Travel

Revisiting Wine Tasting - Shokrian Vineyard & Winery

At Revisit Wine Co., part of our mission is to share wine-related experiences with you as we explore wine country. We’re even going to attempt some video! Stay tuned!

About a year ago, we were driving around and saw a small sign on Cat Canyon Road (a very isolated road near Los Alamos) which said, “Shokrian” and looked to be a vineyard. We made a note to check it out later. We discovered that part of it used to be Melville’s “Verna’s” vineyard, an excellent Syrah we enjoyed as members of Melville’s wine club. We also found that there were some renown area winemakers involved with the project, including Drake Whitcraft (Whitcraft Wines, Santa Barbara) and Morgan Clendenen (Cold Heaven Wine).

On a beautiful January day, we decided to venture back out to explore Shokrian. The gate was closed and the sign said, “Appointment Only.” Not to be deterred, we called the number to see if we could stop by. After some effort, we were able to get in touch with Babak Shokrian, the owner, who happened to be there with his estate winemaker, Alice, and his beautiful dog, Cocoa. The tasting room is tiny, funky, and cool - The property is spectacular. Babak has been working on the project since 2013. We tasted a number of wines, including Viognier (Clendenen’s specialty), a young, dry Rose’ of Grenache, Pinot Noir, a Syrah, and a GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre) blend. While tasting, we had a wonderful chat with Babak and Alice about the vineyard and the wines. Babak has a house on the property with a few goats, sheep, and chickens (and maybe 1 cow) that we saw grazing from a distance. We explained our project and agreed it would be a perfect winery to feature in one of our shipments.

We enjoyed every wine, and walked away with a Pinot Noir and a Syrah. The Pinot is described by Matt Kettman of Wine Enthusiast (92 pts) as “lush and think with boysenberry paste, clove, star anise, and vanilla” – yes, it is one of those fuller-body richer Pinots that are sometimes found in this area.

The 2015 Syrah was somewhat known to us as Melville Verna’s which we always enjoyed. It is described by Clendenen as having velvety tannins with hints of blueberry, pepper, tobacco, spiced meat, and plum. We definitely tasted the complexity of the wine, but it was also very smooth.

What most impressed us was the feeling of ease about the entire place. From the welcoming of the team for an unplanned tasting visit, to the casual talk about our mutual love of the area and of future collaboration, we thoroughly enjoyed the visit and look forward to featuring these wines in our Club shipment and in our soon-to-launch online store!

How we discovered the Santa Ynez Valley

Mary with the goods!

Mary with the goods!

The Thanksgiving holiday reminded us of how we originally discovered the Santa Ynez Valley. I think we can trace our first visit to 2008. It’s a great time to visit because the weather is beautiful, and if you go early in the week, it’s not crowded. We were returning from a trip up the coast to Monterey. On our way back, Mike discovered a scenic “shortcut” called Foxen Canyon Road. We love to explore and take roads to see where they lead us – including a 2200-mile adventure through Europe with Mike driving a Renault Twingo which we called a sewing machine on wheels!

On Foxen Canyon Road, we discovered there were beautiful tasting rooms with some great wine. We stopped at the Foxen wine shack (before they had two tasting rooms) and filled up most of a case with Pinot Noir, and at the next stop, some Zaca Mesa (Syrah). One of our current favorites is Riverbench Winery, which features beautifully-crafted Pinot Noir and Sparkling wines, and the Riverbench Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine will be featured in our Winter Shipment! We then discovered the charming town of Los Olivos. Los Olivos is the perfect stopping point on your way up the coast, and we see many of our friends as they are traveling. Please let us know if you are passing through or better yet, spend a day and we’ll meet up for some wine-tasting!

We didn’t have much time but stopped at a tasting room that offered a tasting of multiple great wines and purchased a few, including Kenneth Crawford (now Crawford Family Winery) and Center of Effort which we mentioned in a recent blog. We made a note to explore this beautiful area more thoroughly next time. When we returned, we’d often stay at the Wine Valley Inn in Solvang after a trip to Paso Robles, another favorite area. We plan to offer a Paso-focused wine shipment shortly – any recommendations are welcome! Of course, we’ll need to do a research trip there first. Wine Club Members are needed to participate as part of our tasting panel! Since that time, we’ve made numerous trips, and joined many wine clubs, starting with Melville Winery, which reminded us of an Italian villa. In fact, we joined so many wine clubs that it became overwhelming. That is where we got the idea to start a wine club that offers a variety of wines, so that members don’t have to join a lot of different clubs to get the best wines. Enter Revisit Wine Club. Hope that you will join us on this journey! Visit our website at Revisit Wine Company to learn more!



Center of Effort Tasting with Nathan Carlson

After enjoying Center of Effort wines a few times, we decided to schedule a tasting with winemaker Nathan Carlson, who has been making wine in the area for many years. Center of Effort is located in the beautiful Edna Valley. If you’ve never visited the Edna Valley before, we highly recommend it! It’s a laid-back hidden gem just east of San Luis Obispo with rolling hills and a small number of wineries throughout. After many years of operating in a small facility, the COE facility is undergoing major reconstruction and the new tasting room and hospitality center look to be amazing. In the meantime, we met Nathan to taste wines where the action is (which we like) – the warehouse where we saw many barrels and also those concrete “egg-like” vessels which are becoming popular.

Per Nathan, the “Center of Effort” wines are created from the best locations, blocks, and lots in the vineyard. To expand their line, COE has recently launched another label titled, “Effort” which are also excellent wines but at a lower price point. Stylistically, Effort wines exhibit a more approachable, fruit-forward style, bringing diversity and dimension to our portfolio. We started our tasting with a 2017 beautiful light peach colored dry rose’ of Pinot Noir followed by:

2016 Effort Chardonnay: Notes of citrus and nice minerality with bright acidity. Fermented by native yeast and aged in new French oak barrels. A great deal for $24/bottle. We took a bottle of this home.

2014 Center of Effort Chardonnay: A refreshing mineral note joins with notes of pineapple and guava. Fermented in 30% new French Oak, concrete, and acacia wood vessels. Interesting things to note: acacia wood barrels – never heard of this before! Does add an interesting flavor.

2016 Effort Pinot Noir: Per Nathan, this wine uses the best of COE’s blocks and barrels. A recent review by Matt Ketterman, Wine Enthusiast, described the wine as having baked black cherry, vanilla, raspberry, rose petals and a touch of licorice light up the nose. The lightly poised but intensely focused sip reveals a wild combo of fruit and spice, with sage, bay leaf, thyme and fennel laced through black cherry. It’s like walking through the Central Coast scrubland. We took a bottle of this home with us. It’s a great deal for $27.

2013 Center of Effort Pinot Noir: This wine includes 15% whole clusters per Nathan. For more info on “whole cluster fermentation” click here for a Wine Spectator article. Tasting notes from Nathan have this wine showcasing a classic Pinot Noir nose of orange peel and Montmorency cherries, this wine expresses the land in which our vineyard lies. The palate is mid-weight with ripe plum, cocoa dust, and a balancing freshness. Earthy notes of new leather and faint campfire lead to a lengthy finish.

Nathan is a very down-to-earth winemaker who made the tasting experience comfortable and informative. He is also working on bringing some Rhone varietals to the COE portfolio.Other great wineries to try in the Edna Valley include Kynsi (fantastic Pinot Noir), Chamisal – beautiful scenery. Talley has a beautiful estate with a grassy area for groups and kids, and an outdoor tasting area, in addition to a farmer’s market.