The small family owned and operated Penman Springs is one of the last wineries still offering a complimentary tasting of their wines as long as you buy something. And buying something there is not difficult. Deciding which ones of the well-crafted wines to buy takes a bit of time but sip their wines on their inviting patio just outside their tasting room and savor the views of colorful vines in every direction on their 40-acre property.
They began with a white table wine called Dry Humour, letting you know it is not a sweet wine, although Alsatian in style. Instead, its soft pear flavor and thick lemon curd mouthfeel have bright acidity that’s refreshing and easy to serve with any cuisine. Then, a slightly sweet Ozzie has more tart acidity with flavors of apricot and orange blossoms with a slight fizz that wakes up your taste buds. Then, a rose of Petite Sirah and Syrah grapes has a big bold round structure of strawberry and mixed berries with an exhilarating burst of watermelon.
But I revered the reds for their character. A mix of spices on the nose of their Merlot was inviting but its bright acidity, silky tannins, and tart cherry with a hint of plum rounded out the experience. One of the last few Cabernet Sauvignon’s below twenty bucks a bottle had a nice plush leather feeling with a good balance of black cherry fruit and spices, which is probably why it won Best In Class at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. But they finished the flight with a favorite for its lengthy cocoa and blueberry finish. Their Petite Sirah had the rich dark body of ripe plum and layers of spice with tannins that were softened by this region’s terroir (sun, soil, and surroundings). This wine showed off the potential of this grape in this region and was a wonderful representation of a velvety luscious red for your favorite meaty meal.