Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oh Oh Oh...ORTMAN!!!

This past Winter, while participating in a Taste Live Syrah event on Twitter, I was introduced to Ortman Family Vineyards. Located in Paso Robles, California (near the central coast), the Ortman family brings nearly forty years of experience to their handcrafted wines. At the winemaking helm are Chuck Ortman and his son Matt. Chuck began his career in Napa Valley, working as a “cellar rat” for Heitz Cellars, moving on to such illustrious wineries as Shafer, Far Niente and Cain. Wine Spectator magazine has dubbed him "Mr. Chardonnay" as he's made award-winning Chardonnay for other wineries. When he finally decided to strike out on his own, he moved south--founding Meridian Vineyards--what I call a “Central Coast Staple” that can be found in many households across America. There is no time like the present and Chuck , along with his son Matt, are now dedicated to bringing the BEST of what the central coast appellations ( such as Edna Valley and Santa Rita Hills) showcase to a wine-hungry public with their own private label, Ortman Family Vineyards.

These days, there are a lot of wines on the market. Competition is fierce. If you stick to what you do best, you’ll find a way to appease everyone. Even those who want great wines but at a value price point!

Enter the Ortman Family O2 label. These wines are elegant, food-friendly, and easy on your pocketbook. Perfect for everyday drinking but also work for special occasions.

I had my first chance to sample one of them back in June when I attended the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, Washington. Matt Ortman and his wife Lisa participated in the conference's red wine speed-blogging event and introduced the 2008 O2 Series Sangiovese to us. I remember really being excited about this wine. In my opinion, there are too few Sangiovese producers on the west coast and when a great example of this wine catches my attention, it is a rare treat indeed! When I was approached to start writing about central coast wineries recently, I was pretty excited to receive the entire inaugural line of O2 Series wines from the Ortmans to sample.

The inaugural line has three wines:

The 2009 O2 Series Central Coast Chardonnay was a deal at $18! Zingy with lime zest and stone fruits and nice minerality on the finish, it sang in my glass as I paired it up with a light shrimp dish. Suffice it to say one could also drink it alone. It's that delicious! Well done!

The 2008 O2 Series Paso Robles Sangiovese rocked my world! So soft and lush with hints of raspberries and cinnamon. A nice tribute to the spirit of Tuscany, this wine is the perfect accompaniment to any Italian meal! Salute! $20.

The 2007 O2 Series SLO County Cuvee Eddy is a Rhone-varietal blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre with a bit of Petite Sirah thrown in. Dark fruits, dark spice and a little bit of that "funky" edge that makes Rhone varietals so great and sought after. This would be a great wine to pair with meat dishes including Winter stews. And with Winter well on its way, this is a good $20 investment!

Ortman Family O2 Series wines are available on their website at Their tasting room is open to the public daily and is located in Paso Robles, California at 1317 Park Street. They would love to have you come visit them! I'll be looking forward to seeing if they add any other wines to this line in the future!

Please seek out these wines! I truly believe they are a great representation of this region's bounty at a fraction of the cost!

"You Saw It Here First"...This post was created solely for "Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk" by Grace Hoffman. Grace is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with an all-consuming passion for wine and all it encompasses.


  1. Thank you! We are so happy you enjoyed our wines. What a great write-up!

    Hollie Wogan
    "Sally Social"/Hospitality
    Ortman Family Wines