I’ve heard many good things about Ortman Family Vineyards but never had the chance to try their wines. So when offered the chance to sample the inaugural release of their “O2” series I was glad to have the chance. The “O2” wines were positioned to serve as “A fresh, new generation of affordable wines from the Ortman family”.
Before we answer whether or not they lived up to their positioning there are two important disclaimers. The first being that this is their second label and I have never tasted their first. Given that I can’t offer any comparisons. The second being that this is their inaugural release. Like opening night at a restaurant there are always some kinks to be worked out. With that let’s get to the wines…
- 2009 Ortman Family “O2″ Chardonnay ($18) – (14.2%) This one, hailing from the Central Coast, starts promising when I read “Simply put, overly oaky, cloying Chardonnay is just not our style” from the winery brochure. And this delivers as well. Not your standard butterball turkey here. Nice crispness with peach and apricot on the nose. Crisp on entry with the same fruit flavors before mineral and oak components emerge on the mid-palate. These lead to a first oaky & creamy then tangy, tart lasting finish. This is not your regular Chardonnay as it shows racy acidity throughout. Pleasant but pricey at $18.
- 2008 Ortman Family “O2″ Sangiovese ($20) – (13.8%) Short on notes for this one hailing from Paso Robles but this was indeed again a nice wine. Starts lively and juicy with cherry cola flavors and dark fruit. A nice acidity emerges mid-palate and leads to dry sage notes on a soft spice finish with lingering tannins. This one shows nice balance throughout.
- 2007 Ortman Family “O2″ Cuvée Eddy ($20) – (14.2%) Syrah 42%, Grenache 30%, Mourvèdre 19%, Petite Sirah 9% – This one, hailing from San Luis Obispo, starts with plush fruit and barrel spice on the nose. Bright fruit on entry that turns almost creamy on the mid-palate where a nice acidity emerges before a spicy, blackberry briar finish with just a touch of sweetness. A nice wine and an easy drinker but at $20 I can’t say it is worth stretching your budget for.
Now keep in mind when it comes to $20 wines there are few harsher critics out there than me. These wines all offer a fair quality to price ratio, are well made and I enjoyed each one of them. That said at this price point I want a wine to distinguish itself and I didn’t see that here. Reminder that this is the inaugural vintage so as the “kinks” get worked out I am sure we can look forward to better things. Either way if $20 is within your price range give these a try. You’ll be sure to enjoy and they are twist off to boot!
Interested in reading more about the Ortman “O2″ Series?
- Dr. Debs from Good Wine Under $20 on the Sangiovese
- RJ from RJ’s Wine Blog shares his thoughts on the “O2″ Series
- Or go straight to the source and see what the Ortman Family has to say…
*as indicated above these wines were indeed received as press samples