TAPAS Society Wine Tasting in the San Francisco Presidio
What a gorgeous setting the Presidio of San Francisco makes for an afternoon of wine tasting! Forty wineries poured a variety of red and white wines of the Spanish grape varieties. Most of the wineries were from California, several other were from Oregon, and two from Arizona. We have been attending the TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates, Producers, and Amigos Society) Tastings for the last five years. In our view, this was the most impressive of the annual TAPAS tastings, now in its 7th year. We have seen a big increase in the number of Spanish varietals and, more importantly, a big improvement in the quality of the wines.
We only had 2 hours to taste, so we did not stop by all the wineries that were present. Our intent was to try new wineries and their Spanish wines. We skipped ones that we know and love, and that included Abacela, Kenneth Volk and Twisted Oak.
These are the wineries that we thought were making impressive Spanish-style wines:
Baiocchi Wines and Vineyards
The Baiocchi winery is located in the Fair Play region of El Dorado County. The owners do not have a tasting room in Fair Play, but have set up a tasting room in Sutter Creek in Amador County. There are eight tasting rooms in this lovely gold mining town of the Sierra Foothills. Baiocchi poured three wines, all delicious and well made. We loved the Grenache Sharon’s Vineyard priced at $39.
This Lodi winery was very impressive overall in all the white wines. I’m sorry to say we ran out of time to swing by and try their reds. Marcus Bokisch, the owner and winemaker, grew up in Spain and found a spot in Lodi to successfully grow many types of Spanish grapes. The Albariño, Granacha Blanca, and the Verdejo were all superb and priced at $18. We learned from Liz Bokisch, Marcus’s wife, that it is becoming increasingly clear that Lodi has the ideal climate and soil for growing Spanish varietals. So many Lodi wineries are producing Spanish varietal wines that some have nicknamed Lodi “Lodiberia.”
This is another terrific Lodi winery producing two outstanding Spanish wines. The Albariño is very delicious and I have seen this wine at Whole Foods for $15. The Tempranillo is also excellent at $25.
HillCrestVineyards & Winery
This was perhaps the star of the show for us at the TAPAS tasting. Owner and winemaker Dyson Demara made the trek down from Roseburg, Oregon, to pour his fantastic wines. Hillcrest Vineyards is the oldest winery in Oregon and said to be the first winery in Oregon to produce a Pinot Noir. Unfortunately, none of the HillCrest wines are distributed in California. Use the online wine shop at the HillCrest Website to order wines.
We have had the Tangent Albariño from the Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo several times. It is a tasty wine sold for around $10 and is widely distributed. Perhaps even more enjoyable was the Grenache Blanc, also from the Edna Valley. This is a new wine for Tangent. 1500 cases and the suggested retail price is $17.
Turkovich Family Wines
We are putting the Turkovich winery on our “must visit” list for the Spring season. Luciana Moreno Turkovich is a young winemaker from Argentina. She grew up in Mendoza where winemaking was a part of her daily life. Luciana and her husband Christopher are the winemakers at Turkovich. They poured four wines all from vineyards in Yolo County. The Albariño may have been the best of the Albariños at the conference. The Tempranillo and the red blend we tried were terrific wines. The Turkovich tasting room is located in Winters, CA.
To learn more about the TAPAS Society, head to their Website: http://www.tapasociety.org/