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The Wines at Crush Barrel Wine Market

There was something for everyone at July’s Crush Barrel Wine Market, from bubbly bruts to earthy Bordeaux blends. The event was set at Fort Mason, in San Francisco, where wine enthusiasts could try and buy, directly from the winery. Here are the top picks of the market:

Best of Show – Stein Family

A new discovery and overall best of show winner was Stein Family Winery. Josh Stein was on hand to personally pour his two wines— a 2009 Los Carneros Semi-Dry Gewürztraminer and his Just Joshin 2007 Tempranillo, from the Sierra Foothills. The Gewürztraminer was beautiful with honeysuckle and rose pedals on the mid-palate with a big of orange and lemon to round it out. A touch of residual sugar adds to this wine, kicking up the acidity a bit and making it a desirable wine for my next outing to a thai restaurant.

The tempranillo further illustrated that, to me, the grape is Cabernet’s baby sister. It ripe and ready to drink now, though you might want to wait a few years for the soft tannins to further settle. There’s a bit of blueberries and red berries mixed with a mocha aspect, further added by a dusting of dirt (terrior). Tempranillos have a higher bit of acidity, making it perfect for your next lamb shank dish.

Here are a few other noteworthy wines of the Crush Barrel Wine Market:

Aver Family Vineyard 2007 Homage (Syrah) – The wine is tasting beautifully right now. The tannins have somewhat resided and what you are left with is a medium spice coupled with a bit of vanilla and dark berries. It’s ready to drink now, though you could lay this down for another few years.

Ricardus Corculum 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon – Using a mixture of new French Oak as well and neutral, Ricardus Corculum has crafted a beautiful Cab. Blackberries can be found both on the mid-palate, along with a cedar plank spice and a bit of mocha. The wine is clean, with good, strong tannins. This is a wine that you’ll want to lay down for 10+ years.

R&B Cellars Fortissimo “Port” Desert Wine – A beautiful wine to finish off the wine tasting. I coupled this with a few chocolates from different tables to really get this port to shine. Tobacco, leather and plum can easily be found in this wine. It’s thick and leathery; simply beautiful.



Haydn Adams is the author of the book, Wineries Beyond Napa Valley: Dry Creek and Alexander Valley, an insider’s tasting guide to the hidden gems region. He also contributes to the Beyond Napa Valley Wine Blog, writes for, and can be found roaming the hills of Sonoma County (and at times, Napa Valley) looking for the next hidden gems. You can contact him at