Robert Sinskey, shedding light in the darkness of Cali insanity

December 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

My column this week celebrates the wines of Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Los Carneros, Napa. If you know me at all you know my prejudice toward Old World flavors and terroir-honoring wines. My column’s ratio of European to American wines has got to be 17:1 at least.

And yet. Here’s Sinskey, in the belly of the score-garnering, my-wine’s-bigger-than-yours beast, producing elegant, balanced wines with pure flavors, low alcohol, food-focused acidity and a respect for EARTH. Organically grown grapes, farmed biodynamically. The Carneros microclimates are capable of ushering forth aromatic, Alsatian-style whites as well as bold Bordeaux and Burgundy avatars. Yet still speak the native tongue(s) of Carneros.┬áIs there anywhere else on Earth as capable of that diversity? Only where there are winemakers of such humility and competence.

California. Chardonnay. Gulp!

August 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today’s Portland Press Herald column goes where few wine snobs will go: California, where they make wine from…get this: Chardonnay! I tried a bunch of oaky, buttery brioche bombs and lived to tell. I really tried to not be snobby about it. I mean, I’m still one of those guys…y’know, the ones who keep talking about minerals and lemons all the time. But doing what you don’t want to do usually leads to LEARNING. And I did learn. I also probably missed some nice CCs that you know of, so weigh in if you like. Meanwhile, I’m heading back to Burgundy (or if it’s to Napa I must go, I’m drinking Sauvignon Blanc).

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