LA Wine Fest – Finding the notable wines

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I was excited to hear about the LA Wine Fest and it’s expansion of wine vendors and sponsors. For months I’ve been reading about the event and looking forward to attending it again this year with friends. For the past four years, I’ve attended the LA Wine Fest faithfully. Each year came with some excitement like learning about the most recent wine releases and snatching the opportunity to taste them too. I also would discover a new winery or two and then add it to my list of wineries to visit. After the 2nd hour at the festival, I found myself a little disappointed with the pickings. Yes, there were a lot of vendors, but booth after booth were the same wines that I had tried at last year’s event or at some other local wine event. I found that 90% of the wine selections were a fizzle.

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I don’t know what to say other than “What happened?” Where are all the good wines at the LA Wine Fest? Like a needle in a haystack, I managed to find a few notable wines that I liked. Paso Robles’ Lone Madrone has a nice Bailey Ranch Zinfandel with a elegant kick and a brightness. I can see how this particular Zin could go well with an oily sandwich or a nice juicy grilled tri-tip or a medium grilled rib-eye steak.  Lone Madrone’s The Will is also a gutsy wine, but I found myself more drawn to the Bailey Ranch Zinfandel. It gets three toasts from me.

If I had to choose the best white wine at the LA Wine Fest, the honors goes to Michael-David Winery for their 2009 Incognito White Wine. The Incognito is a  white wine blend of Rhone varietal grapes like the effervescent Viognier, Chardonnay, Rousanne, and other Rhone grape varietals. It’s a sweetheart of a wine with a nice brightness with melon undertones. I just read that it just earned a respectable 89 point rating from The Wine Enthusiast Magazine.  I also liked the Cielo Malibu Estate Vineyard 2009 Honey Pie, which has an insatiable honeysuckle flavor with hints of stone fruit.