Oakland's Urban Wine Scene: Part 2
"After a lovely tasting with Melinda over at Stage Left Cellars, I hopped in the car for a quick five-minute drive to Dashe and JC Cellars. Conveniently, these two share a tasting room which is ideal for the commuting wine taster!
First up was Dashe Cellars. The wine educator on duty, Martha, greeted me with a smile and explained that Michael and Anne Dashe founded Dashe Cellars in the late 90’s after earning their stripes at UC Davis and the University of Bordeaux. With their top-notch pedigree in mind, I was ready to be impressed!
I tasted five wines including their ever-so-famous 'Les Enfants Terribles' wine. This is a Dry Creek Valley Grenache, and an honorable nod to the French, “Old World”, style of winemaking they learned in Bordeaux.
They also produce a rosé which they were not pouring (much to my dismay!) due to the limited amount in stock. However, I did taste their 2010 Florence Vineyard Zinfandel, which I enjoyed very much. This wine received 94 points from Snooth, 90 points from Wine Spectator, and 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.
The tasting notes describe this wine as “intense, aromatic, and richly textured” and I might add very smooth and very easy to drink as well.
After a splendid time at Dashe, I made my final stop of the day. JC Cellars or Jeff Cohn Wines was yet another treat and they had an extensive list of wines to choose from. I wanted a good cross-section of their wines, so I chose a white wine, a Zinfandel, a Syrah, and a dessert wine. What a way to close the day right?!
My wine educator, Thomas, recommended I add their rosé to my long list of choices after overhearing my conversation with Martha at Dashe Cellars...so of course I did! JC Cellars rosé was a 2012 Grenache, Syrah, Mourvédre blend. No tannins, no punch down, and a perfectly light fruity drink for a summer’s day.
Next was the Stagecoach Vineyard Marsanne, a Rhône style white. Marsanne is a varietal originally from the Northern Rhône region and related to the Roussanne and Viognier grapes. That was my first time ever having a Marsanne wine but it certainly will not be the last.
Moving into the reds, I tasted JC Cellars flagship wine, 'The Imposter.' It’s a red blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mourvédre, and Viognier. I found it to be peppery, and at the same time sweet but not overpowering.
Another red I enjoyed was the 'Rockpile Vineyard Syrah – ’08 Haley’s Reserve.' Thomas suggested serving this wine with BBQ as its fruity and smoky nature would be a great compliment to a hot-off-the-grill meal. This bottle had to come home with me!
As my day of wine tasting came to an end, I reflected on my experience. The three tasting rooms I visited and all the people I met along the way made my wine-tasting experience so intimate, welcoming, and surprisingly peaceful, that I didn’t care I wasn’t among the rolling hills of Paso Robles, Napa or Sonoma.
They taught me that even though they weren’t located idyllically on a vineyard, their wine could be just as good, and let's be honest, good wine can be enjoyed anywhere.
Check out these urban wineries yourself:
Stage Left - http://www.stageleftcellars.com/
Dashe Cellars - http://www.dashecellars.com/
JC Cellars - http://www.jccellars.com/