Tehachapi Wines

Tehachapi Wines

Today I’m highlighting some wines I bought while in Tehachapi in December. These are not under-$10 wines, but deserve a spot on the blog. You can find my post about my trip here. I love the town so much, I’m actually setting my latest novel there, so I’ll definitely have to go back for more research, right?

Bob and Patty Souza, Proprietors of the Souza Family Vineyard

But back to the wine! For more information on the Souza Family Vineyard, please go here. Bob and Patty have a Cinderella story that many people envy! They grow Zinfandel grapes that have produced award-winning wines.

Quattro Stagioni Estate Primitivo 2007 Alcohol 13.1% by Volume; $25 per bottle at the Vineyard

On the Label: The rolling hills of Cummings Valley, Tehachapi, is known as “The Land of 4 Seasons”, where cattle & horse ranches abound.  It is here on the site of the historic Elijah Stowell estate, est. 1888, where ideal conditions have brought forth in its grapes a unique flavor of spices, fruitiness, licorice and a hint of pepper.  The Souza Family Vineyard has produced a rich, full-bodied wine of exceptional character.  Enjoy with beef, veal, pork and pasta.  The end of a perfect day begins with primitivo.  From our family to yours…”abbondanza fortuna”!!!

My Take: The 2007 was their first “produced” wine (I’m guessing they had some earlier wine that they didn’t release. Just guessing, though!) This wine was a bit of a disappointment, mainly because I think it had started to turn. It had a slight raisiny flavor which is not my favorite; and I wanted more pepper than I was tasting. But that’s me. As it aired, it mellowed out and got tastier.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ And I’m sure it was VERY drinkable even a year or two ago.


Tehachapi Wine & Cattle Company Estate Primitivo 2009  Alcohol 14.1% by Volume; $25 per bottle at the Vineyard

My Take: The label is the same, so I won’t repeat it. However – THIS wine is what I had been expecting. Big, bold, peppery, juicy without a hint of the dreaded raisiny taste. I loved this wine and if I could do it over again, I’d have bought two of them.  The next time I go, I think I’ll do a vertical tasting and see how the wine has changed over the years. It’s nice to not be distracted by other varietals when going to a tasting room!

My Rating: ~ Stay away! This is MY wine, you Slut! And much deserved!

Thanks, Bob and Patty. I look forward to barging in visiting with you on my next weekend trip up to Tehachapi. Oh, and I’d LOVE to spend a day stalking you at the vineyard with you!

As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

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My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!

Primitivo – in Wine and Life

Primitivo – in Wine and Life

While I was at Cypher a couple of weekends ago, the sexy ex-computer-geek-turned-tasting-room-guru T, let me in on the secret of Primitivo. Primitivo is a grape identical to Zinfandel and grown mostly in Italy, Argentina, and Chile.

Bells went off in my head. No WONDER I was drawn to Primitivo! I’d found it at Fresh & Easy, for $5.99 a bottle, and couldn’t understand how I could so love that wine. But it was hiding its true colors; and now that I know it’s a Zinfandel by another name, I’m SO on board. (Of course, the last time I went to Fresh & Easy, they didn’t have Primitivo any longer. Sigh.)

Tuesday night at Casa Ashworth, the Santa Ana winds blew. Hard. They blew hard enough to force our double front doors open wide; they blew hard enough to take lots of white picket fencing off my front fence, leaving an already-worn fence looking like an old woman’s mouth with teeth missing. The winds blew so hard, that it toppled – and split – a 30+ year old tree, narrowly missing landing on the corner of my bedroom. The power went out. I was late to work, disoriented by the winds I could hear in my sleep, and grumpy from lack of coffee.

Landscape with Windblown Trees, by Vincent Van Gogh

That afternoon, with the power still out, I found true parafin lamp oil (the other stuff is crap, don’t buy it unless it says PARAFIN lamp oil) and some new wicks for our many oil lamps. My boss, sensing my uneasiness, let me go while it was still light out, so the hubby and I could get our act together before darkness descended.

Yes, we have battery lanterns. But which would you rather gather around – the mellow yellow light of an oil lamp, or the harsh, blue light of a flourescent camping light? Yeah, us too.

By the time darkness descended, I was happily puttering about in the kitchen with three lamps burning so I could see what I was chopping, what was going into the pot on the stove, and what I needed out of the fridge. (Thank goodness for gas stoves!) I made soup from leftover veggies in the fridge, plus the rest of a Costco chicken.  For those who want to know, I sipped on the last of a bottle of La Gioiosia Pinot Grigio ($7.99 a bottle at Fresh & Easy, tiny bubbles but it’s NOT a prosecco), and we opened a bottle of Rose from Adelaida  to go with the soup – and that was yummy!

But there was the sense of primitivo about our night. Every room I went into, I flipped on the light – only to remember, too late. We made sure we had flashlights with fresh batteries easily available (our family’s prediliction lately is for headlamps – keeps your hands free), we charged our phones in our cars as we drove during the day, and used them as our morning alarms. It was nice, if slightly surreal. It wasn’t cold and we had water and gas; we weren’t that disabled by lack of electricity (except the hubby and the youngest didn’t get their NaNo words in, and grumped about it all night).

To revel in the winds and the darkness, at about ten I went outside. The winds had died to mere puffs of air; the stars were half-obscured by the bright quarter-moon.  And the silence I’d been expecting?

Filled with the hum of generators. I much preferred my lamps.

Next week I promise I’ll get a wine blog together – this week, life’s been kinda crazy!

~ Cheers – and remember to Drink Responsibly! ~