Following high winds with two brief yet intense rainstorms which left inches of hail on the ground and snow dusting the local mountains including several inches in Malibu canyon, I dropped by Clos des Amis yesterday afternoon to taste how the 2020 vintage is progressing, and help a bit with clean up.
In a difficult year with COVID, fires, and sudden record-breaking high temperatures, the 2020 harvest overall was a bright spot for Clos Des Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman who predicted the vintage would be exceptional: “We had beautiful weather, beautiful fruit, and I’m excited about the potential for these wines.” Soon after harvested, he told me that the wines were “already showing elegance and power.”
This elegance and power is already showing up in the glass from barrel samples Gretel pulled and they shared with me. With the local snow capped mountains in the background, we tasted and discussed five of the 2020 red wines as well as the 2019 Rich Vineyard Grenache:
- a field blend of grapes from the estate vineyards with some other Ventura County sources,
- the zinfandel from the upper Ojai Bloick vineyard that started as a UC Davis experiment which I helped pick and you can read about here,
- the estate Malbec which we picked while listening to Musikaravan,
- the Rattlesnake estate Pinot Noir, and
- the estate Syrah
All of the 2020’s I found to be very powerful and expressive, and look forward to sharing them when they are bottled sometime next year. In the meantime, I’ll be helping them bottle more of the 2017 “white” (orange or extended skin contact wine) which is one of my favorite white wines, the 2019 rose, and a few other wines.
Later in the month I joined Gretel and Bruce to work the young head trained vines in Fillmore, with hopes there will be more of a crop this year for vineyard designate wines or a blend– there’s quite a hodge lodge of grapes including cabernet sauvignon, Grenache, and zinfandel.
Join us Thursday February 11th at 7 pm ET / 4 pm PT for the next VeroTalk with Bruce Freeman and Gretel Compton of the Southern California Ventura County winery Clos des Amis. The conversation will be led by Sommelier Ruth Ryberg; Verovino’s Sheila Donahue is organizing and attending the event and I plan to be on it as well.
Using French varietals, professional artists Bruce and Gretel create artistic new world wines in an old world style. With their deep yet light hearted outlook on wine and life, this VeroTalk promises to be an interesting and fun with two of my favorite people!
Buy your Clos des Amis “Undiscovered California” Wine Tasting Kit with Shipping Included for a Sale Price of $93.99 (Original Price: $116.96). Order your tasting kit by Tuesday February 2 to ensure on time delivery, and get on Zoom on February 11th at 7pm ET / 4pm PT or check the stream on Facebook Live.
Zoom Meeting details:
ID: 850 0049 4266
For more wines for this “Undiscovered California” region, check out Local Love: 6 Ventura County Wines from Local Vines Paired with Watkins Ranch Beef.”