Food & Drink

Tastings: 3 wines to drink now, 3 to cellar

Wine shoppers are finding SLO County reds fromthe 2005 and 2006 vintages;whites are generallyfrom 2006 and 2007. All three vintages producedgenerally high-quality wines,with goodconcentration.

As for quantity, the 2005 vintage was huge,but it was followed by two lighter-than-normal years, andsome experts are starting to predict statewide shortages insome grape varieties, including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignonand zinfandel.

One side note about Paso Robles:ThePaso Robles Wine County Alliance reported alcohol levelswere down slightly in 2006.

Three to drink now: The 2007 tangent Riesling ($20) showshow good riesling from Edna Valley can be. It’s fresh, racy andjust off-dry,with flavors of lime, spiced apple and nectarine.

Ifyou’re looking for an easy-on-the-wallet pinot noir, the 2006Edna Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir ($16) offers lively raspberryand cherry flavors and a slight minerality.

For something morerobust, there’s the 2006 Robert Hall Syrah ($21),which issmoky and slightly peppery,with blackberry and boysenberryfruit and fine tannins.

Three for the cellar: The most ageworthy local wines I’vetasted recently have been based on cabernet sauvignon fromPaso Robles. The 2006 Sculpterra Cabernet Sauvignon ($32)offers ripe black cherry fruit, notes of mocha and spice andfirm tannins that build toward the finish.

he 2005 HalterRanch Cabernet Sauvignon ($28) displays ample black cherryflavors, accented by some savory notes of anise and blackolive. The tannins are still fairly big, so the wine could definitelyuse a few more years in the bottle.

And the 2005 JustinVineyards Isoceles ($62) — mostly cabernet, with a little cabernetfranc and merlot — is dense, dark and ripe, with juicyblack cherry, roasted coffee, spice and firm structure. It showstremendous potential.

Laurie Daniel writes a weekly wine column and local winepicks for The Tribune.autumn