I’ve been tasting wines from Santa Barbara’s wine futures sale this week. The first of two sales starts this weekend and we’ll have a summary of the best wines we tasted. Since the demise of longtime sponsor the Wine Cask, the Winehound in Santa Barbara and the Wine House in Los Angeles have organized the sale and tastings.
I’ve been tasting barrel samples for 30 years and the one big question that always comes to mind is this: Are these barrel samples representative of the final blend?
As I’ve said before (read my column Best Barrel Ever), a lot can happen between barrel and bottle, and winemakers often must draw upon dozens, even hundreds, of barrels to make a sample blend.
The proof of authenticity comes only when the finished wines are bottled and tasted. Reviewers, of course, hope the barrel and finished wines’ notes and ratings match up. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
Sometimes wineries submit samples that aren't indicative of the entire production, or after seeing how the different lots evolve, they end up changing the final blend before bottling.
When that happens, a reviewer can either have gushed about the wine, or been non-plussed by it. When the final bottle ends up showing greater or lesser traits, well, then it could be the sample, the reviewer or both.
I’m tasting some 40 wines sent to my office in Napa. A couple have been spoiled and won’t be reviewed. A few have been sensational and I would definitely consider buying them as futures.
Buying wine futures is a leap of faith, like so many other things in life.
You can lean more about the futures sale and download the catalog at www.thewinehound.com. The first event is this Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Fleischmann Auditorium on the grounds of the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. The second event is June 6 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person and need to be purchased in advance.
David Williams — Carlsbad, CA — May 6, 2009 11:56pm ET
Larry Schaffer — central coast, ca — May 7, 2009 11:03am ET
Bob Wesley — May 7, 2009 9:14pm ET
Thomas Rich — May 8, 2009 10:06am ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — May 8, 2009 12:56pm ET
Larry Schaffer — central coast, ca — May 8, 2009 2:57pm ET
Thomas Rich — May 9, 2009 10:29am ET
Dave Corey — Santa Maria — May 11, 2009 2:06am ET
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