July 4th on a Wednesday is like a midweek Saturday. We watched as much baseball as we could tolerate, hacked around on the Internet during the day, and tasted wine in the evening. Without enough time to travel someplace but enough to dream about trips we want to take…we chose to do nuttin…like preparing this post and looking for just the right photos of Scarlett Johansson. Just wait.
Here is the roundup on wines recently tasted from the usual sources…Big G, wine festivals and a anywhere our glasses needed filling.
2009 Montebruna Barbera d’Asti $20: Garagiste winner. This is why you have to pay attention to Jon Rimmerman. He comes up with so many of these outtanowhere picks. This Piemontese wine flies out of the bottle like Pete Rose used to stretch a single into a double. Lean and mean, a Marine Drill Instructor. Acidic and young. It settled down after 30 minutes and the fruit came out of the spider hole where it was hiding. Tanks gott it was Scarlett Johansson instead of Saddam Hussein. Got very friendly. Stuck her tongue right…never mind. Yummy wine we would never have tasted had it not been for Rimmerman’s ravings about it. Excellent value. Currently available at Hi-Time in Costa Mesa and Wine Exchange in Tustin. 15%
Scheid 777 Clone Series Pinot Noir $65: Great smoky Pinot fruit nose, beety, love the weight. A bit hot on the finish, rich Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot flavors but it isn’t SLH. It is their Monterey County Viento Vineyard, 777 Dijon clone. Love the weight, excellent flavors, well made. Seems incredible winemaker Dave Nagegast oversees the subscription production of 3 million cases AND the 5,000 made under Scheid’s private label. 125 cases. 14.5% alcohol
2007 CORE Mr Moreved $45: It is hard to keep up with what is David Corey’s “finest” wine because he makes so many wines and so many are fine. But this is one of his higher priced efforts. All the fruit comes from the special Alta Mesa vineyard which at 3200 feet elevation is the highest in Santa Barbara wine country. David found it then wrapped it up in a long term lease. He farms and harvests the vineyard. This bottle is 93% Mourvedre and 7% Grenache. As a self taught vintner – of which there are many in the state – David is a complete original. He has a deft hand when it comes to blending which has always been his preference. He had mentors but he learned a lot by trial and error. His 2007 wines are in a zone. This wine is obviously handcrafted. It has just enough fruit – meaning it is restrained – to pass for Old World. Cinnamon seems to be a characteristic of the vineyard as we have tasted this in other CORE blends. The fruit is forward yet the wine is balanced. A smart ingenue like Scarlett Johansson’s Lost in Translation character; naive, charming, pretty, and willing. That is his bicycle on the label. You would never guess the alcohol is 14.9%.
We tasted through a lineup of three Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir wines at the Santa Barbara Wine Festival. Brewer-Clifton’s well regarded wines score high points with prices near $50. As small production wines, they are highly collectible. We were excited. This is the first time we have had an opportunity to taste through an array of their wines. Greg Brewer was pouring and offered some comments in response to our own. Committed to the Santa Rita Hills region he sources the fruit he works with from SRH vineyards. He poured Mt Carmel, Machado and Sweeney Canyon wines. Each wine was distinctive. He explained his intention is to allow the vineyard to stand out. While Greg did not say the word terroir that is the gist of it. We asked about the recent press describing the commitment of SRH vintners such as Samsara to harvest sooner and reduce commonplace high alcohol levels. He included himself in that group but cautioned us that harvesting earlier was simplistic. Each site has its own character and weather makes a difference…by site. In other words, microclimate counts. We began to realize that what was typical of these three wines was that each is made using a highly technical approach that seeks to treat each harvest in toto with as little intervention by the winemaker as is possible. Greg is a former French Lit professor which might explain the didactic nature of our interaction. He could also have been busy pouring wines. We pictured Greg in a lab coat; a monk among vintners. We asked if he would wear a Chinese knockoff of the Bell watch on his wrist. “Nothing I do is a knockoff.”
These guys got off to a roaring start when Parker recognized their 2001 vintage with high scores. Right away obtaining a bottle became a matter not of price but of availability. Today they produce 4,000 cases or more and acquisition is less of an issue. Living your vinous dream is always something to cheer especially when it is so easy to dream and so hard to execute.
Webmeister Al “Dionysius” Stone deserves some recognition after three and a half years of good vibes and great support. This bit in the eyes of tBoW captures the man and his very good will.