Chuck Crouse, center, with the Friday afternoon tasters
Chuck Crouse, center, with the Friday afternoon tasters

T his was an incredible tasting for $9. Not only was the wine good, but the presenter was quite the entertainer. Chuck Crouse, of Red, White and Blue Distributors was the wine presenter on Friday filling in for a winery rep who couldn’t make it.
Opolo is great winery in the Paso Robles AVA. You should check out their website to see their story. When you real the details on the wines below you’ll see they take great care in harvesting and preparing their wines.
Crouse knew his stuff when it came to these wines. My first surprise was the first wine. It was the Opolo Sparkling. This 100% was originally a sparkler produced for use only at the vineyard where you can get married if you want. “This was originally a celebratory wine produced for use at the winery,” he said. Now it is available. This not your usual light sparkler. I wish I had this at New Year’s. A little bit more robust and more of a medium mouthfeel. Nice fruit. Not a dry sparkler but a lot more flavor than sugar.
After one taster commented on the floral nature of the Viogner Crouse commented “you can fill a bathtub and soak with this one.” That would be fun, but who would want to miss out drinking this gem.
The first red was the Grand Rouge. This is a Rhone blend featuring grapes you seldom hear about coming from California. Crouse specifically pointed out “Counoise.” I’ve heard of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre, but I had to stop and look at the bottle to see how to spell it.
If you’ve ever said you don’t care for French wines I think you owe it to yourself to try this one. I like the aromas that kind of defy the flavors in the glass. You get some cherry on the nose and the palate but there are some spicy notes. The tasting notes say cherry and cloves on the nose and cherry and plum on the palate. I can’t say I could smell the cloves but the cherry and the plum was there.
The Summit Creek Merlot was very good. “It comes from the lower end of the property and yes a creek runs through it.” This merlot has some really nice tannins to it. Much beefier than the fruit forward Merlots I’ve had lately.

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The Summit Creek Zinfandel was one of my favorites. “A party in a bottle,” claimed Crouse. He was referring to the 15.5% alcohol this zin has. He added “this was one of the wines served at the Playboy Mansion.” Hmmmmm. Maybe it is a party in a bottle. He said the vines are 3-40 year old. This is a nicely balanced Zin.
Last but not least was the Opolo Cabernet Sauvignon. Roger said this is his favorite. Honestly I preferred the Merlot and the Zin but that’s probably because those are nice by themselves and nice for sitting on the back porch. This Cab is a bit brighter/lighter than most Cabs. Not over the top in fruit or as dense. It has some oak for sure. I think this cab will get better with some age.
Where: Vineyard Wine Market (map), 4414 Evans to Lock Road, Evans, GA. (706) 922-9463
When: Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, 4:30-6:30PM. Saturday, Feb. 20, 2015, 3 to 6 pm.
Cost: $9
Here are the wines presented (click to see more):

  1. Opolo Sparkling
  2. Opolo Viogner 2013
  3. Opolo Grand Rouge 2011
  4. Opolo Summit Creek Merlot 2010
  5. Opolo Summit Creek Red Zinfandel 2013
  6. Opolo Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Here are the detailed wine notes:
Opolo Sparkling | Paso Robles, California
Opolo’s sparkling wine is refreshing, light golden in color and full of flavor with pronounced ribbons of bubbles. The palate holds effervescent notes of peach and apple that lead to a delightful finish. The sparkling is perfect for an afternoon poolside or the enjoyment of your finest celebrations. (100% French Colombard). Website Cost: $14.99
Opolo Viogner 2013 | Paso Robles, California
Grapes for our Viognier were sourced from our estate vineyards in Paso Robles as well as select vineyards in Monterey County. Cooling breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean contribute foggy mornings and lower summer temperatures, which produces exceptional, expressive fruit. The tasting notes say: Shows fragrances of melon grapefruit and nectarine. Slightly floral with tangy lemon zest, melon, pear and stone fruit with crisp acidity. Good weight to the wine without being too heavy. Pair with fried zucchini blossoms, seared Chilean sea bass or try Macadamia nut crusted chicken. (100% Viogner). Website Cost: $17.99
Opolo Grand Rouge 2011 | Paso Robles, California
The grapes were handpicked early in the morning and gently de-stemmed into small open top fermenters. After fifteen days of fermentation, the must was gently pressed and aged in oak for 16 months. TASTING NOTES: Composed of Grenache, Counoise, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre, this wine exemplifies the classic blends of the Rhone Valley. Bright cherry aromas lead this symphony with the accompaniment of lavender, cinnamon, and cloves. Cherry and plum dance on the tongue and lead to a delightfully racy finish. This versatile wine will pair with a variety of foods from Thai to roast duck. Website Cost: $19.99
Opolo Summit Creek Merlot 2010 | Paso Robles, California
The grapes were handpicked early in the morning and gently de-stemmed into both closed topped stainless steel fermentation vessels as well as small open top fermenters. After fifteen days of fermentation, the must was gently pressed and aged in oak for 22 months. TASTING NOTES: Dark plum, violets and black pepper dominate the nose followed by a lush palate of cherries and raspberries interwoven with tobacco and spice. Medium bodied and ready to drink now.
Website
Cost: $19.99
Opolo Summit Creek Red Zinfandel 2013 | Paso Robles, California
The grapes were handpicked early in the morning and gently de-stemmed into both closed topped stainless steel fermentation vessels as well as small open top fermenters. After fifteen to twenty days of fermentation, the must was gently pressed and aged in oak for 10 months. TASTING NOTES: Opolo’s Summit Creek Zinfandel is a full-bodied red wine showcasing vibrant raspberry and strawberry framed by soft tannins and balanced acidity. Subtle hints of cinnamon and tea leaf further complement this hand-crafted wine. Our Summit Creek Zinfandel is an approachable wine that is ready to drink now will improve with age for up to 5 years. (100% Zinfandel. 15.5% ABV). Website Cost: $19.99
Opolo Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 | Paso Robles, California
The grapes were handpicked early in the morning and gently de-stemmed into stainless steel fermentation vessels. After fifteen to twenty days of fermentation, the must was gently pressed and aged in oak for 18 months. TASTING NOTES: Crafted from our estate vineyards Opolo’s Cabernet Sauvignon begins with rich aromas of red current, cardamom and mint. Well integrated tannins wrap around a core of cherry, blackberry, toasted almonds and vanilla. Lusciously full bodied with a long lingering finish. Approachable now but will benefit from additional cellar aging. Best with an additional year of aging and will age for 5-10 years. Serve with spicy charred octopus or a charcuterie plate. Website Cost: $32.99

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