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In Vino Unitas Tasting

In Vino Unitas is a small group of California wineries united by the fact that they sell their wine direct to the trade. Periodically, In Vino Unitas holds group tastings so that restaurants, retailers and the press can conveniently sample many of the wines. I attended their March 3, 2010 tasting at One Market Plaza in San Francisco. If you are in the trade in Southern California, check the In Vino Unitas website for the tastings they'll be having in your area next week.

Here's a full list of the wineries that poured at this event:
Alpha Omega
Astrale e Terra
Diamond Creek
Ehlers Estate
Etude Wines
Gargiulo Vineyards
Gemstone Wines
Grgich Hills Estate
Heitz Wine Cellars
Krupp Brothers Estate
Larkmead Vineyards
La Sirena
Mayacamas Vineyards
Merry Edwards Winery
Meyer Family Cellars
Nickel & Nickel
Silver Oak Cellars
Testarossa Vineyards
Twomey Cellars

All but one of the wineries were pouring more than one wine. Most were pouring several. As a result, I wasn't able to get through all of the wines offered. I didn't get to the Gemstone wines at all. Here are my comments and recommendations from among the wines that I did taste:

Very Highly Recommended
2008 La Sirena Moscato Azul - This is admittedly a high rating but it's hard to imagine Muscat Canelli being much better at this level of dryness. if you don't generally like this style of wine, adjust your expectations accordingly. On the border between dry and off-dry, this wine is beautifully floral with complementary aromas and flavors of stone fruit. Good acidity and that hint of sweetness. Refreshing on it's own, this wine would be great with top quality toro sushi.
2007 Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - The fruit is from Coombsville. The winery's goal is to produce Cabernet Sauvignon inspired by the style of Bordeaux's St. Julien. While St. Julien has several different styles itself, this wine does succeed in being leaner and less dominated by oak than many expressions of California Cabernet Sauvignon yet more structured and complex than others.

Highly Recommended
2007 Alpha Omega Chardonnay Napa Valley - 100% malolactic fermentation softens this wine and adds richness. Very nice.
2006 Alpha Omega Proprietary Red - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petite Verdot
2007 Alpha Omega Cabernet Sauvignon - No micro-ox for this vintage of the AO Cabernet 
2004 Astrale e Terra Arcturus Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Buonchristiani Dolcetto - 100% Dolcetto, mostly from Dry Creek Valley's Unti Vineyard but supplemented with fruit from the estate vineyard in Yountville.
2006 Buonchristiani O.P.C. - Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot and Malbec
2006 Buonchristiani Artistico Syrah - from the Stagecoach and HdV vineyards
2006 Buonchristiani Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Vineyard
2006 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow Vineyard
2006 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill Vineyard
2007 Goldeneye Pinot Noir Anderson Valley
2008 Grgich Hills Fumé Blanc - A study in grapefruit and gooseberry. Very nice.
2007 Grgich Hills Chardonnay - Stone fruit focused with a round texture yet sufficient acidity 
2004 Heitz Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Trailside Vineyard Rutherford - The vineyard is certified organic.
2005 Heitz Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard 
Krupp Brothers Black Bart's Bride (Marsanne/Viognier/Chardonnay) - This was a surprising wine. It has a very delicate nose of white flowers with fruited accents. The body is very full and, based on that, my brain was expecting a somewhat clumsy palate, either cloyingly sweet or full of butter. Happily, the flavors were as delicate and pretty as the nose. Lovely. Drink it while it's fresh.
2007 Larkmead Firebelle (Merlot blend)
2007 Larkmead Cabernet Sauvignon 
2006 La Sirena Cabernet Sauvignon,  Napa Valley
2005 La Sirena Syrah Napa Valley
2005 La Sirena Syrah Santa Ynez 
2007 Mayacama Sauvignon Blanc - Citrus, gooseberry and mineral
2007 Mayacamas Chardonnay - Pear, apple and juicy acidity
2001 Mayacamas Merlot 
2005 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 
2007 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Klopp Ranch
2007 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Meredith Estate
2008 Far Niente Chardonnay
2005 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 
2008 Testarossa Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard

Alpha Omega 2009 Sauvignon Blanc - A barrel sample, this is an attractive wine with light oak treatment smoothing out the flavors.
Alpha Omega 2009 Unoaked Chardonnay - A tank sample, this wine goes through no malolactic fermentation. As a result it's lighter in body and flavor than your typical Napa Valley Chardonnays.
2008 Astrale e Terra Sauvignon Blanc - Round and restrained with attractive Sauvignon Blanc flavors and satisfactory acidity, Astrale e Terra's first ever Sauvignon Blanc could convert some Chardonnay drinkers.
2004 Astrale e Terra Estate Syrah
2009 Buonchristiani Rosato Napa Valley - Based on Syrah and Malbec, this was the best of the rosés I tried. It had bold flavors but retained good acidity and wasn't high in alcohol.
2008 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc - Good, but i'd have preferred more acidity.
2008 Duckhorn Decoy Merlot
2008 Duckhorn Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Paraduxx Napa Valley Red 
2006 Grgich Hills Chardonnay Reserve Carneros Selection - Stone fruit focused like the 07 non-reserve above, but even rounder with less acidity and more oak.
2007 Heitz Wine Cellars Chardonnay - No malolactic. A real bargain at the $20 price.
2005 Heitz Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - Subtle and elegant
2005 Heitz Wine Cellars Bella Oaks Vineyard 
2007 Larkmead Sauvignon Blanc - Very nice with grapefruit, gooseberry and a touch of oak. Sold on-premise only. Look for it at your favorite restaurants. 
2004 Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 
2007 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
2007 Merry Edwards Pinot NoirRussian River
2004 Meyer Family Cabernet Sauvignon Bonnie's Vineyard Oakville
2008 Nickel & Nickel Chardonnay Searby Vineyard - buttery fruit 
2005 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 
2007 Testarossa Castello Chardonnay Central Coast
2008 Testarossa Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard
2008 Testarossa Palazzio Pinot Noir
2008 Testarossa Pinot Noir Sleep Hollow Vineyard