In this section, you will find reviews of past WineCRU tastings and events.

Exclusive Vineyard & Winery Tour

On Saturday, May 26th, twenty-five members attended the Wine CRU Vineyard and Winery Tour in Lompoc, CA. We went by luxury motor coach, provided by American Luxury Limousine, first to Ampelos Cellars Vineyard, and then to Loring Wine Company.

At Ampelos’ vineyard, Peter Work, owner and winemaker, walked us through his certified biodynamic, sustainable, and organic vineyard. This vineyard tour was a follow-up to one of our regularly scheduled WineCRU events a few months ago, when Peter came to the home of one of our founding members to give us a presentation of biodynamic winemaking. While at that event, Peter invited our group to come to his vineyard. We took him up on that offer. We all walked the short distance from the limo coach to the vineyard. After giving us a brief history of how he came to be a vineyard owner and winemaker, Peter described in great detail the life cycle of the grape vines and how his vineyard practices influence the grape crop that eventually becomes his prized wines. You could tell his vineyard is a labor of love. It was a wonderful experience to be hands-on in the vineyard, and walk through the rows of vines which were just in their flowering stage. We had the opportunity to taste his “upsilon” Rose in the vineyard, and were treated to its wonderful flavor and pink color, lit beautifully from the morning sunlight. We then walked to the edge of the vineyard where we all sat by an old oak tree and enjoyed a lunch paired with Peter’s “phi” Viognier, “lamda” Pinot Noir, and “gamma” Syrah. There’s something about enjoying wine in the vineyard that makes it so special. The sense of connection to the land was very moving.

Our next destination was Loring Wine Company. Owner/winemaker Brian Loring gave us quite a rare and exciting treat. Brian makes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a special blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvedre called Divergence. We tasted 2011 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay barrel samples separately from two different types of barrels (French and American), and then a sample of the wines blended together. Then we got the opportunity to compare those wines to the recently released 2010 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay. It’s amazing to see how wines evolve and are influenced by the barrels they are made in. We then got the chance to taste 2011 Pinot Noir from the barrel. First the Clos Pepe Vineyard Pinot Noir made from clone 115, then from the same vineyard, clone 777. It was very interesting to taste the differences between two different clones of the same grape from the same vineyard. We then tasted a barrel sample of the two clones we just had combined with yet another clone (667), to form what will, at release, be a complete wine. After the Pinot Noir barrel samples, we then tasted the currently released, highly rated, 2010 Pinot Noirs from Clos Pepe Vineyard, Rancho La Vina Vineyard, and Russell Family Vineyards. Again, tasting the difference between barrel samples and then currently released wine from the same vineyard is quite interesting and fun. Finally we tasted the 2009 Divergence. This was a big, party in your mouth wine that put everyone on the trip in the mood to, well, party.

Fun was had by all. We thank Peter Work of Ampelos Cellars and Brian Loring of Loring Wine Company for their extraordinary generosity and hospitality. For those of you who are reading this who missed our event, you can contact the wineries directly if you would like to acquire the finished wines we tasted (while they last), and have a party of your own.

April 2012 – Burgundy & Burgundian Wines

At our April tasting event over thirty members tasted and compared more than twenty different “Burgundian” wines (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), including both true Burgundies from France and several fine examples of the varietals grown elsewhere.

Our educational portion of the evening began with a tour of Burgundy, into a history of the development of “Burgundian” wines outside of Burgundy, culminating in the 1976 Judgement of Paris and the wide-scale acceptance of the quality of many of these wines grown outside of Burgundy. Included in this portion of the evening was a special tasting of a 1975 Spring Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay, a wine that was in the barrel when the 1973 Spring Mountain Vineyards Chardonnay was among those tasted at the 1976 Judgement of Paris.

February 2012 – Organic & Biodynamic Wines

At our February tasting event, 36 people tasted 23 different organic and biodynamic wines including 5 different wines from Ampelos Cellars. We were honored to have Peter Work from Ampelos Cellars who presented his wines and gave us a thorough overview of biodynamic methods he utilizes to grow their grapes and make their wines. Click here to learn more about biodynamic wines.

August 2011 – Spanish Wines

On a warm August night, over 40 attendees tasted and enjoyed more than 30 different Spanish wines. Highlights of the night were the 2006 Thermes and 2005 Quinta Sardonia. Click here to learn more about Spanish wine.

August 2011 – Special “members only” event

On a special members only night, we tasted a 10-year vertical of Joseph Phelps Insignia.

At the end of the evening, a bottle of 2006 Insignia was auctioned for charity. Bidding was fierce, so fierce that David Breitstein from the Duke of Bourbon generously donated a second bottle for our two winners, Michael Payne and Robert Kellar.