People ask us all the time where can they go to learn about wine. Well, aside from reading OddBallGrape.com on a regular basis, wine events, such as Grand Tastings and festivals, are a great opportunity to learn. You can taste all sorts of different wines and better yet, at many of these events, you can talk to the winemakers and learn what went into the bottle.
Now that may seem like a lot of work when you just want to taste something. But as we were reminded over the past weekend, the more you learn about wine, the
Continue reading Face Time with the Grape Herders – Upcoming Wine Events in SoCal
Courtesy Pinot Days
Tasting events are an amazingly cool way to find out about a lot of wine at one time. Most feature a region or even a single grape, such as Pinot Days, dedicated to the heartbreak grape that is Pinot Noir. Based in San Francisco, the organizers have also taken the show to Chicago and, for the last two years, Santa Monica, California. Michael was lucky enough to get involved as a volunteer for the recent Santa Monica show, which also allowed him to attend the event and mingle with the winemakers.
Imagine a beehive of
Continue reading Pinot Days Means Lots and Lots of Pinot
When we asked actor Jane Seymour for her wine FAQ, she didn’t have one.
“You know, I grew up with wine. My mother was a wine merchant. I tasted Givery Chambertin at, probably, eight,” said the actor who is currently reprising her role as Prudence, the Martha Stewart clone in the Hallmark Channel movie Perfectly Prudence.
Like other Europeans, Seymour said, it’s not unusual for young Brits to taste wine long before it’s legal, even there.
But not only is she into wine, she’s even got her own label of pinot noir, JS, which she’s making with vintner Jim
Continue reading Celebrity Wine FAQ – Jane Seymour
Type: Dry redMade With: Pinot Noir grapesPlays Well With: Salmon, pork or grilled beef.
This is a wine that is all about balance – no mean trick when it comes to the notoriously finicky pinot noir grape.
Winemaker and founder Joshua Klapper started with some amazing fruit – from farmer and winemaker Peter Cargasacchi’s vineyards in the ever-so-hot Santa Rita Hills. Cargasacchi has his own Point Concepcion label (which we have had the good fortune to taste), but does sell a fair amount of his crop to several local vintners – including La Fenetre. In fact, one of our
Continue reading La Fenetre 2006 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir
Type: Dry redMade with: Pinot NoirPlays well with: Strong cheeses, red meats
The Vergari 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a premium example of a California pinot noir. Which is not to say that it is a copy of a Burgundian wine. The California style generally has riper fruit which can sometimes be a problem in France. Actually, it can be a problem with Californis wines, too. Riper fruit can translate into jammier characters and higher alcohol – qualities not becoming for a food friendly grape like pinot noir.
Not so with the Vergari. It’s a crafted wine that
Continue reading Vergari 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
It happened a few months ago, but one day, Michael gets an email in his personal box inviting him and a guest to a tasting at a local contractor’s store near us. Huh? It was from David Vergari – a winemaker who lives in Sierra Madre in Southern California, but makes a collection of red wines out of a custom crush facility in Sebastopol, California. They’re mostly cabs and pinots – varieties we don’t usually focus on here at OddBallGrape.
But what makes Vergari’s operation a little more up our alley is how he’s selling his wines – through
Continue reading Vergari Wines
Pinot noir is Walter Schug’s signature wine – the wine he grew up on, the wine that he started his winery to make. And Schug does know how to handle it.
There’s a reason pinot noir is known as the heartbreak grape. Every decision in the growing, harvesting, crushing. pressing – the entire winemaking process – shows up in the final product. The wrong pruning, the wrong yeast selection, too muck oak, too little oak – it’s all there for the world to taste and, alas, pay too much money for most of the time.
And there is
Continue reading Schug 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
The Schug Winery Building, courtesy Schug Winery
It’s hard to know where to begin when talking about Walter Schug. This guy has been working in the California wine industry since 1966, when he was a grape buyer for Gallo. He is still hip-deep in making some phenomenal pinot noirs and has been continuously since he started working for Joseph Phelps in 1973. Our conversation ranged from the latest on this year’s harvest – “It went on a long time,” he noted – to the history of the California wine industry to the development of yeast in Germany.
Continue reading Schug Carneros Estate Winery
The whole point of the Three Sticks Durell Vineyards Pinot Noir is to remind you of the great Burgundies (as in the Burgundy region of France). Keep in mind, French wines, in general, and certainly Burgundies, are meant to go with food. So the fruit flavors are more subtle, the acids tend to be higher and the alcohols percentages tend to be lower.
Which, of course, runs totally counter to the American and, increasingly, the Australian styles in pinots. We decidedly prefer pinots that are in the food friendly Burgundian style, which is one of the things we liked
Continue reading Three Sticks 2006 Pinot Noir