Wine Country

Old Jan 17th, 2017, 07:09 PM
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In America? I disagree.

As for the crowding issue, phobics should consider visiting the Napa Valley in the week between Christmas and New Year's--we did just that a few weeks ago and it was pretty dead.

In general, for the reasons tg stated, Napa is crowded because it's just that good.

(tg, whom do you consider to be making collectible wines in Anderson Valley? Curious to hear which producers you like.)
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Old Jan 17th, 2017, 09:16 PM
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For AV, my favorites are Foursight, Drew, Baxter, and Knez. However, Knez has been sold to Kosta Browne and I believe they have closed the tasting room. Goldeneye and Domaine Anderson also put out quality stuff, but both are owned by larger companies if that matters. Witching Stick is also fun, but the wines probably aren't age worthy.
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 07:15 AM
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Ah, we made a stop at Witching Stick--and spoke at length with the winemaker, if that matters Good stuff. Did a library tasting at Goldeneye. Their patio/garden is so charming, and the wines are certainly quality, but they never wow us.
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 09:52 AM
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"I haven't been to Paso, but I have had lots of wine from Paso, and some good zin (I like zin), but Napa it ain't."

Just curious, what are some of your favorites from Paso?
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 10:19 AM
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Ah, we made a stop at Witching Stick--and spoke at length with the winemaker

Yes, he will talk your ear off if you let him. He was actually the one that first told us that Knez had been sold. I don't think they were happy with him gossiping about it all over the valley.

I tend to agree, a bit, on Goldeneye. They are very well made, but they don't jump out at me. FWIW, I do think they would age well, but I haven't had one with years on it yet. Domaine Anderson is one to watch - the Roederer folks are throwing a decent amount of resources at the winery.

In general, my understanding is that several of the Sonoma/Napa producers are eyeing properties in AV as a hedge against rising temperatures in Sonoma and Napa.
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 10:58 AM
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I think you're right about that, tg.

AT, Ridge's PR zin is one of my favorite zins. I know I've had a bunch of J Lohr over the years, but nothing stands out as either great or terrible. I like Tablas Creek's Cotes de Tablas and their rose.

I used to really like Justin a lot, but I swear the expansion that followed their sale to the Fiji water empire dumbed the wine down. I still like it, though, and we're aging a few bottles, of the Isosceles, I think.

Is Robert Hall a Paso winery?

I'm open to recommendations!
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 12:11 PM
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Whoa, getting a bit heated in here...!

I'll put in my meager 2⍧ here: I love all the California Wine Countries. Napa, given its tight footprint, is a wonderful place for that First CA Winery Tour. Yes, there are some very large global producers that make wine there (specifically thinking of Domaine Chandon), some celebrity wineries and some fairly large and impersonal factory-like places. But you also have gorgeous NoCal scenery, superb dining options, luxury lodging and that whole Napa vibe. And there ARE smaller wineries with interesting varietals to be discovered. Even the big Wine Country shuttle tours will present at least one funky joint in their Wine Schlepps.

Sonoma is more spread-out and seems a bit more rural than Napa. But it's just as lovely, and you find wineries big and small all over the place. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting there too. HINT: The Benziger family runs several nice wineries, including the smallish Imagery and the slightly larger Benziger (using biodynamic winemaking processes). Both are worth a visit. And Paradise Ridge has a famously stunning main site in Santa Rosa, but their funky tasting shack in Kenwood is a hoot.

My new find (well, back in late October) is the Anderson Valley, up in Mendocino County. Some of my favorite wineries have already been mentioned (Foursight, Roederer, and yes! Goldeneye), and I would also add Navarro and Domaine Anderson (we had a great light lunch and tasting). These are little gems of wineries, and I loved every drop of wine I drank. And I drank a lot. Good thing my sister was our sober designated driver (they live up in Fort Bragg).

in April, I would agree that the weather will be a bit more pleasant (read: warmer) down in the Central Coast (Paso Robles/SLO County, Santa Barbara County). These are somewhat more niche-oriented wine areas, especially their reds; Paso Robles is more famous for its zins, and the Santa Barbara/Buellton crew are known for pinot noirs thanks to Sideways. I don't drink whites very often, so I confess to total ignorance in that area. But I would happily take a spin through those Wine Countries if I didn't feel like braving slightly cooler temps and higher rain chances up north. Having said that, my trip up to the Anderson Valley was during drizzling rain and temps in the 50s, and I was still over the moon.

Long story short (I know, too late): Anywhere you go will be a delight, so just pick one and drink it in. Liberally. Joyfully. And don't forget to hydrate between wineries!!!
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 12:46 PM
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NewbE, Ridge is not a Paso winery but they do source Paso grapes for their Zinfandel. Yes, Robert Hall is in Paso. There are about 300 wineries in the area and you can't find most in the stores so you really ought to consider a visit. I can highly recommend:

Halter Ranch
Brecon
Calcareous
Niner
Michael Gill
Epoch
Summerwood
Red Sole
Vines on the Mary Crest
Hearst Ranch
Venteux, and many more.
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 12:49 PM
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Thanks, AT. Noted! Are most of these zin producers? They must be...
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 12:59 PM
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In Paso, Turley zins, Eberle (first wine caves in the area), Lone Madrone.

Also in Paso, Zin Alley is interesting in a sort of '70s time-warp sort of way; the owner, Frank Nerelli, is a descendant of one of the first four Paso vintners (Pesenti). He works his 3 acres entirely by himself, trims the vines in the traditional way, long abandoned by the big producers. He has some great "old Paso" stories.

Sculpterra has just OK wines but a spectacular property.
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 01:23 PM
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"Thanks, AT. Noted! Are most of these zin producers? They must be..."

Some produce Zin but that is not nearly as popular as it used to be. Rhone and Bordeaux blends are common, also Syrah, Petit Syrah, and Cabs. Whites are usually Viognier, Sauv Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, and lately Picpoul Blanc, which is really interesting. A few wineries make Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but it is more commonly found further south. There are so many micro-climates here that a wide variety of grapes can and are being grown. It has changed dramatically from the days of being known mainly for Zinfandel.
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 02:31 PM
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http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/bu...e93362627.html

Robert Hall bought out by a Valley biggie.
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 02:50 PM
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I've never actually tried Robert Hall, but if they are being acquired by O'Neill, were they producing bargain-level stuff?
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 04:41 PM
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Perhaps O'Neill wants to up his game?
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Old Jan 18th, 2017, 06:01 PM
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Perhaps O'Neill wants to up his game?

I guess. It just seems an odd investment (assuming Robert Hall is a quality producer) for a company focused on bulk wine and value labels.
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