TAPAS Grand Tasting at Fort Mason


Written by:

Joe Becerra

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This was the second annual tasting of Spanish and Portuguese varietals made by American wineries. There were about 40 participating wineries in this year’s event and they were pouring mostly Albariño and Verdejo in the whites, and Garnacha and Tempranillo in the reds. Most of the wineries were small and obscure wineries from California. There were a few Oregon wineries and one from Arizona. I would say that at least half of the wineries were new names to me.

Thank goodness I was in the pool of Press attendees who were allowed in two hours before the public. Building A at Fort Mason was jammed even in the press event. I concentrated on red wines only and was able to taste at least one wine from all the participating wineries. Here are my favorites of the tasting.

Forlorn Hope Wines: 2006 Mil Amores — a field blend of Portuguese grapes. This was my favorite wine of the tasting. I love the earthiness and softness of this wine. $37 a bottle.

Odisea Winery: All the wines were delicious but the 2007 Garnacha from Lodi was excellent. $25

Twisted Oak Winery: This Calaveras County winery makes great wines but the 2007 Torcido, 85% Garnacha, 15% Tempranillo is the best of the lot. $32

Clos Du Bois: 2005 Tempranillo Alexander Valley. Delicious! Best bargain deal at $20 but only available to their wine club. Why were they pouring this wine? What a disappointment!

St. Amant: This is a Lodi winery. 2006 Tempranillo was by far the biggest of the wines I tasted. I liked it and liked it better when I found out it retails for $16.

Mystery Winery of the Event: Tejada Vineyard Company. They make a delicious 2005 Tempranillo Reserve. I don’t know the price and their Website consists of two pages. The business card I picked up has no Web address. I think they need to think about getting a P.R. person. I really liked their wines.

Some suggestions for next year
The TAPAS folks need to provide water in the form of bottles and some nibbles to refresh the palate. There was the most amazing Paella that was tasty and enormous but you had to wait in line to get a plate. The final thing needed, spit cups. It is rather disgusting to be standing next to a person and watch them spray their wine into the main spit bucket. A spit cup is much more delicate.

Amazingly huge and delicious Paella
Amazingly huge and delicious Paella

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.

3 thoughts on “TAPAS Grand Tasting at Fort Mason”

  1. hi Joe – Thank you for the kind words about the event, and for the constructive criticism. Roger that on the spit cups (which were waylaid and did not get found until too late in the event) and the nibbles (we had a last minute food vendor loss.) The folks from Marco Paella of Rancho Cordova definitely saved the day with their excellent food. We did decide to opt out of providing water in bottles, preferring the more environmentally friendly option of water pitchers.

    Glad that you did enjoy the event and we look forward to seeing you soon at a future events!

    ps: The blend of the 2007 Twisted Oak Torcido is 89% Garnacha, 11% Petite Sirah.

  2. Glad you enjoyed our wines. We are a small, family-owned winery and are relatively new to the industry. As of just this week, we are on facebook and twitter, and are currently working on our website design. The Tejada Reserve retails for $37.50.

  3. Joe – thank you for the good words! I’m honored that you enjoyed my Forlorn Hope Mil Amores enough to name it your favorite wine of the tasting. I am a new member of TAPAS and was quite pleased both with the organization of the event as well as the turnout; as you mentioned above, by the time the doors opened to the public we had a packed house. The Forlorn Hope wines focus on ‘non-mainstream’ varieties and/or wine styles, and at times it can feel as though one is trying to push a rope when it comes to making headway against the market share of Cabernet and Chardonnay. The enthusiastic crowds at the Grand Tasting give me some hope that we, as a wine-consuming culture, are becoming more adventuresome in our exploration of varieties, regions and styles. Vive le difference!

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