Wine Talk

Snooth User: GregT

Current interesting wine topics

Posted by GregT, Feb 2.

Lately I've been interested in learning more about CA regions other than Napa. So I've been tasting quite a bit from producers that don't find their way out east, where it's often easier to get wine from Europe than from the US, at least in NYC.

First, I have to give a huge shout out to Bryan Harrington. He's gone around the state and found really interesting grapes and growers, and his wines are just great. Not expensive, not lavishly oaked, just really interesting.

Monovarietal bottlings or blends of Trousseau, Nebbiolo, Mission, possibly Cabernet Pfeffer, Pinot Noir, etc. They tend to have a rather earthy quality overall, but they're pretty well-made and always really interesting. I'd drink them all the time if I could.

Then there's a place that's new to me - Fogline. The other day I had their Summit Syrah, which they claim is from the highest Syrah vineyard in Sonoma. It's mostly Syrah, co-fermented with Ehrenfelser, which is another of the German crosses from the 1920s and is a grape I've never had. But he put a little in just as sometimes people include a bit of Viognier. What a seamless, elegant, balanced wine. Pretty much everything you ever want in your glass - some tannins on the finish but nothing unpleasant, no alcoholic burn, perfectly ripe fruit without any sweet jammy overtones. Damn!

And from Paso Robles, Bodega de Edgar. He was the wine maker for Hug wines and when Hug retired, took over that wine and also makes his own under a different label. Perfect ringers for the wines of Priorat - high acidity combined with full ripeness. I'm going to try some more this week but those are the best versions of Spanish grapes I've had yet.

Haven't given up anything else obviously, but it's fun to discover places right under my nose that I'd never have found had I not been in the area.

Anyone else?

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Replies

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Reply by zufrieden, Feb 2.

I am equally interested in these "new" regions.  Bottlings of Mission might be interesting, as a quick remark, being a part of the Mexican-Hispanic past in California.

I am a little lacking in time just now, but a comment also on Ehrenfelser:  This Geisenheim variety was once very popular in Ontario, BC and New York State.  It is not Riesling, that is certain - being a cross of Riesling with Sylvaner (I think... I have not checked my ever failing memory), it is a bit flabbier than the produce of its parentage, but it is tasty and likes a cool climate.  There used to be varietal examples throughout BC, but not so much anymore due to the changing climate - both temperature-wise and consumer-wise.  The fermenting arrangement sounds interesting, though - I wonder why that combination emerged at Fogine?

Z.

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Reply by GregT, Feb 2.

From what I understand, accident. It was planted up there by somebody and he just decided to include it.

I didn't know the grape and would like to taste it on its own just to learn. Interesting that it was in BC - I bet if you look around there's probably some interesting stuff up there.

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 3.

Greg are you back in New York? 

I have a bottle of Ehrenfelser with your name on it!

 

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Reply by EMark, Feb 3.

From what I understand, accident. It was planted up there by somebody and he just decided to include it.

 

Isn't that quite common among what are now referred to as "Old Vine" or "Historic" Vineyards?

 

So weird, Greg mentions a grape that few in the New World have ever heard of and Darrin has a varietal bottling of the wine.

 

I really do not do not visit wineries for tastings very often, but since you have mentioned it multiple times, I do want to make a visit to Bodega de Edgar.

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 3.

Emark, if I had a dollar for every time I've seen "weird" and "Darren" in the same sentence.....;)

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Reply by zufrieden, Feb 5.

That Summerhill is an excellent example of Ehrenfelser - if memory serves, it is just a touch off-dry... like most from that grape-crossing. During the 1980's and early 1990's there was not that much good Riesling around in BC (Gehringer Bros. being a somewhat rare exception at the time), but there was Ehrenfelser - a  left-over from an assessment of one Helmut Becker from the Geisenheim Institute back in 1976. Becker did a 4-5 day tour of the Okanagan Valley and concluded that Germanic varieties would do well there, and Ehrenfelser was one of the recommended crossings.  CedarCreek Vineyards also made a good Ehrenfelser, among a few others (Quail's Gate e.g.)

I predict this variety will migrate north with global warming, and eventually become a grape known in areas like Kamloops BC or even Nova Scotia.

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Reply by GregT, Feb 6.

That is funny emark!

DV - I'm in LA these days. Was just in NY for business. How the hell did you get that bottle?

BTW - here's this:

https://www.decanter.com/premium/british-columbia-wines-vs-world-408677/?utm_campaign=20190206_XDC-D_NWL_NW_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ET

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 6.

Greg, it's in my fridge.  I always try to keep a few whites on hand, although they aren't my thing.

You hanging out with JD?  He had what looks to be a fantastic tasting a few weeks ago.

I have to PAY to read the article!  ;)

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Reply by zufrieden, Feb 7.

Yeah, I tried too.  It is recently published (yesterday) and I don't subscribe to most magazines concerning alcohol, although if I were in the business I would - and might get a big break.

Not an affordability thing - but just would not read enough articles to make it worthwhile in most situations.

GT, what was the jist of the article?  

 

Z/M

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 7.

I tried to sign up, but it was taking too long.  I have to stop using Internet Explorer!!

The synopsis, and I'm guessing, is that BC makes decent wine, but a very small volume as a percentage of worldwide production and some might even compete with international wine.

 

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Reply by zufrieden, Feb 7.

Ha!  That is likely all one needs these days!  The headliner!  Love it.

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 8.

I did see just enough to form that theory, but I can't imagine it would be something negative!

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Reply by zufrieden, Feb 8.

No, not entirely negative, at any rate.  We make some very good wines - wines that stack up with the best of them - if sometimes from eccentric grapes and blends (which is not bad, just difficult for those not in the know to compare).  Vancouver Island is coming along quite nicely too.  If and when we re-locate there, I have quite a lot of driving around locally to investigate the changes of recent years in the wine industry.  I had an Unsworth PN a couple of weeks ago that, for the price, was far superior to any generic Burgundy or leathery Chilean example...

Maybe GT can somehow get that Decanter article posted to this site.  Who knows?  Cut and paste, perhaps?

 

Cheers.

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Reply by JonDerry, Feb 8.

on California, not doing too much tinkering these days, but have found Enfield to be a compelling, relatively new producer. OT sent me a bottle of the 14' Haynes Chardonnay a while back, and that was an excellent hook, a reminder that truly excellent Chardonnay can be made in California.

Have not kept up with Cabernet of late, but interested in trying some Forman and Togni. Of the two, I've heard Togni is making the more traditional Cabs, closest thing to a throw back to the old days, while Forman has gone riper, as has Dunn with the younger generation taking the reigns.

Dirty & Rowdy started out specializing in Mourvèdre only, but have branched out a bit since the early days, and now make my favorite Viognier, it's definitely one of my favorite CA whites, with plenty of freshness to spare, and well managed sweetness, and great purity.

Idlewild is another, said to be doing interesting things with Italian varieties. I've purchased a case or so but haven't had the chance to dip in yet.

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Reply by zufrieden, Feb 8.

Hey JONDERRY.  Great to see you back.  For about two years, I was absent - more or less - myself.  I could not even get much interest in wine at all - at least, not for discussion. But I thought - if the spam was down to a low roar...

Prior to this idea, I could not get up the interest.  A long story.

Anyway, tell us more about the Viognier. We do not have the choice of CA wines up here on the WA border with Canada.

 

Z.

 

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Reply by GregT, Feb 9.

Togni is pretty old now and passed it on to his daughter about 10 years ago. Still makes great wine, but they're a little more approachable. Good stuff though.

Sorry about the article guys - I was able to read it but now it's blocked, which is weird. Anyhow, it's about how BC is producing really good stuff that people outside of BC don't know anything about. Nothing particularly fascinating, just timely as it came on heels of DV's post.

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 10.

Well that's typical.  I'd almost say someone is against BC wine.  I know the US is a little pissed that it's wine is heavily taxed before it gets into BC (there has been pressure through NAFTA for BC to relent and give fair treatment to wine from everywhere instead of protecting BC wine).  I'm not worried that they think BC wine would have an impact, no matter how good because they can't produce enough.  Most of it doesn't get out of the province.

So, Greg, maybe you missed the question.  Have you met up with JD?  

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Reply by GregT, Feb 10.

I did miss the question!

Nein.

I think they're trying to ban BC wine because the US wouldn't be able to stand the onslaught of cheap foreign products!

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Reply by JonDerry, Feb 12.

It is about time we all got together, when are you coming down Darren?

Z if you have a Washington state address maybe I can send some up next release.

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 13.

I had just sent Greg a message about that!  My wife has a friend (since childhood) who lives in Carlsbad and has been wanting us to come visit for years!  We are going to Piedmont in September, but we could sure use some sun right now!!  I'll look into taking a few days sometime sooner than later!

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