Apparently the atmosphere operates differently in Sonoma.
Yep. The air is less rarefied up here.
Broad brown apples?? What?
I also told you the Greco was your type of wine because the owner is a maniacally obsessed man determined to make the best single-vineyard Greco he can from the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius. Indigenous variety (or at least as indigenous as it can be considering the Greeks brought it in), single vineyard, limited production, obsessed owner: your kind of wine.
The Condrieu was good, but I've had better---same vintage, at Stuart's house a year or so ago. Maybe the fonduta helped though.
I somehow missed the Shell and Bone. Guess it went the other way around the table and never found its way into my glass. But I sure did get the Roussanne. Lovely, lovely wine. I've found a good Roussanne to be almost always my preference over a good Viognier. Though I must applaud Steve for the remarkably lively Viognier he poured that night. 1992, and still vigorous and kicking. He Who Will Not Be Named (okay, Pointy Parker) may have quipped something once about necrophiliacs and Viognier more than three years old; if he did, it will go down as one of the more asinine things he has said. Mature, yes, but still lush with fruit.
(An aside: one of the more hilarious passages of the evening was when Steve Edmunds and Lou Kessler were arguing over a wine, and quite forcefully too....only to finally discover they were each talking about a different wine--the 1992 Viognier and the 2001 Condrieu.)
The Shadow---I had been hearing about, and reading about, this wine for some time, but this was my first taste. Damn right I want a case of it. Any self-respecting wine weenie---and for sure any Syrah-loving weenie---would have to get some of this stuff. For the price, it is nothing short of amazing.
The chance to taste the 2001 Wylie-Fenaughty side by side with the 2005 W-F was fun and educational. I'm still sitting on the 2000 W-F, mind you. Both vintages were lovely, but significantly different, as they should be. And no matter how good a wine is, it improves when you have known it long enough to develop a relationship with it, to understand the place and the winemaker's style, and be able to fit the different vintages into a tapestry.
In comparison to the Wylie-Fenaughty wines, the Bassetti was downright opulent, almost verging on fat (well, for Steve, anyway). And definitely animale.
The Durrell was magnificent! One more reason to mourn the lost source for Steve to work his magic on. I'm usually too impatient and lacking in impulse control to sit around and wait for the ESJ to mature as they should, so it's nice to get one like this.
The Ogier: you're right. The flowers. I vaguely recall (by then we'd had a lot to drink) telling you about driving through the Rhone and Provence on a sunny day and smelling the fields of lavender and being dazzled by the sights and odors of all the flowers they use for perfume essences. Oh, the violets. But hey, the Ogier is that kind of wine; it makes you do things like that. The wine made me do it.
The Cannubi will live longer than I will. But not if I'm around. I'll have to remember to look particularly Nebbiolo-desolate and pitiful the next time I'm over at Lou's place. Heck, for the Cannubi, I'll even say something complimentary about Napa.
All in all, a good evening, Rahsaan. Enjoyed meeting some of your folks from the other side of your life, too.
Now, I need to borrow Tom Hill's bloody pulpit for a moment:
To quote Arthur Miller, "Attention must be paid." And it must be paid to Steve Edmunds and the wines of Edmunds-St. John.
To put it simply, there's not a better winemaker in California than Steve, and his ESJ wines rank right up there with the finest. For the life of me, I can't understand why his wines aren't acclaimed more than they are, available more than they are, and exalted more than they are. By all rights, I should be bitching and moaning that I can't get on the mailing list for ESJ, or couldn't afford to buy the wines even if I could, because there is such demand for them.
I don't understand it. I know there's a lot of clutter out there, and you often need marketing money to become known, and it's hard to get any attention from a wholesaler, or a restaurateur, or a retailer these days if you're not one of the anointed. But, dammit all, these wines are incredible, and more people should know it. And more people should be drinking them.
Okay, tirade over. For now.