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Snooth User: thomas mikel

Hello Snooth!

Posted by thomas mikel, Dec 20, 2013.

Hello everyone.  My name is Tom.  My wife and I enjoy finding new wines and cherishing old favorites.  We've been drinking "good" wines for about ten years and have distinctly different tastes.  I prefer dry reds while she likes fruity, but not sweet whites and Champagne.  Looking forward to reading reviews and sharing my tastes with the rest of the community.  I am a huge fan of Wollersheim winery.  I think they truly produce world class wines and like to go there a few times a year to keep my rack stocked.  


Reply by EMark, Dec 20, 2013.

Welcome to the Forum, Tom.  We look forward to sharing with you.

I prefer dry reds while she likes fruity, but not sweet whites and Champagne.

Where have I heard that, before.  Oh yes, right here in my own house. We have a diplomatic solution.  If she wants white wine, she opens a white wine, and if I want red wine, I open red wine.  It works out quite well.  There's plenty of room on the dinner table for two bottles.

I can't say I've ever heard of Wollersheim Winery.  That is not particularly remarkable.  (There is an incredibly long list of things I don't know.)  Why don't you tell us a bit about it?

Reply by thomas mikel, Dec 20, 2013.

Hi EMark!  Thanks for the warm welcome.  

Glad to know that I'm not the only facing this particular conundrum.  Our solution is the same, a bottle for each of us.


Wollersheim is in Prairie du Sac WI.  It's about a half hour drive for us.  They have a very nice tour and tasting, with special events throughout the year.  We did our first tour while we were dating, been hooked ever since.  The original owner was Agoston Haraszthy who eventually went west and began the California "wine country" in Sononma.  They've been through a lot of changes, but the wines they've been producing for the last ten years are very mature and complex.  We just love to take a trip up there on a Saturday, do the tour and tasting, buy a case or two, then grab a bottle and some cheese and sit out near the vineyard and enjoy the beauty.  I would have to say that at least 30% of the wine we purchase comes from there.  I've always boasted that I would put their Domaine du Sac up against any Zinfandel or really good French Bordeaux.  We've taken family and friends along with us and they've always enjoyed it.  The staff is very friendly and quite knowledgeable.  


Now before I start sounding like a commercial, my absolute favorite grape is the primitivo, which is the mother of the zinfandel, the folks out your way are famous for.  My lovely bride loves Pinot Grigio.  




Reply by EMark, Dec 20, 2013.

I would put their Domaine du Sac up against any Zinfandel

Them's fighin' words, Tom. ;-)

Yes, we are familiar with Count Harazthy.  I did not know that he started other wineries before coming to California. That is great information.  Thanks.

I look forward to hearing more about the wines from Wollersheim.  Do they have a Primitivo bottling or are you drinking Italian ones?

Reply by thomas mikel, Dec 23, 2013.

Mark, I only drink Primitivos from the Puglia region of Italy.   Wollersheim does not bottle a prim.

Their best wines are the estate grown stuff.  In red or white, we both prefer the estate grown bottles.  However, the wines they make from juice that is brought in, is still pretty good.

Reply by EMark, Dec 23, 2013.

Hey Tom.  I had a California Primitivo last night.  It was good, but it didn't blow me away.  Tonight, however, I had a Zinfandel that I feel will blow most alternatives into the weeds.  :-)

Reply by thomas mikel, Dec 25, 2013.

I didn't realize that they actually grew any Primitivo grapes in California.  I thought they were all zinfandels.  My favorite primitivo is/was Danzante.  I've not been able to find it for quite a few years now.  I used to buy it by the case.  I also enjoy Mother Zin.  Do you have a recommendation for a good zin?

Reply by EMark, Dec 26, 2013.

Yes, Tom, there are some California growers and winemakers that grow Primitivo and bottle it as a varietal wine.  This very topic was discussed a bit in a recent Forum conversation.  Take a look at it.  I certainly do not understand everything I know about this, but it seems to me that using the Zinfandel vs. Primitivo nomenclature is akin to referring to different clones of a specific variety.

I can recommend good Zins all day.

I don't know how difficult it is for you to find California wines where you live, but these wineries are all fairly well distributed:

  • Ravenswood
  • Ridge
  • Seghesio

All of these wineries have multiple bottlings from different AVAs/vineyards.  I have reported many times on this Forum, that, year-in/year-out, one of my favorite wines (not just Zinfandels) is the Ridge Lytton Springs bottling.  Their current 2011 vintage is outstanding.  If you see it on a store shelf, grab it.  Many people prefer the Geyserville bottling, and I would certainly agree that it is an outstanding example.  Ridge Zins are available in my area from the high-20 to the low-30 dollar range.

Ravenswood has a fairly low-dollar (I'm thinking in the low teens) offering, called "Vintner's Blend" or something like that, which is a very consistent wine without much of a bite out of your wallet.  Ravenswood also has some excellent bottlings from such vineyards as Dickerson and Old Hill.  These will run from the high-30s to the mid-40s.

Seghesio will run from, say, the mid-20s to the mid-40s.  Again, this is a very solid, reliable producer, regardless of the source--mostly, various Sonoma County locations--of the fruit.

Some other makers that that I don't see on store shelves quite as often as the above three, but who I can recommend pretty much without hesitation are Cline and Carlisle.  

I used to be a big fan of Rosenblum, but, lately, I haven't enjoyed those as much--either they've changed their style, or my tastes have changed.  

Now, if you want to talk about something that my be more difficult to find, some other Snoothers here have turned me on to Mauritson and Bedrock.  I get those directly from the wineries.

Here is a low-dollar option that I also enjoy--Bogle.  Their "California" bottling (less than $10) is a perfectly good everyday drinker.  They also have an "Old Vines" bottling (from Lodi, I think) for about $12 that is darned good.

I hope I haven't overwhelmed you, Tom.  I hope hear back about your Zin adventures.

Reply by dvogler, Dec 26, 2013.

I have a Hendry Block 24 Primitivo (2009) Napa Valley.  Not sure how much it is down there, but I know in a nice wine shop in Victoria here, it's $55.

Looking forward to drinking it. 

Reply by thomas mikel, Jan 6, 2014.

Thank you for the recommendations, Emark.  I'm particularly curious to try the Ridge Lytton Springs.  I've always dismissed Ravenswood because of the price point, but will try it on your recommendation.


DVOGLER, I hope you enjoy the primitivo.

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