I just got back from Sonoma County where I spent a week working in a winery, helping to bottle my own (and other’s) wines and generally doing all things wine.
Anybody notice Russell Bevan’s picture in the Wine Spectator; Mr. Rising Star, or so it appears. (Please, nobody tell him you saw it.)
Greywacke Vineyard (next to Gary Farrell) out in the Russian River is close to coming on line. Lots of Rhone varietals there and the vineyard looks like Côte Rotie. Gray Stack (formerly Dry Stack) will get most of the fruit but there will be some other folks getting some, too. This should be a really good source.
I don’t know how many of you have heard of Catherine Blagden, making wine under her last name; I don’t think she sells retail at all. But her wines appear in some restaurants in CA and, if you see them, they are very worth a try. Lovely, feminine, balanced chards. and pinots.
I visited Kosta-Browne and tasted some of their already bottled wines and quite a few of their barrel samples. I don’t think I’m every going to be on Michael Browne’s Christmas card list, but I tasted a number of new wines that are so much more pure and precise than what I had tasted several years ago, that even I was impressed. And for a guy with my tastes and a severe case of oak-o-phobia, that is saying something.
One cuvee (it will get blended, unfortunately) may be the prettiest west coast pinot I’ve ever had. Good work going on there.
How about Scholium Project? You have got to meet Abe Schoener – the man is as engaging and unique as is his approach to wine-making. And his wines are just off the charts. He’s doing some experimentation with white grape, skin-contact fermentations (something I am interested in) and the wines are like nothing else from this country. You may like them, you may not, but you won’t go away saying that they taste the same as anything else, at least not anything made in the states.
He’s also doing more traditional fermentations with both white and red grapes and the wines are provocative and delicious. Great stuff happening here.
I had a lot of great wines, took no notes and thoroughly enjoyed most of them. ‘Sorry about the lack of notes but sometimes its better to be a participant than an observer.
And I brought a case of my syrah home to put in the cellar and try in a couple months. We’ll see how that worked out . . .