Wednesday, December 18, 2013

OH WHAT A NIGHT! 6 years of Caliza

CalizaVertical Tasting at The Saly's
with Carl Bowker, winemaker

Dana, Carl and Matt
welcome us

It's been a while, what with vacations, holidays and all, to get back to our regular wine group night....and my wine blogging.  Saturday December 14th was 2013's last wine group night of the year....and ALL THE STOPS WERE PULLED OUT....
The table is set


Hosted by Dana and Matt.....this wine night had a bit of a twist from our traditional "brown bag" nights....where each couple brings a wine, and we blind taste a specifically designated varietal or blend, rate the wines and then see what we were drinking...and who the "winner" is.

In the planning for awhile....Dana and Matt provided ALL the wine....for what was to be an incredible VERTICAL TASTING!  The wine was Azimuth....from Carl Bowker's Caliza Vineyards.  NOT ONLY was the wine "from" Carl....CARL BOWKER, Caliza's owner and winemaker made the trip from Paso to join us!  And, he brought with him the soon to be released 2011 Azimuth. What a treat!  a 6 bottle vertical!

Starting with Carl's initial 2006 Azimuth release....followed by 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and a decanted 2011!  What a journey we were in for.

Before getting to the main event however we needed to start with something to tease the pallet, and get the salivary juices flowing, and what better than a white Rhone blend of Marsanne and Roussane from Jada...a delightful 2008 XCV. And once that ran out...a bottle of Anthony Yount's recently released Kinero Chardonnay, another Yount home run.

Sipping and enjoying these two Paso whites we had a nice assortment of cheese, accompanied with home made crab cakes and a savory garden salad of pea greens with lentils, red beets, goat cheese and ground pistachios, and Lynn's hand made potato and mushroom borecas.

 Some cheese
 Borecas...a generational family recipe
"The" Salad!

As we eat and drink, the volume increases, as does the laughter and overall joviality.  During appetizers, Carl is able to tell us his story....his history...Caliza's get us in the mood (not that we needed much help)......for the incredible wine trip we are about to begin.

After an hour of sipping whites, socializing and enjoying the appetizers...its' time to get down to THE MAIN EVENT!  DINNER AND A 6 BOTTLE VERTICAL OF CALIZA'S AZIMUTH!

(Decanter of 2011 not shown)

Lynn, Pamela, Jacquelin (Newest member of our wine group), Dana and Ellen

As the evening progresses...we move from one bottle to another (as we move from one delicious dish to another)...Carl explains each and every bottle....from his first release, all from sourced grapes, up until his first Estate Blend, and beyond.  Each bottle so different from the other.  One is Grenache dominated, another is primarily Syrah, another with Tannant...the blends are enticing...tantalizing...

Paul, Don, Carl, Matt, Mike

What makes Azimuth so intriguing, is how different each bottle and blend is.  The 2006, 51% Syrah, 19% Grenache, 14% Mourvedree, 8% Tannant and 8% Alicante Bouschet to the 2007 dominated by 53% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 12% Mourvedre and so on, each year the blend differs, as does the nose and the taste.
                                                  Yep.....still incredible after all those years!                      

One year drinks soft, sexy, and subtle...the other is like fireworks and the 4th of July...and yet another is just downright Bit**Y! SUCH a good way!  What weaves all the wines together however is their complexity, layers, flavors, scents...and the way they bring out the flavors in the food...and the way the foods bring out the flavors in the wines.
Good food, good wine, good friends

And, speaking of the food!  Gracing our plates was toasted butternut squash and garlic with crispy sage, mini crust less mushroom quiche, truffle mac and cheese and for those who had to have some beef...a perfectly BBQ tri tip.

A perfect plate, paired with perfect wine

Of course, the LAST course was dessert:  Nothing too heavy...home baked gluten free sponge cake shells, drizzled with chocolate wine,  topped with soft vanilla ice cream, adorned with mini French chocolate malt balls surrounded with fresh blackberries and raspberries.

Yummy anyone?

Accompanies with Jacquelin's yummy chocolate/mint cookie and incredible chocolate "thingy."

Believe it or not, as we relax and finish our journey of 6 wines...there is enough to revisit.  I like the 2008, Dana the '07, Jacqueline (our newly initiated wine group member) the '09.  The pallets differ, the tastes differ, the wines differ. What an eclectic evening!

With a special thank you to Carl for his wonderful wines and his making the trip to share Calizas history with us sip by sip, year by year.

And of course, a thank you to our hosts, Dana and Matt...and the rest of our wine group:  Paul and Ellen and Pamela and Mike and Cousin Jacqueline....and Lynn and by association, me also!

Our next wine night will be in late February...but look for a blog before then!  After all as it is said:  So much wine, and so little time!  We will all make the best of our time, to sip fine wine.....with friends.
We ONLY bring fine wines!

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