On my visit the tasting room of Tercero Wines, I was extremely fortunate to try their wines while chatting with the winemaker, Larry Schaffer. One of the things that I love about visiting smaller wineries is that regular people, like me, occasionally have the opportunity to meet the winemakers. When you get that kind of access it opens a really amazing window into the winery, often illuminating how and why they made the wines the way that they did. Read more about my interview with Larry here.
The tasting room is really neat. It is not big, but there is enough space and it is nicely organized. One wall is painted as a chalk board with fun notes about the wine and other messages. This is a great example of how a tasting room does not need to be fancy to have wonderful character and ambiance.
I tried several of their wines including the 2010 Viognier, 2010 Grenache Blanc and several reds. I really loved them, especially the red wines. They were dry, full bodied and spicy with dark fruit aromas. They are wines that you can sit and inhale for a while, before even taking a sip. Larry mentioned in my interview with him that he is an “aromatics” guy and consequently makes wines that lure you in with their enticing nose.
In two of his wines, he used some whole clusters of grapes. This gave the wines additional structure and body, enhancing their richness. The 07 Watch Hill Grenache and the 07 Thompson Vineyard Syrah both exhibited this voluptuousness, yet were well balanced to create a silky and smooth feel. I imagine that both of these wines would pair nicely with a meal like braised short ribs and herbed polenta.
The last two reds that I tried were lighter in body and could easily be enjoyed on their own or with a meal. The 07 Camp 4 Grenache was made from de-stemmed grapes and had a lighter body relative to the other Grenache. This was a really elegant wine. The 07 Christie Cuvee Blend, named after Larry’s wife, is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, resulting in a very smooth and easy to drink wine.
Rating: 4 out of 4 – highly recommend