Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

Man, I love the fall!

Posted by Richard Foxall, Oct 24, 2012.

So you say California hasn't got seasons, but you're wrong.  While we are blessed here in the Bay Area with pretty fine weather year round, fall is my favorite season.  October might even be my favorite month.  It's the month my first child was born and the month I met my wife.  

It's also great for wine.  The last of the grapes get harvested in the beginning of the month, so we know how the cab is going to look and the tourists have thinned out while the real wine work gets going--drives through Napa return to something more like the picturesque valley from my youth than the insanity that prevails in summer.  We usually get a spell of perfect Indian summer, which means warmth without fog.  That's the big drawback of the Bay:  Summer is either scorching in the Valley, Delta and Inland areas, or the wind and fog freeze you.  But Indian Summer lacks the fog; this year's spell was actually a little too warm for my taste.  Those crisp whites and the roses you didn't get around to in the summer fog are perfect, and the grill gets one more chance to make food to pair with those wines and your lighter reds. 

Then it cools off, sometimes giving us rain like this year, and even snow in the mountains.  Which is crucial to the ski industry but also important for wineries that need to irrigate even a little and to those wineries in the foothills whose vines reach for stored water in the recharged water table.  The importance to California of snow in the mountains cannot be overstated.  That cooling trend also correlates to dormant vines, a beautiful sight in themselves, and an opportunity to dig into those heartier reds, the Zins, big-framed Syrahs, lusty Southern Rhones, warming Riojas.  I could go on, of course, but you get the idea.

And, of course, all those wines I ordered can now be shipped!  This week is like my holiday gift-season, except I gave myself these gifts months ago.  My allocation of Roar Pinot Noir came yesterday--some bold Pinot for the winters ahead in that bunch--and Garagiste predicts that my remaining bottles from them will arrive tomorrow.  (There will be a sense of relief in that.)  LastBottle lifted the hot weather shipping embargo this week--they were right in the thick of the Indian Summer heat wave--and some bottles of 2007 CdP are on their way.  (The S. Rhone Vintage of All-time has now been eclipsed by 2010, and even RP might grudgingly admit it, leading to some terrific deals on bottles that were once overrated but are now value priced and hardly anything to sneeze at.) OT has six bottles he's holding for me, and Mauritson's Cemetery Zin is awaiting pickup, so a ramble through RRV and DCV looks warranted.

The hardest part of the fall is going to be laying off these things while they rest and mature.  But that's a good problem to have, and gives me something to look forward to when fall turns to dreary winter this year. 


Reply by EMark, Oct 24, 2012.

On the same page with you on the weather change, Fox.  Here, on the fringe of the Inland Empire, it is nice to have highs in the 70s (Fahrenheit).  It's soup season.  Made our first the other day.

Reply by Fenderbaum, Oct 24, 2012.

Nice post Foxall. All of your sentiments I can relate exactly to the summer we've just had in Barcelona. It was a scorcher, but uncomfortably so. The cooler weather is very welcome. The drop off in tourism means that the lines for the more popular museums are much shorter and trips to them are more bearable. Also time to break out the Beouf Bourguignon recipe again and pair it up with an appropriate wine!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 24, 2012.

Fall in Spain is probably not that different from California in some ways, so I imagine the weather is still really pleasant.  But I'd be working the other way:  Finding things to pair with great Rioja, RdD and Priorat wines.  Just how I think these days!

One of these days I've gotta get myself to Catalunya--I'm pretty fascinated by the whole idea that the language is different and somehow survived Franco, globalization, and all the rest.  And yet, somehow, Barcelona is a symbol of Spain, its largest city, and chosen for an Olympics.

Reply by napagirl68, Oct 24, 2012.

I'm with you, Foxall.  Fall is my favorite season...  And I switch from my whites to Pinot!  And yes, although we are in California, we do get those amazing fall colors- lots of great drives to see those colors .  I only wish the sun would stay up a bit longer.

Some of my best wine country visits here in CA have been in November.  The harvest is typically over, and the wineries are not crowded.  It is a great time to go- before the rains (and sometimes flooding), and after the crowds.  The prices for accommodations drop as well, by quite a bit.

Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Oct 25, 2012.

Having grown up in Maine, the Fall means the smell of cool damp earth, fresh pumpkins, and decaying leaves.  A pastoral existence punctuated with the crisp bite from a Macintosh apple.  Fall in northern New England was like a little bubble of heaven.

Reply by JonDerry, Oct 25, 2012.

Nice post Foxall, it came a little later for us in Southern California, but I definitely notice that this week there's no going back, Fall's officially here and it's a cool thing. Spring has long been my favorite season, but as my love of wine grows, how can you not like the fall...just the shipping season alone is great!

Think I'll make that shipping label for you now ; )

Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 27, 2012.

JD, by all means get that label to me.  I just received 6 bottles from Roar and 14 from Garagiste, plus I've been on a buying spree, have those Halcons at OT's place, and Mauritsons to pick up. The 1/4 basement is getting a little crowded.

CB, I lived in the great north woods for a while.  Fall was the only season I liked, and apples from that part of the world--sorry, OT--are beyond compare.  I will always over-romanticize those high school and college back to school romances.  Luckily, I married a woman who grew up back there and went to school with me in the southern tier of  New York, so I don't have to live in the past, and she loves wine and our California advantages--really the best of both worlds.

Thanks to all for the warm response to my little reverie.

Reply by zinfandel1, Oct 27, 2012.

I love this time of year for the change in weather, but more important than that I love the sound of the UPS and FEDEX trucks coming up and down my driveway on a daily basis as they drop off my long awaited goodies. This is truly the sound of music.

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