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Jenise

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WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by Jenise » Mon Jun 13, 2022 5:58 pm

Reading notes from David B and Tom Hill over the years put Idlewild in the #1 position for "If I'm only going to one winery...." mode while in Sonoma. If you're reading this you probably know that Idlewild uses only Piedmontese grapes and no herbicides or pesticides. So while there with friends in April, I went along with the group (eight of us total) for four other visits but broke from the pack, because it included one couple who refused to go to any winery that charged for tastings, to visit Idlewild. Took another couple as our guests. So SO glad I did. These wines are exactly in that place that is increasingly my wheelhouse: complex, no more than medium bodied (with the exception of the barbera, which I liked okay but didn't purchase), great acidity, food-friendly. I'm tired of bigness. I joined the club, took two cases with me (incl 3 ea of the flora and fauna wines, not yet tasted but on faith) and received my first shipment this week.


2018 Idlewild Cortese Fox Hill Vineyard Mendocino County
Lemons and wax. Very very pleasant, but seemed simple. Didn't find the body or complexity needed for $40, though at $20 I might have been interested.

2020 Idlewild Arneis Lost Hills Ranch Yorkville Highlands
More vegetation than fruit, overt salinity, hazy. I love arneis--last year we finished a case of Giacosa arneis and this wine didn't show varietal resemblance to what I'm remembering. Looking back on the experience and reading the winery's notes (peach, fennel, jasmine, lemon balm) I'm thinking this was a flawed bottle. In retrospect, we should have spoken up. $30

2021 Idlewild Erbaluce Fox Hill Vineyard
My first experience with this grape. Reminded me of a cross between riesling and chenin blanc. Floral nose with charming fruit and a dry finish. Definitely a buy. $30.

2021 Idlewild Grignolino Russian River Valley
Fantastic pale orangish red color (some berries are white!). Bright with apricot-cranberry fruit, white pepper and graham cracker spice finish. Madly in love with this. Bought many. $30

2017 Idlewild Nebbiolo Fox Hill Vineyard Mendocino County
From a vineyard planted in the 70's. Pale red color, good varietal typicity of roses and tar, delicate and graceful. Absolutely mesmerizing, so of course I bought some. $50

2018 Idlewild Barbera Fox Hill Vineyard Mendocino County
Juicy black raspberry and herbs, big bodied and happy, surprising weight with a sweet finish. Biggest red in the lineup. The other couple loved that sweet juicy finish and bought some, but I passed. $40

2018 Idlewild Dolcetto Fox Hill Vineyard Mendocino County
Black cherry, sandalwood and spice with a surprising amount of structure (which I don't associate with this grape). Complex, medium-bodied; a perfect food wine and easily the best domestic Dolcetto I've ever had. A steal at $30, bought this too.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Erbaluce..

by TomHill » Mon Jun 13, 2022 7:59 pm

Glad you made it to Idlewild. Did you meet Sam?? Or Thomas? Did you visit their adjacent wine shop?
Erbaluce in Piemonte does not make a particularly interesting wine unless as a passito. Sorta like a short/boring Piedmontese Cortese. Sam's Erbaluce, though nothing profound, is quite pretty.
Tom
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Re: WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jun 13, 2022 8:17 pm

Glad you had such a good time. I have sent several folks to Idlewild and it’s always gone well.

The Cortese is a wine I always leave for about an extra year after I get it. It develops a really interesting mouthfeel, and the flavors get more complex.

I think the Barbera is a very good wine, but it’s a little bit of a “too much of a good thing” for me, which is why I load up on the blended Flora and Fauna Red instead.
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Re: Erbaluce..

by Jenise » Tue Jun 14, 2022 7:50 am

TomHill wrote:Glad you made it to Idlewild. Did you meet Sam?? Or Thomas? Did you visit their adjacent wine shop? Erbaluce in Piemonte does not make a particularly interesting wine unless as a passito. Sorta like a short/boring Piedmontese Cortese. Sam's Erbaluce, though nothing profound, is quite pretty. Tom


Sam left before our appointment, so no, but did have a lovely chat with Thomas. What a sweetheart, and yes we visited the shop. I've never had Erbaluce before. Their version of it, very different from the chardonnays and sauvignon blancs I gravitate toward, fits a need in my cellar for food pairing.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by Jenise » Tue Jun 14, 2022 7:54 am

David M. Bueker wrote:I think the Barbera is a very good wine, but it’s a little bit of a “too much of a good thing” for me


We're in synch on that. The couple we took with us loved it, but for me it was a pass.

Opened a F&F white last night. Now there's an interesting wine.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by Paul Winalski » Tue Jun 14, 2022 1:52 pm

Shame about the arneis. I adore arneis from Piemonte.

-Paul W.
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Re: WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by Jenise » Tue Jun 14, 2022 7:59 pm

Me too, Paul. I just received three '21s in a shipment and look forward to trying one. I expect to be much more impressed.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by Dale Williams » Wed Jun 15, 2022 12:21 pm

Great notes, sounds fun. I don't have much Idlewild experience (and most is with Flower, Flora, and Fauna rose)., but have enjoyed. Will keep in mind if I go to Sonoma
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Re: WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by Jenise » Wed Jun 15, 2022 4:54 pm

Dale, do. You'll love the wines and it's a fun, elegant service with food at tables on the sidewalk. Very worthwhile.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by Jenise » Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:58 pm

So, above I mentioned the 2020 Arneis served to us at the winery which I thought, in hindsight, was likely flawed. The latest shipment from Idlewild included the 2021. I opened one last night: what a difference. Night and day difference. More color, haunting flavors including quince, quality-wise in the same camp as the Giacosa we not long ago finished a case of--or even better.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jul 04, 2022 3:33 pm

Glad to hear it. I still have a bottle of the 2020 (or is it the 2019...I have to check).
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Re: WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by Jenise » Mon Jul 04, 2022 9:48 pm

I should have mentioned that I had a dinner guest who has been a distributor and retailer, very pro European and anti-Californian. He was completely dazzled by the Arneis.
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Re: WTN: Tasting at Idlewild Winery, Healdsburg

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jul 04, 2022 9:48 pm

Outstanding!
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