucas and Royce Lewellen were a grape grower and Superior Court Judge that met in 1975 through the Santa Maria Wine & Food Society.
I liked their 2009 Pinot Noir and 2010 Toccata Classico, Santa Barbara County (Super-Tuscan style: 45% Sangiovese, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Freisa, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot).
And the great music continued on with some blues from keyboardist and vocalist Mighty Mo Rodgers singing about his real life experiences with Tin Drum. "Tell me why, there's no Jerry Lee Lewis High!?"
The Beer Ghetto - minus Wolf Creek. Wolf Creek was at the festival, only they were in their Restaurant capacity at another location and not in their Brewing Company mode. Their food is always great, but we missed their beer!
Devon said that Chef Stroh's Pestos made a nice snack; the flavorful 4 were:
- The Green Monster
- Sundried Tomato
- Blue Apricot
Lots of crafty items for sale - my favorite was this cork wreath by Annee Hahn!
Fashion on the go...
Now this is different:
Best Divorce Rings in Town
"With this ring, I thee shed." Take the beautiful gems from your wedding rings and let us help you design a ring to commemorate the start of new memories.
William Hirsh of Cielo Farms was pouring his fabulous Woodstock Collection wines:
- NV Woodstock - BlackBird (50% 2009 Petite Sirah, 50% 2010 Verdot)
- 2009 Woodstock - The Witch, Napa Valley (85% Zinfandel, 10% Syrah, 5% Petite Sirah)
- 2009 Malbec (100% Malbec)
- 2009 Woodstock - Black Widow (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec, 15% Petite Sirah)
- 2008 Woodstock - RedHouse (100% Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 2009 Woodstock - Purple Haze (Syrah, Petite Sirah)
All of the wine was too good to spill, so this sippy cup with a wine glass inside of it did the trick! Although I'm not sure how she appreciated any "nose" locked inside.
There were a lot of wineries and food vendors that I didn't get to, but those that I did taste made it worth the trip!
The crowd seemed to be enjoying the day with great wine, beer, food and music. The California Jazz & Wine Fest IS becoming an exclusive JAZZ venue, gourmet WINE and FOOD tasting event!
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