The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 101 of 132

INTRO-VINOUS For the Love Tasting Notes Klapper's goal is to create balanced, low-alcohol wines that are ideal for the table. Fruit is picked at lower sugar levels and with high acidity, and undergoes full malolactic fermentation. His wines are marked by their full mouthfeel and bracing acidity. —M. B. 2009 La Fenêtre Chardonnay, Bien Nacido Vineyard $40 The nose is filled with sweet toasted aromatics and yellow stone fruit character. The palate is silky and counters the richness found in the nose with bracing acidity. Long, mouth-smacking finish. 2010 À Côté Pinot Noir, North Coast $22.50 How does prestigious fruit find its way into a declassified bottling of À Côté Pinot Noir? An off vintage in Andersen Valley allowed Klapper the oppor- tunity to source incredible fruit at a low price. The palate is austere and laced with tobacco and clove. The wine is texturally complex and will continue to develop with cellaring. La Fenêtre winemaker Josh Klapper. JOSH KLAPPER'S LA FENÊTRE WINES by Michelle Ball / photos by Jeremy Ball of Dirt W his 2006 harvest under the direction of Clendenen and Lindquist, Klapper's career choice was solidified. He learned a great lesson while there: "Choose growers that you can work with, and dirt that you like, and then allow that dirt to speak through minimalist interven- tion winemaking." Klapper's approach is rather simple; each wine is made the same way. Six months later, all barrels are tasted side by side and rated. Some barrels are declassified and later blended and bottled under À Côté, his version of a Bourgogne Rouge. These wines aver- age $20 retail and are made with food in mind. For both the profile and the price, À Côté should be every sommelier's go-to wine for by-the-glass sales. The remaining barrels, those that exhibit unique character, are bottled under his La Fenêtre label. These are wines that make a statement. Although they have greater weight and fruit character than the À Côté bottlings, their acidity and balance make these wines ideal for long-term cellaring. In all, Klapper's wines are the sommelier's answer to the California problem: Rich, lush fruit-driven wines are common, but finding a wine that exhibits restraint and pairs well with food can be more difficult. As a winemaker, his ultimate goal is balance, and although he agrees that one can have balance in a high-alcohol wine, it's just not his style. "I know how to make a wine that will drink early and might get a bigger score," Klapper admits, "but that's not the kind of wine that I want to make." september 2012 / the tasting panel / 101 hen one works in fine dining, the opportunity to live vicariously through a generous patron is certainly a perk. When he was barely out of high school, Josh Klapper worked as a server at Café Boulud in New York City, and one day was handed a heavy pour of 1945 Château Latour by one of the restaurant's regulars in the spirit of Christmas. Although the highly acclaimed restaurant conditioned his interest in wine, this particular glass was the one that decided Klapper's eventual career—the catalyst that sparked his imagination to further explore the vast world of wine. Later, Klapper moved to California, where he served on the opening team at Sona in Los Angeles. In 2005, he decided to try his hand at winemaking. Having spent years tasting and researching what he truly wanted from a wine, Klapper knew the time was ripe. He knew he wanted to work with "Jim and Bob," the winemaker legends of Au Bon Climat and Qupé. This brought him to the Santa Maria Valley. After spending

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