Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Long Break and another trip to CA

Its been forever since my last post. Almost a full year. I'm not sure how active I will be in the coming year, but I wanted to make some notes on a trip I just took to California's wine country, and highlight a couple of really nice wines as well as a trip to visit a virtual friend's new wine venture.

Gustavo Thrace - The first place I visited on my recent trip to Napa may also have been my favorite. Thrace, the second half of Gustavo Thrace, was pouring and was most hospitable. The wines were all of high quality, but mostly were lost into the sea of things I tasted over the week. That is with the exception of the chardonnay. The '05 Carneros Chardonnay ranks among the best I have had from Napa. I won't get into tasting notes as their website nails it spot on.

Mt. Veeder Winery - This place is hard to track down. The tasting room is actually the Franciscian tasting room. I want to say we tasted through 5 Mt. Veeder wines. Each wine came from the Mt. Veeder Appelation. Again I won't go into specifics on the wines, but I will say that each one was more complex than the next leaving me with the general impression that the folks at Mt. Veeder really know what they are doing. I recommend taking the time to hunt these wines down.

Quivira - One of my favorite producers of Zinfandel, this winery has reinvented itself a bit since the last time I visited. The maps are gone (oh those maps) but now there is a chicken coupe, which my son just loved, and a huge garden of all sorts of beautiful vegetables. We treied a lot of stuff, but my favorite wine of the stop was the Grenache Rose. Done in a dry style, the rose was everything good rose should be, and everything white zinfandel is not. Crisp and refreshing, I could drink it all day long.

Cartograph - Long time readers may remember that I made wine with the Cellar Rat back in 2006. Alan has had an interesting journey that you can read about on his blog. He is in the process of launching a new winery and brand and I got the chance to barrel sample his Pinot Noirs and bottle taste his finished Gewurztraminer. Its really pointless to tell you about the barrel samples, other than to say that you should seek out his finished Pinot. It will be a classicly styled, understated wine that will go great with food. The Gewutz however was a real treat. not just because finding one of the most underrated wines out there has become more and more difficult, but because Alan's was quite good. Gewurtz has a classic and instantly recognizable aroma of orange, pepper and rose petals. This is usually the dominant character of a Gewurztraminer, but in the Cartograph wine it took a backseat to some of the more Riesling like citrus and honey. The Gewurtz signature was still there, but it was melded nicely into a complete wine that would go with more than just the traditional Thai that Gewurztraminer is so often paired to.

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