Wine & Travel

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

Pinot Throw Down for West Coast Snoothers 2013

Original post by Richard Foxall, Jul 29, 2013.

So we have some interest in having a West Coast meet-up (or you can call it a throw-down) for Pinot.  Here's my opening proposal:  We'll do it very close to the Oakland Airport, to save those who are traveling in from out of town (like Emark and JonDerry) from having extra travel if they want to fly.  This would give LuchaVino a chance to attend to, or our friends from up in British Columbia.  Or we can go partway and do it in Carmel if folks from down south want to drive.

My suggestion for a time would be around Veteran's Day in case anyone gets that time off.  I'm open to other times as well. I can't do Columbus Day weekend (who gets that off?  Public servants like me... and I plan to be in Napa that weekend) but later in October could work.  I have a couple ideas for the restaurant (we can even do it at my home, but it could be kind of tight). 

Basic structure would be that each couple or participant brings one to two bottles of Pinot.  We should try to have representatives of Santa Rita Hills, Santa Lucia Highlands, RRV, Sonoma Coast "The True," Anderson Valley, Oregon and Burgundy.  All the better if we can get Sta Ynez, Carneros and maybe split the Burgundy into Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits.  I can provide the SLH (Roar) and Anderson (Toulouse or Goldeneye) pretty easily, also Sonoma and Burgundy if necessary (I think OT and JD respectively have better holdings in those areas).  I can also step aside on some of those and kick in Carneros or Oregon. 

It would be cool if we could time it for one of GdP's trips, too.

Send me any ideas and please, let me know if you are interested even if I didn't mention you.

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Replies

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Reply by JonDerry, Aug 9, 2013.

I'll bow out of the palate cleansing as it seems well in hand.

Think I may be able to represent Carneros very well with some Sinskey Vin Gris...

I'm guessing it'll end up at about a dozen or so, which would be convenient for everyone getting a decent 2 oz pour out of 750's. If it gets to 20+, 750's aren't really enough.

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Reply by EMark, Aug 9, 2013.

If it gets to 20+, 750's aren't really enough.

I hadn't included this in my original accounting, but I also have a double mag 1991 "Reserve" from Santa Barbara County.  My guess is that the grapes came from the Santa Maria Valley/Santa Ynez Valley/Thereabouts.  I've had it in my cellar since I bought it at a silent charity auction in 2001.  I don't know how the donor stored it, although, I choose to be optimistic.  The price at the auction was driven up by the fact that the bottle is signed by the winemaker, who is fairly well-known in the Central Coast (not Jim Clendenen).

In all honesty, I have no idea when I might open this.  I would be happy to bring it, but it is goinng to be hard to disguise for a blind tasting.  Maybe this could be used as a palate opener. 

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Reply by EMark, Aug 9, 2013.

Oh yeah, I've been meaning to ask this.  I am unfamiliar with the nomenclature "Sonoma 'The True.'"  What is that?

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Reply by outthere, Aug 9, 2013.

The Sonoma Coast AVA is an all encompassing place that stretches from south of Petalume all the way up to Annapolis. Hard to get a flavor profile from such  large swath of land. The True is the more coastal hilly region from Occudental north.

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Reply by EMark, Aug 9, 2013.

Thanks, OT.  I get it.  (I did have to go to a map to find out where Occidental is.)  It does sound a bit condescending, though.  On the other hand, I have no alternative suggestions for them.

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 9, 2013.

I have some questions:

Foxy- you are doing SLH- I presume Santa Lucia Highlands.  What representatives do you have from that area, may I ask?

OT- did you make the West of West tasting?  It looked good, but I was in Carmel Valley.  I mostly agree with Sonoma the True, except is excludes Lioco, which is still one of my fav all time producers of Sonoma Coast PN.

And lastly-  Chard for starter- palate cleanser?  Really.. with all this pinot?  So who will be providing dialysis treatment the next morning??  ;-)

I will try to make it if at all possible.  Yes, I can provide SCM, but I also have a very nice SLH as well, and many from OT's area...

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Reply by outthere, Aug 9, 2013.

Bring whatever you have that you feel fits theme. There will be enough to fill the gaps. I Missed West of West this year. I had obligations at home and in Lake County.

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Reply by JonDerry, Aug 10, 2013.

SCM, SLH, and the True - All sounds great NG, hope you can make it. With all this wine we could use a couple scavengers to come and just drink, and spitting is encouraged ; )

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Reply by EMark, Aug 11, 2013.

Going back to the topic of palate cleansers, my vote is for water crackers or crusty bread.

Now, the idea of cleansing the palate will go right out the door if those Duck Tacos start to appear.

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Reply by outthere, Aug 11, 2013.

"No Huet for you!"

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Reply by EMark, Aug 11, 2013.

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Reply by JenniferT, Aug 11, 2013.

I'm going to have to see what I can round up sometime closer to the throw down.

I'm actually on a trip for work right now, so maybe I can come up with something interesting at some local stores if I have time to shop before heading back home. This trip has been a busy one, so that's a big IF. Better yet, I also might be able to do some shopping in Washington state (and maybe a few winery visits) between now and then.

Arrgh! I went out to dinner on this trip at this restaurant that a pretty extensive wine list (including wines by the glass). I was so excited at my chance to taste "Farmers Table". Only afterwards I realized that you guys have been talking about "Liquid Farm"! Totally different. The guy at the store did seem quite perplexed at my excitment to find their viognier.

Still...always nice to taste new wines. I totally geeked out and tasted 6, taking time to write notes before having multiple courses in the restaurant. I think it was a Friday night even. Sometimes ya just gotta take yourself out, or not go at all. :)

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 13, 2013.

NG, my SLH holdings are mostly (have to check, maybe entirely at this moment) Roar.  Several vintages, all the bottlings except the most recent Pisoni--it's just getting too big.  So if you have an SLH to bring, that would diversify.  I also have Anderson Valley and various Sonoma bottlings, some Burgundy and some Oregon (although not a lot of Oregon), so I can fill in, but I do want everyone to try one Roar--I think it's hard to overestimate the role the two Garys play in that part of the world.  But of course there's Calera and Chalone to think of, and other great makers using that fruit, too. 

Assignments will go out mid-September, or that's the plan.  I would just encourage people to drink what they like between now and then and buy what you like so whether you bring it or not, you will have something you like at home or at the throw down.

Once the pinot starts flowing forget the other wines, but I do think we should toast with a blanc de noirs to start.  I'm on the hunt for a magnum of Schram or something not too crazy from Champagne.

BTW, I got called for jury duty in federal court and wound up sitting next to the assistant somm for Meadowood.  He'd just had a '91 DRC La Tache from magnum a high roller brought in a couple nights before.  With any luck, I'll get up there for a drink in October--but I don't think DRC or Krug (he had some of that, too) will be on the by-the-glass list.

90% sure it'll be duck tacos at my house.  Liking the idea more all the time.

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Reply by JonDerry, Aug 13, 2013.

We just had a bit of a Burgundy taste off down here in OC over the weekend...5 of us with 13 bottles in all...3 white burgs, 8 red burgs, and 2 rhone/bandol's. All very good stuff, but we were still thinking that next time we'd try to be even more focused with a little less wine per person, but better stuff.

Having said that, there are a ton of wines I'd like to bring to this event to highlight different areas/producers but I'll try to be as concise as possible.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 13, 2013.

That brings up a very good point, JD, especially when many producers are making wines from the same vineyards.  One could do tastings across different producers from one vineyard, one vintage; or you could compare vintages across that vineyard from one producer. Or you can taste one producer, one vintage, different regions--lots of Burg producers have holdings scattered about the landscape, and Siduri gets grapes from all over, to name one. 

Or you can be unscientific and have a lot of wine.  Seriously, I think the idea is for each of us to bring a wine or two from a region and producer we really like, essentially as advocates for that style of wine.  Then taste them all blind, and see if our opinions have changed at all.  Then unwrap and enjoy.  It's hard to say what's "typical" for any region or even cru, because winemaking decisions will affect the final product and, even within a cru, there may be better and worse sections or different protocols for viticulture.  Many winemakers "buy" specific rows or blocks and have them farmed a particular way (within limits--no grape farmer is going to let you run his vines into the ground), limiting yields or pruning a certain way.  That's going to affect your wines, of course, even before you get to the winery. So we'll each bring the kind of wine we like, and we'll get enough diversity of growing regions to make some very subjective pronouncements.  And we'll do it again another time with different criteria.

One thing we have over your taste-off is that we aren't going to try to do whites or anything not made from PN.  We aren't going to have any definitive results after this tasting, but when does a tasting ever lead to that? 

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Reply by JonDerry, Aug 13, 2013.

The white burgundy wasn't much hindrance, they go pretty well together actually. I'm guessing it'll be a bigger shift drinking the old world versus new, but it will mainly be new world so no biggie.

Actually, think it would be a good idea to have everyone vote a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd wine so we can come up with a consensus for overall and within the regions if applicable.

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Reply by outthere, Aug 13, 2013.

Do you have enough stems? If we do flights of three wines each that's 3 glasses per person. I can help if needed.

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 13, 2013.

I think the blind tasting idea is spot on.  Wouldn't have it any other way.... takes the prejudice out of the process.

I've just had a fantastic SLH pinot, and a truly amazing SCM pinot.  I think my SCM pinot I have in mind would be my choice to convert any critics.  My only issue is that I've had a small few of wines be corked from this winery.  That would be a) horrendous and b) embarrassing.  May I recommend that folks bring a back up if at all possible?  

I also have a RRV that is small production... blah, blah, blah.  I basically have a stash of all my favorites- all from California.  I have no Oregon, but I wish we had a rep from Oregon.  I really liked Stoller at the tasting a few years back.  I have also liked Bethel Heights when I visited, but that was several years ago.  It's the same story with Oregon wines out of state (here in CA, for example)- the best are NOT distributed, so one really misses out unless locally able to taste.  Maybe we leave Oregon out then.

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 13, 2013.

"No Huet for you!"

LOL! OT!    Were you talking to me????   I just found some Huet, although not my fav vintage, it's still good... this is the 2005 brut petillant.  I am not sharing.  I only have two bottles and will drink all by myself, no sharing whatsoever.  No HUET for YOU!

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 14, 2013.

I've got an Oregon that will work, so we are covered for at least one. 

NG, you are more sensitive to corked wine than the rest of us, something that is well established.  Probably a large number of the wines that we drink have at least a small amount of taint--estimates range from 2% to 20%.  My backup bottles will be right at hand, but I think for anyone traveling, etc, we'll probably just chance it.  I actually expect that we'll have a couple representatives of any significant region and, of course, can raid the basement--I've got something from most places even if I'm heavy on the Roar.

OT: as to stems, I have access to 29 matching stems, plus another 8 to 10, all burg/PN shaped.  As we get closer to the day, I'll let you know.  We did a four glass per person tasting with 8 adults a while back and, other than having lots of counterspace covered with drying glasses the next day, we were fine.  (shockingly, no one broke a glass.) 

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