The SOMM Journal

April / May 2016

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Page 47 of 108

A Visit to BUENA VISTA WINERY After the blending session, the som- meliers were taken to Buena Vista Winery to witness Buena Vista Winery's Historic Wine Tool Museum and Show. "Buena Vista struck me personally for the fact that JCB has taken such care in preserving what should be to all wine lovers an iconic winery with an amazingly rich history," said Jeffrey Mayfield, Wine Director of Philadelphia's Del Frisco's Steakhouse. "As a self-proclaimed wine geek, you think you know how it's made now, but to get a chance to see how things were done centuries ago proves it was not only a labor of love but a labor of survival and innovation." Buena Vista Winery is also known for its reincarnated founding ambassador, Agoston Haraszthy, the self-proclaimed Count of Buena Vista who was brought back to life in 2011 by Jean-Charles Boisset and is now portrayed by Sonoma historian George Webber. The Count founded Buena Vista, California's first premium winery in 1857, and he is commonly referred to as "The Father of California Viticulture" as he was known for being the first in California to advise hill planting, dry farming, planting grapevines closer together to stress the vines and reduce yield, and "green harvest" or dropping fruit. He was also the first to use redwood for fermenta- tion and aging, and instituted many more European viticultural techniques to improve the quality of the wines being made in California. Noel P etrin, VP Operations, Cru Food & Wine Bar, Dallas, TX. Todd Lipman, Head Sommelier, Bistro du Midi, Boston, MA. Jamie Harding, Wine Director, Cavallo Point, Sausalito, CA. Jeffrey Mayfield, Wine Director, Del Frisco's Steakhouse, Philadelphia, PA. Both Petrin and Lipman had blended before, but "not professionally," joked Lipman. "We tasted all the components, took notes and tasted the finished product from two years ago as a benchmark," explained Petrin. Their approach was to each create an initial blend and compare and tweak those blends until one emerged as a winner. "We took rudimentary tasting notes and just dove in," said Harding, who added, "I'd like to see a little more 'stuffing' than the 2012." His blending partner, Mayfield, said, "We want to maintain the integrity of past blends—a well- balanced, thoughtful wine that isn't over the top in any one direction and appeals to a broad spectrum of guests." Mayfield has served both the 2011 and 2012 Sommelier Selection wines at his restaurant. The back label of the Raymond "Sommelier Selection" wines includes a fold-out detailing the bios of the somms who attended that year's Blending Session. { }  47

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