These past few years we’ve been particularly fascinated by the beautifully rustic, simple, and very drinkable red wines of Chinon, France, in the heart of the Loire Valley. Reds there are primarily made from Cabernet Franc, or Breton as the grape is called locally. Unlike in Bordeaux however, where Cabernet Franc provides an accent to a full-bodied wine, these wines show off Cabernet Franc as medium bodied and the star of the show. Found in a soft-shouldered bottle, they are generally sumptuous and ready to drink, with red and black fruit forward notes and a nice amount of spice and grip on the finish. In 2014 we found what we thought would make a great match for this style at the Los Amigos Vineyard south of Healdsburg, California, in the warm northeastern area of Sonoma County’s Russian River AVA. With the warmth and sun, we anticipated no problems in ripening the fruit. With a properly trained canopy we hoped to avoid the overwhelmingly green, “pyrazine” notes sometimes associated with unripe Cabernet Franc — yielding instead fruit with an intriguing herbal spice. With ripening done right in […]
Please join us and 100 other small-production artisanal Pinot Noir producers at the 2015 Pinot on the River Festival, held Sunday, October 25, 2015 on the Healdsburg Plaza in spectacular downtown Healdsburg in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, featuring a full day of tastings from some of California’s best Pinot producers. Pinot On The River begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct 25 when VIP ticket holders can enter the Grand Tasting ahead of the general public. Noon entries are also available for the Grand Tasting on the Healdsburg Plaza. Event ends at 4PM.
That’s our conclusion so far, half-way through harvest, with 2.5T Chardonnay and 1T Pinot Noir in the winery and another 4-5T still hanging. Small berries and light clusters — for instance, the average cluster weight in the 115 block at Devoto Garden was about 4 ounces last year. This year it was about 2oz. While this perhaps makes the growers unhappy, we however are cautiously optimistic about the potential for great wine: the flavors are there in these small tight berries, and the skin/berry ratio is exciting. Some shots so far:
Our Summer Whites shipment goes out next week to all Summer Whites club members! Not a member? It’s easy to join, just click here! Summer Whites’ members receive two bottles of our latest Russian River Chardonnay every August for just $30 plus shipping, plus have a short opportunity to buy more at that fantastic price. If you like it, act fast, our limited production Chardonnay (just 100 cases) is usually gone by the holidays. For fans of previous vintages, the 2014 Russian River Chardonnay will not disappoint. It is a truly natural, hands-off expression of the small Inspiration Vineyard on Olivet Road. We picked at 22 brix and wild-fermented in neutral french oak, stirred over winter, then bottled unfiltered in March. Bright, crisp, and satisfying, without overwhelming oak or alcohol, it’s what California Chardonnay is meant to be, a great companion for a meal, or an evening on the porch during our long, hot summer!
Taste hundreds of Pinot Noirs this Saturday amongst fellow wine lovers at Pinot Days San Francisco! If you go, be sure to stop by to say hello, I’ll be pouring the 2014 Rosé, the 2014 Chardonnay, and the two 2013 Pinot Noirs, a nice opportunity to see how the next vintages are shaping up.