California Wine Club: Tobin James Cellars

Hello Friends,

I was recently selected to participate in Mom Spark Media’s blog review campaign for the California Wine Club. The California Wine Club specializes in hand-selected artisan wines from family-owned and operated [California] producers and has satisfied customers for over twenty years. Because of my appreciation and enthusiasm for wine -- and penchant for tweeting, blogging, and all that grape stuff, I was gifted a three month Premium Club membership along with several other passionate wine bloggers. The first shipment I received, which you can read about here, was from Fess Parker Winery. This month’s California wine adventure comes from Tobin James Cellars; a producer located in Paso Robles, California. Tobin James is named for the gentleman who founded the wine destination back in 1994. The two wines included in this month’s shipment are the 2010 Radiance Chardonnay (SRP $18 / Member Reorder Price $10.99) and 2008 Titan Hills Fiasco A Reserve Red Wine (SRP $21 / Member Reorder Price $11.99).
2010 Radiance Chardonnay

The Tobin James 2010 Chardonnay Radiance is [clearly] a tasting room favorite. Tobin says, “If someone doesn’t like our Radiance Chardonnay, they need to see a psychologist!” The fruit for the Radiance is all sourced from Lockwood Vineyard in Monterey County, California. The wine's color [a golden yellow] and profile is suggestive of a warm climate Chardonnay. The swirl and sniff offer medium [soft] tropical aromas, namely pineapple, with a touch of tree fruit, some trailing banana notes, and cedar-like undertones. The aromas extend to the palate with soft acidity and a short-to-medium length finish. The wine is clean, yet uncomplicated, but paired fairly well with my fish and chips dinner. The club price of $10.99 (or less), in my humble opinion, is in the ball-park for this particular vintage of Tobin James Radiance. I give the bottle bonus points for the eye-catching label – you can spot it from a mile away (so to speak).

2008 Titan Hills “Fiasco” A Reserve Red Wine

Several days later, I grilled blue-cheese and bacon burgers and opened the red blend. The Fiasco is a blend of 55% Syrah, 25% Zinfandel, and 20% Barbera that offers ripe (borderline baked … think pie filling) blackberry and black cherry aromas/flavors interwoven with kirsch, brown baking spice, a touch of molasses and cedar. The palate is round and velvety with soft acidity, smooth tannins, and a ripe, fruit driven-attack that extends throughout the pleasant (though slightly warm) medium-length finish. My grilled burgers paired nicely with this wine. The regular price ($21), in my opinion, is fair – and the club price ($11.99) – is a really good deal. The Fiasco makes for a nice midweek wine that sips well on its own and is a nice match for grilled fare and meaty specialty pizzas.

In closing, the Premium Club membership, the company’s oldest and most popular club level, works out to about $50 per shipment. The real savings kicks in on reordering wines that you have received in shipments and enjoyed. Each shipment includes two bottles of wine as well as a newsletter that contains information about the producer, food pairing suggestions; the club owner’s tasting notes, recipes, and other interesting reading material. Not a bad gift for you or one of your wine-loving friends. Cheers!

NOTE: The California Wine Club is offering new readers and gift givers 4 bottles for the price of 2 when you sign up. Use the code vine12 at checkout to take advantage of the offer.

Click Here to visit the California Wine Club's website.

Click here to check out @cawineclub and @boringwineguy on Twitter.

Disclosure: This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

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