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Orange Coast Winery



Douglas Wiens
October 25, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Sweet with No Sugar

What does “fruit forward” mean in the world of wine?

If you have ever heard people talking about wine – perhaps on TV or even just at the next table in a restaurant – it might have seemed like they were almost speaking in a different language. With words like “tannins” and “varietal” being bandied about, you may have thought it was time to go home and find that old SAT vocab book.

While there is a lot of jargon associated with wine, the truth is you don’t need to know about all of the nitty-gritty details to enjoy it or to enhance your tasting abilities. However, it is always good to familiarize yourself with the basics. One term that’s worth knowing is “fruit forward.”

What it is and what it isn’t

First let’s start with what fruit forward isn’t. While it may sound like it, it doesn’t involve the sugar content or sweetness of a wine; it has to do with smell and flavor. When a wine is called fruit forward, it has a dominant taste of fruit. All wine has an element of fruit in it – it is made of grapes, after all – but in many cases, those fruit flavors are intertwined with its other components. A fruit forward wine has more of an emphasis on the grape as opposed to its terroir (uh-oh, there’s another one of those wine words; it just means where it was grown) or how it was made.

If it’s made from grapes, how are there other fruits in it?

That’s a great question with an interesting answer. During the fermentation process when grapes turn into wine, chemical compounds are created. These compounds are identical to the ones found in other foods, including various kinds of fruit. Because there are so many compounds that are affected by an assortment of things, such as differences in grapes and the type of barrel a wine is stored in, this can create a virtual smorgasbord of fruity flavors.

Both a positive and a negative

While it can be a great way to describe a wine, fruit forward can also be seen as a negative quality. For some people, a fruity wine is one-dimensional or simple. However, that doesn’t mean that over time, a fruit forward wine won’t reveal its nuances. And besides, if it tastes good, what’s the difference?

Orange Coast has the fruit forward wine that will excite your taste buds

If you’re suddenly in the mood for some fruity wine, we’re ready to pour you a glass. When you sample our wine, there are many different fruits you’ll be able to smell and taste, including strawberries, cherries, pears, and even pineapples. Our tasting room is open seven days a week, and we’d love to see you tonight.

Time Posted: Oct 25, 2017 at 6:58 AM Permalink to Sweet with No Sugar Permalink
Douglas Wiens
October 18, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

The Chemistry of Wine's Three Major Categories

Simplifying the science of good taste

Light. Sparkling. Fortified. The three major types of wine branch off into a rich variety of styles and flavors. There's a certainly a science to it, but the organic nature of wine-making means it isn't an exact one. Ongoing developments in wine research have revealed that despite the differences between categories, all wine types share a common molecular make up.

From trace elements in the soil and the delicate balance of the climate right up to the tonal influence of the glass, the science behind wine is a fascinating subject. To understand the chemical aspect of wine, it has to be broken down to its roots.

The basic composition of all wine

The grapes themselves are made largely of water (typically 70-80% of their make up) with their remaining chemical volume comprised of carbohydrates, glucose, fructose, and acids. As a result, a huge 98% of that flavorful bottle of wine is actually only water. All the scents, tastes and textures are to be found in the remaining 2%. We can split the chemistry of the wine-making process into five segments: the harvest, the crush, the press, the fermentation, and the purification. Every individual stage plays an important role.


During harvesting, it's the singular terroir of the grape that first influences the wine's chemistry. Terroir has a multiple meaning as it refers to the soil, climate, and topography in which the grapes are grown as well as to the flavor those factors may impart. For example, the sugars present in fruit develop more quickly at higher temperatures and more slowly at lower ones. Since it is the sugar which is broken down by yeast into alcohol, the greater the sugar content means the stronger the wine.


The grape flesh contains tartaric acid which maintains a wine's chemical stability and has a strong influence on color and taste, followed by malic acid, which produces a flat taste in low quantities and a sharp bite conversely. The grape's skin also releases flavanols: if you've ever heard wine described as having a cocoa/chocolatey taste, it's because flavanols are present in both.


Once the grape has been pulped and fermented over a period of days (or in the case of white wine, before fermentation), the removal of the juice is next. The tartaric and malic acids released during this process prevent excessive bacterial growth. The pressed juice adds polyphenols (tannin) to the wine. Wines such as the Cabernet Sauvignon are made dry this way, with dryness increasing the more tannin is present. Tannin content can also be influenced later in the process by barrel storage.

Fermentation and purification

Here is where the yeast goes to work converting the glucose and fructose into ethanol. Carried out beneath a blanket of carbon dioxide, the fermentation and purification process alters the malic acid to lactic acid, mellowing the flavor of the wine. The wine is repeatedly racked to siphon off excess carbon dioxide and introduce oxygen.

Bottled chemistry

When it's been corked, a bottle of red wine can now contain between 800 and 1,000 different chemical compounds. A sparkling glass of champagne uses its 20 million bubbles to send out a broad spectrum of aromas the instant they break on the surface. The eight chemicals in this diagram ( are only an indication of the many further chemicals involved:

Glass, but not least

The subtle origins and interplay of these compounds has received dedicated and intense scientific focus in an effort to unravel the rich tapestry of a wine's flavor and aromatic composition. Going beyond the standard swirl across the tongue, chemists and researchers have devoted years (and such advanced techniques as liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry) to split a vintage into molecular fractions.

It's heady stuff, but the research has borne fruit by proving that the characteristics of every type of wine boil down to differing concentrations of the same 60 or so molecules. From there, the shape of the wine glass itself can have a direct influence on aroma and flavor.

Some final facts

We can't forget the final act of wine chemistry: how it alters our own. Did you know that alcohol is actually one of the four major fuel groups of the human body? Along with protein, fat and carbohydrates, alcohol is converted into acetate by the liver. Acetate is second only to carbs when the body seeks a source of energy to burn.

There are other benefits to the occasional glass. From strengthening bone marrow through a seeming boost to estrogen levels to reducing Helicobacter pylori which can play havoc with our stomachs, wine can have some very positive chemistry. Needless to say: everything in moderation!

Winemakers pride themselves on the individuality of their vintages. With many chemical factors dictating production and science becoming ever more aware of the mechanisms behind it all, the likelihood of vintners having greater control over their product isn't far away. The future of wine looks very exciting...and may be as high tech as it is high class.

At Orange Coast Winery, we believe in a blend of science and art. With precision and passion, we select the finest grapes from the Temecula Valley and the Lodi area of Northern California. 

Time Posted: Oct 18, 2017 at 7:02 AM Permalink to The Chemistry of Wine's Three Major Categories Permalink
Douglas Wiens
October 11, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

3 Incredible Orange Coast Food Pairings with Our Wine

White wine with your steak? Red wine with your seafood? Yes, please!

Mankind as we know it will not cease to exist if you decide you’d like a bottle of white wine to go with your steak. While it’s true that you’ll generally see red wines paired with red meats, you don’t have to go that route if you don’t want to.

There are many white wines that will pair well with steak—and sometimes, you’re just not in the mood for the bold flavors of a red wine. Here’s what you should keep in mind when pairing wine with food, as well as a few suggestions involving our own wines.

Chateaubriand and …?

It doesn’t matter whether it’s red or white: you’ll need something that’s got enough acidity to cut through the beautifully marbled fat of a luscious cut of meat like chateaubriand. Our suggestion would be a bottle of our 2013 ES Cabernet Sauvignon LIB.

Yes, it’s predictably red—and fabulously so. Each sip rewards you with a mouthful of rosemary and eucalyptus herbal aromas that take your bite of beef to the next level of flavor enhancement. The savage nature of this grape has been slightly tamed by a few years of aging, yet it’s still bold enough to work well with the creamy mushroom sauces often served with chateaubriand.

What would we suggest if you wanted to stray into white wine territory? Look for something bright, with a good deal of minerality. Again, it’s to help with all that marbled fat that makes this cut of beef so fabulous. Pop the cork on a bottle of champagne. The bubbles will lift the fatty richness of a bite of chateaubriand off your palate.

A Mediterranean Plate of Olives, Cheese, and …?

Keep your palate in a globetrotting mode and choose an unexpected pairing like our 2015 Viognier. Your first challenge will be to pronounce it. The French grape variety flows off the tongue as “vee-own-yay.” People often mistake it for chardonnay, as both wines are full-bodied and share a creamy texture.

Your nose will distinguish the difference. It’ll report yellow apples and lemons if it’s a chardonnay. If there’s viognier in your glass, your nose will send you signals for tangerine and roses. There’s no other way to describe this next characteristic. A viognier starts with a softness that delivers an oily feeling at your mid-palate.

For this reason, it’s perfectly paired with any dish that has paprika, turmeric, or saffron. It’s right at home with olives, or anything that includes butter. You’ll want this over a chardonnay because the latter’s creamy or waxy contribution to your palate may interfere with some cheeses.

A Grilled Fillet of Halibut, Tuna, or Salmon, and …?

We’ve already stuck our respective noses up at the concept of sticking with a red wine for red meat. We’re going to keep on in that direction by suggesting our 2014 Malbec. You’ve probably started hearing about this red wine, which is now being grown in many places other than its native Argentina.

Your first taste of a Malbec may make you say, “Ah, a merlot.” They share that earthy and woody character. And like merlot, Malbec often was only used as a blending grape. Many cabernet sauvignons will use it to achieve a mellowness and balance.

But give that sip of Malbec a moment to develop. You begin to taste a rustic characteristic that the simpler merlot just can’t establish. Your nose will flash sensations of earth and perhaps even chocolate. If you pair Malbec with red meat, the enzymes will soften the tannins of the wine and let this fruitiness shine through. However, a grilled, thick-fleshed fish fillet leaves the mild tannins in place. You will love the results.

There are more wines on our list. We’ve got suggestions on what to pair for all of them. The rest of those suggestions will cost you a visit to the winery. Your reward is a taste of a superb family of wines.

Time Posted: Oct 11, 2017 at 7:05 AM Permalink to 3 Incredible Orange Coast Food Pairings with Our Wine Permalink
Douglas Wiens
October 4, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Complexity, Intensity, and Balance in That Glass of Wine

The three hallmarks of a great wine

Judging the quality of wine is often subjective. Every individual has a preference and one person’s “favorite” could make another turn up his or her nose. However, there are three general areas that can be used to determine the quality of any bottle of wine: complexity, intensity, and balance.

1. Complexity

Complexity refers to the different notes and flavor compositions that can be detected. A great wine will be multidimensional. According to sommelier Jorn Kleinhans, “That's where you get descriptors of flavor profile like plum, cherry, vanilla, or tobacco. The more of those flavors you can taste, the more complex the wine, and the more complex, the higher quality.”

There are several nuances that can lead to greater complexity. Start with the vineyard and the notion of terroir. According to, “Older vines as well as vines grown on poor soils tend to produce less grapes, but more concentrated, flavorful ones. This adds complexity.” Winemaking techniques can also affect the complexity. An approach that is more non-industrial will generally produce more complex wine. Barrel fermentation and the blending of different grapes are also ways to add complexity.

2. Intensity

Intensity has more to do with the ability to identify and distinguish the flavors present. It also relates to a wine’s appearance and aroma. The key is to have a very complex taste that still allows all the flavors and notes to be clear. In terms of appearance, the more concentrated and opaque the color, the higher the intensity should be. You will often see wines described as “pale, medium or dark” and this is an indication of intensity. The darker the color, the more intense the wine should taste.

How can you judge the intensity of a wine? Here is a tip from Wine Spectrum. Tilt the glass slightly (this works best against a white background - a napkin or tablecloth work nicely). Now, look straight down at the wine from above, the richer/ darker the color, the more intense the wine.

3. Balance

Just like in life, we want a good balance in a wine. According to another article on, “Balance is extremely important in any wine and one of its most sought after characteristics. A wine is balanced when all the different components are working in harmony - a balanced wine is one where no one component protrudes or awkwardly sticks out.”

There are 5 key components that need to be in balance:

  1. Sweetness: A sweet wine needs a good balance of acidity or it will taste syrupy.
  2. Acidity: Too little and the wine will taste heavy or flat. Too much and it will be austere and tart.
  3. Tannin: Tannin is an element that makes a wine taste dry. It adds bitterness, astringency and complexity. However, there needs to be sufficient fruit concentration so that as the tannins resolve (as the wine ages), there is still enough fruit flavor present. Too much tannin and the wine will be sharp and harsh to the taste.
  4. Alcohol: Too high and there will be a burning sensation on the finish. Too little and the wine will taste hollow.
  5. Fruit: Wines with insufficient fruit will have a weak, thin flavor.

Now that you know the three main ingredients that go into a quality wine, start judging for yourself. To find the perfect wine for your next dinner party or event, visit Orange Coast Winery and review our selection of fine wines for every price range and palate.

Time Posted: Oct 4, 2017 at 8:37 AM Permalink to Complexity, Intensity, and Balance in That Glass of Wine Permalink
Douglas Wiens
September 27, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

4 Reasons to Visit Orange Coast (Other than Our Wine)

You’ll come for the wine, but you’ll want to come back for so much more

It may not be too much of a revelation to say that most folks visit a winery for the wine. And while that is a perfectly fine reason to visit a winery, in many cases it’s the only reason. The wine may be great, but if there’s nothing else going on but other people silently sipping, that’s just boring.

Our goal with Orange Coast was to create a place where there was always something happening. The wine may have the starring role, but there are several supporting players that contribute to our fun and festive environment.

Live music

Orange Coast is quickly becoming a hot spot for some of the best musicians in the area. In addition to live music every Wednesday, we also host a number of special shows throughout the year. We recently held a benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association featuring an evening of acoustic music from the great James Intveld.

Are you ready for some Malbec?!

Football and beer may be sort of synonymous with each other, but we’re trying to change that. Monday evening, we open up our Member’s Room for Monday Night Football. As you watch the action on the gridiron, you’ll have a chance to sample some amazing wine and tasty tidbits that will make you never want to go back to beer and pretzels.

The perfect date night

Whether it’s a first date or the first time in forever that you’ve been able to break away from the kids, we can provide a great atmosphere. We’ll get you set up in a cozy corner, bring you a couple of glasses of wine (or a bottle, perhaps), some food if you like, and then you can spend the rest of the evening staring into each other’s eyes. (or at your phones, whatever floats your boat.)

A great chance to meet people

You can stop in to Orange Coast pretty much every day and find fellow wine-lovers with their noses buried in their glasses. But if you are looking for a way in to get to know some of these folks to make a new acquaintance or perhaps for networking purposes, our wine clubs are perfect. We have two different clubs that not only give you a discount on all wine and food, you’ll also get exclusive access to our Member’s Room and invitations to our private events.

Have we got you anxious to experience Orange Coast for yourself? We’re open seven days a week and we’d love to see you! And if you’re looking for more information about us, our events, or anything else, you can call us at 949-645-0400 or send us an email to

Time Posted: Sep 27, 2017 at 10:59 AM Permalink to 4 Reasons to Visit Orange Coast (Other than Our Wine) Permalink
Douglas Wiens
September 20, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Terroir and the Taste of Wine

Explaining terroir and how it affects the wine you drink

There are many buzzwords associated with wine and the winemaking process. Words like bouquet (no, it’s not an arrangement of flowers), supple (a smooth, balanced wine), and legs (describes how wine sticks to the inside of a glass) are used by wine connoisseurs the world over. Another term – terroir – has great influence on how a wine will ultimately taste. If you’ve been around other wine aficionados, maybe you’ve heard the term. 

So, what is terroir and why does it matter when it comes to choosing a wine?

Wine Folly defines it as “how a particular region’s climate, soils and aspect (terrain) affect the taste of wine. Some regions are said to have more ‘terroir’ than others.” 

According to Winemakers Academy, there are many factors that can affect terroir:

  • Climate

             o Microclimates

  • Soil conditions

             o Nutrients in the soil (minerals)

  • Terrain

             o Altitude of the vineyard

             o Vineyard slope

             o Slope direction

             o Proximity to mountains or bodies of water

             o Neighboring plants

  • Use of wild yeast instead of inoculated yeast
  • Fermentation temperature

Though all of these factors play a part in the ultimate taste of wine, there are three main ones: climate, soil conditions, and terrain. Let’s break them down.

1. Climate and terroir

Climate refers to the prevailing weather conditions in a particular area over a long period of time. Think of the difference in the climate of Florida versus Washington. There is another term called microclimate, which refers to atmospheric conditions in a small, restricted area. one example of a microclimate is San Francisco. The areas around the city are hot (Sonoma and Napa Valley for example), but because San Francisco has a consistent fog layer due to the surrounding mountains, it stays much cooler. 

Wine grapes are generally grown in two climates: cool or warm. Cool climates tend to produce grapes that have lower sugar levels, which means they have more acidity. Grapes produced in warm climate have higher sugar levels so they have higher alcohol levels. This means that the same type of wine (Cabernet Sauvignon for example) can have a different taste, depending on where the grapes were cultivated.

Examples of cool climate wine regions: 

  • Washington State
  • Oregon
  • New York
  • Northern Italy & France
  • New Zealand           
  •  Austria
  • Germany
  • Chile

Examples of warm climate wine regions:

  • California
  • Argentina
  • Southern Italy & Southern France
  • Australia
  • Central & Southern Spain
  • Most of South Africa

2. Soil conditions and terroir

The earth is made up of literally hundreds of types of soil, although there are 6 main ones: clay, sandy, silty, peaty, chalky, and loamy. Adding to this diversity is a wide variety of different minerals which are also present in the soil. Most vineyards have a combination of 5-6 different soils, and wine connoisseurs believe each type affects the flavor of wine.

3. Terrain and terroir

You’ll notice that the two words above are remarkably the same, and that’s because they have the same Latin root … terra or “earth.” Terrain refers to geological features in the area where wine grapes are grown. According to Wine Folly, “…Altitude is an increasingly important focus for quality vineyards. Besides elevation, things like geological features (mountains, valleys, being located far inland), other flora (plants, microbes and trees) and large bodies of water affect how a wine from a particular region tastes.”

One example of how elevation seems to affect taste is Mendoza in Argentina. It lies 4,000 feet above sea level and has become famous for its top-quality Malbec wines.

One more terroir factor … tradition

This bonus factor refers to wines or regions that are entrenched in a specific winemaking tradition. It doesn’t have as much to do with climate, soil, and terrain, but is more about the human contribution. One example is Madeira. According to Wine Folly, “It’s traditional to stop fermentation early and fortify a wine by adding brandy and aging it in barrels outside (under the sun). This gives Madeira its classic roasted and nutty flavor.”

So, what does this mean for you? Well, knowing where the grapes were grown may give you some idea of what a wine will taste like. Identify the wines that you like and explore where they were produced. Then find more wines from that region. This will help you choose a wine that a) you will like; and b) complements a particular meal.

Have fun exploring the wines from different regions and see if you can spot the difference in terroir.

Time Posted: Sep 20, 2017 at 7:16 AM Permalink to Terroir and the Taste of Wine Permalink
Douglas Wiens
September 13, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

The Reviews are in: What People are Saying About Orange Coast Winery

Come see us and you’ll be a fan too

In the ancient world of wine, Orange Coast Winery is a newbie. If Orange Coast were a kid, she would only be in kindergarten. So, why are we one of the most well-known and popular wineries in the Newport Beach area? For a few reasons.

First, our wines are as good (if not better) than those you’ll find anywhere. Second, we’ve made it a point to create a fun and festive place filled with laughter and music. And last but far from least: We focus on giving our patrons an amazing experience each and every time they visit. But don’t just take our word for it; here are some recent reviews:

“Fell in love with this local winery on day one. Love it so much I had my bridal shower here. Great tasting area. Live music. The staff there have exceptional knowledge of their wines, and are pleasant & very friendly.” – Angelica J.

Paula F. also decided to use Orange Coast for a special event

“Had an amazing birthday party here with my friends. The team made it such a memorable event. From setting up a secluded area in the members-only room, to planning the food. They even had our favorite server pour for us (Scott). Peter the manager has done an outstanding job with the place and booking great talents like Sergio. The whole event goes down in history as one of my favorites.”

And people can’t seem to get enough of our bartender Robert!

“This place was great. Robert was awesome and honestly gives the best service. We will be coming back because of him.” – Chris P.

“Such a cute place with good ambiance, good wine and yummy food! We had Robert, he made our trip so fun and he is so knowledgeable! Make sure you ask for him and enjoy your time!” – Alaina C.

“Robert was our tasting host and it's been a very long time since I've been entertained with as much personality and wine knowledge as Robert shared with us. Aside from many great wines tasted, coming back and having Robert serve is worth another visit. The winery gets 5 stars, and Robert gets 5 stars +.” – Michael B.

But don’t forget about our wines!

“OCW makes their wines in Temecula and also in the Lodi area of Northern California. The menu denotes food pairings for each wine as well as explains the flavors. We really enjoyed the Orange Bubbly. It was fun and unique, almost like a mimosa, and we took a bottle of this home. Chardonnays are my favorite and I found their version to be crisp and bright.” – Morgan H.

“I would definitely recommend this place if you’ve never been to a winery or done wine tasting before! Oh, and if you like sweet, light wines, their "2015 summer blend" is the Holy Grail. I literally never tasted wine so delicious in my life.” – Emily R.

Orange Coast Winery in a nutshell…

“Great California wines in a chill atmosphere, generous tasting pours, friendly bar staff PLUS a delightful cheese board with the tasting. Can't get enough of this place.” – A N.

You can check out more reviews on Yelp. And if you want to see for yourself why so many folks rave about Orange Coast Winery, come visit us! We have tastings every evening and we’d love to see you. For more information or to set up a private event, contact us today.

Time Posted: Sep 13, 2017 at 9:49 AM Permalink to The Reviews are in: What People are Saying About Orange Coast Winery Permalink
Douglas Wiens
September 6, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Behind the Numbers Grading that Bottle of Wine

How wine scores are determined

Judging the quality of a wine is often a numbers game today. The number – or score – a wine receives has become one of its most important selling points. A good score can elevate a brand into the upper echelons of the wine and spirits industry. A bad year can damage even a long-standing producer’s reputation. So, what do the numbers mean and how are they determined? What’s the difference between an 85 and a 93?

Why we have a point system

Wine has been around for thousands of years, of course. In that time, various systems were developed to judge the standards of the vino we drink. Major wine-producing regions such as France have used a strict system for hundreds of years. Although it worked when picking a type of wine (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, etc.), it did not work nearly as well for choosing a specific vintage.

In the 1980s, writer and wine critic Robert Parker developed a new 100-point rating system. According to Wine Folly, “The 100-point wine rating system has become the benchmark of quality in the wine industry.” Wine is judged on production quality and typicity, or how much a wine is typical of its style and region.

What the numbers mean

The Robert Parker system actually uses a 50-100 point quality scale. Wines below 50 are not judged. Here is a breakdown of what the numbers mean:

96-100 – An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase, and consume.

90 – 95 – An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.

80 – 89 – A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.

70 – 79 – An average wine with little distinction except that it is a soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.

60 – 69 – A below-average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor, or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.

50 – 59 – A wine deemed to be unacceptable

Other notable publications that now use this scale include: Wine Spectator, Vinous, Decanter Magazine, James Suckling, Jamie Goode (The Wine Anorak blog), Jeff Leve (The Wine Cellar Insider), and Wine & Spirits Magazine.

How the score is determined

Tastings are usually done in peer-group, single-blind conditions, meaning types of wines (e.g., a Bordeaux or Riesling) are tasted together without revealing the names of the producers. The tastings look only at the quality of the wine on that day. The price and the producer or grower is not part of the equation.

The critics are taken to a room that is free of scents or other elements that could affect the results. Each wine is poured into a glass and the critic goes through a specific ritual that includes swirling the wine in the glass, sniffing the wine, and then tasting it. The wine is not swallowed; it’s spat out. Between each tasting, the palate must be cleansed with neutral-tasting food or drink.

Critics typically look at four qualities of the wine and then assign a number for each element. The Robert Parker score includes the following:

  1. The wine’s general color and appearance merit up to 5 points.
  2. The aroma and bouquet merit up to 15 points, depending on the intensity level and dimension of the aroma and bouquet as well as the cleanliness of the wine.
  3. The flavor and finish merit up to 20 points, and again, intensity of flavor, balance, cleanliness, and depth and length on the palate are all important considerations when giving out points.
  4. Finally, the overall quality level or potential for further evolution and improvement—aging—merits up to 10 points.

The points are then added up for all of the elements to determine the final score.

A caution about the numbers

Although a high score is a good indication of a great-tasting wine, it’s important to remember that all scores are subjective and based on the individual critic’s taste and preference. Some prefer a bolder flavor, others subtler notes. Some critics also give routinely higher scores than others. Even the mood of the critic on that day can affect a score. 

Also keep in mind that Robert Parker’s method is not the only ratings system for judging wine. There are other well-known systems, including: The UC Davis 20-Point System, Jancis Robinson 20-Point System (Decanter Magazine), and even several 5-Point Systems, such as and Vino in Love.

Knowing the “score” behind the score can help you choose the perfect wine for dinner or your next party. And if you want no doubt you’ll be sampling great wine, visit Orange Coast Winery and review our selection of fine wines for every price range and palate.

Time Posted: Sep 6, 2017 at 12:44 PM Permalink to Behind the Numbers Grading that Bottle of Wine Permalink
Douglas Wiens
August 30, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

Fruit, Flowers, Oak, and More: The Flavors and Aromas of Orange Coast Wines

Prepare to learn the story of a grape’s journey, told through aromas and flavors.

What do you taste? It’s the penultimate question related to wine. That’s because what you taste is totally dependent on a wine’s aroma. The easily-identifiable fragrances and aromas in wine are due to the grapes being used, which develop their characteristics from the terroir—the soil in which they grow—and finally by the choices made by the winemaker.

We append elements like aroma and flavor as a way to communicate the way wine interacts with us. It’s exciting and gratifying when we identify a singular characteristic in a wine, and those drinking it with us agree: they can taste or smell it, too!

Primary aromas

You’ll experience what’s known as a primary aroma in a young wine. These early scents are mostly identified with fruits. With red wines, you’ll detect:

  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Boysenberry
  • Blueberry
  • Blackberry
  • Cassis

White wines often are associated with primary tastes of:

  • Citrus
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Pineapple, or other tropical fruits

You say you’re tasting a hint of coffee? Or maybe chocolate? You’re detecting the characteristics the wine has pulled in from the oak casks in which it aged. Different wood species will help wine to develop characteristics that can remind you of flowers, or even licorice.

With age, sophistication

Over time, as the wine continues to age in the bottle, it’ll develop what’s known as tertiary qualities. These are the secondary flavors and aromas that’ll come to mind when you take a sip of wine and after you experience the stronger primary flavors and aromas.

They won’t come so easy. Often, they’re subtle. You’ll definitely need your best sense of smell to coax them out. Some of the more easily recognizable ones are:

  • Tobacco
  • Spice
  • Earth
  • Smoke
  • Stone

These tertiary qualities develop over time, and they add both complexity and depth to a wine. They’re usually associated more with the characteristics of the earth in which the grapes grew. A taste of wine that after a moment makes you think of stones often speaks of soil that sits upon limestone bedrock. It shapes the pH of the soil. The grapes have pulled this in through the soil, and now they’re telling you the story of the ground in which they grew.

Who knew that wine could be such a conversationalist?

What do Orange Coast wines have to say?

The Orange Coast Malbecs and Zinfandels will definitely speak to you of berries. If your preference is for a white wine, you’ll find that the Orange Coast Pinot Grigio has a primary aroma of pears and finishes with a floral flourish. The Sauvignon Blanc, on the other hand, will serve you an aroma of lemon grass and citrus before finishing off with hints of vanilla.

What do you taste? The sensations your nose and mouth deliver to you are pieces of the story of a grape’s journey. You’re experiencing the tale of what it took from the earth as it grew, what it learned from the wood as it fermented, and what it combined to unfold as it aged in a bottle.

Time Posted: Aug 30, 2017 at 10:35 AM Permalink to Fruit, Flowers, Oak, and More: The Flavors and Aromas of Orange Coast Wines Permalink
Douglas Wiens
August 28, 2017 | Douglas Wiens

The Musicians of Orange Coast Winery

Excellent wine and great music: Is there a better combination?

Though the wine may be the star of the show, there are other reasons to come out to the winery to see us. We regularly host special events, including live music featuring some of the best musicians from the area and all over the country. Here’s just a sample of who you might see when you visit us.

James Intveld

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A native of Los Angeles, James Intveld has been performing for decades and has put out three albums. Often compared to the likes of Roy Orbison and Ricky Nelson, Intveld creates his own unique blend of music that encompasses old-fashioned rockabilly with a more modern flare. In addition to music, Intveld has other passions: acting and directing. He’s been in several movies, including Indian Runner and Chrystal, and you didn’t see him in Cry Baby, but you heard him every time Johnny Depp sang. To learn more about James Intveld, you can visit his website, and you can see him in person at the Orange Coast Winery on September 21. The show benefits the Alzheimer’s Association.

Andreas Stavropoulos

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Originally from Greece, Stavropoulos has been in the U.S. for less than a decade, but he has already established himself around the country as a great musician and excellent storyteller. While with two alternative rock bands, he released two albums that have gotten extensive radio play. Currently Stavropoulos is touring as Andreas and the Revolving Riot, an acoustic act featuring a mix of new songs, fan favorites, and even a cover or two. Although he does a lot of solo shows, he is frequently joined by other talented musicians on stage. Stavropoulos has performed numerous times at the Orange Coast Winery, and every show is a blast. Check out his Facebook page to see what he’s up to.

Donovan Raitt

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Donovan Raitt is one of the premier acoustic guitarists working today. Incorporating elements from rock, jazz, and even classical music, Raitt utilizes innovative techniques to create a sound all his own. And if his last name seems familiar, that’s because his cousin is Bonnie Raitt. Donovan Raitt has released two solo albums and his YouTube videos have gotten thousands of plays. He has also written guitar lessons for several websites and he teaches regular classes. For more information on Raitt, you can visit his website.

The best part of the live music events at the Orange Coast Winery is that they coincide with our tastings. While you sample our amazing wines, you’ll be treated to some excellent tunes. If you have questions about who’s performing this week or anything else concerning the winery, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us at 949-645-0400 or send an email to

Time Posted: Aug 28, 2017 at 5:51 AM Permalink to The Musicians of Orange Coast Winery Permalink