Pinot Noir Mini-Tasting Wrap Up

Nearly 100 members and guests attended the March 2 Pinot Noir Mini-Tasting at six host sites. Five flights of wine came from various locations including Arroyo Grande Valley, Carneros, Central Coast, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Santa Maria Valley, and Willamette Valley (Oregon).

The overall favorite was from Patz & Hall in Carneros; second place was Aequorea’s Seafarer; third was Fort Ross’s Sea Slopes; and fourth was very close to third, from Capiax.

The three favorite wines across the six host sites plus the fourth place which was very nearly tied for third:

Place Winery Name Year Price Description
1st Patz & Hall; Hyde Vineyard
2016 $55.99 WINE ADVOCATE 93+ —Medium ruby-purple colored, profoundly scented of black cherries, black raspberries, and red currants with touches of forest floor, black soil, stewed tea, and lavender.
2nd Aequorea Seafarer
Central Coast
2014 $34.95 The aromatics are intense – redolent of dried cranberry, red apple skin, white pepper, and Earl Grey tea. The palate is bright and vibrant, with a core of dark red fruit, uplifted spice, grated chocolate, roasted nuts, dried orange rind, and toasty oak.
3rd Fort Ross Sea Slopes
Sonoma Coast
2014 $29.95 ROBERT PARKER 90 POINTS—The 2014 Pinot Noir Sea Slopes gets its name from overlooking the Pacific Ocean at an elevation of 1,200 to 1,700 feet. This wine offers loads of Chinese black tea, pomegranate, floral notes, and a hint of raspberry in a medium-bodied, fresh, lively, Côte de Beaune style.
4th Capiax Chimera
Sonoma Coast
2016 $29.95 ANTONIO GALLONI 90 POINTS—Laced with essence of sweet red cherry, underbrush, dried herbs, orange zest, and exotic floral notes. Plump and juicy, yet also very much medium in body and gracious, with terrific freshness.

In addition, attendees brought a delicious dish to share and then voted on a Chef of the Evening. The results of the Chef of the Evening at each host site are:

  • Hosts Germaine & Rob Romano: Bill & Noel Forsch with their “Appetizer Feast”
  • Hosts Pat & Frank Solis: Eberhard Neutz with his “Lebirkaefe with caramelized onions”
  • Hosts Marcia & James Vaughan: Rich Skoczylas with his “Hazelnut Cake”
  • Hosts Barbara & David White: Paula Becker with her “Mediterranean Chicken”
  • Hosts Betty Jo & Jay Newell: Jean Rico with her “Chicken Tortilla Casserole”
  • Host Mike Del Medico: Lynda Edwards with her “Spinach Dip”

The detailed scores by site will be posted on the OCWS website. Congratulations to all the winners!

A big thank you to the hosts! Please send your recipes to George Cravens at as a possible recipe to be published on the OCWS website.

– George Cravens, Director