The Tasting Panel magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 96

WINE BRIEFS New Zealand’s Villa Maria Sails into Newport Beach Villa Maria’s Nick Picone. illa Maria’s senior Auckland winemaker Nick Picone (EIT/CSU) made a rare visit to the U.S. in early October, stopping at Newport Beach, California’s dockside Bluewater Grill for a pairing dinner featuring many of the leading New Zealand winery’s bottlings with New Zealand green-lipped mussels, barramundi, lamb chops and kiwi. Picone, who has been working with wine since his teens, emphasized Villa Maria’s heritage (one of the oldest in New Zealand) and environmental leadership (vanguard users of screwcaps and organic practices), as well as its commitment to quality. “If your focus is quality,” Picone told THE TASTING PANEL, “that goes a long way toward using sustainable principles.” Villa Maria’s Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc may represent 40% of the company’s total output, says Picone, but many of their other varieties also showed well. Their smooth, supple 2009 Private Bin Pinot Gris had notes of melon, caramel and quince with a nose of honeysuckle. The ’07 Taylors Pass Pinot Noir (low- yield, 100 percent hand-picked, hand-plunged fruit) was velvety and rich, dense but balanced. “We’re producing less extractive, more supple styles,” says Picone. “It’s the distinction of the fruit that sets New Zealand apart.” —E. C. Gladstone Villa Maria is imported by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. V A Mountain of Rutherford Dust T PHOTO COURTESY OF THE RUTHERFORD DUST SOCIETY he Rutherford Dust Society’s groundbreaking environmental restoration project for the Napa River has created a mountain of soil from this world-famous wine region. “This must be the most valuable dirt in America,” says Gretchen Hayes, project coordina- tor. “The greatest wines in America are grown in this coveted red soil.” Landowners have had this soil removed from steeply eroding river banks in order to provide fish habitat and restore the natural flow of the Napa River through the Rutherford AVA. For the past seven years, a river restoration team headed by Davie Pina, John Williams and Andy Beckstoffer of the Rutherford Dust Society has 32 / the tasting panel / november 2010 worked with a wide range of stakehold- ers to develop a long-range sustain- ability program for the Napa River as it passes through the Rutherford AVA. Twenty-three local growers have volunteered to sacrifice nearly 20 acres of top-quality vineyards in the heart of Napa Valley’s finest AVA to restore the river to a more natural condition. “Our mission is to work collaboratively with neighbors and agencies to stabilize river banks, reduce the impacts of flooding, protect and enhance fish and wildlife habitat, reduce Pierce’s disease pressure on vineyards and provide ongoing education about the river and its watershed,” says Beckstoffer. “Our goal is a living river.” PHOTO COURTESY OF VILLA MARIA ESTATE

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - November2010