Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Had an Epiphany So I Went to Epiphany!

OK folks: I visited Epiphany in Los Olivos a couple weeks ago and am just finally getting around to blogging about it (I'm back-blogged, you know.) I am *so* thankful I went! Epiphany was recommended to me by Bret (who works at Robin's in Cambria) and his wife, Maria (who works at Eberle.) I trust their opinion as they used to live in the area so I made sure I stopped there while I was in town.

Boyfriend & I walked into Epiphany and immediately met Jonathan (the Tasting Room Manager) who was the most amazing host. We started off with the 2009 Grenache Blanc and I had to stop, pause and take it all in as it was so lovely. I thought this was my favorite Grenache Blanc ever until Jonathan told us the 2010 was just released and that we could try it. OMG - how can you choose between these wines? They are both perfection in my mind. I was raving about them when Jonathan mentioned, "We got all of our Grenache Blanc cuttings/root stock from Tablas Creek." OK - now I know (partly) why the wine is so amazing. Can't I ever get away from these Tablas Creek "amazing wine guys?" It's like they're omnipresent!

The 2010 Grenache Blanc is a "party in your mouth" as coined by Boyfriend. It's totally apricot with bright acidity, yet a round, full flavor. Jonathan said it was "dangerous" as it's one of those wines you can drink all day.

So let's talk about the backstory on Epiphany. They are owned by the Fess Parker Winery. Epiphany was started as a "personal passion project" by Eli Parker and Ashley Parker Snider. They wanted to focus on high-end, limited production wines with an emphasis on Rhone varietals. Around 1999, Epiphany planted Rhone Varietals grafted from Tablas Creek as well as other vineyards and viola! Things got rolling.

The winemaker for Epiphany is the awesome Blair Fox, who actually has his own winery, Blair Fox Cellars, also in Los Olivos. In my not-so-humble opinion, Blair is a genius when it comes to winemaking. Watch out Mr. Fox, we'll be crashing your winery soon and will be looking for an interview with you!

Now back to the wines. I've been on a hunt for the best of the best pink wines so I was thrilled to be able to try the Epiphany 2010 Grenache based rose'. Absolutely beautiful. It actually gives you a "back of the palate pop" which was quite a surprise! Flavors of light, clean watermelon, strawberry, kiwi & guava abounded. This one will definitely make it to my rose' list.

Jonathan also opened up for us a stainless steel dry Riesling. I can't even begin to say how nice it is to find a gorgeous, stone dry Riesling that's made in California. What a treat! What I don't understand is why we didn't bring a bottle (or two or three) home with us. Oh well. We'll just have to do the beautiful drive down to Los Olivos again. Poor us :)

Here's the amazing Jonathan!
Rather than going on about all of the wines (though they are all fabulous & deserve attention!) I'm going to highlight Epiphany's flagship wine: their Petite Sirah. This wine is their most popular wine and has earned many accolades. In 2005 & 2006, it won Double Gold in the San Francisco International Wine Competition with unanimous decisions! That is beyond amazing.

Right now in the tasting room, they are pouring the 2007 Petite Sirah which hasn't been judged yet as the San Francisco International Wine Competition won't be held until June 17th-19th. How exciting! Good luck to everyone at Epiphany. In the meantime, I'd recommended running down there and buying it up while you can :)

The special treat for us at Epiphany was that Jonathan had the '04 Petite Sirah open for us and we got to try it. Wow! Thanks, Jonathan - you made us feel like kings & queens.

Of course I'm always looking for the best photo opportunity, so here's another shot of Jonathan, pouring from a magnum bottle. Well, not really...but it's nice to be able to dream, isn't it? Though if we had cracked it opened, Boyfriend and I would have had to crash on the floor at Epiphany as we would have never been able to drive home - HA!

I have to say a huge THANK YOU! to Jonathan for showing us such an amazing time at Epiphany. As an industry person, I have to say how nice it is to be teated so well at another winery. Jonathan took a lot of time with us, poured us through their wines so that we could get the "full" experience of Epiphany, and shared a library of information with us about the wines & winery. You can obviously tell by Jonathan's positive attitude that he enjoys working there. In fact, he said, "This is the best job I've ever had in my life!" Now that's quite a statement. That said, when you find out that Epiphany only produces 4,500 cases, but has 2,000 wine club members in a wine club that's only four years old, you know something special is going on at that place. Two bottles, two times a year - how nice is that! Sign up - you really can't go wrong.

That's why I had to take the following photo - with Boyfriend's permission & approval of course:

I was just so thankful to find such good wines at this winery, I couldn't help myself! When wine tasting, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. But at Epiphany, I found two princes in Jonathan & Blair Fox. Thanks, guys!! (And a big thanks to Jonathan's wife for understanding why I had to do this photo - ha ha)

Epiphany Cellars is located at:
2963 Grand Avenue in Los Olivos
805.686.2424 www.epiphanycellars.com

This is the gorgeous building on Grand Avenue where you'll find Epiphany. What a great place to work!

Next post: My visit to the "Sideways" Los Olivos Cafe. This is where it really gets interesting :)

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