Edmunds St. John Winery, in conjunction with Chambers Street Wines, held a wine dinner at Belcourt restaurant this past Thursday.  The dinner proved to be a lot of fun as I was joined by several close friends as well as some new friends we made that night.  And as my good friend Bailey said that night, “I see best friend tattoos out of this.”  I was also with my fellow foodie friend Alison, and this was her first “wine dinner,” and she was in rare form that night.  By her own admission, “I am even more of a pistol when I am drinking, FYI!”  Alison, that’s a good thing.  Anyway, she provided a huge amount of amazing one liners throughout the night, some of which I cannot repeat here, but that we will all be laughing about when we talk about what a great time we had together. We roasted the restaurant a bit as it was a bit loud and the food was mediocre.  Though I have to say the bread and butter were as good as I have had anywhere (honest)!  And we tried a lot of wines.  Nine in fact.  We started with a rosé, moved to a white, then the balance were all red.  The first two being reds made from the Gamay grape, which is primarily grown in the Beaujolais and Loire Valley regions of France.  The last five being Rhone style wines or blends.  So they were either made from 100% Syrah, or a combination of Syrah and other grapes such as Grenache.  The Edmunds St. John Winery is a boutique winery located in Berkeley, California.  They source their fruit primarily from single vineyards and craft small lots of French style terroir driven wines.  Steve Edmunds was on hand at the dinner, and although it was too loud in the restaurant for him to speak to the group (and he did try), he did make the rounds and we had a chance to discuss his wines and wine in general.  I think if there was one thing that I came away with regarding his wines, is that he truly lets the character of the fruit and terroir shine though.  The wines, especially the reds, had the real purity of the fruit in tact.  Most of these wines are fairly reasonably priced as well.  Here are the wines we tasted:

2009 El Dorado County, Witters Vineyard Bone-Jolly Gamay Rosé

The rosé was the color of watermelon juice, and there were certainly hints of watermelon in the flavor profile as well.  There were also elements of strawberry, candle wax, rust, shell fish, and tart apple jolly rancher candies.  Additional were also flavors of rose petals, melon, cherry cola and crayola crayon.  I am not a rosé guy, but what guy is a rosé guy really.  More of a lady drink, but hey, when in Rome!  LOL.  ON THE FENCE

2004 Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyard Roussane

Our white of the night.  The nose was very interesting indeed.  Medium to dark yellow in color, with scents of par, lemon zest, almonds, chalk, nutmeg, inner tube, pineapple, toasted oak, and baked apple.  Interesting wine.  RECOMMENDED

2008 El Dorado County, Witters Vineyard Bone-Jolly Gamay

This light bodied red has flavors of strawberry jelly, sour cherry, and roses.  There is a bit of salinity to the wine and it is medium garnet in color with a bit of lively acidity and a short dry finish.  There is a touch of earthiness to this wine as well.  ON THE FENCE

2008 El Dorado County, Barsotti Ranch Porphyry Gamay

This Gamay is more strawberry preserves as opposed to the jelly of the previous wine.  There are notes of pepper, roses, and tart cherry.  There is a light effervescence and a lively acidity to the wine.  It finishes with nice bright fruit.  RECOMMENDED

2005 Sonoma Valley, Parmelee Hill Vineyard Syrah

We switched to  the Syrah/Rhone style wines at this point.  This one had notes of jammy plum and stewed black cherry.  There were also elements of black pepper and shell fish.  It had a nice chewy cherry mouth feel as well.  RECOMMENDED

2007 El Dorado County, Wylie and Fenaughty Vineyards, “That Old Black Magic”

This wine is a blend of Syrah and Grenache.  It has elements of smoke, dark fruit, liquorish, sour cherries.  The mouth feel is fairly plush and the finish is a bit tart.  RECOMMENDED

2008 Mendocino County, Cuvée Fairbairn Syrah

This wine’s production is bio dynamic and organic.  It has flavors of blueberry, caramel, campfire, brine, and plush red fruit.  Interesting.  RECOMMENDED

2005 San Luis Obispo County, Bassetti Vineyard Syrah

Things really started getting interesting at the end.  This wine is farmed with no irrigation, so the vines are probably a bit more stressed, contributing to a more complex wine.  There are great aromatics of dark chocolate, tobacco, brine, asparagus, and fig.  Yum.  RECOMMENDED

1996 Les Côtes Sauvages, “Fin de Siècle

A blend of Rhone grapes, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre.  The last wine was a surprise that was not on the tasting list.  Steve brought it from his personal collection.  It was most certainly the wine of the evening.  Probably due to it’s being more aged than the other wines.  Flavors of cherry cola mixed with olive tapenade and smokey earth to make this mature wine an exciting experience.  Wow.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED