Wade is the Westlake King!!

wades-logo.gifWades Wines has a lot of characteristics that I like in a wine shop. First, no dark walnut or oaky bars. We need less oak in wine in general. Leave the oaks in our sublime California hills. Andrew-Wade-David-Mark.jpgThere are no stuffy clerks who size you up before they decide what you should be drinking. No green lantern-type lamps that belong in attorney offices. And no bottles in individual racks.
Give me floor stacks of bargain priced wines that demonstrate someone has an idea of what they are selling and who is their market. I like shelves of bottles I can see and easily pull into my basket. I like pricing that is no worse than fair and sometimes even below market. And I like selection that is ahead of the pack. If the clerks are all wearing burgundy bowling shirts with the WadesWines logo on it…well that is fine with me, too.
I had not been to Wades in about half a year. Last time in he told he was reorganizing the floor plan because some clever little bastards ripped him off stuffing some of his wonderful late harvest splits (e.g., Kracher) in their pants.
This is more than callous and crummy because Wade is a local guy who is also a prolific giver. We got to work together on a Boys & Girls Club event SBC%27s-finest-%232.jpgI organized a couple years ago. He was my go-to wine guy and he really delivered. Not just in wine but in contacts to distributors (who we squeezed for really nice products instead of the usual plonk) but also with phones for Santa Barbara winemakers who I eventually roped into pouring and contributing wines. I think of that event as the TAMI show of regional wines. Check out the lineup who poured that day: Wes-Hagen-tells-Adnrew-Adam.jpgWes Hagen (Clos Pepe), Dave Corey (http://www.corewine.com/), Andrew Adam (Andrew Adam Vineyards, tiny production), Dave Dascomb (East Valley Vineyard), Kris Curran (Curran Wines), Peter Cargasacchi (Point Concepcion Wines) and Ernie Vandegrift (Tantara Winery). It was like going to a 1967 rock show featuring new British bands with funny names – Kinks, Stones, Searchers, Animals, Them. [ed. Click on each band name and see these BITCHIN vids from the mid 60s.]
Wade has completely changed his store. Not only has he expanded his space claiming extra footage at the back, he has also expanded his selection of libations. He features premium vodkas, tequilas and beers. His wine selection has always been especially strong for regional winemakers. A couple years back he began offering estate grown champagne. Fuggedaboud Cristal and Dom. Try some of these bottles. Small production, grapes grown on the estate.
If you live in the Conejo Valley (Westlake Village, Agoura, Thousand Oaks) or the West San Fernando Valley go by and check Wade out. Did I mention premium cigars?
If you cannot visit be advised Wade’s mail order business dwarfs his on-site sales. He has many small regional (Santa Rita Hills) labels.
I took three bottles to open the same evening. The missus was hosting her staff party. The group likes wine but they are not snobs (like you and me), usually asking for white or red (which is actually a good place to start) while the smarties ask for merlot or chardonnay.
So I poured Wades own label.
2005 Wades Wines Syrah Terra Alta Vineyard Santa Barbara County $20: Served at the wife’s staff party. A hit. Dan does not like wines with tannins. Neither does his wife Ellen. They loved this wine. What is not to like? Easy drinking, plenty of fruit. Medium bodied. You drink this one right down. Perfect choice for this sort of affair.
2005 Wades Wines Syrah Clover Creek Vineyard Santa Barbara County ~$18: More fruit than the Terra Alta. The crowd loved this one, too. Up front fruit flavors. Easy going syrah. Another perfect wine for a business-like holiday party.
The back story is Wade purchased juice from a high profile Santa Rita Hills vintner and bottled it at considerable savings under the Wade label. Good for us.
I also poured two other reds.
2004 Chalone Monterey County Pinot Noir ~$12: Another excellent party wine. Dan and Ellen noticed it was lighter weight and preferred Wades syrahs all round. I thought this was pretty generic pinot that would not embarrass the bearer if brought in as a casual gift. Chalone is a Diagio property along with Sterling and Acacia.
2005 Vielles Vignes Daniel Bouland Morgon $19
: I bought this at Woodland Hills Wine Company which is my local wine haunt. The 2005 vintage is really special. Gamay fruit that stands right up there with Burgundy. Big wine, solid, forceful. Medium weight. I love this vintage. I have also had the 2003 form the same producer. The Bouland wines are worth searching out. Imported by Peter Weygandt who provides a complete data sheet for the discriminating buyer.
I actually went by Wades because I knew David Corey was pouring his new stuff this weekend. Oh. That was Saturday. So to help me stop sobbing Wade poured the end of a Gypsy Canyon late harvest Mission grape elixir that was delicious. Angelica is the wine name. A bit pricey. Napa arrives in Santa Barbara. No matter. This is exactly the point. Where else does one find this wine? Interesting story (of course). Interesting wine shop.
Now…here’s Tommy James…

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