We all know the story. Former SF Giants baseball teammates Rich Aurilia and Dave Roberts have teamed up once again — this time in the vineyard field. Alongside winemaker, Rolando Herrera from Mi Sueño Winery and Herrera Wines, Red Stitch serves up some classically-styled Napa Cabs. Their latest game-changer is their somewhat recent addition of Santa Lucia Highland vineyards, Soberanes and Sierra Mar, to craft what, to my palate, are two completely polar opposite Pinots.
This is another total impulse-buy success story. I was at TJ’s, perusing the wine aisle, and realized for all its awesome reputation, I’ve never actually tasted anything from Freemark Abbey. It was a bit of a risk: not only was I trying a new winery, but I was testing them out on a varietal I’m not super keen on, nor too familiar with. But like I said, impulse-buy success story.
Today California girl goes to Spain for a study in Albariño. This white grape is primarily grown in Galicia, Spain, specifically the DO Rías Baixas. In fact, though the DO Rías Baixas allows for 12 different grape varieties, 90% of the wine region is planted to Albariño 99% of all wine produced is white. Ryas Baixas is known for its cool-climate in the northwestern side of Spain due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. And though these conditions are mostly ideal, the region is also prone to humid rainfalls which can lead to mold, mildew and other diseases. For this reason, many grape growers train their Albariño vines along a wire trellis called a “parra,” which reaches up to seven feet high and allow for wind circulation through the vines and berry clusters.
Fermentation, like most wines, varies between winemakers. Most will age Albariño on the lees, a few will even take the wine through malolactic fermentation. Barrel fermentation, while not unheard of, is, in general, is used sparingly.
Skeptical, as always, when I receive a rosé — I’ve had some high highs and some low lows when it comes to the varietal. On the other side of that, though, is my track record with Grgich Hills Estate: from their light and lively Fumé Blanc to their downright earthy Napa Cab, Mr.’s Grgich and Hills have never steered me wrong.
Of course, then I read the blend. Cautiously concerned, but ultimately curious, there was nothing left to do but dive right in and taste.
Wildhurst Vineyards is another Lake County find. In fact, the Wildhurst tasting room is right across the street from another LC favorite stop, Fore Family Vineyards. Both tasting rooms are located in the super sleepy downtown Kelseyville. Although admittedly, for a tiny town, there are a lot of tasting rooms to choose from — all within walking distance. If you find yourself in those parts, definitely do stop by Wildhurst Vineyards. Wine to try: Wildhurst Vineyards 2015 Reserve Chardonnay.