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Central California Wines
updated: Dec 29, 2012, 2:00 PM

By Marc Liberts

December 15, 2012

My wife and I drove up to Santa Ynez on Saturday December 15, 2012 to have dinner with friends. Our friends suggested that we all go to Central California Wines in Santa Ynez prior to eating dinner. I'm glad we did.

Central California Wines is a tasting room in Santa Ynez that features wines from the Central Coast of California. On the night I visited, we tasted wines from as far south as Santa Ynez and as far north as Paso Robles. This tasting rooms claims to travel the entire Central Coast searching for great boutique wines. We met Herman Figge who is the owner and operator of the Central Cal Wine tasting room in Santa Ynez. Mr. Figge is extremely knowledgeable about wine in general, and Central Coast wines specifically. Mr. Figge mentioned that he was previously employed at the Coral Casino and Alisal Guest Ranch in various food and beverage management positions. I did not introduce myself other than a wine geek looking for good wine.

I was impressed with Mr. Figge's knowledge about wine, and I very much enjoyed my visit to Central California Wine Tasting - Santa Ynez Wine Tasting Room. The address is 3553 Sagunto St. Suite A, Santa Ynez, CA 93463, and the phone number is 805-691-4094. You can get more information from their website here at the following web address: http://www.centralcalwines.com/index.php.

I really enjoyed both of the Pianetta wines that Mr. Figge poured for me, and I suggest you keep an eye out for Pianetta if you see it when you are out and about.

1. MIROBALLI GB, 2011 Grenache Blanc, Camp 4 Vineyards, Santa Ynez Valley - Pretty nose and plump on the palate with plush fruit and perhaps a tiny hint of residual sugar. Very nice start to the tasting - 91 points.

2. PIANETTA, 2010 Sangiovese, Paso Robles - Ripe red cherries on the palate featuring good balance and a supple pleasant finish. A really nice wine that I'd never heard of - 90 points.

3. MALIBU ROCKY OAKS ESTATE VINEYARDS, Los Angeles County, Cabernet Franc, 2008 - Decent mocha and dark chocolate notes on the palate. Somewhat undisciplined and unruly on the finish but not overtly so. A good effort - 87 points.

4. VACA NEGRA, 2008 Paso Robles, Vista Creek Vineyard - A blend of 43% Mourvédre, 36% Tempranillo, and 21% Grenache - Spicy on the palate with interesting caramel and rustic tannins. Interesting but rough in spots - 86 points.

5. JUG WINE, Le Jug, 2010 - 40% Syrah, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec, 5% Petite Sirah - Comes in a funny glass jug, but don't let that fool you! This is really interesting and fun wine. It is very ripe and the plump raisins dominate the nose and the palate. However, it has a very pleasing and velvety supple finish. An excellent surprise if you love very ripe fruit based wines - 90 points.

6. SAXBY WINERY, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Foxtail Hill Vineyard, Paso Robles - Starts quietly on the nose. It has decent fruit with hints of cedar, coffee, tobacco, and spice. Overall, a light and nice Cabernet Sauvignon - 88 points.

7. JJ CELLARS, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles - Very ripe on the nose and palate. Very ripe and dark berries come blasting through on the palate and overwhelm everything else. Unruly but fun - 87 points.

8. TACKITT FAMILY VINEYARDS, Swiss Collina, Zinfandel, 2009, Paso Robles - A smart wine with a pretty nose, good fruit, nice balance, and great behavior. Solid & smart - 90 points.

9. PIANETTA, Petite Sirah, 2009, Paso Robles - Dense and ripe with good balance, strong fruit, and a whiff of loamy herbs and pepper. I liked this wine - 90 points.

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