Monday, June 30, 2008

Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir. What can I say that sums it up? On one hand, I had some of my favorite Pinot Noirs to-date there. On the other, some fairly mediocre wines. And one winery in particular that gave me an hour-long headache. :(

I think that, overall, the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation is much like any other winegrowing region, including Anderson Valley. A healthy dose of the good, mixed with some of the bad and a little of the ugly.

Our favorite wines of the entire weekend, hands down, were from Windy Oaks. At least 50% wild yeast, grown on the hillsides above Corralitos. The wines had a surprising amount new French oak, but good barrel selection plus overvintaging must mellow it out because they were damned good if I do say so myself, and I'm very sensitive to high alcohol and too-liberal oaking. Long story short, we're looking forward to popping a cork very soon because, after all, wine is mmmm mmmm good.

The worst wine of the weekend... wasn't made out of grapes, so I'm not sure it actually counts. It was from the tree persuasion, not the vine. Hmmm...

Here's a list of wineries that we visited and a slideshow of some of our weekend pics (unfortunately, we were too busy tasting to take as many as we should). It was the only renown Pinot-growing region in California that I hadn't visited to-date solely for the purpose of tasting one of its signature varietals. On top of it, Joe and I were able to visit our good, albeit formerly long-lost, friends Reina and Keith, eat some awesome meals, and attend the only party in my life where there was a line for the MEN'S restroom and NOT the women's!

Wineries tasted from Friday to Sunday: Sarah's Vineyard, Clos La Chance, Windy Oaks, Testarossa, Hunter Hill, Burrell School, Fortino, Byington, David Bruce and Storrs Winery.

Strange coincidence at Testarossa - the gentleman pouring the first wines asked where we were from. Turns out with further questioning that he had just opened a wonderful Anderson Valley Pinot Noir the night before: the 2006 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir from Papapietro Perry. It was fantastic of course.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Great Fire Resource

This article, which ran in the Willits newspaper, provides the most up-to-date information about the Mendocino County fires that I can find:

It also runs through the fires in many other parts of California, including the Santa Cruz Mountains, which we just visited a few weekends ago. It mentions a 4,200 acre fire near Corralitos, which burned in May, and where we visited Windy Oaks Winery (fantastic Pinots and Chards). Much luck to everyone caught in these blazes and, as bad as it is here, I'm crossing my fingers that the Santa Cruz Mountains folks we visited just a few short weeks ago were spared from another go-round with Mother Nature.

Northern California Fires

Today there's a thick haze in the air. It's been present since the lightning-strike fires started last weekend, but it's getting scarier and scarier now. There are fires burning in Navarro, on Mountain View Rd. and the mountains above Elk, in Comptche, in Ft. Bragg, and more. The fire crews are working hard, but tens of thousands of acres are now burning in Mendocino County.

The worst thing is that they're predicting a 10% chance of thunderstorms this coming weekend, while we were planning to enjoy a great weekend in San Francisco along with pouring at Pinot Days.

Here's an image of the fires in Northern California - ours are the first red dots up from the Bay Area:

Keep everyone in our area (and all those that are burning) in your thoughts. We'll need all the positive thinking you can muster in the coming week.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ever Seen A Baby Grape?

This time of year is one of the scariest for vineyard owners, because you finally start to see this harvest's crop shaping up, but it's still difficult to judge how much (and of what quality) there will be. Now that the farmer has made it through frost season, there are only new threats to worry about - mold, summer weather, damage from the spring frosts...

Here's what our little guys look like right now:

Monday, June 16, 2008

91 points in Wine Spectator

I have so much to report from the past two weeks, including this past weekend's trip to taste Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir, but first is first.

OUR 2006 CHARLES VINEYARD PINOT NOIR JUST GOT 91 POINTS FROM WINE SPECTATOR! We're very excited, as this is incredible for a winery's first release.

Here's the entire review:

Foursight Wines 2006 Pinot Noir Charles Vineyard
91 points
"Ripe and fleshy, with a generous mix of ripe plum, wild berry and black cherry fruit that's well-centered, gaining body and complexity on the finish" - James Laube
Wine Spectator July 31, 2008

I have a funny feeling our sales just went up. To read more about our 2006 Charles Vineyard Pinot or to purchase the wine, click here.

In about 20 minutes we'll be opening a bottle of Roederer L'Hermitage in celebration! Cheers!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Reviews for Our Wines

As we patiently wait for all the large magazines to hurry up and review our wines (it takes months), we are now celebrating the instant gratification of the internet age.

Click here for a review of our Sauvignon Blanc by The Vine Times, where it received 4 stars, Excellent! This publication is lead by editor Al Hernandez, who came out to Anderson Valley for our recent Pinot Festival and is as nice a guy as you'll ever meet, which is a true pleasure.

Also today, Wines & Vines ran a mention of our winery debut. Click here to view it.

Connoisseur's Guide to CA Wine also reviewed our 2006 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir, calling it hedonistic, and saying it "offers up lots of sweet, slightly candied cherries with a dollop or two of rich oak. It is supple and smooth and easy to taste..."

And off we go!