Wine & Food

Snooth User: outthere

Virginia Wine in Santa Rosa

Posted by outthere, Jun 20.

Just got this from Adam Lee. Meeting up with eMark and Foxall Monday for dinner. Should we change venues and do this? Not at all familiar with what Virginia has to offer.

 

Hey All,
 
Not sure if this is the proper place to post this, but wanted to invite all of you in the Santa Rosa area to a tasting of Virginia wines that we are hosting next Monday, June 23. The tasting is from 5pm to 7pm at Stark's Restaurant and includes appetizers from Stark's.
 
There are 10 wineries pouring their wines (I can get you the entire list if you are interested but they include some top names such as Early Mountain, Ankida Ridge, Breaux, Veritas....and on and on. 
 
The price is $30....that pays for the food and the glasses, etc. Not a commercial venture for us....we are making no coin off this.....just hoping to introduce others to some of these wines (I don't know of a tasting like this in Sonoma County before).
 
If you are interested drop me an email at adam@siduri.com.
 
Thanks,
 
Adam Lee
Siduri Wines
 
Here is who is attending (cut and paste...sorry for any formatting issues)
 
Stinson Vineyards 
Ankida Ridge Vineyards 
Chatham Vineyards 
Veritas Vineyard & Winery 
Breaux Vineyards 
Afton Mountain Vineyards 
Sunset Hills Vineyards 
Early Mountain Vineyards 
Barboursville Vineyards 
Thibaut-Janisson 
 
Adam Lee
Siduri Wines

 

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Replies

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 20.

You guys should attend this tasting.  We've been to Breaux, Sunset Hills and Barboursville vineyards.  Of those, Barboursville might be the best.  We still have Veritas and Afton Mountain on our 'to do' list.  Make sure you get a taste of Octagon from Barboursville.

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 20.

Seems like a no-brainer, OT et al. Variety is the spice of life after all--even if you think Sonoma is the center of the world when it comes to wine...  ;-)

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Reply by outthere, Jun 20.

My own private Idaho!

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 20.

Oh, you're a B 52's fan I see.  Pass me the Rock Lobster.

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Reply by dvogler, Jun 20.

Stay in your comfort zone OT.  Don't trust these imposter states that say they make wine.  Just meet EMark and Fox and have the usual suspects.  You'd at least know it couldn't be better  :)

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 20.

Not sure who gives a better reason to go...anyway, look forward to what you all think of Virginia as you will have gotten there first.

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Reply by Snoother 1514099, Jun 20.

We are here in Sonoma , from Northern Virginia. Familiar with most of these vineyards. Sounds like a local imitation of the Paris tasting from the 70's. Could be interesting!

 

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Reply by outthere, Jun 20.

I'm game and so is the rest  of the crew.  Don't worry DV,  we are only using this as a stepping stone into the wines we already planned on drinking. The venue just changed and we added appetizers.

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Reply by napagirl68, Jun 20.

Stay in your comfort zone OT.  Don't trust these imposter states that say they make wine.  Just meet EMark and Fox and have the usual suspects.  You'd at least know it couldn't be better  :)

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Reply by napagirl68, Jun 20.

Ok, but I would be really interested to hear what y'all think of these alien wines ;-)

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Reply by outthere, Jun 21.

I'm hearing good things about the Barboursville Octagons. Not sure what they will be pouring though at Starks I would imagine that wine would fall in line. Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay and Stinson are also getting some positive chatter. Looking forward to this.

 

 

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Reply by outthere, Jun 24.
Just got home after having dinner following the tasting. Met up with Mr and Mrs eMark who were in town for the NASCAR race at Sears Point over the weekend. Foxall was a gametime scratch due to a nagging injury so my better half stepped in in his place. Mrs eMark was happy to have another woman to chat with. My overall take was it was OK. There were a few standouts but 70% of the wines were lacking in mid-palate lift, acidity, or some kind of oomph. They came across flabby and off dry.
 
Of the off dry wines I really liked the Thibeau-Janisson Sparkling Chardonnay which while a touch sweet had great effervescence. The bubbles were tiny and tight like a Prosecco. Was hoping for some nutty notes but no dice.
 
Stinson poured a 2011 Tannat that reminded me of Sangiovese and had deep red and black fruit, mouth stripping tannins and showed great structure. Their 2013 Sauv Blanc was the only white of the night with some bright acidity. 
 
Structure was lacking in a lot of the wines tonight but the 2011 Nebbiolo from Barboursville was not one of them. Blackberry, bramble, black cherry and white pepper notes abounded. Great tannic structure to this wine. Stood out in the crowd.
 
Barboursville also had a 2008 Bordeaux Blend called Octagon that was very enjoyable. A bit fruit forward with deep rich black fruit, black olive notes on the nose and some accompanying licorice. Came across like a high dollar Napa Cab blend. Very well balanced though and showed a good age-ability.
 
Veritas poured a Chardonnay and a Bordeaux blend both just came across as OK. Was hoping to find some acidity in these wines but it just didn't happen. Maybe that's an issue with VA? Many of the pourers were talking about their whites and how they possess such great acidity. I just didn't get that at all.
 
Afton Mountain had a 2010 Brut Blanc de Noirs that actually was dry. Unlike all the other whites poured on the evening. Big carbonic bubbles. Nice fruit.
 
Their 2012 Super Tuscan labeled Festa di Bacco was very ripe and fruity which was weird since it sported 40% Sangiovese. Was a crowd pleaser blend but no wow factor.
 
Breaux poured a Viognier and a Cab Franc. Lots of Viognier tonight. I asked everyone if they had issues moving a 100% Viognier as it really doesn't seem to be a great idea. To a man they all said they sell out. Different market. I guess. The 2013 Viognier from Breaux was flabby, has great aromatics but needed something that most Viogniers need. Acidity. They really should have done these as dessert wines in my opinion. 
The Breaux 2007 Cab Franc had crazy aromatics, ripe but lean fruit, dark plum and stewed fruit palate and mouth drying tannins.
 
Ankida Ridge poured a 2013 Chardonnay. Another off dry tasting Chard that just seemed to weigh on the palate. Their 2008 Pinot Noir was interesting with Dark Cherry fruit but needed acidity, ripe fruit, none of the RRV cola or SoCo strawberry but then gain nothing to make it pop. Nice firm tannins though.
 
There were others but mostly it was more of the same. Lots of Merlot, Cab Franc, lots of flabby Chard and Viognier. Another variety popular in the white blends was Petite Manseng. Early Mountain had a Petite Manseng, Muscat blend that was super sweet. Maybe that's what the market asks for. Just wasn't my style.
 
Afterwards we had dinner at Starks and enjoyed a 2012 Ceritas Heintz Chardonnay, 2012 Halcon Esquisto  and a 2010 Sandlands Mataro. Head and shoulders above the previous wines. The Ceritas was a incredibly plush and creamy with tart pineapple and green apple notes. Just killed it with our spicy Calamari starter.
Of the two Mourvedres the Sandlands was a winner for me showing a very nice polish to the entire package. The Halcon was much riper and fruitier which surprises me based on the vineyard location. But then again 2012 was one of those fruit years. The Sandlands just drank like a wine that had it all together. Very enjoyable.
 
Great to see the eMarks. I look forward to their visit each year.
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Reply by dmcker, Jun 24.

Great report, OT. Thanks.

My limited experience with VA wines is from last decade and the one before. Very similar to your descriptions, though even weaker. Perhaps they'll get it in another decade or so. But they don't have the critical mass of market and winemakers and climate and just-plain competition there that CA (and later the Pacific NW) had even several decades ago, regardless of the fact that they can learn quickly from all that CA has done. So progress will likely be slower than some of us might want.

The dinner sounded excellent.

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Reply by outthere, Jun 24.

I think they are still in their infancy finding what works for their climate. Warm and humid so they need to grow grapes with loose clusters or face rot issues. Someone there needs to try an early pick when the sugars don't overtake the acidity and make a wine with some verve. California is still just getting into it's stride with regards to Syrah by finding suitable growing sites. VA will find their nitch. Perhaps they have. Just not a lot of varieties that are high on my list of faves. Was interesting though.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 24.

Thanks for the report OT...noticed Adam pictured that same Tannat on FB.

Oh, and...Sandlands!!! Gotta score me some of that.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 24.

Sorry to have missed it.  I'll give y'all a full rundown on the health issue in July.... turns out it's not a neck strain but something revisiting me from my past. My treatment involves abstaining from alcohol, to boot.  For the first time in my adult life, I will miss at least one week straight of work.  Leaving me another 150 days of sick leave unused. 

Interesting about the nebbiolo.  My take is that California may not be the place to grow it outside Italy, although I think there are one or two spots.  I mentioned to my brother in law who has the N. Carolina wine gifts website that the Piedmont of NC may have more in common with Piedmont in Italy than we do here, and it would be interesting to know if anyone was growing any nebbiolo.  Turns out that a nebbiolo was the wine of the month for their wine club members, and a couple are on their way to me now.  Virginia, with its humidity, poses some problems, but if you get high enough up in the Smokies, it starts to dry out.  And you might get the snow in the winter that nebbiolo seems to want. Virginia is big enough that different things should grow in different places.

I'd like to hear from GregT on this one:  Is VA really so much more humid than the former swampland that is now Bordeaux? It's certainly possible that it's that different, since parts of VA (like Charlottesville, where a lot of the wineries orient themselves) are godawfully humid. 

My experience when I went wine tasting in VA a few years back (wife's brother lives there) was pretty similar.  Wines are pretty flabby, they haven't figured out what will work there.  I actually think Viognier is not a bad choice in some areas, and it has a substantial market, never mind what OT says.  But I haven't had any from there that impressed me. 

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Reply by outthere, Jun 24.

Substantial? Go to the market right now and I dare you to find three, strike that two different Viogniers on the shelf. I know of only a handful out of the hundreds of wineries in Sonoma County who bottle a stand alone Viognier. The only one drinkable so far has been the Jemrose Egret Pond. Every one of the wineries last night made a Viognier. I don't buy that it is that popular by itself. Blended, yes.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 24.

Sonoma doesn't have a ton, but many Central Coast wineries make it as a stand alone (which is what they do in France, where it's from, y'know).  Calera, Melville, Au Bon Climat, Roar, Jaffurs all do one and Qupe does a few.  Then there's Bonterra in Mendo, Cristom in OR, Darioush and Joseph Phelps in Napa. K&L has a bunch more. I saw another half dozen from wineries like Curtis, Fess Parker,  Ojai, etc.  There is a world outside Sonoma, and it's got more viognier.

I do agree that the best I've had from these parts is the Jemrose, although the Roar wasn't at all bad. Doesn't really explain why VA has gone all mad for it, except that a few years back, it was going to eat up some of chardonnay's market share.  But it's not all that easy to grow, or, really, to harvest at just the right time.  So it often comes off gluey or flavorless. 

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Reply by napagirl68, Jun 24.

Yeah, I have to agree with Foxall... I see a lot of Viognier- but I don't shop at the market for my wine either, so that may skew the data..  Paso Robles makes a lot of Viognier, as does some of the SCM wineries, other central coast areas, and even in Oakland (Rockwall makes a viognier).  But I do agree with OT about the quality of most Viognier... so far, the best I've had is the latest vintage from Alfaro Family Vineyards in SCM- bright with excellent acidity... a rarity in Viognier for sure.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 24.

Stolpman, McManiis, Alban (ALBAN!), Denner, Cold Heaven, even Sean Thackrey...Geez, that was too easy. 

Not much call for it?  Reminds me of the Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch.  At 3:45:

"Well, let's keep it simple then. Cheddar?"

"Well, I'm afraid we don't get much call for it around these parts, sir."

"Why, it's the single most popular cheese in the world."

So, yeah, not the most popular.  But lots of it here, too.

 

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