The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2015

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18  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2015 TASTINGS N inety-three percent of Northern California's wine grape acreage is devoted to just eight varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, French Colombard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel. The Seven % Solutions tasting on May 6 in San Francisco let others, from 24 producers, shine. One of the trade attendees, Alleah Friedrichs of Bliss Wine Imports told me, "These wines are totally my style, but I almost never get to taste them in one spot. They're like the underdog grapes I work with from Europe. A lot of these producers share the same winemaking philosophies as the small, traditional wineries in Europe." There was a general tendency toward nuanced wines expressive of both terroir and variety—often in a classic sense. Neither varietal obscurity nor out-of- the-box creativity came at the expense of deliciousness. For example, The Scholium Project 2014 Blowout Rosé ($24), sparkling via CO 2 injection, blends 80% Verdelho and 20% Grüner Veltliner with a dash of Cinsault for color. Its peach schnapps nose and dry, pretty, peach blossom palate made it a crowd favorite. Old guard and new were included. Steve Edmunds of Edmunds St. John told me, "Last year's tasting was a real eye-opener for me. I saw winemakers doing things that harkened back to when I got into the business in 1972. Restrained and lovely." Among the new was Evan Frazier, General Manager at Kongsgaard but pouring wines he makes for his own label, Ferdinand Wines. "Ferdinand has a broker," he told me, "but they don't do a portfolio tasting. This is our way to reach buyers." The Ferdinand 2013 Albariño ($20) from the Vista Luna Vineyard, Borden Ranch AVA was one of the day's highlights, simultaneously mouth-filling and light on its feet, loads of stone fruit and flowers yet a tart, clean finish. Some wines showed new interest in unsung grapes, such as Trousseau. Others celebrated days gone by. Rory Williams's Calder Wine Company offerings included blasts from Napa's past: a fresh, dry 2014 Riesling ($20) from 50-year- old vines in Rutherford's Rachel Rossi Vineyard and a 2012 Charbono ($28) from the Meyer Vineyard in Calistoga. Not the Usual Suspects PHOTO COURTESY OF BERGAMOT ALLEY ALCOHOL 12.6% BY VOLUME CONTAINS SULFITES GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) ACCORDING TO THE SURGEON GEN- ERAL, WOMEN SHOULD NOT DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES DURING PREGNANCY BECAUSE OF THE RISK OF BIRTH DEFECTS. (2) CONSUMP- TION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES IMPAIRS YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE A CAR OR OPERATE MACHINERY, AND MAY CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS. EdmundsSt.John bone - jolly 2 0 1 4 g a m a y n o i r r o s é el dorado count y w itters v ine yard PRODUCED & BOTTLED BY THUMBNAIL MOONLIGHT FAIRPLAY, CA WWW.EDMUNDSSTJOHN.COM 510.981.1510 bone - jolly 2 0 1 4 g a m a y n o i r r o s é el dorado county witters vyd. A lot of things had to fall into place before Gamay was intentionally planted in California. On the other hand, the decision to make some of it into pink wine seemed to follow the way daylight fol- lows darkness. Perfume, flavor, freshness. Jolly- ness! Gamay does it all. Once you taste it, it all begins to fall into place. Cheers, —Steve and Cornelia Calder Wine Company offers a varietal Charbono (aka Bonarda). by Fred Swan SEVEN % SOLUTIONS SHOWCASES NORTHERN CALIFORNIA'S OTHER GRAPE VARIETIES Bone-Jolly is a Gamay Noir Rosé made by Steve Edmunds of Edmunds St. John. Spanish variety Albariño shines in this version from Evan Frazier's Ferdinand label.

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