Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Taste of Camarillo – Wine, Brew & Food Festival 2016

What was your tasting strategy at A Taste of Camarillo?
I read an informative ATOC blog post about planning for a tasting strategy at ATOC this year. So I (mostly) went with the tasting by category approach — as opposed to tasting everything sequentially and confusing my taste buds. I wasn’t perfect at following my strategy though. 
Michael Larner - 2012 Elemental Estate GSM (47% Grenache, 38% Syrah & 15% Mourvèdre)
I began the wine tasting with an excellent 2014 Larner Malvasia Blanc poured by Michael Larner (I could drink it with breakfast!) and a Cakebread Chardonnay in the VIP Lark Saloon.
Chef Lu and her team made some excellent Chili Rubbed Tri-tip Bites, Charred Corn & Tomato Salad, Roasted Potato Bites with Chipotle Lime Crema and Beef Jerky Bits. I passed on the Bourbon Cupcakes; I’m sure they were excellent and probably tasted like Bourbon, which I enjoy, but not while tasting white wine. It’s difficult to stay on track …
And although I only toured and didn’t taste the fantastic craft beer choices at the Wet Your Whistle Watering Hole, I couldn’t help but alter my tasting strategy temporarily at The Lab Brewing Company/Twisted Oak Tavern. Brewmaster Roger Bott’s Hop Solution Double IPA and a Pork Belly Bite served by Jeff Walker were something I couldn't pass up!
Other local craft brews and California brewers were well represented in the VIP watering hole and throughout the general admission Meadowlark Ranch.
Wet Your Whistle Watering Hole
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.
Five Threads Brewing Company
Institution Ale Company
Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Company

Meadowlark Ranch
Anacapa Brewing Company
Enegren Brewing Company
Fireman's Brew 
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Surf Brewery

Brews were also poured by BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery and Brendan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka in the Lark Saloon was good for vodka lovers and would probably have been a nice complement to The Bloody Cure Bloody Mary mix being poured at the Meadowlark Ranch.

I sampled many of the wines being poured and these are the ones worth checking out for yourself ... 
Artiste Los Olivos - 2016 The Look (71% Friesa, 15% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot)
Ascension Cellars - 2013 Trinity GSM (75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre)
Back Patio poured their Patio White. It was good, but the blend details were only available from the winemaker, who wasn't there at the moment.
Calcareous Vineyards - 2013 Trés Violet (40% Syrah, 26% Mourvèdre, 34% Grenache)
Cantara Cellars - 2013 Quattro, Lodi
Cholame Vineyard - 2014 Grenache Based Rosé
Derby Wine Estates - 2011 ‘Fifteen 10’ Red (31% Syrah, 29% Mourvèdre, 24% Counoise, 16% Grenache)
Golden Star Vineyards - New 2015 Viognier a new 2014 Purple Haze (Zinfandel, Merlot and Malbec)
Magnavino Cellars - 2012 Sangiovese, Lodi
Oso Libre - NV Carnal Red Rhone Blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Petite Sirah)
Pear Valley Vineyards - 2013 Distraction (57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, 13% Malbec, 8% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc)
Penman Springs Vineyard - 2013 Muscat Blanc “DRY HUMOUR” and 2014 Syrah Rosé. I usually don’t like Muscat anything, but this dry Muscat Blanc was a good light wine.
Plan B Wine Cellars - 2012 GMS (Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah)
Ranchita Canyon Vineyard - 2012 Sangiovese and 2012 Smooth Operator
Rasmussen Vineyards & Winery - 2013 Spectrum (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah)
Rideau Vineyard - 2014 Chateau DuPlantier Cuvée (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah) and 2014 Syrah, Thompson Vineyard, SBC
Sunstone Vineyards & Winery - 2014 Merlot SYV (80% 2014 Merlot, Sunstone Estate, Santa Ynez Valley, 20% 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Valley View Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley)
Valen Estates Winery - 2015 Cabernet Franc
Vino Vargas - 2015 ¡Olé! Chardonnay
Vista Del Rey Vineyards - 2013 Zinfandel, 2013 Barbera, and the combo of 2013 Zin-Bera

Spanish Hills CC served a spicy tri tip taco with a mini Margarita that hit the spot and was a perfect pairing!
The Cave’s Apple Pulled Pork with Chipotle Carolina BBQ Sauce and a Pickled Apple slice was excellent!

Paul Justi (aka “Cool Paulo” at the local Wine Lovers Meetup group) helped Taste N Trip scout for the sublime wines and he found a few that he would personally buy.  Here's what he found ...
Vinemark Cellars Primativo which is light, fruit forward, well balanced, and easy drinking for $33 a bottle
Plan B Wine Cellars has a nice Grenache and GSM that are light, balanced, and easy drinking for $35 a bottle.
Ascension Cellars has GSM that was smooth and rich in texture for $55 a bottle
Rideau Vineyard has a GSM and others that were smooth & elegant to drink for $49 a bottle
Oso Libre has a lively GSM that is worth trying... guess the GSM's took the prize at this festival!


 Meadowlark Ranch hands lining up for work.
Waiting to get in and taste some Toucan wines.

Caught Red Handed played some great Country Western music and had the crowd dancing!

Photo by Mike Brown
Were you there too? 
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