Paso Robles Garagiste Festival 2014: Two Pinots to Watch

Garagiste Saturday Grand Tasting
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We spent the first hour plus at the Saturday Garagiste grand tasting doing a tour of pinot noirs. And we found two to watch: Vinemark Cellars and Vino Vargas. We’ll review each in detail as time permits. But we wanted to get the word out as soon as we could.

 

Julie and Mark Wasserman

Julie and Mark Wasserman

Vinemark Cellars was our first find of this event. Mark and Julie Wasserman released their first wine in 2012. Their 2012 Paso Robles pinot noir ($29) is interesting featuring bing cherry aromas and blackberry flavors.

Vinemark Wines

Vinemark Wines

This finesse Pinot Noir offers cedar and spice aromas that lead to juicy mouth-watering black cherry flavors. The varietal red berry flavors are complemented by dark chocolate and dried cherry, creating a Pinot Noir confection.

But the real surprise is their 2012 Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands ($32, MAJOR BARGAIN). My tasting notes just say “sheer bliss.” The winery tasting notes are pretty accurate →

Pedro and Victoria Vargas

Pedro and Victoria Vargas

Vino Vargas is the joint project of Pedro and Victoria Vargas. Pedro is a U.C. Davis product. Victoria is a sommelier who trained at the French Culinary Institute. Talk about a wine power couple!

Vargas Wines

Vargas Wines

The Vargas 2012 Rio Ruso Russian River Valley pinot noir ($45) opens with strawberry aroma, followed by a light raspberry palate. The finish lasts forever, featuring nice tannins. Pedro and Victoria have been making wine for about five years, with total annual production around 1,000 cases. They feature four reds, two whites, and some specialty blends. Look for their first GSM coming out in December. (Rio Ruso is Spanish for Russian River).

About the author

Tony Lima has been a California wine fan since arriving in California from the east coast in 1974. He's lived the growth and expansion of the West Coast industry first hand. He's seen the fickle California Wine consumer fads pop up and burst... the craze for Zinfandel, then oaky Chardonnay, then Merlot, now Pinot Noir. On behalf of fellow Californian oenophiles, he hunts for great pinot noir and great values in pinot noir all along the West Coast. His day job is Professor of Economics at California State University located in Hayward. His undergrad degree in chemical engineering (MIT) and his MBA (Harvard) and Ph.D. Economics (Stanford) are the root of his interest in the Business of Wine. He is a card-carrying member of the AAWE - American Association of Wine Economists.

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