August 21, 2013 § 1 Comment
The question: Can California be a home for normal wines, at normal prices? We know it can be a home for ridiculous wines, and extraordinary wines, at prices befitting the adjectives we use to describe them.
But what about the sorts of table wines that Europe made us fall in love with all those years ago? Bistro wine, trattoria wine. Beaujolais, Dolcetto. You get the idea.
Kenny Likitprakong gets the idea, too. He’s the everything behind Hobo Wine Co. Aptly named. Kenny doesn’t own vineyards. He’s a hobo. He loves Woody Guthrie. He’s got a super loose attitude, but super tight principles and action. He represents the best of this country.
And his wines are just what I’m looking for: hand-picked grapes, wild yeasts (he, scientifically, calls them “uninoculated”), low alcohol (even the Zin has 13.6% alc!), no crap-addition or funny stuff in the cellar. The wines are limpid, supple, nuanced, and real. They don’t cost tons of money. The only unfortunate thing is that wines like this, from a place like that, are still in the minority.
May 8, 2013 § Leave a comment
Dependable. Kind. Interesting, with a subtle edgy streak mostly kept under wraps. I usually want adventuresome wines that set me off kilter. Sometimes I don’t. That’s what Dry Creek Vineyard wines are for: when you want something very good but very consistent.
Ruffle feathers tomorrow. Today, settle in and settle down. Here’s my take on a benchmark-y, stable, classic line-up of wines from California that will break few-to-no balls, bones, habits, relationships or banks.
February 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Today’s Portland Press Herald column attempts to convince of the glories of field blends. Acorn Winery in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley is producing great blends of all sorts of grapes, in vineyards that hold vines going back to 1890. All of their vineyards are “mixed sets” (that’s the English translation of the German/Austrian “gemischter satz”, because Austria is king of the field blend): lots of different grape varieties planted together in a single vineyard.
Field blends are wines made from all these different grapes, harvested, crushed, fermented and vinified together. Usual blends (for instance, in the southern Rhône or Bordeaux), called cuvées, mix grapes that are grown and harvested separately. With field blends, you get the call of the wild! Less control, more surprise, more life. The wines live. They can’t be pinpointed. They’re terrific, and will expand your ideas about what a wine actually is.